Boardwalk Empire Review: Forgive and Forget?

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It should've been Gillian.

The season finale of Boardwalk Empire asked us to drink a toast "To the Lost." There have been lots of lives taken over the last 12 weeks, but only few have been as horribly moving as the most recent deaths of Angie and Jimmy. The tragic ending to a stellar season was all too fitting, as the series has become a little darker each week.

Unfortunately, this episode was not the best representation of the drama as a whole. For the most part, there were no surprises. Yes, Jimmy's death was shocking, but it wasn't unexpected... not even for Jimmy.

Nucky on the Move

Jimmy spent the majority of this episode saying his goodbyes. He made things right with Chalky, and even then Richard told him that it won't be as easy to smooth out his relationship with Nucky. Jimmy knew it, and we knew it too. But that didn't make Jimmy stop from trying to make his former father-figure happy again. Killing Neery wasn't so much about self-preservation because Jimmy always knew what would happen if his plan to take over the city failed. His actions were more of an apology, a way of showing that he was sorry for picking the wrong father.

Jimmy finally opened and exposed his inner turmoil to the people who mattered most to him. He admitted to having his doubts about the Commodore and how his only joy came from one moment of fatherly pride. Jimmy spent some quality time with his son and left Tommy with a little memento of his dad. He tried to reach out to Richard to keep him from letting the trauma of the war overtake him. In his final words to Nucky, Jimmy admitted that his life really ended during the war:

I died in the trench, years back. I thought you knew that.

But I think part of Jimmy died before that... like when his mother seduced him, screwed him and abandoned him with the shame of it. It should've been Gillian, but perhaps she'll understand the part she played in her son's death. It was a sad and violent end for Jimmy, and even though we expected it, I couldn't help but wish that Nucky's coin toss had a different outcome.

Jimmy's character brought an emotional depth to the show that can't be easily replaced. The crazy family drama that he played out in his mind and in real life added so much to the plot. Not only were his storylines intriguing to watch, he was such a flawed and complex character. From a fan's perspective, I hate the decision to kill off Jimmy. Yet, in the context of the story, it wouldn't have made sense for Nucky to forgive Jimmy.

Was it a bad move to kill Jimmy?

Jimmy's death wasn't the only part of the episode that felt predictable. The quick disintegration of the case against Nucky was also an anticipated outcome, although not as fluidly handled. I did like the great juxtaposition of Randolph practicing her opening remarks interspersed with scenes of her case falling apart, but it just felt too neatly executed. This trial has been looming over Nucky's head all season and it was resolved far too quickly.

Also, we knew that Nucky and Margaret's marriage was the only option for keeping Margaret's mouth shut and Nucky out of jail. However, I didn't expect her to cave quite so quickly. Having tried the angry, shouting tactic in attempting to reason with Margaret, Nucky took a softer approach. In seeming honesty, he confessed that he loved her and that his new family was more important than anything else. He expressed remorse for his actions and fear for his future in hopes that his vulnerability would win Margaret over. She wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe him. But it all felt a little too rehearsed and well-timed.

I'm sure Nucky does love his little family very much, but he will always put himself first and his money second. This became quite clear to Margaret as well and she enacted her own little revenge. I can't wait to see the results of her decision to sign over his deeds to the church next season. 

It did become clear that Margaret feels much less for Nucky now than she did even just a few episodes ago. And I actually feel the same way. His decision to kill Jimmy definitely fit with everything we know about his character, but it was so coldly executed that I can't find much to enjoy about Nucky anymore.

How do you feel about Nucky now? And what's going to happen with the "Muellers" (aka Van Alden and Nanny) next year?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (80 Votes)

I get it. Jimmy was a good diverse character and everyone loved him, but I am getting sick of people giving the show so much shit for it. They clearly were coming to this point from the beginning. Jimmy knew it, and was ready for it. That's why he didn't bring a gun or Richard. This is one of the best written shows on television and everything happens for a reason. Jimmy was supposed to die, he had nothing left. He bedded his mother, he killed his real father, he got his wife killed, he betrayed his other father, and he never really felt as if he came back from the war. I know it's hard to see good characters go but that's what good stories call for.


