‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Finale Lead-in: Choices of the Godfather

“I want out.” – Nucky Thompson

There comes a time in every kingpin’s life when he (or she) wants out. That time is now for Nucky.

After staking his claim on the boardwalk and ousting Gyp Rosetti, his life has become the proverbial island. Margaret left him. He suspects a skunk in his basement, with all clues pointing towards his brother, Eli. Chalky’s on the lamb. And Dr. Narcisse and Masseria are ostensibly muscling old Nuck into an uncompromising position.

Once again Nucky wants the “picture perfect” home life, with a wife to come home and talk to and kids – or rather nephew, Willie – to pass on his legacy. Sadly, a wise godfather named Michael Corleone once said, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

So sorry, Nuck. There’s no escape for you from this road you’ve chosen.

Tonight’s season finale of Boardwalk Empire closes out what may be the best season of the series to date. Since the season 4 premiere, the creative team has kept the intensity high without jumping the shark. There hasn’t been any wild new villains or crazy plot twists. Just several story arcs coming to fruition.

Al Capone is primed to take his position as the king of Chicago. He’s just got one man in his way way – Johnny Torrio.

Nelson Van Alden is finally stepping up, both at home and on the job. He’s had the most dynamic changes of any character on Boardwalk Empire. This season was his huzzah moment. Who didn’t love when he threw the money up in the air over his wife’s bed and then revealed the truth about his identity? Van Alden has finally broken the shackles of repression that he’s been wearing since season one. It’s going to be exciting to see where his character goes when Al Capone truly takes over.

Dr. Narcisse has to die. Can I get a co-sign? Not only does this guy beat women, but he’s got one of the most annoying voices on the show. Every time he says “heroin” it sounds like he’s doing a poor imitation of Casper the friendly ghost haunting a house.

Chalky is is getting ready to add some new members to his team, but we’re interested to see how his relationship with Nucky changes. Chalky still believes that Nucky betrayed him.

It’s a little disheartening to see Eli get strung along by Agent Knox. He had finally won his way back into the good graces of Nucky, only to take a fall to save his son from jail. While Agent Knox is a good foil for Nucky, you have to wonder if something else will happen with Knox’s case. He’s definitely not too happy with Hoover stealing all the glory. So, I wonder if Knox’s end game may surprise us.

And, this brings us back to Nucky. With Richard Harrow back in the loop, Nucky’s got the best damned gunslinger Atlantic City or Harlem have ever scene on his side. So fingers crossed for an awesome show from Harrow, mowing down Narcisse and Masseria’s men.

But where does that leave Thompson family relations? Nucky has already hinted that the empire will go to Eli, when he retires. Is it feasible for Eli to pull off some magic and outfox Agent Knox, getting the family back on track? Let’s all hope so. Betraying Nucky would truly severe whatever bond remains between Eli and his son. It would also be the final strike against Eli, after his failed partnership with Jimmy Darmody.

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Episode 5 Lead-in: Top Character Arcs to Follow

During every season of Boardwalk Empire, we always start off with at least one question. How will all of these story lines converge by the end of the season? This isn’t a story of one family or neighborhood, but the story of many gangster families from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago. Election tampering in Boardwalk‘s frosh season brought everyone together. Then a civil war, spearheaded by Jimmy Darmody, took us through the end of season 2 – RIP Jimmy. In season 3, Nucky’s ambitions and problems Rosetti started a war across state lines.

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 is going back to the law as the driving factor in uniting the myriad of Boardwalk story arcs. However, instead of Agent Van Alden, who now goes by George Mueller, we have Warren Knox of the Bureau of Investigation. Knox is about more than just taking down Nucky Thompson. He’s out to prove a nationwide, gangster conspiracy. And so we’re presented with the pre-rumblings of RICO, several decades before its time.

Unlike previous seasons, Nucky arguably doesn’t have the most interesting arc – yet.

So, who’s interesting?
[Spoilers below through Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Episode 4: All In]

Eddie Kessle
Eddie’s never been an interesting character on Boardwalk, until last season. When he defended Nucky, during the Rosetti war, he stepped up out of the shadows. Now, he’s been promoted from the butler to the money man, spending some of that time partying with Ralph “Bottles” Capone. Unfortunately, Knox was looking for the weakest link in Nucky’s crime circle and Eddie happened to be the target. Personally, I never looked at Eddie as a weak link. He may seem timid, but we all learned the truth in season 3. He’s willing to die for Nucky. Even though Knox picked him up at the train station, I’d have to think that Eddie would rather die than sell out Nucky to the Bureau.

