Boardwalk Empire – A Return to Normalcy (Season Finale)
Season One: Episode Twelve
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson
The Spin: If I’m being honest, Van Patten has been the weak link in terms of directors for the series, but he finally pulls out all the stops and delivers a deeply satisfying season finale helped immensely by the hands-on teleplay from series creator Terence Winter. Next to Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire is the best written show on television, and though there’ve been some rough patches, it tops AMC’s award-winner in terms of pure entertainment. In the finale, all of our favorites get their big scenes (Emmy…Emmy, can you hear me?) but Van Patten keeps the histrionics turned down a notch. Just as it seems like Nucky is making peace with all his enemies, the local and national elections go his way, and Margaret comes back to his side (not after his emotional revelation about the true nature of his wife’s passing, but after a silly superstition gives her a grim premonition she will do anything to make not come true), those closest to him (a recovering Commodore, a soused Jimmy, and a spiteful Eli) begin to plot against him. Meanwhile, Van Alden is about to heave-ho from his new Carthage riddled with guilt until a saucy special someone shows up while he’s packing to announce a bitter bun is in the oven. A winning period-song accompanied montage (which in grand Scorsese-inspired style has become the show’s most potently dramatic calling card) leaves us tinged with melancholy over what has passed and filled with equal parts hope and fear over what is to come. The closing images of an early dawn soaked boardwalk are the perfect postcards to send viewers off for a long hiatus.
My favorite parts: The Delessio Brothers getting whacked, Lucy’s shocking announcement to Van Alden and, of course, that closing montage.
Wait Until Next Season: What the deuce are the Commodore, Eli and Jimmy up to? What’s a Van Alden to do about his little bastard? How is Rothstein gonna try to stick it to Nucky and get his money back? What kind of president do you think Warren G. Harding will make? HA!
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?