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Boardwalk Empire: Series Finale Recap

It's hard to believe that after five years ; comes the end of an empire. The Martin Scorsese- Mark Whalberg produced show reached it's series finale last Sunday in front of millions on HBO. What made the show so poplar with fans was it's uncanny resemblance to actual historical events as well as spot on casting, gratuitous sex scenes and large displays of violence. The show's last episode opens similar to past episodes this season with Nucky taking his first swim on the shore in 40 years before jumping into a flashback.

Meanwhile Senator Joe Kennedy is trying to convince a room full of gentlemen that Roosevelt will be in office and that the repeal is a certainty. Nucky’s shrewd & crafty stock manipulation has them all nervous; later Mr. Kennedy visits Margaret to assure that they won’t drop out of the Mayflower stock, however Margaret convinces him to do some of his own manipulation. The two wait for the stocks to plummet and it makes Kennedy a load of cash( This might possibly be one reason behind the Kennedy Family's famed wealth). Kennedy later tells Margaret that he wants to work with her again.

The End Of Capone's Reign In Chicago

AL Capone is finally in trouble for tax evasion, this is a federal crime that the mayor can’t save him from.Much to his brother Ralph's chagrin ;Al’s confident that throwing cash around will get him out of trouble. That evening Al goes home to his family and sits down to talk to his only son who is deaf. AL tells his son that he may be going away for a while, revealing to the audience that Al is aware of the reality of his situation. His son is crushed by the news and yells out for his dad. The two embrace one last time . Al’s limited screen time with his son has been one of my favorite parts of the series, I wish they would have done more this this relationship in the series. The next morning, Al puts on his game face on at the courthouse. He poses for pictures and tips his hat to Federal Agent DiMaggio who is waiting up the steps.
The Crime Syndicate/Mafia 

Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel are feeling ecstatic about taking over Nucky’s empire and litterally bringing him to his knees. Luciano states in a meeting that he wants to do the same to Waxy Gordon, Dr. Narcisse and anyone who isn’t with them. Bugsy Siegel tells the group that he wants to take out “their friend,” and Luciano agrees to it. Lucky hosts the first meeting of the interstate crime commission. Luciano’s philosophy is that if it’s good for business, it’s good for the commission. Meanwhile in Harlem , Narcisse walks out of a church and gets shot to death by two of Luciano's gunmen., signalling more territory for Luciano.


Nucky makes his rounds, saying goodbye to old friends and family. First he goes to see Gillian and tells her that he’s powerless to help her get out of the hospital. She just sits and plays with ladybugs. As their meeting is over, it appears that Dr. Cotton has attempted to remove psychosis from her abdomen; as she has difficulty standing up. Nucky tells her that if she can make it out, he has a trust fund setup for her to start a new life on the outside. Nucky leaves and there is no further mention of Gillian so from this it appears that she is doomed.

Later Margaret meets up with Nucky in Manhattan where Nucky is looking at a huge apartment. She reveals that their scheme netted two million, and she made almost thirty thousand with her own scheme. Nucky basically tells her that he’s out of the business. They share a dance, and the show hints at them rekindling something as Nucky plans to leave behind Atlantic City for good.

The next day Nucky is seen strolling in depression on the boardwalk, where he is encountered by a futuristic fortune teller. There’s a makeshift television inside revealing the same fortune teller. I am not really sure what to make of this, It is probably more of Terrance Winters easter egg. He then stops by Eli’s apartment. He tells Eli that it’s best if they don’t see each other again. Eli’s scared to go back home to his wife, but Nucky tells him he should try. After Nucky leaves, Eli finds a bag full of bundles of cash, a razor, and a gopher tail shaving brush.


The finale picks up with Nucky taking an ocean swim before dawn, then quickly flashing back to Nucky as a young deputy. He gives the Commodore a pitch to become Sheriff, and he replies that “it’s about what you leave behind.” Nucky is trying to use his knowledge of the Commodore’s wrongdoings as leverage into the position of Sheriff.

Nucky returns home to Mabel to find some bloody clothes on the floor. She’s had a miscarriage. Mabel’s disassociated herself from it, saying it’s a “mishap.” Just then, young Eli beats on the door saying their mother needs him.

Nucky reaches home to find his mother’s been beaten by their father. Nucky’s ready to brawl but his father points a shotgun at him. Nucky walks right up to the barrel. He finds his father is really upset that he hasn’t been told that Nucky is expecting a child. Nucky gets him to put the gun down, but then gets slugged in the face. The fight gets broken up, but Nucky threatens that if he hits his mother one more time, he’ll “get what he deserves.”
On the boardwalk, at a large boardwalk parade, Nucky sees Gillian in the parade. She runs from him but is caught. He wants her to get away from Atlantic City for her own good. Nucky is called away to the Commodore who requests Nucky’s badge; he’s fired for not showing that he wants to make something of himself. Nucky walks away stunned but Commodore’s second hand man brings Nucky a test. Commodore wants Gillian, and Nucky will be Sheriff if he delivers her. This is when the flashbacks and the final scene intertwine.It is finally revealed that Nucky is the one who enslaved Gillian to the Commodore.

Nucky goes back to his to the club to collect his belongings. While there Nucky gets a call that his young former employee is drunk and causing a ruckus. Nucky takes him out and tells him how he came to be. The boy has no home and nowhere to go. Nucky leaves after the boy rips up a $100 bill Nucky gives him. He heads down the boardwalk when the young man catches up to him. “When Mima talked about you, I couldn’t tell if it was love or hate.” Nucky asks who he is: “Tommy Darmody.” Tommy shoots Nucky in the chest twice, then once in the face to seal the deal.

The role of Gillian in this season began to make sense with the large portion of the episodes that were dedicated to flashbacks to Nucky’s youth in which, after promising to protect Gillian, hands her over to the discusting pervert Commodore. This was all a way of telling us that Nucky is a bad person, not the hero, and by the time you figure out what he did to Gillian, you’re just waiting for him to die. Nucky gave up Gillian. Nucky killed Jimmy. Would Tommy really have figured all of this out? If not, did he have a motive to hate Nucky? Either way, I like the twist, and love the way the season built up to it.

It was nice of Terence Winter not to leave the ending so ambiguous and ending open to interpretation. Here, we get Nucky’s past coming back to repay him just as we learn that he’s a terrible human being. Although sad, this was a more then fine ending to the series.

What were your thoughts on the finale ? Let us know in the comment field or tweet us @WITINRADIO 

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