The Season Two premiere of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' wasted little time thrusting the Atlantic City power structure we grew to know in Season One into a state of chaos and flux. While some critics, like my colleague Mo Ryan, have criticized the show for slow pacing and lacking engaging drama, the action-packed Season Two premiere delivered major developments for Nucky Thompson and several of the show's main characters. It opened and closed with a bang, literally and figuratively.
A few minutes into the episode, the Ku Klux Klan attacked Chalky White's bootlegging safe-house in a chilling, 1920s equivalent of a drive-by-shooting, emptying a gigantic machine gun into the distillery. The brutal attack killed four of Chalky's people and wounded half-a-dozen others, including a woman. It was an unsettling and intense scene to watch that proved to be a pivotal jumping-off point for several of Season One's simmering storylines.
Chalky managed to shoot one of the Klansman as they escaped, but in a reflection of the unjust racial politics of the era, the story around Atlantic City immediately became "Chalky White shot a Klansman," and a political crisis unfolded for him and Nucky Thompson.