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Boardwalk Empire



Episode 7 - Home

6 March 2012

Richard Harrow (Credit HBO)

I'm always very pleased when a show answers a criticism I have of it directly. I complained early on that I wasn't convinced by the trauma which Jimmy was carrying from his time in the trenches. So here we get an episode focussed entirely on psychological scars and Jimmy's nightmarish time in France became far clearer. The whole episode had an easy to follow theme as Nucky too showed his scars, physical and psychological, from the way his mean father brought him up.

In Nucky's case this back-story gives us a double understanding of his behaviour. We know that he lost his wife and the chance to have children but adding in his own frightening childhood and we can see clearly why he would desire a loving home to go to. But we can also see why he is such a ruthless politician. He learnt at an early age how to lie and work around his father and his desire to prove him wrong is clearly what motivates his ambitions. His father still bitterly yells that Nucky is worthless and though his life's achievements seem to prove that wrong Nucky still burns down his father's home, determined to wipe away as many of those memories as he can.

Meanwhile Jimmy too describes for us some of the horror he saw in France. He has no Margaret to confide in after leaving Angela and losing Pearl so he confesses to the man who scarred Pearl. Then he kills him. He has now taken revenge on all the men responsible for hurting her and though he may feel better for now, back in Atlantic City the FBI are getting closer to catching up to him.

I've come to like Boardwalk Empire more and more as it goes on. The tension is building for big confrontations in the future. But in the meantime I like the way the stories are being put together. They are pretty straightforward so far and that has made what could be a complex story easy to follow. There was nothing subtle about the choice of wound which Richard Harrow was carrying. Nothing could demonstrate the horrible consequences of war more clearly than a man with half his face missing. Jimmy's care and affection for someone who fared far worse than he did was matched by Nucky handing over a house to one of his employees for free. I think the show is doing its best to demonstrate the morality of the age in a way which modern eyes can relate to. 



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