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?

To the Lost Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Episode 12 Quotes

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


Nucky: Eddie, Why is this bourbon empty?
Eddie: Someone drank it.
Nucky: You're cracking wise now.