George Mueller
Mueller/Van Alden has been one of the most dynamic characters on the series, but I’m still wondering where the heck the writers are taking his character. Right now, it looks as though Mueller may be stepping out from under the maliciously “jocular” thumb of O’Banion. After all, he needs more money to pay for that new furniture set his wife picked up. And Al Capone has taken a liking to Mueller. That would be a good thing, if Capone didn’t have such a short fuse. For now, it looks like a case of “frying pan into the fryer.” If Mueller’s going to go full out gangster, I just want to see him embrace it.

Dunn Purnsley and the Doctor
I’m really trying to figure out what’s the deal with the Valentin Narcisse story arc. I’ve finally allowed myself to get past the bad Trinidadian accent, even though Valentin also misused the term “duppy.” I can somewhat enjoy his tactical rivalry with Chalky White, even if the latter hasn’t shown much in the way of strategic thinking of late. However, I still don’t quite get Valentin’s motivations. Everything he says is a contradiction, most especially his partnership with Purnsley. The Harlem arc can potentially be a very interesting thread, but right now it just needs work and more time to breath.

Willie Thompson
I’m curious to see where the Willie arc goes. After accidentally murdering a bully at college, Willie may find himself kicked out of school if his friend can’t keep his mouth shut. I just don’t want to see Nucky take Willie under his wing so that Willie becomes the next Jimmy Darmody. It would seem like a return to a past arc and too much “like father like son.”

Richard Harrow
Richard Harrow has effectively been written out of the show. He can’t kill anymore, which was kind of his deal. He’s not even around any of the crime families either. Richard used to be one of the most interesting characters to watch, but now his scenes seem like mostly filler. Either bring his character back into the fold or let him retire with his family in peace. I’d be fine with the latter. Harrow deserves some happiness.

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 – The New Crime Era is Here

Are you ready for some Fall TV? I always know the Fall season is upon us, when the DVR gets packed with amazing shows. This year is particularly special, because Sundays have been a fight between the final seasons of Breaking Bad and Dexter, with Walter White edging out.

But Sundays are about to get a little more packed. Boardwalk Empire is returning for its fourth season and the sepia posters sprinkled throughout NYC have got me pumped to see Al Capone (Stephen Graham) back in action. I mean, seriously, who can forget that scene from Season 3 Episode 11, where Capone shows up to say, “I need a bath, some chow, and then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies.”

EDITOR’S PICK: Boardwalk Empire Ushers in a New Era of Organized Crime

We’ve also got Harlem on deck. It’s going to be interesting to see how Nucky (Steve Buscemi) expands his operations into New York. I’m still a little bummed that we lost Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale); he was a great villain and a phenomenal addition to the cast. It always sucks when a great nemesis dies, especially when they’re only introduced for a single season. You’re always left wondering – okay so who’s going to be the next big baddie and can that bad guy compare? Here’s hoping.

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 premieres Sept 8 at 9PM on HBO.

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Finale ushers in the era of true organized crime… On to Season 4

“Let’s get something straight. Nucky Thompson doesn’t run this city. I do.”

In the past three seasons of Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Thompson has made the delicate shift from high profile Atlantic City treasurer to blood thirsty gangster.

He’s always been a Machiavellian public figure. Nucky chooses to be both loved and feared, with fear winning out. Now, things are going in an ostensibly new direction. Nucky is giving up the limelight. Is he putting family first? That remains to be seen. Although he didn’t quite make amends with Margaret, he did ask her to return home as his wife (albeit a little creepily). Going forward, we’ll see an entirely new Thompson come Boardwalk Empire Season 4.

In the Season 3 finale, Nucky duped Arnold Rothstein into bailing him out of his little Gyp problem. It seemed as though Nucky was backed into a corner. Even with Al Capone and Chalky White at his side, he wasn’t making any headway into resolving his grievances with Gyp Rosetti.

Then, Mickey Doyle brought Nucky’s massive Pennsylvania distillery to Rothstein. In exchange for ninety-nine percent ownership of the distillery, Rothstein agreed to negotiate a cease fire with Joe Masseria, the man backing Gyp’s Atlantic City coup.

