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Boardwalk Empire S04E12: "Farewell Daddy Blues"


Man, this show. Just when I felt like I had really figured out Boardwalk Empire's storytelling rhythms, it managed to zig when I was sure it was going to zag. "Farewell Daddy Blues" disallowed us some of the big fireworks and showdowns we expected to see, the ones that most of the season had been building toward. And in their place, the episode delivered a couple of powerful sequences, a few major deaths, and a whole lot of fascinating setup for next fall. Those characters who I thought were going to die lived, and one who I never hoped would go away finally—and honestly, probably fittingly—perished. I assumed the finale would be brutal, but just not in this way. 

Before we get to that main death, I want to give credit to Terence Winter for the way in which this episode was constructed, particularly with regard to how it played on long-time viewers' assumptions based on Boardwalk Empire's typical finale structure. Generally, the first three season finales followed a similar(ish) pattern: Somehow, some way, Nucky escaped the terrible circumstances he was in, usually thanks to a last-ditch and violent effort from supporting characters we love. There's been a lot of stuff going on every year, but that's the gist. And the show set us all up for that same kind of story again. Last week, Eli organized the meet between the power players in the organization, giving his brother away to the FBI once and for all. And "Farewell Daddy Blues" began with Chalky pointing a gun at Nucky's head for his presumed betrayals. Nucky was in the corner again. But by the midpoint of the episode, it seemed clear how it was all going to break: Nucky had figured out Eli's dealings with Knox/Tolliver, and the FBI was going to kill him for yet another Thompson-brother backstabbing. Meanwhile, Nucky had convinced Richard to take out Narcisse (in exchange for revealing the location of Jimmy's body, thus building an even better case against Gillian), solving that annoyance and hopefully regaining Chalky's trust in the process. That's the classic Nucky Thompson Last-Minute Bailout that makes this show tick.


But then, it all fell apart. Nucky couldn't bring himself to shoot Eli at first, leaving just enough time for Willie to show up and force Nucky to really rethink his decision. What a sequence that was, with Eli outwardly admitting his attempts to stab Nucky in the back and making his point about how Nucky eventually takes everything anyway. A few weeks back, I wrote about how this season has really emphasized that second point, and the finale only hammered it home more. Just about everyone who gets involved with Nucky ends up dead, and rarely is it directly by his hand. Eli was just the first person to recognize this, and he's been trying to find a way out for a while now—really, going all the way back to the second season. That tension only clamped down further when Eli revealed the full logic behind his plan (that he joined up with Knox/Tolliver to protect Willie from going to jail). In that moment, all three Thompson men knew what kind of awful circumstances they were in, with Eli being the only one who was truly willing to face the consequences. He later did so, head-on, in an extremely intense fight with the over-the-edge Knox/Tolliver. Although Boardwalk Empire uses violent altercations like that pretty regularly, they tend to go on for so long that you (or at least I) can barely keep watching because they're so extreme and it's unclear who's going to survive. Knox/Tolliver did not, and now Eli has been exiled to Chicago, where he'll have to find a way to coexist with Van Alden, a former foe. The show keeps finding ways to A.) preserve Ei's life when I'm convinced he's going to die, and B.) move more and more characters to Chicago. That's pretty impressive. Although I did expect Eli to bite it in this episode, hats off to Shea Whingam, who has just been tremendous all year long as Eli's frustrations with his brother slowly boiled to an explosive degree. 

Meanwhile, the second prong of Nucky's plan somehow went even worse. He maneuvered well enough to set up what seemed likely to be the final meeting between Narcisse and Chalky, and had Richard waiting in the wings to put Narcisse away, but then everything went to hell. Richard, all shaky and sweaty, couldn't focus up and snipe Narcisse from a corner of The Onyx, only pulling himself together to fire the shot right when Chalky's daughter, who'd previously been captured by Narcisse, walked into the crosshairs. To make matters worse, Richard was clipped by a stray bullet in the hysterical aftermath, while Narcisse was arrested and Chalky managed to get away. In itself, this was a painful scene to watch. It seemed like Chalky's daughter was in line for a bad time once she encountered Narcisse last week, but to go out like this? Ugh, that's rough. And if Chalky ever sobers up, gets off that porch, and discovers that Nucky had a role in her death? Ohhhhh boy. Hell to pay.


