As usual, Buscemi is superb as Nucky, with a new love interest in the guise of a flapper who competes with Margaret (Kelly McDonald) for Nucky’s affections, not that Margaret really cares anyway, with Nucky’s dashing Irish associate, Slater (Charlie Cox) hanging around. Cannavale, who copped a well-deserved Emmy nomination, makes for the best baddie the show ever had, with his depravity seemingly knowing no bounds (in the first scene of the season, Gyp murders a motorist who helps with his car, AND the steals his dog).
As always, my favorite character on BOARDWALK is Jack Huston’s Richard Harrow. This season, Harrow’s story becomes especially tragic, with him trying to shelter the now-deceased Jimmy’s young son from the violent world around him. This isn’t easy considering that they both live in Jimmy’s mother’s (Gretchen Moll) whorehouse, which is frequently populated by all the gangsters on the east coast. Harrow’s story becomes especially gripping in the last few episodes, with a shootout involving him being expertly choreographed, and scored by a barely audible scratchy record playing in the background. It’s like John Woo, meets Martin Scorsese, meets Stanley Kubrick. It’s an amazing set-piece.
My only real issue with season three is that one of my other favorite characters, Michael Shannon’s Van Alden, is sidelined pretty badly. Now that he’s on the run, he’s lost importance, and is peripheral to the story (although he gets one great scene with an iron). Hopefully they’ll find something more for him to do next season.
And that ain’t all! Scorsese on Season 3 is just that, with good ol’ Marty weighing in on the season’s storytelling (he’s one of the EP’s after all). There’s a Director’s Chair featurette that focuses on the directing, by guys like Tim Van Patten and Allen Coulter (both A-listers ad SOPRANOS vets). Finally, there’s a segment on new Characters and a fourteen minute recap of season two. As is the norm for HBO, the set also comes bundled with DVD & Digital copies of all the episodes. A nice touch.