The third season of Boardwalk Empire has come to an end. Having just watched the explosive finale my mind is filled with words beginning with R to describe the season as a whole. It was a season of revenge, redemption, reconciliation, rehabilitation and ruthlessness. These might sound like the subtitles to a bunch of bad B-movies, but thankfully this year Boardwalk Empire has been of the highest quality, just like always.
Much like all television shows that have hour long episodes rather than forty minute ones, it is definitely a big time investment. But investments often bring big rewards, and fans of the show are indeed rewarded with superbly written story lines and characters, backed up by largely excellent acting. Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson shows us once again why he won the Golden Globe for best TV actor in 2011 as well as being nominated for the same award this year. He is joined by favourites from the previous seasons, Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein, Stephen Graham as Al Capone and Michael Shannon as Nelson van Alden to name but a few. Of course, Michael Kenneth Williams returns as Chalky White, and even though he plays the same character in pretty much everything he is involved in, he is still one of my favourite actors. (He even played an ex-convict in comedy show Community for goodness sake)
Although it was one of the new characters that became my favourite this season. Bobby Canavale brings Gyp Rosetti to life as an utter sociopath, whose mood can turn on a penny. A large proportion of the deaths throughout the season are down to him, and yet his idiosyncrasies are so funny that you can’t help but root for him at times. He replaced my previous favourite, Richard Harrow, the ruthless war sniper with only half a face but a big conscience played by Jack Huston. Richard rises to a bigger role in this season too though, and we also see the body count rise thanks to him, particularly in the later episodes.
The writers prove once again that they are not afraid to kill off major characters in the show. At the end of season two we saw Jimmy, pretty much the secondary main character after Thompson, being shot through the head by Nucky himself. This season we see yet another main character meet a particularly grisly end, and in doing so, spark off a full on gangster war in the later episodes. The entire season built to that moment, and it was certainly a relief to see it all unfold, as Boardwalk Empire is often said to be lacking in substance when it comes to… stuff happening.
Nothing could happen for ten episodes and I would still enjoy it though, I’m just in love with the time period. If everyone dressed in three piece suits and hats still today I wouldn’t complain. Prohibition, extreme racism and sexism, and outright war on the streets of Atlantic City wouldn’t be quite so desirable though…