The small sale allowed Nucky to win on two fronts. First, he was able to take down Gyp and Masseria’s men. Second, he told the feds about the distillery, pointing a bootlegging investigation back at Rothstein. Backed into a corner, Nucky was still able to give Rothstein a firm slap on the wrist for abandoning him in his time of need.

For the time being, Nucky’s enemies have been quelled. Nucky no longer wants to be the man people fears. Instead, like Batman, he wants people to fear the essence of Nucky – not the person.

“I don’t want anyone knowing who I am. I don’t want anyone looking into in my business. I don’t want anyone coming near us we don’t already trust.” – Nucky

This final quote juxtaposes the opening scene, where the press laughed at the Mayor of Atlantic City for claiming that he had more power than Nucky.

It’s the beginning of true organized crime on Boardwalk Empire. Nucky is getting ready to setup a corporate hierarchy that only a RICO case can take down – too bad RICO didn’t come about until the 1960s. He’ll be the kingpin, pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

The closing scene was extremely powerful. A man recognized Nucky and called him by name. Nucky didn’t respond. Instead, he took off his red rose and threw it on the floor. In Boardwalk Empire Season 4, don’t expect Nucky to be dining out and engaging in random acts of frivolity.

“Margate Sands” was a phenomenal end to the season. Sept 2013 can’t come soon enough.

Favorite Scene:
– Richard Harrow going through the brothel as a one man army.

Missing in Action:
– Nelson Van Alden?? What happened to him after his meeting with Capone?

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Finale Warm-up: Nucky vs. Gyp

At the end of every season of Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Thompson has a Godfather showdown with his enemies. Sometimes they’re simply politicians and the law, while other times it’s against family and friends (we miss you Mr. Darmody).

EDITOR’S PICK: Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Finale ushers in the era of true organized crime… On to Season 4

Tonight, Nucky Thompson will go toe-to-toe with a very humorless Gyp Rosetti. Gyp is the kind of guy who has mother issues and would bash in your brother’s head before turning to you to say, “you owe me.”

Although Gyp has his New York crew by his side and has ostensibly eliminated most of Nucky’s men in Atlantic City, he may still be outgunned.

EDITOR’S PICK: 5 Badass Moments from Boardwalk Empire

Nucky has partnered with Chalky White, his last friend in AC. The black contingency isn’t Nucky’s only provision; at the end of Episode 5.11, Al Capone brought Chicago to AC. The gangster showed up to say one of my favorite lines on the series to date.

“I need a bath, some chow, and then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies.” – Capone to Thompson

Now, Nucky has two partners with him to reclaim AC.

But truthfully, Nucky’s biggest asset is neither Mr. White nor Mr. Capone.

Nucky’s biggest ace is the one he doesn’t realize he has up his sleeve – one, Richard Harrow.

Richard is a one-man army core. In “Two Imposters,” we saw Richard arming himself with everything from a few handguns to a sniper rifle. By himself, he’ll probably clean up half of Gyp’s men just to rescue Tommy from his grandmother, Gillian.

The Boardwalk Empire Season 3 finale airs tonight on HBO at 9PM, with brand new performance from Patti Smith. Let the bodies hit the floor.

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Finale gets a new performance from Patti Smith

“Let the bodies hit the floor… let the bodies hit the floor… let the bodies hit the… … …”

The Boardwalk Empire Season 3 finale is upon us. And with it comes a brand new performance from living legend Patti Smith.

The rock’n’roll great has recorded a special performance of “I Ain’t Got Nobody” – made especially for the finale.

EDITOR’S PICK: 5 Badass Moments from Boardwalk Empire 5.11: Two Imposters

What does that mean? You need to tune in. This may not be a series finale, but “I Ain’t Got Nobody” will be almost as epic as hearing “Midnight Train” cue up from Journey at the end of The Sopranos series finale.

*Photo by Anton Corbijn

5 Badass Moments from ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 3 Episode 11: ‘Two Imposters’

Last night’s Boardwalk Empire was “last act of Scarface” awesome, putting on a clinic for how gangster story dramas should reach a crescendo.

The penultimate episode of Boardwalk Empire’s third season, ‘Two Imposters’ was a tense, explosive showing with nearly all of the third season’s plotlines coming to a head.

