Boardwalk Empire – Season 2
At the end of Boardwalk Empire season 1, Nucky Thompson seemed invincible. Warren G. Harding was elected as president with Nucky lending more than a little help in getting him there, Nucky was the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City with not even Agent Van Helden being able to do anything against him, and he had Margaret Schroeder standing next to him as the powerful woman she had become.
A few episodes into season two, and things have drastically changed. Nucky is holding onto power just barely with his fingertips, The Commodore is leading Jimmy Darmody and Eli Thompson in a war against Nucky (a war they seem to be winning), Margaret Schroeder is turning to God and believes her daughter’s polio is caused by the sins of herself and Nucky, and a new district attorney has arrived in town and is determined to put him behind bars. But Nucky wouldn’t be Nucky if he didn’t have one or more aces up his sleeve…
If you read the above, it seems season 2 is all about the downfall and resurrection of Nucky, but that’s not all. In fact, focus this time is less on Nucky than it is on a number of side characters. Jimmy Darmody gets plenty of screentime along with everyone connected to him (including William Forsythe who again plays a great role) as do Margaret Schroeder and Agent Van Alden. We get a ton of information on the latter’s personal lives and thoughts, while Darmody gives us a glimpse at the rise of such notorious gangsters like Lucky Luciano and Al Capone. Unfortunately, this does hold back the pace on the story of Nucky and at times makes the series feel a bit adrift.
That’s not to say season 2 is bad, far from it. It’s just that the focus goes a lot wider, something not everyone will equally appreciate. And when the ending itself comes and one of the lead characters gets killed (we won’t tell you who ;p), it makes you wonder how season 3 will handle that gap. As it stands, this second season moves forward with plenty of twists and ultimately ends with a huge question mark of what will be next.
Technically, HBO and Warner deliver again a stellar performance. The image quality is just impeccable with very fine detail, popping colors, deep blacks and perfectly balanced contrast. Similarly, the 5.1 DTS track provides a very vivid Atlantic City, popping gunfire, perfect placement and crystal clear dialogues. All in all demo-material across the board. Also on the extras we’re not being let down with audio commentary tracks for half of the season’s episodes, a retro-look at season 1, an introduction to two new characters, a historical overview of the 1920s provided by historians and authors, and more.