Thoughts on last night’s Boardwalk Empire finale

Because of yesterday’s hideous Tumblr Blackout ‘10 (do we have a name for this yet?), I wasn’t able to post this on time. So, here it is. 

Boardwalk Empire, 1x12 “A Return to Normalcy” (wri. Terrence Winter, dir. Tim Van Patten)

Previouslies: Meet Warren Harding, our horniest president; Jimmy and Nucky have had a turbulent first season; Van Alden fucked Lucy, skeeving everyone out and providing an insidiously logical reason to keep Paz de la Huerta employed; Gillian had Jimmy at 13 (!!) with that nasty-ass sexual predator The Commodore, who, 20-odd years later she tried to poison with Paris Green only to be foiled by her son, who suddenly and for some unknown reason sort of cares that his bastard of a dad lives to see another day; Arnold Rothstein, pool-playing, milk-drinking suave motherfucker of New York City, rigged the 1919 World Series, a pesky fact that just won’t go away; Nucky killed some dudes but let Meyer Lansky live (thanks, history!) so he could go tell Rothstein shit just got real in Atlantic City and he had become the leader of, to paraphrase Jon Hamm in The Town, The Not Fuckin’ Around Crew; Jimmy’s common law wife is a big ol’ lesbian who had planned on running away to Paris with their son and her lesbian lover until—oops—she was totally ditched and Jimmy knows about it and it was super awkward; Eli’s recovered from his gunshot wound but not from his propensity for fuck-ups so Nucky’s like, LOL BYE and makes Mr. Incredible sheriff; Van Alden went off his already pretty batshit rails and totally drowned Agent Sebso mid-baptism (RIP); Nucky and Margaret got into this huuuuge fight because Nucky killed her husband in the first episode and she left his ass. Oh, yeah, and RICHARD FUCKING HARROW.

Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. Let’s do this.

  • Jesus Christ, Van Alden!
  • I feel like “Jesus Christ, Van Alden!” is just gonna be the tip of the iceberg with his episode.
  • Although I do love a good bitch slap, can’t deny.
  • A heart attack? Yeah, his heart was attacked by some water! BOOM.
  • These Republic blowhards are such idiots. Surprising no one.
  • Those are huge glasses of Scotch.
  • Robert Burns’ poem.
  • Gurl, you are so dumb.
  • Some nice little race relations scenes so far this episode. Glad to see BE hasn’t abandoned that story thread after the lynching of Chalky’s driver.
  • Badass scarecrow costume, kid!
  • Rothstein going to Scotland, Robert Burns…definitely theme brewing here.
  • Is this the first time we’ve seen Rothstein outside in this series?
  • Epic Michael Stuhlbarg bitchface.
  • Jimmy is a very understanding and compassionate man for his time. I’ll admit, I like his character (and Michael Pitt’s performance) more with every passing episode.
  • Nucky’s family :(
  • OMG, his son was one week old. And it seems his wife died, probably, due to grief, soon after.
  • But I’m surprised this was only 7-8 years prior to 1920. I figured Nucky’s tragedy happened when he was much younger.
  • Gives new dimension to the exchange in the pilot when Margaret offers to name her child after Nucky and he says, “Enoch? You couldn’t possibly be so cruel.”
  • OMG, I just want to hug him now.
  • Haha. Nice moment on the phone with Torrio.
  • Nucky’s going as a member of The Crazy 88s, I guess!
  • "Leave it on. It suits you. A dapper villain in a Sunday serial." Margaret Schroeder Appreciation Life.
  • The staging of this scene with Nucky’s shadow extending across the floor…ugh, so good.
  • Holy shit, BUSCEMI. EMMY, PLEASE.
  • This speech is causing me physical pain. My heart!
  • "Mr. Thompson." // "Mrs. Schroeder." // "I’m pleased to have finally made your acquaintance." AHHHHHHHHHH…!!!
  • Oh, God. From one broken domestic situation to another. There are few things I want more in life than for Van Alden’s wife to leave him and get liberated. Run, woman! Flee!
  • Yeah, making ultimatums with God usually works out, Nelson.
  • So many Rothstein bitchfaces in this episode.
  • This scene is so “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
  • Wow, that was huge. The big dust up everyone was predicting for the finale was averted…or so it seems.
  • And I like how in that exchange, Jimmy comes off as the least stable of the underlings. Capone’s obviously grown up.
  • A little surprised Richard Harrow didn’t show up, though. Maybe they preferred to have him keeping tabs on things at home.
  • Hey! Speak of the devil!
  • I’ll never stop loving Richard Harrow. I don’t care how many D’Alessios—be they child, mother, or dentist—he kills.
  • Boom, headshot!
  • Jimmy, doing his best Sweeney Todd impression!
  • Goddamn, I do love a sweet, sweet assassination montage. Obvious Godfather allusions aside.
  • "And God bless America!" :D
  • Oh, I love this scene. Shakin’ hands, kissin’ babies. Seems Nucky can be 100% gangster and 100% politician at the same time.
  • Drunk Jimmy is very entertaining.
  • LOL this bitch…you’re not gonna live in the White House, lady!
  • Of course, by refusing Nucky’s money, Margaret’s already on her way to be destitute…
  • Ha! Van Alden thinks it’s Margaret—I feared the same—but no! Lucy strikes back!
  • HOLY SHIT! That kid has some fucked up DNA.
  • The Big Scene: setting up season two. Lines drawn in the sand and all that. Still, I hope Jimmy doesn’t side with The Commodore. Eli seems too gutless to actually do any damage. We shall see.
  • Eddie Cantor again.
  • Gorgeous shot of Margaret’s entrance.
  • Ah, this scene! So much history between the characters, so many call backs—the ballroom, the champagne. Love love love.
  • "Pipe down, lady!" Babette finally has lines!
  • Harding’s famous speech.
  • Seems Nucky and Margaret have got to healing pretty quickly.
  • Yay, Chalky got to go to the party!
  • Jimmy on the beach: too on the noise, Boardwalk Empire. C’mon. We watch those opening credits every week.
  • Nice touch: the billboard for Gillette’s safety razor. Too late to save Nucky’s wife…
  • "Life’s a very funny proposition, after all…"
  • And the money shot: that gorgeous, gorgeous boardwalk. In a new light: dawn.

Analysis: Great episode. Great finale. Great inaugural season. Needed more Richard Harrow.

  1. manueluv said: oh, and sorry about my typo. That’s a sign. *sighs*
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