Boardwalk Empire Review: “The Good Listener” (Season 5, Episode 2)


Boardwalk Empire returns this week with “The Good Listener,” an episode focused on Nucky heading back to New York City from Cuba in an effort to find out who attempted to assassinate him during the season premiere. That’s not all that he’s up to this week, though, as he’s also meeting up with partners to get his distribution of Bacardi Rum off the ground, because if he can, it might just be his ticket out of the dangerous lifestyle that he leads.

Most notably, however, is that we are witnessing a variation of Steve Buscemi’s Nucky, portrayed in a slightly different manner than what we’re used to seeing. For example, Nucky has an extra sense of paranoid in the back of his mind. Whether he is meeting with mobsters that could be the ones conspiring his death or chatting over a dinner in a crowded public restaurant, he’s consistently looking over his shoulder and essentially putting both of his ears to every facet of the world around him. Maybe this is why the episode is called “The Good Listener.”

And through those detective skills, Nucky does get a lead on who wants him in an early grave, but more intriguingly, he starts to learn what else those behind the failed murder are up to. Needless to say, Nucky is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to exit this award-winning show alive, and not dead or in prison. If there’s one thing that his actions at the end of the episode prove though, it’s that if it is his time, he isn’t going to go quietly.

Elsewhere, we had our reintroduction to Al Capone, who now essentially runs Chicago and is living it up. I wasn’t sure that it would be possible, but the character is even louder and more abrasive than ever before, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Al is into trouble though with some lost money, to which he sends George Mueller/Van Alden on a mission to clean up the mess. After all, it only makes sense to have one lunatic clean up another lunatic’s mess, right?