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'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4 Episode 2: J. Edgar

Paul Levinson Paul Levinson
9/16/2013 9:19am EDT

Boardwalk Empire-20120815-22.jpgIt's always a treat in an historical drama to encounter a figure, early in life, whom we came to know later in life as a mover and a shaker.   Boardwalk Empire provided such a perk in episode 4.2, with the introduction of J. Edgar Hoover, a federal anti-crime guy in 1924, head of its Bureau of Investigation, on his way to being head of its successor the FBI straight through the Nixon administration until Hoover's demise in 1972.

As such, Hoover was more powerful in some ways than the Presidents he served.  His FBI undoubtedly collected dirt on the Kennedys, Martin Luther King Jr., and all kinds of American heroes whom Hoover hoped to dominate - a goal he attained with mixed but sometimes significant success.   Hoover was certainly a more powerful American than the ineffectual Warren Harding and the other people in his administration we've met on Boardwalk Empire.  I'm looking forward to seeing what impact Hoover has in this series on Nucky.

The arrogant Dr. Valentin Narcisse - played to the hilt by Jeffrey Wright - has already intersected with Nucky and Chalky, lecturing them both, and in particular lording it over Chalky.  Nooky is in general willing to do business with anyone who is not a direct threat to him, but he'll have his hands full with Narcisse, who is every bit a cold-blooded killer as he is haughty, eloquent, and educated.

Over in Chicago, we see what Van Alden is up to, and that's being increasingly drawn into the life of mobster muscle.  We also see Richard at home at last - but there's not much love between him and his sister, aggrieved at his disappearing from the family once before.  Richard would dearly like to retire and nurture his torn soul, but it's just a matter of time until he leaves home, and it will be fun to see where he and shotgun show up.

MIA is still Margaret - she's presumably, where, in New York City?  Her reappearance should also lead to some fireworks in Atlantic City, though Nucky so far is lavishing more attention on Eddie, and his fading heath, than on any thoughts of Margaret.  Well, Eddie was never anything but loyal, and Margaret, well ...

Note: Watch here for my sneak preview reviews - with no spoilers - of the next three episodes.  They'll be posted during the week, with the full recap and review to follow after the episodes air on Sunday nights.

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Photo Credits: HBO