Here are five downright badass moments from the episode:

Nucky’s “shotty”

As Eddie picks up the Ritz phone line to dial out for help, he realizes that there’s no dial tone. That means Gyp’s guys are already at Nucky’s place of residence. Nucky takes out a trio of bad guys, the first with a shot to the head. He then steals said gangster’s shotgun and makes work of the other two THROUGH a closed door. If season 2 showed Nucky inching close to becoming a full gangster, this moment sealed the deal.

Eddie’s makeshift surgery

Eddie has contributed to Boardwalk’s rare attempts at comic relief, but he showed his true colors when Nucky’s back was against the wall. After taking a bullet at the Ritz gun battle with Gyp’s men, Eddie is forced to undergo a makeshift surgery at Chalky’s place. Nothing says gangster-on-the-run like skipping an ‘unsafe’ hospital for the anonymity of a safehouse bullet extraction.

Chalky and Gyp face off

Gyp does his best to convince Chalky to give up Nucky, but to no avail. Chalky didn’t develop his business acumen overnight and he knows that, even with Gyp’s $25,000 bounty, Nucky is the better long-term play… that’s if he survives.

Richard Harrow’s gun collection

Are you ready for the gun show? I hope Gillian Darmody is. After launching a barrage of insults Richard’s way, Gillian proceeds to kick him out of the brothel and away from Jimmy’s son. This proves to piss Richard off so much that he dusts off his gun collection, ready to storm the brothel and take out everyone in sight. Will he get to Gillian in the Season 3 finale? I’m betting on yes.

Al Capone to the rescue

Here he comes to save the day! Al Capone has been used sparingly this season, but I don’t think anyone was happier to see him show up with a gun-toting entourage (and Eli) than Nucky. His line at the end (said while chomping on his trademark cigar) will surely go down as one of the best of the series:

“I need a bath, some chow, and then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies.”

Nucky becomes a lonely island on Boardwalk Empire (Season 3, Episode 9)

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Episode 9, The Milkmaid’s Lot

boardwalk empire

“You have to understand. No matter what you think of me. There’s no walking away. It doesn’t work like that. I do it to them or they do it to me. That’s all there is.” – Nucky Thompson

In every season of Boardwalk Empire, there is a point where countless plot threads come together to reveal an end game.

In Episode 3.8, “The Pony,” Gyp Rosetti rigged a bomb to kill Nucky Thompson and Arnold Rothstein. It was the war waiting to happen, sealed with a detonator. Of course, Gyp missed his opportunity. What can you do? Despite all the different character arcs, Boardwalk Empire wouldn’t be much of a show without Nucky. Instead of killing either Nucky or Arnold, Gyp killed Billie, Nucky’s mistress. Nucky escaped with a concussion. Lucky him – or not.

Although Nucky had a few “brain farts” (he thought Chalky was one of his servants and he accidentally gave Billie’s earring to Margaret) in Episode 3.9, he managed to muster up his mental faculties so that he could meet with all the bosses from Atlantic City to New York.

They showed up out of respect. However, Arnold, Waxey and the rest decided it was time to part ways with Mr. Thompson. Now, the future doesn’t bode well for this lonely king of the Boardwalk.

Without the other families to back him up, he’s outnumbered and outgunned. Gyp has the support of Joe Masseria (James Ciccone), whose army easily trumps that of Nucky.

The battlefield isn’t the only place where Nucky lacks support. As if you didn’t already know, things aren’t going so well for his marriage. Margaret and Owen are planning to run away from Atlantic City and never look back.

Margaret got a bigger taste of the real Nucky in “The Milkmaid’s Lot.”

“Stay, you belong here with me,” Nucky firmly said to Margaret. Then, in front of her, Nucky told Eli and Owen that he planned to wear Gyp’s “guts like a necktie.” Not exactly the best way to rekindle a marriage teetering on disaster.

The Boardwalk Empire Season 3 finale is fast approaching. Mr. Thompson is a man alone, deserted by “friends,” business partners and family. Nucky’s going to have to do something more magical than juggling a few eggs to get out of this dire predicament.

Favorite Moment from The Milkmaid’s Lot
– It’s always great to hear Gyp’s responses to minor characters. He always manages to take a simple comment and twist it into something that “pisses” him off. In the opening scene, Gyp stormed Tabor Heights to set up shop. His first stop was an uncomfortable meeting for Sheriff Ramsey.

