Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide
Boardwalk Empire – To the Lost
Season Two: Episode Twelve (Season Finale)
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: Terence Winter
The Spin: Admittedly the season finale’s “big bang” was exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I have to give credit to Winter and Van Patten for making me think during the better part of the hour that maybe it wasn’t going to conclude that way. It seemed Nucky and Jimmy were going to make amends. Jimmy came through in a big way and brought justice for Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) – thus ending the strike are we to assume? Then he helps commit the most egregious bit of witness tampering I’ve ever seen – with Harrow (Jack Huston) at his side of course. All of this benefits Nucky, right? And ol’ Nuck seemed to be in a forgiving mood. After giving one of the more unorthodox marriage proposals, he and Margaret get hitched, thus solving her moral dilemma of testifying against him (as his wife, she can’t – badda bing!) Then he offers up his dope of a brother (Shea Whigham) a nice ultimatum – take the fall for that other stuff and go to jail for a few years – it’ll make up for trying to kill me. Poor, poor Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson) – she’s suddenly in court with no ducks in a row anymore – because they’ve all been shot down one way or another by Nucky. Look who’s off scott-free and looking like the family man of the year! Hooray for Nucky! But oh wait, there’s that thing, you know…
…and so he does off Jimmy, because apparently he didn’t believe that bit Jimmy told him about Eli ordering the hit on him. You see, he knows his brother Eli’s a dope and wouldn’t have come up with that idea himself…right? (DOH!) Under the guise of delivering Manny (William Forsythe) up to Jimmy, he takes him out in the rain, and while Jimmy tries to give him one last guilt trip before it’s all over, he tell’s the kid – “You don’t know me. You never did. I’m not looking for forgiveness.”
Oh – and then there’s the real surprise in the closing moments. The new Mrs. Enoch Thompson – who her then husband-to-be signed over the deed to all that land when his situation had looked grimmer and that Congress has now granted funds for a major highway to be built through – can’t seem to get that olde-tyme religion outta her soul and she signs over the deed to the Catholic Church. DOUBLE DOH!
Things Learned This Evening: Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) often has no opinion one way or the other. Swedish nannies will change their identities and run off with strange men at a moment’s notice. Blood is thicker than liquor. Margaret is an insufferable Catholic.
Wait Until Next Season: What will become of Gillian, Tommy and Harrow now that Jimmy “re-inlisted”? How in the world are they going to work Van Alden (Michael Shannon) back into the story now that he’s fled to the Midwest? When will Margaret’s actions start making any sense? Will Manny still be a key player?
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?
Shocker of a finale. I sensed Jimmy might be killed, but still couldn’t believe such a major character would go so early. It really makes you wonder where the Boardwalk Empire writers plan on going for Season 3. I hope Richard (my favorite figure on the show) continues to feature, though I don’t see him having a big part from here on out. An interesting wait indeed…
Maurizio – I have a lot of questions, too, about where Season 3 is headed and what that means for some of my favorite characters (Gillian, Harrow, Manny, Esther). This wasn’t as tidy and complete of a finale as the one for the first season. –DHS
If anyone is a type of Christ, a Christ figure, it was Jimmy in this episode. He made things right with Chalky and the men of the families murdered by the Klan. He made things right for Nucky, one of two twisted father figures, by saving Nucky from prosecution and jail. Nucky even viewed Jimmy as a type of Christ angrily declaring, “I’m not looking for forgiveness.” This line is part of Nucky’s broader struggle to reconcile who he is in relationship to church and God.
As for Margaret, she may be annoying, but holding the deed for all that property makes her the future king-pin. If she doesn’t sign the land back to Nucky, she will be calling the shots even if it’s just behind closed doors making Nucky twist.
In closing, we got a fuller Chalky episode. Sorry there wasn’t more because I really enjoy it when Chalky gets screen time. There’s always next season!
Dianne – fascinating analysis as always! –DHS
I thought it was interesting that during both seasons, everyone assumed that Nucky was a murderer but he had actually never committed the crime himself until last night’s episode. Even the Attorney herself questioned this (“does he seem like a murderer to you?”) So I think next season Nucky will be getting his hands dirty now that he popped his murdering cherry. I will miss Jimmy, but not his pouty lips!
Megan – good point. Maybe this was “the point of no return” for Nucky? LMAO about Michael Pitt – he is a funny lookin’ fella. He started out as a great character – but he became so emo and those pouty lips were obnoxious! Overall though, he gave a very compelling performance over the two years. I’ll still miss Angela way more than him, though. –DHS
I have a feeling that Nucky believed Jimmy 100%, that his brother pushed for the hit, and he put down Jimmy anyway. Jimmy was a disaster, with demons dictating his moves constantly. For Nuck, nothing was to be gained by letting Jimmy avenge the wife he didn’t really care about in the first place. The camera showed him shoot Jimmy, and then his brother entered the shot fully. Even then, the audience was half expecting him to shoot his brother. His failure to do so, at least for me, confirmed that Nuck was old school, and would learn to live and let live (however much his brother lets him), because he was a meandering boob anyway, harmless if given the right circumstances. Jimmy was not harmless, but he also had nothing to gain from lying in that instance.
Interesting theory – you might be right. I’ll have to rewatch the finale to truly assess. I like how they left it a bit murky as to Nucky’s true motives. I think he definitely saw Jimmy as a threat to his power still, and Eli he can always control as long as he keeps an eye on him. –DHS
Interesting ending. But…. the creative thinkers would imagine that Nucky is still flipping the coin and imagining/dreaming the Jimmy shooting only to find at the onset to season 3 that he pulls the trigger on Eli who is actually behind Jimmy and then Slater releases Manny to Jimmy. Thereafter, Jimmy and Nucky go on to run AC. Have the writers put us in the middle of a dream state until the start of season 3? Just imagine, wouldn’t that be a real curve ball. I highly doubt it.
In the realm of the show itself, I think Nucky had no choice but to kill Jimmy. I assume that in the gangster land, loose ends just don’t cut it and Jimmy was a loose end. Is Eli still a loose end? Is Slater a loose end? Is Margaret a loose end? I think Nucky will have to decide in the new season – now that he is a full time gangster. Season 3 will most definitely bring more intrigue.
Matt – there will be intrigue indeed. –DHS
now what will Harrow do? Nucky must know his top priority is to kill Harrow before he takes his revenge for his fallen friend. personally i never would have killed Jimmy if i couldn’t take care of Harrow at the same time. He is far too dangerous to leave alive.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with Harrow next season. He’s going to be doubly mad – having loved Angela and Jimmy. I bet he and Manny will eventually come to blows. –DHS
Wake up! Cicero, the little town the “Mueller” arrived to was the capital of the empire of Capone. Learn your history, man 🙂
So I’ve been told – should be interesting. – DHS
I am so pissed that Jimmy is dead….sure what he did was bad, he was a little f…up, look at his parents for heavens sake, what about what Nucci’s own brother did to him? He is the asshole that should have been killed off. When does season 3 star i am having panic attacks, missing the show.
Anna – I’m guessing Season 3 will start in September just like the past two seasons. –DHS
Eli DID NOT order the hit on Nucky. He brought up the idea, but he didn’t order the hit.
It was Jimmy who ordered the hit. The final decision was his . . . and he fucked up and paid the price.
Eh, it’s splitting hairs – Eli was the first to mention it…Jimmy followed through. They were complicit. –DHS