There are just five episodes left in season one of HBO's intriguing new period piece Boardwalk Empire. We've seen four of those eps, so we're previewing what's to come for Kelly Macdonald's rock-star character Mrs. Schroeder and the other notorious denizens of Prohibition-era Atlantic City, N.J.
Step right up and get your Boardwalk Empire teases!
1. We'll Learn Why Mr. Thompson Courts Mrs. Schroeder: Over time, we'll learn why it is that Nucky (Steve Buscemi) chose the unlikely and seemingly saintly Mrs. Schroeder to be his new companion. He does want something from her, other than her body (obviously) or the sheer joy of her compassionate companionship, and what he wants is surprising and opens many doors in season two.
2. Darmody's Old Lady Is a Drag: Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) is no angel, but he's a great father, a pretty devoted husband, a dogged provider and, hell, a war veteran. It would be unfair to say that his lady should be grateful to have him and that she should just shut up and be satisfied with her lot in life—hey, gurl, we all need to follow our bliss—but...Argh! Aleksa Palladino's Angela Darmody is a tiresome, whiny woman who dabbles in both art and adultery and becomes increasingly unlikable as the weeks pass. By the time we get to the penultimate episode of the season, we learn that there's more to her story than mere Betty Draper-esque housewifely despair—and that, at least, is gratifying—but in the meantime we couldn't help but be annoyed that a raw, pragmatic and oh yeah, hot, American striver as Jimmy is bound to such a limp, simpering baby mama.
3. Examples Are Made of Bad Men: We take great delight in retributive violence against deserving souls (when done properly in the harmless confines of a movie or TV show) and there is plenty to rejoice about on that front in the coming episodes. Let's just say that Nucky repeatedly gives his enforcers something to do. There's an assassination attempt, and then a fabulous Atlantic City revenge spree, in which a motley crew of good guys ally to kill bad guys in an array of colorful ways. (Plus, a certain tightly wound federal agent with an anger-management problem leans a bit too heavily on one of his enemies.)
4. They Did It All for the Nucky: What's a period piece without some fun historical references? In addition to some geographic name-dropping that will delight Monopoly fans—characters speak of the great living in "Marven Gardens" and the townhomes on "Ventnor Avenue"—the show introduces the original Monica Lewinsky of presidential politics. Nan Britton, who is infamous for being 29th President Warren G. Harding's mistress, comes to Atlantic City, where she is befriended by fellow mistress Margaret.
5. You Will Learn to Love with a Man Missing His Face: Jack Huston's Richard Harrow, the sharpshooting war veteran who has a dark cavern where half his face should be, returns in episode 10 and is featured prominently in both that episode and the next. Harrow builds relationships with Nucky and Mrs. Schroeder, while continuing to collaborate with Jimmy on the necessary-evil skull-crushing side of the Prohibition-era hooch business. His gravelly voice, his chilling killer instincts, his ceramic half-dollface and his broken heart make for a mesmerizing and strangely lovable character. Hear this, producers: If Richard Harrow is not made a series regular for season two of Boardwalk Empire, we will be very, very cross.
Now, are you guys digging Boardwalk Empire? What are your favorite (and least favorite) storylines and characters? What else do you want to know about this show? Hit the comments, and be sure to tune in when the next episode of Boardwalk Empire airs on HBO Sunday night at 10 p.m.