'Boardwalk Empire' heads into final season

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:42 PM ET

Prohibition came to an end, and now, so too does Boardwalk Empire.

The fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire commences Sunday, Sept. 7 on HBO Canada. I must say, I commend it for wrapping up after five years.

Too often lately we've seen groundbreaking, high-quality cable shows linger for too long (seven seasons for True Blood, eight seasons for Dexter). The bar is almost dry for Boardwalk Empire, and even active drinkers such as myself recognize it.

If you aren't caught up on Boardwalk Empire, consider this a SPOILER ALERT. If you are, I'm sure you're aware that some believe the show never has been the same since the end of season two, when lead character Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) shockingly put a bullet into the head of the other lead character, Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt).

But despite some hangovers along the way, I was very moved by the way season four ended last November. How could you not be? The breathtakingly artistic way in which the death of Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) was presented made it one of the most memorable TV sequences I've ever witnessed.

The final season jumps ahead in time, taking us to the depths of the Depression in 1931, as Nucky recalls his Atlantic City roots and plots his future if Prohibition is to be repealed. Determined to legitimize himself, Nucky still must battle old criminal foes such as Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) and Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef). And a few more real-life characters are thrown into the mix, such as Bugsy Siegel (Michael Zegen), Eliot Ness (Jim True-Frost) and Joseph Kennedy (Matt Letscher).

But certainly, to get to where you're going, you have to remember where you've been. So taking Nucky's lead, here's a brief look at where some of the main characters left off at the end of season four:

NUCKY THOMPSON

(Steve Buscemi)

Nucky sniffed out the plan of his brother Eli (Shea Whigham) to sell out Nucky and several others to the feds. Prior to his confrontation with Eli, Nucky said he intended to go to Cuba with Sally (Patricia Arquette).

ELI THOMPSON

(Shea Whigham)

Eli was being blackmailed by the feds, who threatened to prosecute his son Willie (Ben Rosenfield) for what happened at the boarding school. Eli and federal agent Jim Tolliver (Brian Geraghty) had a violent confrontation, which ended with Eli killing Jim. The on-the-run Eli was last seen in Chicago, getting into a car with former lawman Nelson Van Alden, now known as George Mueller (Michael Shannon).

GILLIAN DARMODY

(Gretchen Mol)

Gillian, Jimmy's mom, was in jail as the season ended, after the body of her son Jimmy was found. Gillian had murdered a young man, set it up to look like a suicide, and claimed it was her son. Nucky told Richard where Jimmy's body was, in exchange for Richard agreeing to kill Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright).

CHALKY WHITE

(Michael Kenneth Williams)

Of course, Richard did not kill Dr. Narcisse. Richard accidentally killed Chalky's daughter, right in front of Chalky. In the pandemonium that followed at the nightclub, Richard was wounded – fatally, as it turned out. A distraught Chalky was last seen sitting sadly on a remote country porch.

MARGARET THOMPSON

(Kelly Macdonald)

Nucky's estranged wife Margaret had just been given a nice new place to live in New York, courtesy of Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg). It was payback after Margaret did some financial spying on Arnold's behalf.

AL CAPONE

(Stephen Graham)

Al was handed the keys to the criminal kingdom in Chicago by a wounded and weakened Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci). Johnny had been shot several times, almost certainly by gunmen acting for Al himself.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 


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