'Boardwalk Empire' react: Nucky takes it easy, but everyone else picks up the pace

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Image Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

In season 3 of Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson dueled with Bobby Cannavale’s Gyp Rosetti and, as he tends to do, came out on top. Rosetti’s exit was a win for Nucky but a loss for us, as Cannavale was one of the liveliest aspects of the sometimes-musty show.

So how will the new season keep things exciting? Pretty easily, it turns out, despite an early plea for peace. The show fast forwards to early 1924, and Nucky’s meeting with Joe Masseria and Arnold Rothstein culminates in a truce, seeming to end the violence for at least a little while as he lays low at the decidedly un-regal Albatross Hotel. Spoilers ahead!

But that doesn’t mean blood isn’t being shed elsewhere. Chalky White’s new business venture, his Onyx Club, brings a taste of Harlem-style Jazz Age entertainment to Atlantic City, which promises to provide plenty of interesting plot potential throughout the season. And it got started tonight: the club’s slick-talking talent booker finds himself on the wrong side of Dunn Purnsley’s wrath, and ends up buried in the ground; his adulterous wife, however, made it out the window safely. Something tells me she’ll be back.

Elsewhere, Gillian Darmody continues her fight for custody of her grandson Tommy while also taking a romantic interest in a newcomer played by Ron Livingston, who’s in town to bring the Piggy Wiggly chain to the area. Piggy Wiggly!

Meanwhile, Al Capone is out in Cicero, Ill., where he’s bringing his brothers into the fold in an attempt to expand his empire. Even a casual student of history will know that things will turn out interestingly for them. And then there’s Richard Harrow, who returned to his violent ways — and, after a few Midwestern slayings, showed up on a wintry Wisconsin doorstep. “Emma,” he says to the pretty lady pointing a gun at him, “I’ve come home” — leaving the door open for some insight to Harrow’s backstory.

All interesting stuff, and I haven’t even mentioned the mysterious new FBI agent who’s stirring up his own batch of trouble. And even though the opening episode withheld both Michael Shannon and Kelly Macdonald from us, early signs point to this being an eventful season.

What did you guys think of Boardwalk‘s premiere? Now that most the chess pieces are set in place, are you excited for the rest of the season’s action? Or were you hoping for some more Michael Shannon to kick things off? Let us know in the comments.

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