(This post was written whilst in the middle of Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire)
Dateline: Atlantic City. With rum-running hoodlums in the catbird seat, the Treasury Department sent for the one man who could clean up the town and shoot the gangsters: Nelson Van Alden.
HBO continues to uphold its esteemed reputation for biting drama and well written serials. Like The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, and many before it, Boardwalk Empire continues HBO’s streak of award winning fantasy imbued with the realities of life.
Last week, I warmed up to the three season-running Boardwalk Empire. For the longest time, I resisted taking the plunge into another period piece. I was worried that each week some sign of the times would be trotted out. Maybe they would all catch the Spanish Flu, or the brother of Woodrow Wilson would move in next door. Now, I will say that the first season did sometimes overly belabor the point that the series takes place in the early half of the roaring twenties, but I can firmly say that the character relationships and devious intrigues, established early on, take center stage in the second season.
If you’re reading this article you may be wondering who Nelson Van Alden is, or perhaps you came to find out my analysis of his character. Throughout this series I have found him to be the most “good” character in town. Fair warning though, spoilers lie ahead so please stop reading if you want to remain untainted.
Like I said before, Agent Van Alden is the most morally righteous character, in my opinion, on Boardwalk Empire thus far. Don’t believe me? Let’s examine the evidence in the subjects of money, love, career, and personal motivation.
1. Money: Agent Van Alden’s wife is unable to bear children. This hurts her, and she feels like she is less of a woman then she should be. The only hope is a possible, but costly surgery. Does Van Alden succumb to earthy desires, and steal money meant for a woman alone with her child in order to help his wife? No.
Point Van Alden
2. Love: Agent Van Alden’s wife is homely at best. He spends months at a time away from her, and when they are together, he spends his time staring at a wall because he shares little in common with his wife other than extreme Christianity. Well, to make a long story short… he wavers in his convictions and has a one night stand. This later develops into a possible baby. Though he takes care of the baby’s mother, I will have to concede that he has erred. Oh, and he also has a thing for Irish immigrants.
Point Atlantic City
3. Career: Well this one is a no brainer. Agent Van Alden fights the good fight to bring to justice violators of the law. No argument there.
Point Van Alden
4. Personal Motivation: This category is tricky, but I would have to deduce that thus far Agent Van Alden’s personal motivation is a desire to carry out God’s Will on the Earth. Analyzing his character, it appears that this desire is genuine and selfless. Though he sometimes does morally reprehensible things, it appears that he truly repents for any wrong doings he perpetrates. This remorse is not very apparent in any other character on a show in which nearly every main player is a terrible murderous criminal hypocrite.
Point Van Alden
Well, the final tally places our good agent righter than wrong. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.