A shortened final season, with a time jump and loss of several key characters hardly signals a great send off to a show but despite this Boardwalk Empire ended up triumphing and impressing with is final episodes.
I was concerned going into the season and those concerns took a while to ease away especially as the storyline focussed firmly on Nucky Thompson who may well be the main character but who always felt less compelling than those around him. Turns out though Boardwalk Empire knew what it was doing and the flashbacks which at first seemed to slow the plot down instead became vital to the tragic ending. Seeing young Nucky become the man he was at the expense of young Gillian’s innocence was undoubtedly gut-wrenching because whilst Nucky was never the good guy he was far less of a villain than his cable TV counterparts like Walter White. Yes he did terrible things but there were always people in Boardwalk Empire that much more despicable than Nucky.
Being the final season in a show where death is a common occurance other characters also said goodbye, Chalky White’s demise was heartbreaking and Van Alden a character that had come a long away since S1 had a moment where he finally let the world know who he really was. I’m glad that Eli managed to survive the slaughterhouse because his character development over the course of the five seasons led him to become one of my favourite characters.
In the end though the series concluded with Nucky, Nucky admitting that he can’t really help anyone even those he has harmed and despite being so desperate to get out and have a quiet life Nucky faced his fate at the hands of young Tommy Darmody. Now its a twist many people saw coming and yet in true Boardwalk Empire style it somehow works and feels fitting.
Boardwalk Empire has often been dismissed due to the many other great dramas around the last decade or so but I really think it deserves some due, it made the world of the 1920s and 30s come alive on screen, it gave us villians to hate and love and characters whose fate we cared about deeply.
Favourite episodes: Devil You Know / Eldorado