September 15, 2012
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SJP


Season without Jimmy on 'Boardwalk'
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire."

"I ... am not ... seeking ... forgiveness."

Those chilling words were spoken at the end of the second season of Boardwalk Empire last December.

Now, if you're a year behind on Boardwalk Empire, heed this spoiler alert: With the third season of the acclaimed series starting Sunday on HBO Canada, up-to-date plot points are about to be discussed.

OK, with that taken care of, we're left to ponder:

What kind of show is Boardwalk Empire going to be without Jimmy Darmody?

In some ways Jimmy, played by Michael Pitt, was the main character in Boardwalk Empire, which is set in the American prohibition era of the 1920s, mostly in Atlantic City, N.J.

Yes, the series boasts a vast ensemble cast, with acting heavyweights such as Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson and Kelly Macdonald as Nucky's wife Margaret. But Jimmy, even with all his faults and contradictions and mixed loyalties, initially was our window into this world.

The climax between Nucky, the double-crossed mentor, and Jimmy, the damaged but still smug protege, was one of the great scenes on television last year.

In the pouring rain, beside an under-construction war memorial, Nucky personally shot Jimmy for his betrayal. Twice. In the head. As Nucky declared between bullets, he is not seeking forgiveness.

Many fans of Boardwalk Empire were shocked. Some were furious. There instantly were rumours that there was friction on the set, or that Pitt was difficult to work with, and maybe that was part of the reason his character had been killed off.

Regardless of whether there was any truth to the scuttlebutt, those types of rumours always occur when a main character dies on just about any show. It's one of the stages of grief for fans, some sort of coping mechanism to try to make sense of it.

I look at it this way: Boardwalk Empire is about rum-running gangsters in the 1920s. It's dangerous. Not that I'm cheering for anyone to get whacked, but Jimmy's death was not a bad thing for the sake of believability.

With all that had transpired between Nucky and Jimmy, it would have been unrealistic had they just let bygones be bygones, don't you think?

Even with Jimmy out of the picture, there remain plenty of interesting story lines for Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire.

With both parents deceased, what happens to Jimmy's young son Tommy (Brady Noon), and Jimmy's creepy mom Gillian, played by Gretchen Mol? There's also Jimmy's loyal friend Richard Harrow, played by Jack Huston, whose main source of income was his association with Jimmy.

Right at the end of Season 2, Margaret -- waking up to the fact that Nucky, having escaped legal calamity, had not changed morally -- did something with a land transfer that Nucky was not going to be pleased about. How will that impact their new marriage?

What of Al Capone (Stephen Graham) in Chicago? Or disgraced former federal prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon)? And there's a new character this season, Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), who quickly lets you know what kind of person he is.

Just before Jimmy's demise last season, he said to Nucky, "This is the only way we could have ended, isn't it?"

Maybe. Jimmy's dead. Boardwalk Empire is not.

Other character deaths that have shocked us:

Something big happened at the end of Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire. Something bad. If you aren't up to date on it, and don't want to be, stop reading.

With Season 3 beginning Sunday on HBO Canada, we got thinking about the death of Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt). What are some of the other major-character deaths that have stuck with us through the years?

Rita Morgan, Dexter

Never been more shocked by a TV show than when I saw her in the bathtub.

Maude Flanders, The Simpsons

Pushed into a lethal fall by a barrage from a T-shirt cannon.

Susan Ross, Seinfeld

Had to be a joke, right? But she really was gone, due to toxic envelopes.

Henry Blake, M*A*S*H

A sitcom, but one of the saddest scenes ever when Radar broke the news.

-- Bill Harris




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