"Boardwalk Empire" – Episode 3, “Broadway Limited”

10/05/2010 Posted by Admin

"Boardwalk Empire" – Episode 3, “Broadway Limited”

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

The problem with Sunday’s episode of "Empire" was not that things were particularly boring, but rather just uneventful. Most of the action of episode one was replaced with people talking about that action, telling the audience information they already knew. Episode three tries to distance itself from recap, but it still manages to rely heavily on dialogue – this time without the suspense.

As we’ve seen in the past two weeks, Jimmy’s truck heist might have been the stupidest move of the since prohibition – which, considering the time frame of the show, makes 1920 a fairly stupid year.  The consequences of it continue to pile on. The loan survivor, who appeared at the end of last week’s episode, struggles to survive and both the feds and Nucky’s cops want a piece of him, and boy do they. It begins with a lengthy pillow attack from Nucky’s brother, Sheriff Eli Thompson (Shea Whigham), and is followed by the spleen touching by Prohibition Officer Nelson.

Straight shooter Nelson gets the information he needs and the witness fingers Jimmy as his assailant. But Nelson isn’t the only one on Darmondy now--the ruthless Arnold Rothstein also learns of his involvement. Now, with Jimmy’s lifespan suddenly dropping to a week at best, it makes him a great risk to Nucky, especially as he tries to rebuild his ruined bootlegging racket, so he tells him to leave Atlantic City.

For all the threats and lingering danger, this episode was fairly uneventful. Aside from the Jimmy problems, which were mostly set-up, the other reoccurring characters don’t do much. Sure, Nelson puts his fist inside a dying man’s stomach, but Margret being humiliated at her new job isn’t exactly riveting television. None of it ever feels particularly important in the same way that the last two weeks have.

Structurally, the episode follows the same rising action as the first--exposition followed by graphic violence.  However, it doesn’t have the same punch here. The lack of new causes and effects is growing tired. We’re still dealing with the events of the first episode, and while this is obviously the most important plot point thus far, the show needs another major event from which to work. The ripple is growing fainter each week, and while a new splash is imminent, it needs to come soon.

Grade: B-

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