Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 12

A Return to Normalcy (5 Dec. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Crime, Drama, History
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.7/10 from 938 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

Nucky and Atlantic City brace for change on Election Day; Torrio brokers a deal between two nemeses, with far-reaching consequences; Jimmy ponders his future, as do Margaret, Agent Van ... See full summary »


(as Tim Van Patten)


(created by), , 2 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 11 images
created 15 Dec 2010
a list of 12 titles
created 14 Sep 2012
a list of 2892 titles
created 16 Apr 2013
a list of 8623 titles
created 27 Jun 2013
a list of 57 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: A Return to Normalcy (05 Dec 2010)

A Return to Normalcy (05 Dec 2010) on IMDb 8.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Boardwalk Empire.
« Previous Episode | 12 of 57 Episodes | Next Episode »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Doyle (credit only)


Nucky and Atlantic City brace for change on Election Day; Torrio brokers a deal between two nemeses, with far-reaching consequences; Jimmy ponders his future, as do Margaret, Agent Van Alden and Eli. Written by HBO Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | History





Release Date:

5 December 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to the postcard from Mary, the address for James and Angela Darmody is 4313 North California Avenue. See more »


The alto saxophonist in the jazz band at the election party is playing a Selmer Mark VI (or later) model saxophone. Selmer did not release this particular model until 1954. This was the first saxophone released by Selmer which had the clearly visible "S" on the neck. See more »


Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: We all need to decide for ourselves how much sin we can live with.
See more »


Jubel Overture
Written by Carl Maria von Weber
Performed by Victor Herbert and His Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Season 1: Lacks some of the finer touches at times but still a really great drama series with a lot going on
15 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Boardwalk Empire came to the UK in the same way it came to the US – as a big deal. A major new series from HBO, lots of big names involved, lots of money spent on it and lots of good signs in terms of the quality of the product. And it is a big deal. The sets are as huge as they are impressive, the story takes in characters big and small across politics and gangs and covers from Atlantic City to Chicago and the viewer is in no doubt that what is playing out is indeed a "big deal".

And perhaps this is rightly so because the production is great and the whole season demands to be watched and makes it easy to become engaged in it. It does start slow but, like other great shows, once you start getting into the characters you find that every scene is doing something and all the moving parts are part of a bigger picture even if how they all fit together is not all immediately evident at the time of watching. It has a grandness to it and I found myself enjoying the vast majority of it, although I will acknowledge that some of it does move quite slowly.

I think part of the reason it feels slow at times is that the one area where I think season 2 can improve things is to work more on the smaller details. It does feel like in the scale of the production that the finer points of scripting and delivering the characters has been secondary whereas in The Sopranos (for example) we were very tightly focused onto Tony's character as well as the plots associated with his family and business – so even small scenes informed us about who he was. Here we have elements of that but it isn't "in" the material in the way the sets and costumes are. We do get character development and moments where we understand more about who people are or why they are who they are, but they are distinct moments rather than an understanding ingrained into every aspect of the writing. However, to me this really is one of the few areas it can improve and it would also help in the pacing side too.

Otherwise though it is a great show, even if it perhaps is a bit too self-aware of how great it is at times, holding itself a little bit too "worthy". The cast get caught up in this a little bit but mostly they are working very well with the material and producing strong performances and showing they are able to do whatever the scripts ask, whether it is plot-driven or more character driven. Buscemi is great. He has made a career out of being "funny looking" but here he is a great character and one that he wisely keeps the audience wondering how we should feel about him. He is sympathetic and charming but at the same time he is manipulative and happy to keep clean hands while others do his bidding and lose their souls in the process. Matching him is Macdonald. She has links to Carmela Soprano as she considers what she is becoming and how she can justify it, but she makes the character her own with so much going on as she develops through the season, she is great and they make for a great pair to build the show off. Pitt took me a minute to accept but his performance reflects the more folded-in character he plays and he does it well. Shannon's is an odd character to say the least but he plays it very well even if I think the material for him jumped around from extremes a bit too much. The support has quality in depth from Graham to Mol and many familiar faces from other HBO productions. Williams may never shake off the ghost of Omar, but he is good here too.

Boardwalk Empire is a big, worthy show – which is a real strength because it looks great, but it also works against it since it does rather carry itself with this knowledge while also neglecting the finer detail at times. That said it does deliver the goods in terms of strong characters, a strong plot and plenty going on. I really enjoyed season 1 and there is a lot of potential for the show to get better still in the second season – not by getting "bigger" but my looking inwards to its strengths and making the smaller touches in every scene be just as important as the bigger plot points.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
One of the Problems With This Show Theomer
Worst finale ever smurphette47
Now that the dust has cleared, think way back and tell me why... d_a_m_8
New series to fill the void? gus_vash
Bugsy's murder attempt on Gyp dallas-hartwell-138-482190
Nucky Thompson vs Walter White tek87-768-651706
Discuss A Return to Normalcy (2010) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page