The good news is that Richard didn't have to live with the fact that he gunned down Chalky's daughter. The bad news is that Richard, unquestionably the show's most fascinating creation and arguably the heart of the whole operation, is dead. Although his death further signified the destruction that often accompanies associating with one Enoch Thompson, you can't deny how moving his final moments were. Watching him bleed out under the boardwalk, imagining a world where he actually got on the train, returned to Wisconsin, and built a family with Julia and Tommy, was heartbreaking. That his face was intact in the vision only made it that much more powerful. 

For the second time in three seasons (or the third time, depending on how much you loved Owen), the show has killed a MAJOR and beloved character, and I imagine that this one is going to be tougher for people to swallow than Jimmy's murder. The time we were able to spend with Richard in the aftermath of Jimmy's death was wonderful, but in a way, it was probably time for him to go, either to Wisconsin or to the Wisconsin in his mind. As this episode showed, he'd been domesticated, and had rediscovered the humanity he was convinced the war stripped away. I understand the desire to see him get a happy ending, but it's nice that he went out knowing that he wasn't a cold killer who couldn't connect with people. His exit isn't something I'm happy to see, but I understand it, and that's about as good of a death as you're going to see on television. Bravo to the show, and to Jack Huston for his awesome work in this episode and over the last four years. 

So, very little went as planned for Nucky, but ultimately that was a good thing for Boardwalk Empire—and probably an appropriate thing. Season 4 was the show's strongest to date, and capping it off with a surprising, moving finale only further reinforced that it's grown into one of the best shows on TV. Plus, there's all kinds of fascinating stuff to look forward to in Season 5: Eli in Chicago, where Capone is now in charge, but also Narcisse's survival and his newfound deal with Hoover and the FBI and whatever the heck is going on with Margaret and Rothstein. Perhaps more than ever before, Nucky has no clear support (Mickey doesn't count) and that could be the most interesting story of them all. Great season, pretty great finale.



NOTES FROM UNDER THE BOARDWALK


– Gillian's gotta go away now, right? How will she serve as an epic buzzkill from prison? And with Gillian locked up, Tommy safe in Wisconsin, and Richard dead, Jimmy's spectre will have less of an impact on the show moving forward. It's apt that his body was discovered (and hopefully reburied) in this episode. 

– If there's anything I've learned from period pieces, it's this: J. Edgar Hoover was such a prick. 

– I know people were a little frustrated with Willie's prominence in the story early in the season. I'd say that paid off pretty darn well, right?


What'd you think of the finale? How about the season as a whole? 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 10/26/2014

Season 5 : Episode 8

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I've finally caught up and am glad I did, this was a wonderful season. I'm a huge Season 1 fan and I'm not sure this one quite lived up to that but it was pretty darn close. The smaller role for Nucky and particularly Margaret really did work wonders for the awesome supporting characters, the season was chockers full of plot.

Have to say that the Gillian entrapment thing was very weird, probably ludicrous but I really enjoyed the surprise and narratively it was an inspired way to involve Richard more in the story. Speaking of Richard I always liked him and was sad to see him go - especially with such pathos - but for me he never rose to the level of Jimmy. Jimmy was a fantastic character that was such a big part of the first two seasons and his death was the one that's got to me the most so far.

I'm very glad that Cory came back to review the finale. Hopefully next year he'll review every episode like old times and I'll try not to get behind.
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What a fantastic end to the season , Richard story has come full circle now. Hopefully we have more Lucky and Lansky next season to look forward too.
I think the doctor is finished in Atlantic as he be now working for the Feds to pin down Garvey, so maybe another gangster for Nucky. Chalky is out of picture now and is too cut about what happened to his family.
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Actually you keep saying you're impressed Eli has lived all this time, what ABOUT Mickey? Don't you remember Eli himself (a guy who seems increasingly great at pointing out plot devices within the show) asking how Mickey was still breathing at the beginning of last season (also Interesting how the end of season 4 mirrored the beginning of last season where was he being picked up in a car).

