Anastasia (Boardwalk Empire)
|Boardwalk Empire episode|
Nucky prepares for his birthday party
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Jeremy Podeswa|
|Written by||Lawrence Konner
|Original air date||October 10, 2010|
|Running time||53 minutes|
"Anastasia" is the fourth episode of the first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered October 10, 2010. It was written by co-executive producer Lawrence Konner and supervising producer Margaret Nagle and directed by Jeremy Podeswa. The episode received generally favourable reviews from television critics.
The episode centres on Nucky celebrating his birthday and Jimmy getting settled into his new home, Chicago.
The title of the episode comes from a contemporary news story when Anna Anderson, a Polish factory worker, surfaced claiming to be the lost Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia, creating a sensation in March, 1922.
Jimmy Darmody now works for Al Capone's Chicago boss, Johnny Torrio, and lives in a brothel Torrio runs. Capone and Darmody attempt to strongarm a bar owner manager to buy his liquor from Torrio; when he is uncooperative, Capone beats him. They meet with Torrio's rival, Sheridan, and compromise on business arrangements. Torrio is more impressed by Darmody's negotiation than by Capone's brutality. One of Sheridan's men retaliates, attacking and disfiguring Jimmy's current girlfriend Pearl, a prostitute in Torrio's brothel.
In Atlantic City, as Nucky plans his "surprise" birthday party, he worries about the political impact of the murder of Chalky White's driver. Eli delivers the leader of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to White, who tortures him until he is satisfied that the Klan was not involved in the killing. At Nucky's party, Senator Edge tells Nucky he will not receive expected roadbuilding funds needed to complete Atlantic City's development, which will go instead to Frank Hague.
Lucky Luciano finds Darmody's mother at his house and tells her he is looking for "James". She sees through his cover story and throws him out. Luciano follows her around for several days; she spots him, and initiates a physical relationship.
Margaret then goes to work and is directed to deliver a dress to Lucy at Nucky's party, where Nucky asks her to dance, elating her. After returning to the shop, she sees Nucky and Lucy heading for a night on the town. Upset, she then steals a dress from "Belle Femme" and goes home.
The episode received positive reviews from critics. IGN gave the episode their highest rating up to that point with an 8.5 and said "It's amazing that the writers found a way to commit so much good storytelling into one hour of television." They also said ""Anastasia", Boardwalk's fourth episode, is so far its best, turning its criminals into sympathetic characters despite their vices and secrets, and doing so without resorting to forced or saccharine ways." TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.5/5.0 and enjoyed the transformation of Margaret. "My favorite moment of the night was Margaret's brilliant transformation into a well-spoken and intelligent character. Her change from a quiet wallflower with small ambitions came at the best time, during Nucky's party. As the Commodore repeated his enraging "test" of female intelligence and political acumen on Lucy ("You're assuming they have minds at all"), Margaret voices an informed opinion about Women's Suffrage by stating, "In most civilized countries, women are afforded that privilege."
The episode plunged to a 1.1 adults 18–49 rating this week from a 1.4 the week before, and lost over 800,000 average viewers from the week before.