Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven't seen the Season 3 premiere of "Boardwalk Empire," titled "Resolution."
"Boardwalk Empire" returned for its Season 3 premiere Sunday night, and quickly made clear that we are dealing with a darker, more powerful Nucky Thompson. A graduate of the "half gangster" school of liquor bootlegging, Nucky has embraced a more violent approach after offing his former protege Jimmy Darmody in last season's finale. Now looking to simplify his operation and become something of a liquor wholesaler, Nucky told a room full of bootleggers that he'd only be selling booze to Arnold Rothstein, and instantly made himself a whole new set of enemies.
"Boardwalk's" writers also presented Nucky with his next worthy adversary, a ruthless gangster named Gyp Rosetti who will inevitably propel this season towards even more compelling Prohibition-era violence and quite possibly a New York turf war. He beat two random strangers to a pulp for looking at him wrong during the hour, establishing his crazy credentials with the audience in short order.
And amidst all these new storylines, one character took care of some old business. Richard Harrow, "Boardwalk's" gravely-voiced, masked and disfigured war veteran exacted some poetic revenge against his friend Jimmy's wife's killer, and blasted Manny Horvitz's face off with a shotgun.
To keep track of the deals, deception and death, HuffPost TV presents our weekly "Boardwalk Empire" gangster rankings, a guide to who's up and who's down among HBO's organized criminals.
Check out the slideshow to find out how your favorite liquor-slinging sociopath fared this week ...
Nucky's taken a step up in the bootlegging business, appointing himself a liquor wholesaler who's selling to Arnold Rothstein and only Arnold Rothstein. Thompson seems emboldened after besting the political coup against him, and more cold-blooded too, casually ordering a thief shot in his first scene of the season. He also now has the new advantage of being freed from the burdens of playing politician, in the traditional sense anyway. Nucky's traded in his job as Atlantic City Treasurer for a public role as an accidental philanthropist. His lackies still control Atlantic City's government, but now Nucky's got the time to focus on being a gangster full time.
Rothstein is now serving as Nucky's chief distributor after maintaining an alliance with him through last season's tumult. He's poised to become the King of New York, which should make his young crew of Luciano & Lanksy plenty of cash, but he may have a big problem brewing in his own backyard.
Well, here's the character "Boardwalk" brought into the story to fill the void left by Darmody's departure and make trouble for Nucky this season. After coming to Atlantic City for New Years only to be told that Nucky won't be selling him booze anymore, Rosetti is pretty pissed. And the guy has demonstrated that he's capable of pretty much anything. Rosetti's played by Bobby Cannavale, who recently co-starred in the Chris Rock play "The Motherfucker With The Hat," and you get the feeling that's a nickname we should probably start calling him.
Harrow is currently living in Gillian Darmody's whorehouse and living out his family scrapbook fantasy by playing "caretaker" of Jimmy's kid. And as we learned when he blasted Manny Horvitz's face off with a shotgun, he's also biding his time, waiting to avenge his friend's death. Is there a chance he could go after Nucky?
Jimmy's mother ... I mean lover ... I mean mother ... appears to have set up a whorehouse in the Commodore's former mansion and named it the Artemis Club. That's gangster. Also, she's brainwashed Jimmy's son into into calling her Mom, and let's face it: she's probably manipulating Harrow in his revenge scheme too.
Young Capone is getting into his own North vs. South turf war in Chicago, against his boss Johnny Torrio's wishes. But let me make a not-at-all bold, entirely historically-based prediction: that's a war Capone will probably win.
As it turns out, Margaret's seemingly bizarre decision to sell Nucky's land to the church wasn't a fit of religious guilt, but instead a calculated move to re-invent herself and her husband as benefactor and philanthropist's wife. She's spearheading their charitable cover, but still doing some good: they built a hospital and she's fighting the Catholic policy of not giving women pre-natal care and basic information about hygiene and women's health.
Working as a door-to-door iron salesman in Chicago after he fled Atlantic City, wouldn't you know that Van Alden backed his way into the feud between Capone the Irish North-siders? It would be quite an awesome character evolution if he went from fervent Prohibition agent to muscle for O'Banion. He also appears to have married his mail-order nanny, which proves there is love after Paz de La Huerta.
Doyle left a warehouse of booze unguarded while he was dropping a deuce, and as tends to happen, it was robbed. Nucky called him an "imbecile," which means that Doyle and his weird laugh probably won't be in Nucky's inner circle much longer. He's already been thrown off a balcony, but you get the feeling something worse is coming his way soon.
The butcher/murderer they called Munya finally got what was coming to him when Richard Harrow gunned him down on his front porch. "Boardwalk's" twisted universe has its own perverse order: the man who killed Jimmy's wife Angela was gunned down in front of his, and the man without a face shot somebody else's face off.
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