Boardwalk Empire: Letting Go

**This article will discuss details of the 11/17/2013 episode of Boardwalk Empire. There will be spoilers**

Boardwalk Empire is full of characters who you can trust to be untrustworthy. Because of this, whenever we are presented with a character who does not appear to have an obviously nefarious or hidden agenda, we start looking for it. Sometimes we are right.

Even before we overheard a suspicious phone conversation a couple of episodes ago, we really didn’t feel like we could trust Piggly Wiggly man Roy Phillips. With the life she has led, Gillian has little reason to trust anyone. But that’s exactly where she found herself.
She trusted him enough to share most of her past with him. She trusted him enough to allow him to help her kick her heroin addiction. She hoped on a future with him. Hoped to a point that she let loose of her grasp on all of the things which she had been clinging to. She agreed to sell the Commodore’s house for a song. She appeared to give up her custody battle for Tommy. And it was all with the inner promise of Roy.

So when she breaks down and admits to her murder of that young man from Indiana, we all sense that it is a mistake, and we pity her terrible need. We’ve suspected for sometime that Roy was up to no good. Even guessed that he may be working for the doomed Roger’s family. But when he drops that very bomb on Gillian, the force of the devastation still hits hard. He would not be marrying her. He would not be taking her away from her troubles. Instead, he is her troubles come home to roost. Her salvation is her destruction.

Gretchen Moll’s continued fine performance sells the moment fantastically. Even with the almost unbelievably convenient presence of Roy’s co-conspirators, his revelation as a private detective sent to find the cause of Roger’s disappearance is shattering. It is a long, long con he has perpetrated.

But these are not the only characters weighing their options when it comes to their perpetual states. Chalky is on the run from an attempt on his life that he thinks was okayed by Nucky. He has Daughter Maitland in tow and is well on the way to simply cutting ties and hitting the road with her. This means leaving Atlantic City and the Onyx and his family. Is it really such a surprise that the moment he commits to this course of action she goes missing and Doctor Narcisse’s men show up in his hiding place to finish him off? As a story point it definitely is not. But I am reluctant to pin her for their presence. We’ll find out next week, most likely.

The final scene of the episode reveals another of our cast getting weary of the wheel he finds himself on. At a family dinner, Nucky deduces the source of the bad smell Gaston Means has alerted him to. It is his brother Eli and agent Knox. So he calls Sally Wheet in Tampa and tells her. He wants out.
Gillian is under arrest and maybe out of the picture because of it. Chalky is free to reclaim what he almost let go of. Nucky may not want what he always thought was his necessity and is looking for an escape hatch. Eli, meanwhile, sees himself as trapped when a simple act could possibly free him.


Next week will bring us into early 1925, and some will ring in the New Year by being relieved of their burdens.

Posted on November 17, 2013, in Boardwalk Empire, TV. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Danielle Charney

    OY God- and as much of a monster as Mol has been- I never wanted her demise- she was “Blance Du Bois” – women must never trust in the kindness of strangers- I never trusted him- ever- too nice- too smooth- I’ve been long conned in life- his character stank of it-
    and Chalky- love him – don’t want to see him go down- not ever- the only delight for me is the appearance of Patricia Arquette who I love- lets face it -ANY Arquette is always great to see coming but I like her the most- god she is so good- thanks for the review- very tight and right on- this season has been hard to hook me until Patricia appeared- while I love Ron Livingston and Mol- always have- I knew he had come to do her in and I couldn’t stand to watch it- she was just too pushed too hard- for too long and in her time and life- she survived – her one time she let her guard down and thought kindness was true- it’s really her undoing- dirty stuff- it’s a mad world

    • It was heart rending to see her get destroyed like that. Damn you, Gretchen Moll, the show finally gave me what I wanted and I hated watching it because you are great.

      Arquette is wonderful also. Her scenes with Buscemi midway through the season were some of the most beautifully written and performed the show has ever had. I loved the noir styled dialogue included there.

      Thanks for reading, DC!

      • Danielle Charney

        Interestingly- as wretched as Mol was- I never wanted her demise- I just wanted her to calm down and stop it- and I love her as an actress – what a magnificent monster she created- also love Livingston- there is one fine actor who doesn’t work nearly enough- but I knew exactly who his character was the minute he appeared- and Arquette- my god what can you say- she is so good- and the scenes with him were the best- love the noir too- but I love noir more than anything -the way she batted him around with just a few words and a look- genius- a whole other side of him was allowed to show- yes- very fine stuff- indeed- but I can always see it coming- comes from writing and doing too much re-write and script doctoring- it’s always obvious -even from one camera angle or a look- even lighting- but still fun- thanks for the post – i do miss Bobby Cannavale- what a joy he was – even briefly- and Van Alden- OY

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