It's unfortunate that Boardwalk's writers killed off Jimmy and Angie. Their
relationship was believable and endearing and greatly needed to counter-balance the horrendous graphic violence depicted in this series over two
seasons. Jimmy and Angela brought the only lightness to be found in this show so far. The other characters are so one dimensional. You can always predict what Nucky will do. I was not surprised that he killed Jimmy. He's always a selfish @@####. Gillian and Margaret are portrayed as manipulative women whose actions generally flow with no surprises. The Commodore was an interesting character, but now he's gone. So we are left with a plethora of murderous thugs who are simply not very interesting to watch. There are two exceptions among the gangsters...Michaal Stuhlbarg's portrayal of Arnold Rothstein and Jack Huston's portrayal of Richard Harrow are just wonderful. I hope the writers don't kill them off any time soon. With the current acting crew (exceptions noted) and the penchant of the writers for non-stop graphic violence, I don't see how Boardwalk Empire can last beyond Season 3. It's too bad, because the art direction, cinematography, costumes and music are outstanding. I fault the writers for this show's failure to garner major Emmy nominations for Season 2. Michael Pitt, Aleksa Pollini, Michael Stuhlbarg and Jack Huston have been the Best of Boardwalk so far.


Jimmy was a straight boss who cared for Nucky and Richard the only way a boss knows how. Too bad Nucky shot him because Jimmy blew every one's brains out who crossed him and slit throats like its nobody's business, but they took him out and most likely are going to replace him with the new rival boss character that none of the other bosses like in Season 3. Damn, Jimmy was a bad ass actor that made the series what it was. Too bad they let him go, it seems like they could have built a lot more with the duo team of Jimmy n Richard. Those two foo's dished out some hard ass sh*t.

Anna maria

I can't believe Nucky trusted his idiot brother over Jimmy and cold heatedly killed him! Jimmy deserved it before but this episode he redeemed himself! Nucky turned into a monster and Margaret into a really annoying person! They killed off the only one left with a soul! I won't watch this anymore. Ever.


I agree that Nucky was a more interesting character when he had a conscience. I was very sad to see him kill Jimmy so cold-heartedly. Given the way he's been portrayed for 2 seasons, I felt like his character would be able to forgive Jimmy. But maybe Nucky is more evil than any of us realized or wanted to admit.


I don't care what happens to Nucky, Van Alden, or Margaret next! No Jimmy, non mi importa niente.


I like the post by Pam Blakely, that this could be a huge ruse and setup that Jimmy has been so violently killed by Nucky. It would make no sense to me otherwise given that Jimmy more or less got Nucky off the hook. I suspect that the twist will be that Jimmy turns up in episode 2 or 3 of the next season leaving us thinking that Nucky is this ruthless killer who cares less for those he loves/ed. Margaret, I suspect will become more ruthless whilst justifying to herself that she's doing it all in God's name. I can't wait for the next season to start and disagree with others here about Jimmy's demise. I doubt it really was and suspect that he and Nucky are much closer than people think and there's some grand scheming going on with Jimmy being brought back into the fore. It wouldn't make much sense otherwise, as Nucky is not a stone cold killer, much less kill someone who sees as his son.


You ruined the show .killing Jimmy Dormandy off, how stupid , he was the most interesting caracter his relationship with Nucky and his mother were the basis for the emotional part of this series, It makes no sense. I give up watching this show, it sucks!


At least they didn't pull off a "Walking Dead", in which one of the characters should've died like in the comics, and yet he is still around just because he's popular.


The commentary at the end of the show did say that Jimmy was dead. I don't agree with the ending. It made me completely indifferent to Nucky, when I really liked him from ep one on. Now I couldn't care less what happens to him, his money, his smug wife, his obnoxious kids. Don't care if he wins or loses. I don't think he believes Eli. He needs Eli to sit in jail for him for killing Peggy's husband. Either Manny will be forgotten or he'll die soon too. I could have bet my house Peggy would sign the property to the church. Hope this isn't shades of things to come, with a standard mobster lead and predictable plots twists and shocks that aren't shocking to anyone who has watched tv for any length of time. When Nucky was a man with a conscience, it was interesting. This path to the dark side is yawn.

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Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Episode 12 Quotes

Flip a coin. When it's in the air, you'll know what side you're hoping for.


If there really was a God, would he have given me this mug?