Boardwalk Empire, Season 5, Episode 7: “Friendless Child”

By Jim Muntisov

via A.V. Club
via A.V. Club

In its penultimate episode, “Boardwalk Empire” brings Nucky Thompson to his knees. Nucky is confronted by Luciano and Lansky and Eli’s son Willie gets wrapped up in their business. We get a few more deaths and another good flashback, all leading to the final episode which all seems to be pointing to an old face from the show.

Let’s start with Nucky’s losses. After kidnapping Bugsy Siegel, Luciano takes Willie hostage, opening the two of them for a trade. At the trade, we see Nucky at his least volatile – He tells his men not to shoot even after Luciano kills Mickey Doyle and Archie. It was funny to see Doyle killed for opening his big mouth. The greedy cat got what was coming to him, though it was sad to see Archie killed in the crossfire.

When the deal went bad, Nucky was forced to kill Maranzano to get Willie back. It’s sad to see him trying to escape his uncle’s empire and take to the right side of the law only to constantly get dragged into Nucky and Eli’s mess. Although, looking back, he did kill a kid in college, so maybe he deserves it – he’s technically a criminal.

The flashback this episode gave us a deeper glimpse into Gillian’s past. We also got into rough territory between Nucky and Mabel as they can’t agree on how to handle Gillian. It’s was chilling to see Nucky’s first dark deed he performed for the Commodore. Because Nucky is the protagonist, it’s easy to forget he’s just a criminal, as bad as Capone, Luciano or Rosetti. He seems to have more of a heart, but he’s just as ruthless. To see the much more innocent Nucky have to deal with a teenager the Commodore raped was tough to watch. Kudos to Marc Pickering who plays young Nucky. He’s brilliant.

It’s becoming clear that as the show comes to a close, it’s all coming back to Jimmy Darmody. There was a clear reason Gillian stayed in the show and that’s to keep him alive in the story. Richard Harrow did it earlier by caring for Tommy, and now with these flashbacks, all pieces are coming together.

A little prediction as to what will be the end of “Boardwalk Empire” – Nucky will go to rescue Gillian, you’ll find out in the flashbacks that Nucky sleeps with Gillian and Jimmy was actually Nucky’s son not the Commodore’s. Nucky will admit to Gillian that he killed Jimmy and Gillian will kill Nucky and then herself. What do you think of that? I’m still really interested in seeing where the other characters will end up. And I really want to see Al Capone put in Alcatraz.

Though waning in viewership over the last couple seasons, “Boardwalk Empire” has been a great series, and let’s hope with one episode left, it can maintain a worthy legacy.

Jim Muntisov is a contributing writer.  Email him at


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