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Boardwalk Empire - (S02E01)

History . Drama . Crime

Nucky is shocked by an insurrection among his inner circle. An attack threatens Chalky's life and livelihood. Margaret deals with her son's problems. Angela vies for Jimmy's affection. Van Alden shows his wife around town.

Episode Title: 21
Airs: 2011-09-25 at 09:00 pm
  • Alan Sepinwall

    As with the best of these broad canvas series, the players and their allegiances become clear within an episode or two. And from that point on, Boardwalk Empire becomes everything that HBO (and I) had hoped for it.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    They've richly re-created a Roaring '20s world on the edge of an ocean and a precipice, and populated it with a riveting rogues gallery.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Jonathan Storm

    In so many ways, it's as good as television gets.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Rick Porter

    Boardwalk Empire has everything you'd expect in an HBO drama--sharply drawn characters, large-scale stories intercut with intimate moments and a sense that you couldn't find something like it anywhere else on the guide. It's maybe the best new show HBO has launched in several years.

    Zap2it (Inside the Box) Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    The show is gorgeously produced and spectacularly violent but its success depends chiefly on Buscemi....A brilliant, brutally funny performance. [20 Sep 2010, p.51]

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Heather Havrilesky

    From its breathtaking cinematography to its meticulous period costumes to its smart, snappy dialogue to its talented cast, Boardwalk Empire presents a TV program that's so polished and beautifully executed, each episode feels as rich and memorable as its own little Scorsese film.

    Salon Full Review
  • Paige Wiser

    The characters are unforgettable, and the history, of course, is more entertaining than fiction. The filming of Boardwalk Empire just may be more decadent than the decadence it's celebrating. It's not TV, and it's not really HBO. It's an event, not to be missed.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    Watching HBO's new Boardwalk Empire is like sitting in your favorite tavern and hearing someone say, "Drinks are on the house." Friends, it doesn't get much better.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Boardwalk Empire has been the glittering light at the end of HBO's tunnel for so long now that you might wonder if it--or any other show--could possibly live up to the hype. Amazingly, it does.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    There's a vibrancy to the stories in each Boardwalk Empire episode. With echoes of the gangland mentality of "The Sopranos" and the frontier recklessness of "Deadwood," HBO seems to have found in Boardwalk Empire a fertile, sprawling new franchise series.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    This instantly captivating period piece feels thrillingly modern as it captures with remarkable detail a chaotic time of invention and re-invention, of social progress and prosperity upstaged by the gaudy corruption and jazzy debauchery of the Prohibition era.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Frankly, this complex and entertaining show is the kind of things that the networks--cable and broadcast--just don't make anymore: It's a grand, handsome saga about a whole slice of society, from shop clerks and showgirls to fixers and Feds.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    The most entertaining--and beautiful--new series on TV this fall.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Expectations were certainly sky-high for Boardwalk, but the producers have risen to meet them--in a series that grows richer, deeper and more absorbing with each of the six episodes previewed.

    Variety Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    By the end of the opener, a web of intriguing plot lines (and their treacherous overtones) are firmly in place. As ensuing episodes unfold, the story finds its beating heart as the characters substantially deepen.

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The show isn't easy to warm up to, to be honest; it's draped in--and at times stifled by--meticulous period detail and too-perfect lighting, especially in Scorsese's premiere. But in episode two, the characters and the script begin to prevail, and the drama becomes more emotionally distinct and fascinating.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Paul Bullock

    Writer Terence Winter (The Sopranos) delivers the most exciting new series in recent history with Boardwalk Empire, a sweeping Prohibition gangster saga that redefines the boundaries of television storytelling.

    Under The Radar Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Boardwalk Empire plays much like Sopranos: The Roots, a malignantly alluring exploration of the emergence of organized crime in the United States. A checkerboard of hazy intrigue and garish violence, of ruthless ambition and easy sexuality, it's an epic tale told darkly and well.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    Like a good whiskey, it's rough and smooth in all the right ways. By a few episodes in, you'll want to order it by the case.

    Time Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    What Buscemi brings to this production is his great gift for channeling neurotic self-consciousness into a man of action. He may fret about retaining his empire, but you believe Nucky Thompson is a lord of venality, right down to his immaculate spats.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Andrew Wallenstein

    Beautifully rendered as the series is, there's a high-concept conflation of the two shows here in the way it marries the mob melodrama of "Sopranos" with "Mad's" period fetishism. It's a savvy programming strategy but robs Boardwalk of a certain freshness that would otherwise elevate it to the same echelon as those TV classics.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    For some viewers, even fans of smart, high-quality TV, there may come a point when too many dark, layered television series become just as tiresome as too many look-alike procedurals. We haven't yet reached that point with Boardwalk Empire, but some episodes are more admirable than enjoyable.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    The first six episodes (which I've watched, dutifully at times) draw you in but sometimes feel overstuffed, overproduced and weirdly gauzy where the series means to be an exercise in crisp, razor-sharp filmmaking.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    It's not the greatest thing since sliced bread but rather a well-made sort of sliced bread, a thing you have had before but prepared with quality ingredients by bakers who know their business.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Linda Stasi

    Yes, there is a lot to love here, but too often the bad guys are standard-issue gangsters--while the women are one dimensional, naked, needy and greedy.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Buscemi is the only big-name actor associated with this cast, and though he seems to be having a great time strutting onscreen, most of the others aren't up to sharing the screen with him.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    [The first three episodes] contain no evidence that it'll rival or exceed season four, an intricately wrought and unexpectedly spare and bluesy batch of hours whose quality exceeded anything that Terence Winter's gangster saga had given us in seasons one through three.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    The series gets better and more engrossing with time, but it takes more than a few episodes for it to clear its throat, establish its bona fides and fall into storytelling stride.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Aaron Riccio

    For all the talk about the expense of recreating the boardwalk for the show, Atlantic City isn't a character the way it could or should be; most of the action takes place in back alleys and hotel rooms.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Chris Barsanti

    The action is set to move to gangster playgrounds like New York and Chicago, and introduce some dangerous romantic entanglements. If Boardwalk Empire doesn't begin in the most thought-provoking manner, its multiple, ready-to-expand stories suggest many avenues to explore.

    PopMatters Full Review
  • Nancy Franklin

    It's a big production-the first episode alone cost nearly twenty million dollars-and it looks authentic in a way that, paradoxically, seems lifeless. You're constantly aware that you're watching a period piece, albeit one with some vivid scenes and interesting details.

    The New Yorker Full Review

  • based on book

  • prohibition

  • mobster

  • atlantic city

  • historical fiction

  • gangster

  • period drama

  • costume drama

  • treasurer

  • boardwalk

  • atlantic city new jersey

  • 1920s

  • politician

  • disfigured face

  • new york city

  • chicago illinois

  • fedora

  • homburg hat

  • red carnation

  • sheriff

  • irish immigrant

  • federal agent

  • husband wife relationship

  • brother brother relationship

  • alcohol

  • crime boss

  • world war one veteran

  • corruption