Boardwalk Empire: Erlkönig – April Fools


This week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire was one of the most stand-alone worthy episodes of the season so far. The entry included some significant moments to push the some relationships and plot points forward, including the death of Frank Capone, a death scene that was reminiscent of the famous Bonnie & Clyde montage (Poor Frank got shot by a lot of bullets). The scene was built up very well and even though it was more than obviously coming, was what I felt to be the most effective section of this week’s rather focused structure.

Boardwalk Empire

The Van Alden storyline is quickly becoming the most interesting, competing with Dr. Narcisse (who did not make an appearance this week) and his nationalistic agenda. Michael Shannon’s character appears to be on his own miniature version of a Breaking Bad type story, with Al Capone finally earning Van Alden as a true ally (even though Van Alden thought seriously about killing Al and had more than an ample opportunity to do so), as the death of Frank forces Van Alden to perhaps discover a different perspective of his situation and the situation of a criminal.

Van Alden is a character who has never seemed to be swayed into thinking anything positive about bootleggers and has been a person who has kept his head down, living in fear since he committed the baptism murder. This episode seems to have him finally turning the corner as his older ways fail miserably and eventually lead to the death of big brother Capone.

Boardwalk Empire
Van Alden on the other side of the bars. Perhaps he’s not quite as trapped as he has felt since he started running.

While Frank was certainly the most dramatic death (at least in this writer’s mind), he was certainly not the only important life ended in the program, as Eddie finally ended his run on the Boardwalk via suicide. This was almost less shocking than the historically accurate death of Frank Capone. The Eddie storyline was something that was never going to end well, and when he gave some information to the feds, the typically reliable and loyal Eddie just couldn’t handle the guilt.

But it wasn’t only guilt that persuaded Eddie to end his own life. It was a combination of his realization that he had failed his family, as well as his realization that he was no more than a tool for whichever purpose Nucky Thompson sees fit. After the promotion, Eddie tried to convince himself that he was an important cog in Nucky’s operation, but after Nucky showed his mismatched socks, implying that Eddie was more suited to his old work as a chauffeur, Mr. Kessler jumped out the window, after leaving everything else in order.

Boardwalk Empire

While Nucky did lose one tool, it also appears he may have gained another in his nephew Willie. After causing another college student’s death in the previous episode, Willie was in custody of the police and called his uncle to get him out of trouble. This section serves as another reminder to the audience just how effective Nucky Thompson remains in his ability to get what he wants, and at the same time may reveal a possible heir to Nucky’s throne in young Willie (although I seriously doubt it. It will probably end tragically).

The focused nature of this particular episode was quite good, as the show really displayed what it could do with the opportunity to spend more time on certain characters. That being said, it’s still very difficult to judge a show that seemingly deserts characters for multiple episodes at a time. Game of Thrones is a television show that does wonders balancing the insane amount of characters. I believe Boardwalk Empire is still on track to accomplishing the same, but it’s not quite there yet.

Before I leave:

* Gillian Dormady’s role is perhaps becoming more defined. It appears she may perhaps play an important role, as she is Dunn Purnsley’s newest Heroin customer.

* That agent Knox is mean!

* I feel this show really gets intertwining the fictional and historical right. The Frank Capone death scene was captivating. Showing that moment from Van Alden’s perspective worked extremely well.

* That agent Knox is mean!

* We’re almost halfway through the season and there’s still no Margaret Thompson. I haven’t seen or heard anything about Kelly Macdonald being off the show, but it’s getting to the point where it would be weird to add a character like her back to the show. If she does come back I’m hoping it’s near the end of the season as a reveal of sorts.

* That agent Knox is mean!

Boardwalk Empire

That’s all I’ve got for this week.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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I'm Kevin Licht, a graduate from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor emphasis in Film Studies. When I'm not working I watch and write

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  1. This episode was very cool but didn’t like the ending of Kessler, I loved that character and the performance of the actor.

    • Kevin Licht

      I would have rather had him stay the chauffeur than be brought into this odd story arc. It feels like he was the only one left with whom Nucky had any real personal interactions.

  2. Frederic

    NYC and ChiTown are MUCH more interesting than Ickabod Crane and his shenanigans. Once Jimmy died, no use really for AC, a few good parts, but mostly Teddy seeing things, Margarets “I just farted” face of worry of the “cheeldren”, and half the show is supposed to be how Nucky incorporates gangster into politics, but last I checked he doesnt hold ANY office seat.

  3. Lorriane Alexis

    Roy isn’t who he says he is and Gillian is not thinking clearly enough to notice the signs. When Roy said to her “I know all about sin” I wondered if he was a Christian zealot out to save her soul. I’m hoping so and that it’s also the case with the couple, who are most likely Roger’s parents. Fundamentalist Christians believe in being “born again” when you confess your sins. That’s her best chance at this point and I think she’d do very well preaching at a revival meeting. In any case, I’d hate to see her character killed off.

    • Kevin Licht

      While I would love to see Ron Livingston become something more, I fear he may actually become just another casualty in the tragedy that is Gillian.

  4. Hugh Nelson

    I really loved Eddie, going to miss that character, I really loved how Anthony Laciura played him, I think he and Buscemi had great chemistry together. I hope Knox gets messed up.

  5. Nicholas Devin

    I am a huge fan of Boardwalk Empire, and I have found the pacing for this season to be very slow compared to other seasons. After this episode I reckon the series will start to pick up. Losing Eddie was actually more emotional than I thought it would be after the characterisation they did with him in this particular series.

  6. Lachlan Vass

    This show legit just keeps getting better and better

  7. “Game of Thrones is a television show that does wonders balancing the insane amount of characters. I believe Boardwalk Empire is still on track to accomplishing the same, but it’s not quite there yet.”

    This is instructive to writing in general: keep your thoughts straight and as simple as necessity permits and requires. And ultimately, be your own man when writing.

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