Boardwalk Empire Plot Line Power Rankings: Week Three

Ranking the numerous plot lines in season four of Boardwalk Empire

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28007224_BETable-setting episodes on a show like Boardwalk Empire are a funny thing. You kind of don’t realize that what you’re watching is all that important until it’s over. When the episode is over, things start to click and you see that what you just watched isn’t just pointless meandering, but instead, the exact opposite. It’s the moving of chess pieces. Appropriate because Boardwalk Empire is becoming more and more like a very complicated game of chess. Everything is connected, everything has a purpose, everything matters.

Case in point: Nucky is sitting in the hotel lobby in Tampa, looking grumpy and tired as he usually does, when he starts eavesdropping on a nearby conversation involving a young real estate salesman and a sweaty John. Once the conversation ends, Nucky starts picking the young buck’s brain. Now to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what the hell was going on beyond the fact that Skeeter, the young buck in question, was borderline scamming dudes into buying swamp land. Then we all moved on. Just like that. I didn’t think anything more about the scene, but Nucky had. Nucky used the knowledge he got from Skeeter to pass on the deal he was down in Florida to consummate. That scene was essentially a microcosm of every season of Boardwalk Empire– little details that eventually become part of a bigger story.

Now, moving on.

Giddy Up America’s Boardwalk Empire Plot Line Power Rankings: Week Three

1. The One About Richard Harrow’s Mid-Western (And Occasionally Murderous) Odyssey

Halfway through “Acres of Diamonds,” I started to ask myself- would a show just about Richard Harrow be more interesting than Boardwalk Empire? For me, the early season MVP for the show has been Richard. He was always the heart of the show, but this season he’s become much more than that. He still barely talks and it’s not like he’s done all that much. There’s just something about him that is massively engrossing.

I am kind of happy/relived that he’s leaving the farm, though. As much as I’ve enjoyed his reconnecting with his sister and his roots, I was also wondering how it was going to connect with the rest of the show. As interesting as it all was, Boardwalk Empire is ultimately a show about Prohibition and the people and stories it created. The Harrow Farmstead in rural Wisconsin didn’t seem to factor into that and eventually was going to need to fall by the wayside. I mean, we’re already making stops in Harlem, Ohio, Tampa, New York City and of course, Atlantic City. At some point, the show needs to focus it’s scope. Adding more destinations and settings isn’t going to help that.

So where does Richard go now? Back to Atlantic City? What about Chicago? That was where he was at when Jimmy found him and brought him into the fold. Does he link up with Nucky? Does he even have the stomach to be the lethal and effective hired gun he was that would make him valuable to Nucky?

I honestly have no clue. But I can’t wait to find out.

2. The One About Chalky White & the Perils of Restaurant Management This Dr. Valentin Narcisse Fella

I think I could ask myself the same question about Chalky White that I asked about Richard- would a show about Chalky be more interesting than Boardwalk Empire?

I should stop asking myself that question.

Things look a little sketchy for Chalky these days and that’s due in large part to Dr. Narcisse, who doesn’t seem to be much a fan of Mr. White. He’s effin’ with Chalky in a straight up text book manner with step number 1 going into action this week…

How to Straight Up Eff With Someone in a Text Book Manner, Step 1: Turn homeboy’s number two against him.

Yup. Step 1 is in motion with the recently disgruntled Purnsley listening to Dr. Narcisse’s pandering and tempting offer to sling some dope for him.

Yeah, so Purnsley, the fact that you’re all pissy at Chalky in the first place is some serious mis-placed anger. You killed a dude who had friends (i.e. Dr. Narcisse) and that dude’s friends needed a little somethin’ somethin’ to recoup their losses. Now Purnsley, did you recoup said losses? No. Chalky did. He made Dr. Narcisse a partner in exchange for you not being killed. So instead of feeling all insulted and degraded by doing things like setting tables and getting bottles of bubbly out, Purnsley, you should take the advice of Ms. Amy Poehler:

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But of course, he’s not going to take the lovely & talented Amy Poehler’s advice and as a result, things are going to get a little tough for Chalky this season. But hey, at least it looks like he’ll have some company. So it’s not all bad.

3. The One About Nucky Thompson and You Know, Whatever That Entails This Week

We learned a couple things during Nucky’s trip down to Tampa this week.

1.) Toy alligators make great gifts for an estranged son who isn’t really your son.

2.) Our good friend, McCoy, who has been around since the very first episode and has essentially served as the head of Nucky’s Navy the whole time, has recently spent some time in the clink.

3.) He enjoys chopping coconuts, but has yet to learn the perils of getting Girl Drink Drunk.

One thing we didn’t learn, even though it was said, but we’ve totally known it for a while now? Our buddy Nucky isn’t a happy camper. He misses the good old days, when he was just a corrupt politician. Being a ruthless gangster just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

What does this mean?

Get Nucky around a blonde bartender and he says more interesting things than he does more than almost anytime this season.

4. The One About Eli’s Son Possibly Becoming the Next Jimmy

Giggle juice?

Of all the changes that have been made in America over the last few decades, the dropping of giggle juice from the list of phrases we use has to be in the top five.

As for Eli’s son? He might not become the next Jimmy, but he’s definitely a candidate for The Character Who Does Something Really Stupid This Season.

5. The One About Gillian Losing Her Way and the Dude from Office Space


Nope. Someone’s just been shooting up heroin in the bathroom all night. Totally different.

6. The Ones About Everyone Else (i.e. Van Alden, Capone, Agent Knox)

Off this week. But it looks like things start to heat up next week.

Photos: HBO

 

 

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