On September 25, the Prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire returns for a second season, and from the looks of the premiere, the show has lost none of its luster. The powerful writing, acting, and direction that made it a breakout hit are still very much in evidence as it begins a new season of criminal mayhem.
We’ve gotten to know the series' characters well: Nucky (Steve Buscemi), the ruthless gangster king with a heart; Jimmy (Michael Pitt), his former protege, still haunted by his years in the war; the rags to riches Margaret (Kelly MacDonald), Nucky’s mistress; and Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), the FBI agent plagued by perversions he struggles to repress. There are many other compelling characters in the show's expansive cast. We will get to know each of them better as the season continues.
Not fond of spoilers? You might want to turn the virtual page, but if you’d like a taste of how season two begins, read on.
The Klu Klux Klan forces its hand, causing big problems for Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Nucky. This puts Nucky’s loyalty and friendship with White and his people to the test. Margaret has settled into Nucky’s home nicely, and is comfortable being the woman of the house, but her semi-idyllic existence is threatened when her son, Teddy, gets in trouble at school. She visits the teacher to straighten things out and has Nucky speak with the boy to offer some fatherly discipline. Not being the fatherly type, Nucky’s discipline is pretty tepid, which belies his ruthlessness and shows him in a much different light.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is being seduced by a faction that is not exactly sympathetic to Nucky’s ways of doing business. From the looks of it, Jimmy is heading down an even darker path than the one he walked while working with Nucky. FBI agent Van Alden, that warped, perverted lawman, takes his puritanical wife out on their monthly jaunt around town. When she leaves to go home (the missus refuses to live in the sin-filled resort town of Atlantic City), Nelson returns to the life he leads the rest of the time, and as revelations go, this one's a shocker. In fact the entire final quarter of the episode has its share of big surprises.
Boardwalk Empire roars rather than tiptoes into its second season on September 25 on HBO, and will definitely not disappoint. Tune in.