“YET SOMEHOW LIFE’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT IT, AND SOMEHOW THE GOLD ISN’T ALL.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
After five seasons of dames, deceit, and death, Boardwalk Empire has come to an end. We were only left with a few unanswered questions coming into the finale, and thankfully we got an answer to each of them. Top of the list of questions was whether Nucky would make it out alive, and I was really hoping we’d get a firm answer instead of an ambiguous, The Sopranos-like ending. Well we definitely did get a solid, irrefutable answer, although it may have slightly disappointed some of you who could spot the twist coming a mile away.
So let’s get right to the biggest talking point: Tommy Darmody! If you’ve been keeping up with my weekly Boardwalk reviews, you’ll know that I had flip-flopped back and forth a little bit on the theory of whether or not young Joe was actually a vengeful Tommy Darmody. I started off a firm believer but found myself doubting it a little bit when “Joe” passed up a perfect opportunity to kill Nucky a couple of weeks ago. Once “Joe” reappeared towards the end of “Eldorado,” though, there could be no doubt about what was about to happen. It appears that Tommy didn’t kill Nucky sooner because he was still making up his mind about whether Nucky was a good man or a bad one. After Nucky once again threw money at him to make him go away, Tommy had his answer. The reveal of his true identity followed by gunning Nucky down was a thrilling final scene, and the final bullet hitting Nucky in the exact same spot as Jimmy was perfectly done.
The real kicker in all of this is that Nucky could have easily avoided this outcome. The big redemptive moment we were all hoping to see turned out to be yet another pipe dream. As I feared last week, Gillian had suffered the same cruel fate that many of her fellow asylum inmates had suffered in the past. None of this was enough to get Nucky to act, with a few favors to improve her living condition being all he offered. The flashbacks played wonderfully into this, as we get to see that fateful moment where Nucky decided to hand Gillian over to the Commodore. Young Nucky was at a fork in the road, and he chose to advance his career instead of keeping true to any moral code he may have had left. His promise to Gillian that he wouldn’t let anything happen to her was completely false in the end, and unfortunately he refused the chance to right the wrongs of the past by getting her out of the asylum. Perhaps this wouldn’t have saved him in the end, but I have to believe that Tommy would have seen a different side of Nucky if he had saved her.
Elsewhere, Al Capone prepared to head off to prison in an unexpectedly emotional end to his time on the show. After everything we have witnessed Capone do over the years, it’s easy to forget that there is a man behind the monster. His touching goodbye to his deaf son, Sonny, was wonderful. Equally great was his last hurrah on the steps of the courthouse. The quiet moment he had in the car just before putting on his public show tells you all you need to know about the man Capone is. Two other characters getting completely different resolutions were Eli and Narcisse. Eli got a bag full of money and Narcisse got a belly full of lead. This was one last bit of fan service before we got to the Nucky stuff, with Eli finally getting the chance to turn his life around, and Narcisse getting what he fully deserved.
“Eldorado” brought the curtain down on Boardwalk Empire in a completely satisfying way, while also giving us a glimpse into the future. Organized crime is about to come to the fore, with Luciano and Lansky ready to sweep the entire country. I suspect it will be the final moments of the episode that stick with me the longest though. The twist may have been predictable but it was no less powerful, with Tommy Darmody getting revenge for everything Nucky has put his family through over the years. As I write my final review for the series, I’d just like to highlight the poem the Princeton students drunkenly recited to Nucky near the ending of the show. As you’ll see below, it’s perfectly fitting. “Eldorado” proved to be the final chapter in Enoch Thompson’s empire, and it will be missed.
“I wanted the gold, and I sought it. I scrambled and mucked like a slave. Was it famine or scurvy, I fought it; I hurled my youth into a grave. I wanted the gold, and I got it. Came out with a fortune last fall. Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it, and somehow the gold isn’t all.”
“To the Lost”
Were you satisfied with how ‘Boardwalk Empire’ ended, or was Nucky’s fall a disappointment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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