"Boardwalk Empire" – Episode 6 “Family Limitation” Television Review

10/29/2010 Posted by Admin

"Boardwalk Empire" – Episode 6 “Family Limitation”

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

The building exposition of the season’s talkative early episodes led to some great pay off in the sixth episode of "Boardwalk Empire," particularly for the three leads. Following weeks of alienation, Jimmy finally became a character worth following as Margaret shows signs of weakness and regret. It’s an episode filled with development and action, and it has scenes that stack up against the season’s best moments.

After last week’s game-changing kiss between Margaret and Nucky, things got started off quickly with the complications of their domesticity. She moves into the house Nucky bought her, but loses to his business dealings. Nucky does try to make her a bigger part of his life and even invites her to see Houdini’s just-as-good-brother perform.

As Margaret pointed out a few weeks ago, old habits don’t just die hard--in fact, sometimes they don’t die at all, and Nucky’s a prime example. He shows off his good intentions but his indulgences frequently best him. Margaret does her best to understand Nucky’s promiscuity, but represses this knowledge in trying to focus on the benefits.

Kelly MacDonald is quickly becoming this show’s ace in the hole. She plays Schroeder with equal parts sympathy and strength, but her inability to come to terms with moral ambiguities and the price of a better life allows room for some naïveté. MacDonald never fully let’s this out, however--she remains as intelligent and sincere as ever, which makes her verbal lashing on the highly sexualized but hopelessly insecure Lucy all the more satisfying. She’s not so unaware to the goings on surrounding her, but when Nucky’s “business” catches up with her by episode’s end, it is downright heartbreaking.

Michael Pitt is also showing some growth this week. When Jimmy left three weeks ago, his role in the show was in constant flux. Completely removed from the Boardwalk Empire, his rise in Chicago seemed like irrelevant filler. He does nothing for Nucky’s business and his new romance so soon after leaving his wife and child made the character almost unlikable.

Pearl’s death changed that. Jimmy’s an entirely different character now--more focused and reserved, he appears damaged and motivated. This gives him cause to push his role in Chicago forward, convincing his boss to take a different route with the Greek town deals. It results in one of this season’s most surprising moments and, finally, gives us a reason to bother with Jimmy at all.

Throughout all this, there is Nucky. Seated well atop Atlantic City, his duplicity was never more apparent than in this episode. He wonderfully balances his gangsterish duties with his somewhat regretful romance with Margaret, but still requires a distinct, “manly” knock when he needs to switch roles. Nucky remains the heart of the show. As the line in the sand in drawn between honest business and illegal dealings, he is the center of the boardwalk, which will undoubtedly further dissipate the honest ways of the widow Schroeder.

Grade: A

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