'Boardwalk Empire' Review: Season 4 Episode 9: The Imbecile
The funniest line in Boardwalk Empire 4.9 - maybe in this entire season - comes when Nucky calls Mickey Doyle an "imbecile," as he's negotiating with Rothstein over who will collect on Doyle's life insurance after he's taken out. Long overdue - the appellation and the hit - which didn't yet happen tonight.
But there were hits galore in Chicago. Van Alden gives it to his tormenters from the company he worked for, when they come after him to teach him a lesson. Torrio's guys give it to O'Bannion, as history records, before Van Alden has a chance to deliver (or maybe that was part of the plan with Capone). But the whole encounter leads to Van Alden finally coming clean about who he is - first with O'Bannion, then somewhat with his wife - a healthy thing for Van Alden who's been living a lie. The scene with Van Alden in bed with his common-law wife speaks to Van Alden finally coming out his self-imposed mental imprisonment, which will no doubt lead a more prominent if still criminal life.
Indeed, Boardwalk Empire 4.9 is all about our characters coming to terms with who they are. Gillian tells Roy almost the whole truth about her and Jimmy, Richard steps up and marries Julia in a move both to be happy and a father to Tommy, and Chalky confronts Narcisse face-to-face after Narcisse's beating of Maitland and his attempt last week to kill Chalky. All of those scenes amount to Boardwalk Empire finally beginning to come to satisfying terms with itself this season.
Of course, this certainly doesn't mean that everyone will be ok. In addition to maybe losing Tommy now that Julia is married, Gillian also doesn't hear a disquieting conversation that we hear Roy having on the phone. His words have the ring of conversation with law enforcement - likely the same Feds who arrested Eddie, put the squeeze on Eli (who seems to be not resisting that), and with J. Edgar's blessing are going after Nucky.
Nucky should have not much trouble taking care of Narcisse. But the Feds abetted by Eli will be a formidable threat - unless and until Eli comes to his senses.