Screens: HBO

A Handshake Would've Been Fine

The final Boardwalk Empire is a series of goodbyes -- with one important new introduction.

  • Previously

    Everything, Pretty Much

    Last week, we watched young Nucky and his wife taking care of wee Gillian, while Luciano and crew took care of shooting Mickey Doyle in the neck. It was that kind of week on the Boardwalk Empire!

  • Hell No!
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    Hey, Everyone! Let's Put On A Show For The Commodore!

    Dear kids, especially girl kids: let's never do this. In Flashback Land, the season's in full swing and some dumb person has brought a whole group of young girls in risque, wrist-revealing outfits to recite poetry for the Kreepy Kommodore. Why, it's like Christmas in July for this horrifying perv!

  • Hell Yeah!
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    The Kennedy, Schooled

    When Joe Kennedy finds out the Mayflower Grain Corporation stocks are being shorted, he heads to Connors and Gould to get answers. Margaret tells him to get on board with her "client" (Nucky) and make a bunch of money. Joe says he has to call his broker. Margaret, cool as anything, shoves a phone at him. Oh, and she, in fact, makes him a fortune.

  • That Quote
    "Here's an experiment for you: think about the things you want in life. And then picture yourself in a dress."
    - Margaret Thompson -
  • Plot Lightning Round

    The Al Capone Story

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    Al knows he's being pinched for tax evasion. His solution?

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    Joke it up with everybody...

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    Tell his wife nothing's wrong...

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    And visit with his boy. When's the last time we saw Junior? Season 1? But according to Al, it was all for his son. All of it! The murder, the crime, the debilitating syphilis Al is carrying with him to prison. It's a familiar refrain from the very worst of Boardwalk's rogues -- they're always doing it all for someone, aren't they? -- and yet...

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    We got a little weepy anyway. Damn you, Al Capone, we just can't stay mad at you!

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    Even Mike "Actual Name Malone" D'Angelo has to give it up.

  • Meeting Time
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    "Nice To See Old Friends"

    Who called the meeting? Gillian.

    What's it about? She's summoned Nucky to the hospital, where she's been receiving the best of treatment via Dr. Cotton.

    How'd it go? Well, Gillian's had some stuff removed, because Dr. Cotton is a fucking monster. Also, Nucky arranges for a private room and a trust for when she gets out, but none of this can fix what he did.

  • Flashback
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    What Nucky Did

    Tonight, as predicted by many, we see the moment when Nucky leads/feeds Gillian to the Commodore. But we also see where Young Nucky is in life: his wife has just miscarried, his father's still beating his mother, and the Commodore has stripped him of his deputy's badge -- because the Commodore has no faith in Nucky (to do the most vile possible shit). Everything he's worked for is slipping out of grasp. So when the Commodore spots young Gillian in the Neptune parade and sends word that there's a sheriff's badge in it if Nucky delivers the latest "act of charity," we know how awful all this is...but we understand.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Young Nucky vs. Dad

    Eli summons Nucky home to help: their father's been beating their mother again. Ethan brandishes a gun at Nucky -- turns out, he's mainly mad because Nucky didn't bother to tell him about his impending grandchild. Then they fight anyway, with Nucky managing to land most of the blows.

    Winner: Nucky's dad, but only because he gets to shout, "Wherever you think you're running, we're gonna be RIGHT HERE!" in heavy, meaningful echo.

  • Meeting Time
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    Monster Squad

    Who called the meeting? Lucky Luciano.

    What's it about? He's assembled the New York crime bosses to meet at a round table -- because there is no head, no capo di tutti capi, in the new order of things.

    How'd it go? This meeting, in real life, would invent modern organized crime -- so, pretty good.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Care Package

    Nucky and Eli, with Willie's rescue behind them, have a pretty definitive parting of the ways tonight. Nucky brings a bag of sandwiches and soda pop to Eli's deluxe penthouse apartment/storeroom. They share a final hug, and then Nucky leaves his little brother with thousands and thousands of dollars, and a shaving kit. Eli will spend the next three years trying to figure out how to shave money.

  • Passages
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    At Least He Got To See TV Before He Went

    Nucky dies tonight. More about that in a minute.

  • Character Study
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    "Did I Fool You? I Fooled You, Right?"

    Name: Joe Harper.
    Age: Early 20s.
    Occupation: Revenger.
    Goal: To pretend to be a homeless kid, and then to pretend to be helpful to Nucky Thompson, so that he's constantly in easy reach of the older man. And then, weeks after all that's been blown apart, to resurface and THEN kill Nucky. It's a plan so brilliant only the son of Jimmy Darmody could've hatched it.
    Sample Dialogue: "Tommy Darmody."
  • Place Of Interest
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    Atlantic City: Ocean Of Dreams

    Atlantic City: a place where a boy can grow up to live a better life than the one he was born into. A place where he can work hard and spread his wings and maybe one day he'll get to shoot a friend in the face. And then the child of that friend can grow up and get a job and wait it out and then shoot that first boy in the face.

  • Wrap It Up
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    Oh, and Dr. Narcisse dies -- in an almost offhand, throwaway manner. Luciano had him killed. We have no idea if Daughter and her daughter actually got away, since last we saw, Narcisse was heading straight out to go after her. Saving that one for the "Season Six" comic book, I guess!

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    Seriously, Nucky got to see television -- or a crude, early, pre-1939 World's Fair version.

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    Nucky and Margaret share a last dance at the Eldorado apartment building. Eldorado is, of course, the fabled "lost city of gold," though in Spanish it actually translates to "handy, all-purpose metaphor."

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    Nucky, we're gonna miss you and your kayak-sized footwear.

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