So I managed to chew through season 2 of Boardwalk Empire. Yee-haw! The dynamic of the series changes quite a bit and in my opinion not necessarily for the better. While the first season may have been snore-inducingly slow at times, the second time around it jumps too much in the opposite direction and things get a bit too chaotic, which as a result leads to some threads only being resolved in a manner that feels forced and not very organic.
Personally I was mostly put off by the casual and very arbitrary killings. I’m well aware that these were crazy and tough times and abominable things happened everywhere, but always depicting them quite graphically is perhaps not necessary a lot of times. It always seemed to me that characters were introduced only to be put out of their misery two episodes later and that itself is only an excuse to introduce more throwaway characters shortly thereafter. The way the series is eating away from its pool of characters is staggering.
At the same time some longer-term storylines become rather annoying such as Margaret being a whore and egotistical bitch, after all. The same of course could be said for Gillian‘s incestuous relation to Jimmy and an equally weird on with the Commodore. Generally everything to do with relationships seems to turn sour at some point, even van Alden. Again, it may have been this way back then, but it’s rather depressing at times. Ironically, the one time this works perfectly for me is with Richard. It just makes you feel pity for him to see this broken man sifting through his scrapbook and wanting so little – a family, some children – and yet being unable to find this simple, peaceful life and carve out a piece of happiness because his marred face isolates him from everyone.
Aside from the weaknesses in the script and overall narrative structure everything is top-notch once again. This is a posh series not shy about showing off its good stuff and you see how much effort is spent on every detail. Still, I’m hoping season 3 will find a better balance and blend the best parts about the previous seasons…