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Boardwalk Empire Episode 2 Recap: Nucky's Brother Joins The Commodore and Jimmy Makes Moves

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After Boardwalk Empire's action-packed season premiere last week, it was a tough act to follow for sure. Episode 2 was actually better than the season premiere. And, it was better despite the fact that our favorite scumbag antagonist - Agent Nelson Van Alden was completely absent.

The Commodore Brings in Nucky's Former Loyalists Including His BrotherBoardwalk Empire photo: http://blogs.indiewire.com

Episode 2 entitled "Ourselves Alone" cuts to the chase rather quickly when The Commodore organizes Nucky's former loyalists - including his brother Eli. This is not surprising when we learned later on last season the contempt he held for his older brother.

The Commodore illustrates that he's far from done at his old age. He can lift an elaphant's tusk over his head with little trouble...something his counterpart half his age failed to do. Then he eloquently states, "When you come face to face with destiny, do you want to be the bear...or do you want to be holding the shotgun?" He explains that Nucky's time is drawing to a close as they have witnesses in the room who can nail his arse to the cross with solid proof that he rigged an election. Now, it's just a matter of who wants to go along with him as they embark upon the next Era in Atlantic City.

Chalky White May Be Behind Bars, But He's Not Alone

Chalky is in jail with Nucky when he explains things are in dire straits. Nucky gets out of prison and Chalky is left alone until a white man takes the Chalky's cell. The guard explains that "whites" and "blacks" must not share the same cell. Even though Chalky has a lot of power outside of jail, inside he's just like everyone else and non-exempt from the racist policies of the 1920's.

But, soon we learn that Chalky is far from alone when he's challenged by a prisoner looking to show some strength. Chalky's cellmates all acknowledge what Chalky has done for them and they go to town on "Mr. Dunn Pearnsley."

Nucky Tries to Figure Out Who's Against Him

Nucky gets out of jail and tells the reporters that the charges against him are nothing more than a "political" game. Once he gets situated it's time to figure out just "who" The Commodore has wooed. In his mind, everyone from his former pack (the wardbosses) are against him. Margaret we learn is ahead of the curve when she confiscates some important documents from his office. They burn these documents in the fire and she tells Nucky he must committ any future dealings to memory. In an insecure world it's time to be a few steps ahead of the competition.

Nucky is on the phone with his brother Eli and offers him one final chance to walk away from The Commodore. Eli has his mind made up and tells Nucky "you don't take power, someone has to give it to you."

Jimmy Gets in With Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano

Jimmy tries to cut a deal with Rothstein and goes nowhere, but when he's leaving the office in New York - Lucky (Luciano) offers him a sit-down with Meyer Lansky. Jimmy is looking to make his bones as a "businessman" and Meyer doesn't see any reason why they can't work together. In fact, something even bigger than the alcohol trade is on the horizon; heroin.

And, what is an episode of Boardwalk without some sort of blood-letting? A couple thugs think they can get over on Jimmy at the end of the episode. They are surely mistaken when one goes for his gun. Not a second passes and thug #1 has hit throat slashed and the other thug is stabbed in the back.

That moment was symbolic of the episode and the season so far - being stabbed in the back. In the underworld of organized crime back-stabbing is the name of the game. Somehow there is a feeling that Jimmy won't stab Nucky in the back though...like he told Rothstein "he's like a father to him." He won't ever forget that.

There is some talk that Boardwalk Empire is struggling in the ratings thus far this season. And, HBO hasn't been very forgiving to shows like "Deadwood" with huge budgets. It would be a shame for Boardwalk to not develop and last for at least five seasons. Thus far season 2 is shaping up to be a wild ride. All we can do is enjoy the ride while it lasts and hope the suits in corporate allow this show to develop an audience.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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