Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Finale
Another explosive and tragic end to another fantastic series of this prohibition-era drama.
And so the tension that has threatened to come to the boil all season reached critical-mass in many ways in a great ending to the many threads that have run through what has been the best series yet of Boardwalk Empire.
Nucky's admission that he 'wanted out' in the last episode was only true to the extent that he knew he needed a bolt-hole to run to because the heat was coming down on all of them. He knew his brother had been up to something although he wasnt sure what. He knew he had a rat in his crew after a vague tip-off from a reliable and trusted source. He knew that the law was onto their operation with the extra heat brought down by the heroin that was amongst is liquor wagons and he knew that with these threats all around him, both known and unknown, he needed to do something fast especially since he found out that his new-york nemesis Joe Masseria has began working with his local rival Valentine Narcisse. Putting together a plan to put an end to Narcisse's attempts to muscle in on his teritory using his devisive methods while outwitting the feds and confronting his brother for his second betrayal required a excellent plan.
While the main driving force of the series has always been the bootlegging and mob activity around it, what boardwalk empire does better than any other series is flesh out this with great characters and it has always taken its time immersing you in their lives so you understand their motivations and allegences. Gillian Darmody for instance has been present from the first episode and in this episode she found her past catching up to her with the body of her murdered son (Nucky's former protege and late-rival Jimmy Darmody) exposing her own murder of a young man she seduced then killed to act as her sons doppelganger. This was revealed in order to ensure that she did not gain custody of Jimmys natural son who has been cared for by Jimmy's friend and fan-favorite Richard Harrow. It was also arranged to ensure that the property she inherited from Jimmys suposed death was taken from her and will most likely fall into the hands of Leander Whitlock, friend of Jimmys Father who blames Gillian for his death. Her entrapment by the Pinkertons hired by Leander has seen her landed in prison for Muder and her future in future series' hangs in the balance.
Chalky Whites troubles this series have all come about by Valentine Narcisse's attempts to divide and conquor Chalkys crew. He successfully lured his right hand man, the recently deceased Dunn Purnsley (played brilliantly by Erik LaRay Harvey, he'll be missed) over to his side with Heroin money and promises of power. His attempted murder of Chalky drove him to declare war on Narcisse with both sides narrowly missing the other in attempts at assasination. Driven out of town, Chalky recovered back in his home town with the help of some old friends. He came back to take revenge on Nucky but it seems Nucky convinced him that his intentions were in Chalkys best interests and arranged a meeting between Chalky and Valentine in order to bring things to a head, when arranging the meeting he suggested to Narcisse that killing Chalky wouln't be a bad idea who seems convinced that his betrayal of Chalky is sincere.
The location of Jimmy Darmodys shallow grave was revealed by Nucky at a price. He asked Richard Harrow to perform one last hit on the devious and dastardly Valentine Narcisse in exchange for that information being made public. Richard duly agreed and took up a sniping position in the onyx club to kill Narcisse at the meeting arranged by Nucky for the enraged Chalky White. At the meeting Chalky offered Narcisse the location of his 'daughter' to which Narcisse replied in kind offering Chalky his daughter in return revealing that he had her hostage. At this moment Richard, waiting in the rafters took aim at Narcisse and the instant he pulled the trigger Chalkys soon-to-be-married daughter stepped into the line of fire dying almost instantly. At this moment federal agents raided the club and arrested Narcisse and his men. Chalky was dragged away from the scene by his men, Richard Harrow also escaped, but only after taking a number of gunshot wounds from Narcisses' men.
The final, main thread of this series has been the betrayal (yet again) of Nucky by his brother Eli. Its hard not to feel sorry for Eli, he is one of my favorite characters and he has been put in an awful position this season. Earler in the series, Eli's son who is in college pulled a prank that went badly wrong, he poisoned a rival and needed Nucky's help to get out of it. His uncle pulled the required strings and Eli's son narrowly got away with it. At least until the ambitious Federal Agent, Knox got wind of it and used it as leaverage to get information out of Eli. In last weeks episode Knox got Eli to arrange a meeting between Chicago, New York and Atlantic City bosses, including Nucky so that he could record them colluding and use as evidence in his case and prove the existence of a 'national crime syndicate'. Nucky got wind of this and cancelled the meeting without informing Eli. He then called Eli and asked him to pick him up so they can drive to the meeting together. When Eli arrived, Nucky confronted him, pointed a gun at his head and Eli said he was ready to die. Just when it looked like Nucky was about to shoot Eli dead, Eli's son arrived and Eli explained why he did what he did. Nucky couldnt kill his brother but he told him that he made this mess and he 'can drown in it'. This turned out to be something of a prophecy as, when Eli returns home he find that Knox is there and has been speaking to his wife. When Knox and Eli are left alone, Knox explains that he blames Eli for the meeting not taking place and because his career is in ruins he is going to make sure Eli's son is going to prison and suggest a number of unpleasant things that could happen while he is there. Eli flips out and end up in a massive fight with Knox resulting in Knox getting his head caved in by a vase and Eli going on the lam. The last we see of him is him being picked up at the train station in chicago by none other than Nelson Van Alden - The look of mutual recognition in their eyes suggests this could get very interesting as they each know a little about each others past.
Nucky was arrested at the train station when he was due to leave for Florida, his fate unclear and with Johnny Torrio also getting the fright of his life and handing the torch to Al Capone and Nelson Van Alden and Eli Johnson potentially teaming up, I expect next series may have more of a focus on the up and coming chicago mob war historically, during this period things really started to get out of control. Could we see Van Alden and Eli becoming button men for 'Murder Inc'? Will the St. Valentines day massacre feature? Will Narcisse be released from custody after brokering a deal with 'Director' Hoover? Whatever they come up with, they cant come up with it quick enough.