Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What I’m Watching: Boardwalk Empire (Series Finale)

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4, Episode 8 “Eldorado”

I’m not sure what I expected from this finale. I always remember this show’s third season as being its standout, and while I stand by that, its first two years were pretty terrific too, and its fourth year wasn’t all that bad either. Jumping ahead so many years to the 1930s was a bold and perhaps unnecessary move that I don’t feel helped the show all that much, and cramming everything into eight episodes while multitasking with flashbacks to Nucky’s past was hardly the fitting opportunity to say goodbye that show like this deserved. Sadly, that seems to be the trend these days, with many shows returning for abbreviated final seasons with double-decker episodes to wrap everything up as quickly and dramatically as possible. I’ll admit that I couldn’t remember what happened to Mabel prior to the start of the show, and therefore I was disappointed not to get much resolution to that (a visit to the show’s wiki reveals that she committed suicide after the death and burial of their child). Instead, it was all about the Darmodys, who didn’t feel relevant throughout this entire season but made a major return in the form of Gillian getting Nucky to come visit her and, of course, Tommy being the one to kill Nucky. It’s not the way we thought he would go – the two assassins sent by Lucky and Meyer were for Narcisse, not Nucky – and rather unceremonious as far as deaths go. For closure, we got Eli with plenty of money, Margaret also with plenty of money and a good business partner in Joe Kennedy, and the mob institution firmly and smartly established as Al went to jail for tax fraud. It’s hardly my idea of a complete and fulfilling finale, but I suppose this show was at its height when its characters were at their most prominent and successful, which didn’t always mean they were doing well but that someone else thought they were a threat.

Series finale: B-
Season grade: B
Season MVP: Steve Buscemi as Nucky
Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Michael Shannon as Nelson Van Alden/George Mueller
Best Season: Season 3
Best Episode: “Two Imposters

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