The Season 3 premiere of the brilliant "Boardwalk Empire" was intriguing, and it set a solid tone for the upcoming events. During a gorgeous, over-the-top New Year's Eve party complete with Pharaoh, Cleopatra, and a treasure chest filled with lavish jewelry for the guests, Nucky declared 1923 to be a "new year, new rules."
The latest incarnation of Mr. Thompson, cold-hearted killer, has emerged. Within the first minutes, there is an unsettling scene with a thief who thinks he's been forgiven and released for his crime, but without remorse, Nucky tells his goon to put a bullet in the guy, then, casually strolls out the door.
Nucky had the same kind of ruthless, non-apologetic glare on his face the night he killed Jimmy. If there is any sign of redemption, it's not yet apparent, but Jimmy Darmody's prophetic words echo throughout the episode: "You can't be half a gangster."
Gyp Rosetti -- a chilling thing of beauty
The most deliciously wonderful thing about the premiere can be summed up in two words - Bobby Cannavale. His performance as Gyp Rosetti was a chilling thing of beauty -- a perfect blend of hate, humor, fear, and charisma. You are appalled by Rosetti but can't take your eyes off him.
We are first introduced to the character in a disturbing encounter between Rosetti, sleazy henchmen, a Good Samaritan, and his beloved dog. Let's just say that after two minutes with Gyp Rosetti, the "Samaritan" won't be performing any more noble deeds -- permanently.
In a dark but amusing exchange with the man who will become his arch enemy, Rosetti called Nucky "a bread stick with a bow tie," and he insulted his "pasty face." It was a welcome bit of levity to counteract all the darkness that surrounds these two men.
Trouble in wedded paradise
As the marriage of Nucky and Margaret hits the rocks, Mrs. T shows more signs of liberation.
While on a tour of the Enoch and Margaret Thompson Pediatric Annex at St. Theresa's, Margaret is shocked to see a bleeding woman collapse. When she finds out that the lady suffered a miscarriage due to the lack of prenatal care at the hospital, she boldly confronts a doctor about this issue, much to the disgust of the annoyed physician and an even more irritated Nucky.
In a brief scene between the unhappy couple, Margaret tells Nucky, "You come and go as you please, and I do all that's required of me." With that cue, ol' Nuckster took off for a steamy bedroom romp with his topless lady love, Billie Kent.
More mobster drama
Chicago is the setting for a reintroduction to Nelson Van Alden, who is now living under the assumed name of George Mueller, a door-to-door iron salesman. With zero sales under his belt, Mueller's luck changes when he accidentally walks in on a near bloodbath between Al Capone and rival thug O'Banion. In return for inadvertently saving his behind from a Capone ambush, O'Banion rewards Mueller by purchasing two dozen irons.
Meanwhile, Richard Harrow pays a visit to Manny Horvitz' house, and suddenly, "POW," it's curtain time for Mr. Horvitz and the poor getaway driver parked outside.
Bring on the Emmys
Overall, the "Boardwalk Empire" Season 3 premiere was another triumph for its authenticity and acting, with Bobby Cannavale stealing the spotlight and giving this already first-rate show another stellar performer and possible future Emmy winner.
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- Bobby Cannavale