Boardwalk Empire: S4E4 “All In”

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

Van Alden and the Capone brothers | Lansky partnering with Nucky

No Harrow!

There’s sometimes a feeling you get when watching Boardwalk Empire that something is going to go terribly, terribly wrong. It’s a common trend really. The characters of Boardwalk just can’t have a good day, so when things start to look up for them, you just know deep down it won’t end well. Watching the latest episode, “All In,” I had that sinking feeling throughout the entire episode. That being said, despite Harrow’s story taking a break this week, “All In” is a great episode that sees major characters coming together, and minors ones stepping up.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to see this week was Rothstein finally losing his marbles. Rothstein has been a prevalent force in the show, a man who hardly slips. But to see him at the poker table against Nucky, losing, was just uncanny. Rothstein played poker all night, never winning, until Lansky finally got him to stop. Nucky even makes note of it later, saying “I can’t rely on a man so blinded by his obsession with winning.” Also, Lansky swooping in on the Tampa deal without Rothstein’s knowledge was smooth, and his later beating of the obnoxious poker player who bagged on Rothstein showed us that he wasn’t just cunning, he was vicious.

Boardwalk Empire - S4E4 PromoBut the poker game wasn’t the only thing to go wrong this week. Eddie had an awesome night on the town, singing German drunkenly at the bar, all the while accompanied by Ralph Capone. It was cool to see a Capone brother in Atlantic City, and his transactions with Eddie were amusing, and it was good to see Eddie finally enjoying himself. Unfortunately, not all ended well for the poor guy. Agent Knox revealed to Hoover that there was a chain of organized crime in the northeast, and to break it, that he’d find Nucky’s weakest link. Eddie was that chink in the chain, and his was taken away from the train station by Knox and another agent. William’s revenge also took a morbid turn, as college pranks tend to in movies and television. But instead of the bully finding out Will spiked his drink, the brute violently died in the bathroom that night. Looks like Will might not be staying at Temple much longer.

But my favorite arc of the episode had to be Van Alden teaming up with Al and Frank Capone. Other than the hilarious part where Van Alden held the wheel of the car while Al did coke, we also got to see a guy thrown out of a window and one of Van Alden’s co-workers mowed down by a tommy gun. How awesome was that shot of Capone lighting the guy up with a hand in his pocket and a smile on his face? So it seems that the mysterious Dr. Narcisse isn’t planning to cause trouble for Nucky, but for Chalky. His recruitment of Dunn is still a bit hazy in terms of what he’ll get out of it, since Dunn isn’t exactly the most discreet of men, but listening to Narcisse talk about “duppies” is stunning and a bit scary. He seems like a calm and collected man, but I for one would not want to be near that dude when he’s pissed at me.

Overall, “All In” follows the pattern of strong storytelling like “Acres of Diamonds.” It’s a wildly entertaining episode, especially due to the chemistry between Van Alden and the Capone brothers. It has yet to be seen where William will end up after his prank kills another student, but I can see him trying to get into the… “family business.” Lansky’s new partnership with Nucky could be the beginning of Rothstein’s downfall, but it seems like Nucky has found a worthy new partner in the process. Next week couldn’t come soon enough.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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