Sheriff Ramsey: “Gyp, good to see you again”
Gyp: “What’s so good about it? You miss my company? You like the way I look? You some kind of fanook?”
Ramsey promptly got a beating afterwards.

– Richard Harrow finally has a girlfriend. Yay!

– Gyp wearing the general’s hat. He really is crazy.

Boardwalk Empire on iTunes
Boardwalk Empire, Season 2 - Boardwalk Empire

The brighter side of Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Episode 7: Sunday Best

Prepare to see a different side of the newest gangster to strike Atlantic City in Boardwalk Empire Episode 3.07, “Sunday’s Best.”

We’ve been waiting for the war to ramp up between Gyp (Bobby Cannavale) and Nucky and based on the early “Sunday Best” previews, Gyp will declare war tonight.

Although there are nearly ten different story lines going on at any given point on Boardwalk Empire, we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Richard Harrow (Jack Huston). He’s been masterless ronin since Jimmy died. Still he’s had a few good scenes this season, including the scene when he got revenge for Jimmy by killing Manny (William Forsythe) in “Resolution.” And who can forget the great moment when he punked Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) for “shooting his mouth off” regarding Manny’s murder?

Margaret’s (Kelly Macdonald) story arc has been a bore for the majority of Season 3. However, her rekindled affair with Owen (Charlie Cox) in “Ging Gang Goolie” added a little spice to her character.

The Margaret-Owen affair reminds me of the brief would-be fling between Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) and Furio (Federico Castelluccio) on The Sopranos – except Furio never had the chance to seal the deal. Furio was simply sent back to Europe when Tony got wind of a potential affair, I’m sure Owen would be dealt a worse fate should Nucky find out Owen is actually bedding his wife.

In this clip from Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Episode 7, “Sunday Best,” we see a very different Gyp. The bootlegging gangs may be afraid of him, but his family has a different perspective.

Boardwalk Empire Episode 3.06 Lead-in: War Brewing & Alden’s Coming of Age

Four fatalities. None of them Rosetti’s.

boardwalk empire

Every season on Boardwalk Empire, we wait for that crucial turn – where a dialogue heavy drama snares us in with an action hook.

When Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) was introduced in “Resolution,” we knew that he would be this season’s proverbial “bad guy.” The ill-humored gangster steadily created problems for Nucky (Steve Buscemi) throughout the first four episodes of Boardwalk Empire‘s third season. Rosetti took control of the road in Tabor Heights, thereby blocking Nucky’s whiskey route from New Jersey to New York.

Then, in episode 5, “You’d Be Surprised,” Nucky went on the offensive. He sent an assassin to murder Gyp. Unfortunately, the shooter only succeeded in killing everyone but Rosetti, including a paperboy.

Now, the stage has been set for the second half of Boardwalk Empire – the half where things happen. War will most assuredly breakout on the Boardwalk. This isn’t like the Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) battle of old. Jimmy and Nucky shared a pseudo-family bond, which made their “beef” intriguing. Plus Eli’s involvement in trying to usurp Atlantic City from his brother added in an additional layer of interest. Most fans rooted for team Jimmy, even though they knew Nucky would be the inevitable winner in that fight.

In the case of Gyp, we have no vested interest in seeing Gyp survive. To be blunt, he’s just a jerk who likes killing people. His jokes feel like a coin toss from Batman’s Two-Face character: heads you live, tails you die. Gyp also has an asphyxiation fetish.

In “Bone for Tuna,” Nucky had a vision of his stepson getting shot. We’ll see how quickly this premonition plays out. Based on what’s happened so far, it would seem as though Gyp will take the war to Nucky’s family.

Another character thread is also beginning to take flight. Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and his new wife have committed murder in Chicago. So far, Van Alden’s character arc has been bland and disconnected with the Jersey story. However, it now looks as though he will reluctantly invest himself in organized crime. He’s gone to one of Chicago’s crime bosses for help with disposing of a body. A debt like that never gets paid in full.

In this clip from Episode 3.06, Gillian Darmody spots a familiar face, who reminds her of her son.

This second clip features Harry Daugherty and focuses in on Nucky’s legal problems. The nasty word indictment comes up again.