Monday, September 16, 2013

Boardwalk Empire Season 4: Resignation

My father, Luis Rosen, was a bootlegger during the Prohibition. He was murdered in a turf war by the Jewish mob in November 1924. In last week’s episode, when the screen flashed, February 1924, I couldn’t help but remember the newspaper articles recounting the cold-blooded murder of my father and uncle. What are these mad men willing to do for power? Apparently the Boardwalk Empire characters are eager to pay the price for a piece of the pie.

In the beginning of Sunday night’s episode, Detective Van Alden, a.k.a. Mueller, is willing to crack some skulls to buy his wife a new davenport—a far cry from where he was in Season One. He is O’Bannon’s muscle during the day and Capone’s “political pressure” during the evenings. How quickly Van Alden has gone from praying and preaching the gospel of sobriety to defending a group of booze swilling sociopaths. At the democratic rally, we watch Van Alden embrace his new power when letting out a roar of strength before he bats another Democrat over the head at Capone’s request—making sure these citizens spread the word “…voting Democrat is bad for your health.”

Our next shocker for a plunge at power is Eddie. Last season he took a bullet in the leg to protect his beloved boss, Nucky, and he is ready for his promotion. Eddie has proved to be Nucky’s right-hand man in business and hygiene, and he “resigned” in order to get Nucky’s attention. Fortunately for Eddie, Nucky didn’t call his bluff. Will Eddie be successful in his new powers or will he finally fail Nucky?

BE’s third swing for power is the new character Dr. Narcisse. The New York businessman strolls into the Onyx with Cora, sharing his knowledge of God’s word and his own personal beliefs—“ a thing mixed is a thing weakened”. Narcisse suspends all black entertainment acts at the Onyx to muscle Nucky and Chalky into 10% of Onyx’s income, using Cora’s testimony of Dunn “raping” her as leverage.  He also plants the beginnings of a wedge between Nucky and Chalky—pointing out that a relationship between a black and white man can only be based on the white man’s need to use the black man to gain power. I have a feeling with the build of race relations and the introduction to Dr. Narcisse, an equivalent to a black supremacist, we are going to see the two communities clash, but who will win the struggle according to history?

Speaking of history, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, has made his appearance this season. He is in Atlantic City and ready to infiltrate the northeast crime ring through the US Attorney General. It looks like Nucky is on the government’s radar yet again. Is his stronghold in DC worth being in Hoover’s  spotlight?

Read more by novelist and Huff Post blogger Babette Hughes. 

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