Boardwalk Empire: “Cuanto” Review

Boardwalk Empire Season 05 Episode 04

‘Boardwalk Empire’ continues to put its best foot forward during the final season as Nucky’s problems massively escalate.


Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!

The fact that there was a pretty significant time jump, which meant we missed a lot of big events, makes Boardwalk Empire’s short final season a little harder to bear. We’re at the halfway point now and I’ve enjoyed everything we’ve seen so far, so much so that I really wish we had been given a little bit more time with some of these characters. Watching Capone’s rise, Nucky’s power diminish, and so much more would have made for great television, but I guess there’s no real point crying over spilled milk at this stage. What we’re left with is still a very captivating show, and the events of “Cuanto” have really geared things up for these final four episodes.

One thing that the time jump has been used effectively for is giving the writers an opportunity to shake things up for certain characters. For example, we’ve seen a different Chalky this season, and in “Cuanto” we spent a significant amount of time seeing how those seven years affected Margaret. Her time spent getting drunk with Nucky here was rather sweet and thankfully didn’t descend into a huge, messy argument. He seemed rather impressed that she had managed to shake down Arnold Rothstein and had no doubt in his mind that she could tackle Rothstein’s wife on her own. I’m not sure if there could be any sort of romantic reunion down the road for the two of them, but for me, it felt as if the show was saying goodbye to their relationship in a way, while also reminding us of how close they once were.



Luciano and Lansky’s power grab continued moving forward, as Luciano met with Al Capone in a bid to get him on board with their way of thinking. Stephen Graham’s portrayal of Capone has been incredibly fun to watch throughout the series, and here we got to see Capone’s ruthless and unpredictable side in full swing. Throughout all of his scenes, you could never be quite certain whether Capone was having a laugh with somebody or was about to bash their skull in. As he proved by the end of the episode, sometimes it’s both of these. The two most important things to come from Luciano’s visit were his recognizing of Van Alden/Mueller, and his hinting at a move against Nucky. The Mueller stuff was fantastic, with the former prohibition officer using all of his wits, not only save his own skin but to also turn the tables on Luciano and force Capone to question him. From the very first moment he started working for Dean O’Bannion, we’ve been waiting for Mueller’s past as Van Alden to catch up with him. And now that Elliot Ness’ informant knows Mueller’s true identity, there will hopefully be a satisfying conclusion to a story that has been a little erratic in the past.

Luciano’s talk about possibly making a move against Nucky looks like it will start ushering us towards the end-game for the series. You could tell from Capone’s reaction when Nucky was mentioned that something was up, and I wasn’t too surprised to see him look to contact Nucky shortly after Luciano left. Now, Nucky may be down on his luck a little bit these days, but if he’s going to go to war with Luciano and Lansky, then an ally like Capone would be the perfect boon for his cause. Narcisse will also probably come into the equation in some form too, so we could see a couple of unlikely groups teaming up together by the end of the series.



The flashbacks once again proved to be a hit as young Nucky’s loss of innocence continued. From the creepy scene that foreshadowed the Commodore’s disgusting liking of young girls to his moment back at his house with Eli, Nucky certainly had a troubled childhood. The scene at the sheriff’s house was quite brilliant too, as Nucky burst into tears by simply catching a glimpse of what a normal family life could be like. I thought it was quite telling though that Nucky never managed to attain this for himself, and in fact the scene in the sheriff’s house reminded me of some of the scenes that have taken place in Eli’s home.

Nucky is pretty much alone in life, with no real family or even friends around him. All he has is his plan to become a legitimate alcohol provider once prohibition disappears, but even that has seemingly gone up in smoke now. Sally has been a good addition to the show and she certainly knew how to handle Nucky like no other woman we’ve seen, so seeing her go out that way was a sad end for the character. From the moment we saw those soldiers show up outside of her meeting, there was definitely a feeling that something bad would happen. Now she’s going to end up buried somewhere on the side of the road, and Nucky’s rum deal appears to be in shambles. It’ll be interesting to see how Nucky reacts to both of these losses. I’m guessing he may wind up throwing himself back into some illegal dealings and the pending war.


With four episodes down and four to go, Boardwalk Empire is doing its level best to ensure we get a satisfying conclusion to every remaining storyline. One thing that has impressed me so far has been the show’s ability to return to past storylines, put a different spin on them, and give us something new to look forward to. With a possible war on the horizon, I have a feeling that Sally won’t be the last person to meet their maker before those final credits roll.

Is there hope for Margaret and Nucky, or will a death be the end of them once and for all? Let us know in the comments below.


*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
About Michael Spring (159 Articles)
Michael Spring is a staff writer for If he's not playing Metal Gear or watching some excellent TV show, he's more than likely asleep. For some witty banter and the occasional rant about football, you can follow him @OldSnake24 on Twitter

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