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Boardwalk Empire starts off with a bang

 

Courtesy of HBO

SPOILER ALERT

Like a dose of heroin, the second you get a taste of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ all you want is more. For me it was more that I couldn’t get enough of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson. The smooth talking, well respected mobster playing politician Nucky, played by Steve Buscemi, steals the show. Nucky has a skill for being who the public wants him to be and keeping his secret agenda out of their eye.

The season premier starts us off in Atlantic City in the 1920’s on the last evening before prohibition goes into effect. Nucky Thompson is introduced as he is giving a compelling speech to a group of women, whom it is clear are full fledged supporters of both prohibition and of Nucky himself. A couple tears are shed throughout the audience as Nucky recounts his own childhood struggles coping with his alcoholic father. He leaves the stage to a thunder of applause and steps outside to take a swig from his flask.

Jimmy Darmody, played by Michael Pitt, is a longtime friend of Nucky. Having put in enough time to work for Nucky. The short fused, quick-tempered Darmody is too much of a liability for Nucky and he doesn’t offer a job up.

The second that prohibition becomes real and the country goes dry, Nucky gets to work on keeping Atlantic City wet as water. Realizing that people are going to pay whatever they have to for a drink, Nucky takes full advantage. We are introduced to a group of characters that come to Nucky in order to get into the bootlegging business and take it across the country.

An awesome aspect of the show is that we get to see famous gangsters Al Capone and “Lucky” Luciano rise to power. They are introduced in this episode as two kids, early twenties, who know Nucky is the man to talk to and come to him in order to get into the alcohol business. They waste no time getting to the point and make it clear they mean business. Words are exchanged and they settle on a deal.

As Nucky’s crew is driving back with a truck full of alcohol they come to an ambush in the road. Three masked men wielding shotguns overtake the group and in a moment of confusion open fire. Every one of Nucky’s men is killed in the bloody onslaught and the masked men make away with the trucks full of alcohol.

Jimmy Darmody turns out to be one of the robbers and pays Nucky his share regardless. Nucky, furious and confused at Darmody, accepts the money anyway. He cleans up the remaining situation Darmody created with a couple of bullets and everything seems to be running smooth again.

This show is seriously hot. Martin Scorsese produced another gem here. If you haven’t watched this show yet you should ask yourself, what am I waiting for?

‘Boardwalk Empire’ is on Sunday nights at 9 on HBO.

Josh Steinberg can be reached at jssteinb@student.umass.edu.

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