Boardwalk Empire: S4E9 “Marriage and Hunting”

9.2 Overall Score
Main Plot: 8/10
Sub Plots: 10/10
Anticipation: 10/10

Van Alden shows his true colors | Harrow joins forces with Nucky

“I used to believe in God. Now I don’t believe in anything.” As Van Alden uttered these words in Dean O’Banion’s face, a gun under his chin, I knew that everything the poor guy had been through culminated in those words. I know that Van Alden as of late has been written off as more of a less serious, humorous character that nothing goes right for. It’s been hard to take the guy seriously. Until now. This week on Boardwalk, Van Alden steps into the game for what feels like the first time, and man does he kick some ass.

Everybody who has watched Boardwalk Empire since season one knows that Van Alden was a time bomb of violence, as seen in the brutal “baptism” of his partner. But it wasn’t until this week’s episode, entitled “Marriage and Hunting,” that we get to see who this guy really is. And it turns out that he’s two different men, one cautious and soft spoken, one a cold blooded killer (and still soft spoken). His killing of the three businessmen that came to haunt him in his past was incredible to watch, as he kept warning them to stop beating them. “I am calm,” he says as he proceeds to cap all three of them in the head. He may not have killed O’Banion, but there is no doubt in my mind that he would have if given the chance, even if the Capone’s hadn’t put him up to it. He even impressed his nagging wife by throwing a thousand bucks in her face!

Boardwalk Empire - S4E9While Van Alden may have stolen the show, there was still some great stuff to be gleaned as we followed the aftermath of Chalky’s assault and Gillian and Roy’s…interesting relationship. Chalky wanting to move on Narcisse was obvious, as was Nucky’s instant caution. But what surprised me the most here was that Narcisse, a calm and collected man the beginning of this season, is really coming unhinged. He beat the crap out of Daughter when he found out he betrayed her, and even went as far as confronting and threatening Nucky in Chalky’s own club. I thought he was a smarter guy than that, but as his plans slowly unravel, so does he.

Relationships were a main theme this week, and other than Van Alden and his home life, we got to see Chalky try to get back into his daily home-life routine. His wife clearly resents him, and all of his children can tell that something is going on, but it isn’t until his daughter sees him in Daughter’s room that we see the toll his romping about is doing to his family. On the other side of the spectrum, we found out (after Gillian tells Roy about her raping and the death of “fake” Jimmy), that Roy is definitely not what he says he is. He was being all secretive on the phone, and when Gillian comes in he lies and pretends to be talking to someone else. Roy has been a wild card all season, but what he wants out of Gillian has yet to be seen.

Harrow and Julia decided to get hitched for Tommy’s sake. I love Harrow to death as a character, but nothing but trouble follows in his wake, so I really hope terrible things don’t happen to his new-found family. What split me the most was Harrow asking Nucky (who didn’t have much to do this week) for a job after the marriage is done with. On one hand I feel like he’s betraying Jimmy, since he knows Nucky killed him, but on the other I’m happy to see that he knows he can provide for his family working for a man as smart as Nucky. With wars currently brewing, Nucky will need his assistance, especially with the Chalky/Narcisse problem really rising. This was one of the best episodes this season, mostly in thanks to Van Alden, but Harrow and Chalky also had busy weeks. When everything that has been building up this season finally hits the fan, all I can hope is that the characters I love the most will survive.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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