By Jim Muntisov
Boardwalk Empire came full circle in “Eldorado”, the final episode of the series. It showed us the fates of many of the characters still standing, and it closed out Nucky Thompson’s journey from penny catching child to half-gangster.
One of the most heartfelt moments of the episode and the series came when Al Capone turned himself into the authorities. He said goodbye to his deaf son, and we saw a realism and heart to the man mostly seen as psychotic and attention seeking. Having Capone’s story end with him posing for the camera’s while turning himself in was fitting to the man, and the character developed by Stephen Graham for 5 years.
Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel set their place in history at the end of the series as the new guard. They were all kids when the series started, but now they are the Nucky’s and the Masaria’s of the world. There end was basically an acceptance of this fact and a quiet appreciation of how far they came.
Margaret and Eli both came out alive in the end, two characters whose fates were not predetermined by history. Margaret won at the stock exchange, getting Nucky and her out of a legal battle with Rothstein’s wife. She came out most unscathed, although her years with Nucky left a mark. Eli also managed to get out clean, even if he’s lost the love of his wife and the respect of his son. Nucky gave Eli most of his money and a razor to clean himself up.
Nucky’s story was one that began to feel somewhat shallow after he murdered Jimmy Darmody. He changed, and he just became a less compelling character. What we didn’t know about Nucky is that he took a dark path when he was younger and allowed the Commodore to use a teenage Gillian Darmody as his plaything. Nucky’s story has always been tied to the Darmody’s, and that’s the irony of the series in a way. He was never going to be killed by Luciano or Capone or any other criminal organisation. It was going to be because of what he had done to the Darmody’s.
So the kid we were introduced to earlier in season 5 was Tommy Darmody, Jimmy’s son. It wasn’t as shocking as it could have been because it was a popular theory online among fans. Tommy killed Nucky, just as the IRS came to arrest him. Seeing Nucky with a gunshot in the same place where he shot Jimmy was a nice touch.
Boardwalk Empire is a series that produced fantastic characters, many violent deaths and a slice of history never really captured on screen before. I will miss this series. It wasn’t as great as it should have been, but it kept me wanting more. I was satisfied with the ending, and I hope that the next Scorsese/Winters HBO series can be just as great as Boardwalk was.
Jim Muntisov is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.