Boardwalk Empire: S4E3 “Acres of Diamonds”

8.8 Overall Score
Main Plot: 9/10
Sub Plots: 8/10
Anticipation: 9/10

Emma's reaction to killing Billings | That last, disturbing image

William's outrage during the party felt forced

We have momentum, people! In the third episode of Boardwalk Empire this season, “Acres of Diamonds” finally moves things forward plot-wise. We get Nucky in Florida complaining about either the scalding sun or the seemingly never-ending rain, see where Harrow’s mercy last week gets him, and even get a little taste of college in the 20s from the perspective of Eli’s son, William. Dr. Narcisse is also beginning to make moves on Chalky’s club, bringing in new talent and having secret conversations with Dunn. “Acres of Diamonds” reveals some motives of characters and sets up an intriguing arc with the land use of Florida and whether or not Nucky wants to be involved, and provides the best material of the season so far.

Gillian also had some screen-time this episode, beginning with Roy asking her to pretend to be his wife for a business meeting that just happened to be at Chalky’s club. Gillian and Roy both have decent enough chemistry, and just as things begin to look up for Gillian, her past comes back to haunt her. For those of you who don’t remember (I’m still trying to forget), Gillian met and seduced a man that looked like her dead son, and after…”pleasuring” him, she injected him with heroin and drowned him in a bath tub. Well, this “fake Jimmy” has friends that are looking for her, and when a friend of his recognizes Gillian, she pretends to not know anything and immediately goes into the bathroom and injects herself with heroin. Roy definitely sensed the change in her after she got high, but Roy is too unfamiliar a character to see exactly what will happen between the two.

Dr. Narcisse was up to no good this episode, starting with making a deal to join in the heroin business with everyone’s favorite New Yorker, Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein was skeptical as ever during the meeting, but ended with the two on neutral terms. Narcisse then brought one of his more popular talents, Daughter Maitland, to Chalky’s club for a week. While Chalky seemed a bit distracted by her, what role she will play is yet to be seen. What is most interesting is Narcisse’s attempts to thin Dunn’s loyalty to Chalky. Narcisse could be a major threat to Chalky’s new business this season, but what he is planning will have to wait to be seen.

Boardwalk Empire - S4E3William seems to be getting more of a role now, first being seen at home for Thanksgiving in the premiere, now getting his own major arc this week. His exchanges with Mickey at the distillery were good, and Mickey realizing that hitting Eli’s kid wasn’t the smartest decision resulted in some good old fashioned college partying. William ends up making out with the girl the class bully was after, but I’m confused as to why he was so embarrassed when the entire party walked in on them. The show is probably setting William up to do something drastic at Temple, but it just seemed forced.

Who would have thought leaving a tax collector alive could be a bad thing? Unfortunately, Harrow’s mistake sees his “employer,” Carl Billings. Billings shows up with another man and attempts to kill Harrow for not finishing the job, and after a vicious knife-kill on Billings’ man, Billings is blown away by a shotgun shot from Emma. The shot of her holding the gun in the door, then slowly realizing what she just did was heart wrenching, especially when she looks at Harrow’s full face after his mask fell off in the scuffle. She almost looks scared of him. It’s powerful stuff, and Harrow is then kicked off of Emma’s farm, her last words being: “You need to call yourself to account.” Heavy stuff.

Nucky was in the South this week, working on a deal with Bill McCoy and local businessman Tucker. It was amusing to see Nucky scowl at the erratic Florida weather and fruity drinks, but ended with quite a disturbing image. Nucky at first declines the offer, only later learning that Tucker threatened McCoy into getting Nucky to join in on the deal. Nucky’s exchanges with bartender Sally (Patricia Arquette) show us a different side of Nucky, and how he hasn’t been happy since he was a “simple, run of the mill crook.” Clearly Prohibition has taken its toll on the corrupt official. In the end, however, Nucky changes his mind about the deal, and calls McCoy. Unfortunately, McCoy, in self-defense, butchered Tucker with a machete to the noggin, the camera slowly panning out for that final image to be ingrained in the viewer’s mind.

“Acres of Diamonds” moves the plot forward this season after two set up episodes, and is all the better for it. Harrow’s arc is finally heating up, and while big hitters like Capone, Van Alden, and the two-faced Agent Knox weren’t seen this week, we got some great material nonetheless. Gillian’s past is catching up to her, Nucky might be seeing himself in a tight spot after McCoy’s actions, and Eli’s little William stirred up some trouble at Temple. As this season gains more and more momentum, I see myself getting more and more excited for Sunday each week.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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