Boardwalk Empire Season 3, Episode 6, “Ging Gang Goolie” Recap
After last week’s episode went out with a bang (hey, now), the first episode of the second half of the season pushed the plot to the backseat while we looked in on some characters that we haven’t heard from in quite a while.
I don’t want to sound too much like a broken record, but as I mentioned in the episode four recap and as Michael Cresci and I discussed in our “Short Commercial Break” podcast a few weeks ago, the show has somewhat fallen victim to having too many characters that are disjointed from one another. This episode spent a good amount of time focusing on Gillian and another portion on Richard, even though these characters have been mostly absent for this season and have very minimal connection to the central plot or our main characters. While these characters might be interesting (Richard is, Gillian isn’t), it’s difficult to understand what purpose they serve at this point. Mad Men does a tremendous job of writing off characters who are no longer relevant or have met their expiration date whereas Boardwalk Empire appears to be too loyal to them. As a result, when we see these characters it’s always a snapshot of what the characters have become with little or no storyline attached. Sidenote: So many characters take complete episode(s) off, can’t, just for one week, Margaret be one of those characters? Yawn.
Gillian may finally be getting over her denial that Jimmy is still alive (she even took down his pictures!), but as a result, she went and found a replacement Jimmy. Her unconventional relationship and romantic interest with her son was always interesting yet strange, but the fact that the only way Gillian can cope with his death is by bedding a lookalike for him further shows just how messed up Gillian is. Wanting to call the doppleganger “James” doesn’t make any cases for her that she’s fully sane, either.
Even if he feels completely disconnected from the story, it’s always good to see Richard (in a perfect world, he would be tied in more to the Nucky storyline somehow). Outside of Jimmy, he is probably Boardwalk’s most interesting character. In a way, even though his appearance can be off-putting and make him appear to inhuman, his personality is more human than anyone else. We know that he always had a connection with Jimmy’s wife Angela, and it appears that he has some interest in a new character, Julia, who, given her family’s history with war, isn’t uncomfortable with his appearance. When Boardwalk does these characters snapshots, Richard’s are always interesting, which is why I wish they gave him more to do.
This season has somewhat sacrificed the political storylines that we’ve seen in the past for more gangster-related plots. This episode, though, was quite the opposite as we saw Nucky exchange threats with
Shooter McGavin Attorney General Dougherty and attempt to team up with Esther Rudolph, all in attempts to save himself. It will be either him or George Remus (or maybe both) who will go down with ship, and Nucky is determined to make sure it won’t be him. But with having to juggle his political and gangster concerns, will Nucky be able to handle it all?