BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Freshman Finale

And so the stellar freshman season of Boardwalk Empire comes to a close. The climactic slaughter of the remaining D’Alessio brothers courtesy of Jimmy, Capone, and another Scarface, Richard Harrow, provided the gasps and (seemingly) resolves the infighting between Nucky and Rothstein. But the story here is what’s to come, and I for one cannot wait for this show to resume.

Let’s start with Nucky. His confession to Margaret about the tragic fate of his deceased wife and son gave Steve Buscemi the chance to use the word “busy” to convey every regret and all the guilt Nucky carries on a daily basis. For a second, I though the tearful Margaret (Kelly Macdonald worked wonders with her eyes in this scene) would take him back right then and there. But getting past his involvement in her husband’s demise would require an extra push. Hence the rag in the cake. Margaret emerges as one of the more practical participants in the narrative. She cares for Nucky, sure. But the comfort Nucky can provide and her concern for her first loves, her children, places her back in his arms for the final scene. Now the question becomes how much sin will the educated immigrant increasingly agree to live with (quite a lot I think; Margaret is no fool).

Switching to Nucky’s first lady friend of the season, Lucy is with child, the result of one of the creepiest sex scenes ever committed to film. Van Alden (how good is Michael Shannon on this show?) gets his sign from God, and he is likely to remain in Atlantic City for the foreseeable future. His long-suffering wife gets to keep the only thing that brings her any comfort, her status as a Federal Agent’s wife. Will Van Alden use Lucy, manipulate her in his quest to destroy Nucky and, possibly, possess Margaret? He has his partner’s blood on his hands, so nothing is off limits.

Over on the Jimmy front, after finally bearing his soul to the adulterous Angela, a new start seems in the cards. He only wants to feel her hair on his face. And Angela, prompted by a postcard from the overseas Mary, chops it off. She’s not as willing to return to the normalcy that seems more and more like a dream. Jimmy, drunk and bold, confronts Nucky for pimping out his then-13-year-old mother to the lecherous Commodore. Nucky has no time for what he perceives as Jimmy’s ingratitude, his immaturity. So Jimmy throws his lot in with his birth father to take Nucky down and reclaim the Boardwalk. And who else should be there but the bitter, jealous Eli Thompson. As I predicted, it’s brother against brother.

And finally, Chalky gets his invite to Bader’s (and Warren G. Harding’s) victory bash. Despite the dirty looks, his confident wink to his date guarantees his (and Michael Kenneth Williams’) increased presence as the story unfolds. Hallelujah!

Great finish to a great start. And damn these near perfect shows that keep us waiting an entire year for new episodes. But it’ll be worth the wait.

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