Between that and the fact that Rothstein seemed pretty dead set on killing Mickey in that life insurance scam, I'm both impressed and surprised he's still alive.
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nothing against the show, i love(d) it....but with harrow's death, boardwalk empire has pretty much ended for me (which was a great way for him to go out)....i'll catch it later if its on while im surfing or something....
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Harrow was awesome, but throughout this season Van Alden (who already was awesome anyway) kind of took the reigns, I'd say the next season would be worth watching just to see how that car ride plays out...
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true, van alden was the other most interesting wildcard character...
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I'll start off by saying I continue to love this show and I can't wait for next season. I hope it was renewed. Also that fight scene between Eli and Knox was right up there with the all time great fight scenes in Banshee. Also the Pinkerton detective was a total surprise. Again I love this show!

Narcisse is a fascinating character that I love to hate. He lectures to and about black people striving to better themselves yet he undermines them (subversive) by getting them hooked on heroin to line his pockets with cash. He is a racist (look of contempt when he wipes his hands after shaking hands with a white person) yet works with white people in a business that is destroying the black community. HORRIBLE but FASCINATING character.

What is up with black and white view of comeuppance? Life isn't always fair and I get annoyed when I see things written like "I'm concerned that we'll see Nucky avoid some of the comeuppance he's got coming to him." If it applies to one character then it applies to all characters! So Richard killed an innocent girl so his death is justified/acceptable? Fine I can deal with one (not really...) but for Eli to live after repeatedly betraying his brother (at least twice)...fuck that! If your going to have "comeuppance" then were is Eli's? Nucky should of killed Eli...but then the writers just have Willie show up. Why did Willie go to The Albatross? Why didn't Eli just tell Nucky right away about the FBI? I can understand Nucky not telling Eli since Eli goes bat shit crazy over the smallest stuff (sometimes he verbally goes off on his family to the point they seem scared of him) and he's a drunk (functional drunk). Plus, why should Nucky tell Eli anything when Eli has proven not to be trustworthy and has shown he has been willing to sell out his brother.

I like how this season "humanized" Richard*. He was never a sociopath imo. I saw him as a sad yet badass character suffering to cope with the horrors of war and the life altering physical disfigurement. Could you imagine looking like him...imagine the horror of war? I like that he had some happiness this season and for denser viewers it showed he wasn't a cold blooded sociopath. Prior to Maybelle (sp?) he just killed "bad" people and he did it for a reason other then getting off on death (not like psychopathic killers). In real life I would want him locked away in jail (committed murder one) because I believe in the law. However in fiction I am allowed to "root" for people I wouldn't normally root for in real life. I wanted this character to live and be happy and not face his "comeuppance" but the writers played it safe (like they did in Breaking Bad) and killed off a "bad guy" that we were rooting for because that is what killers deserve in real life. I'm oversimplifying it but I'm disappointed that such an interesting character was killed and in such a pathetic manner...and that anytime a "bad guy" character that we are rooting for dies, then it is justified as a fate that he deserved**.

*I understand why Richard was so accurate a shot before (suppressed his emotions) and why he missed the shot of Narcisse (as he character became more "humanized" he had a harder time suppressing his emotions). He isn't a sociopath and has emotions but had to suppress them to be a good killer (wasn't instinctive if that makes sense). The "tragic hero" never has a happy ending....not surprised

**does anyone really care that Maybelle died? She was a "good guy" but she wasn't a main character and I personally didn't care that she died except that it sets up a storyline for next season (Chalky will blame Nucky even though it wasn't Nucky's fault and Nucky was trying to help out Chalky and himself.....so predictable and I hope that isn't the case)....

...despite what I already said, I do like being surprised by shows. Therefore since Richard was unexpectedly killed by a random bullet (such a pathetic way to die), I was "happy" to be surprised. His death was Not that much of a surprise (especially after his goodbye to Tommy) since people/writers felt he needed his comeuppance and he had gone from "normal" human to "cold killer" and back to "normal" human...but his manner of death was a surprise. I did like his death hallucination (better then a "white light").

I hope Willie teams up with Nucky.

So is Hoover and/or Knox/Tolliver a "good guy"? If so then no wonder I am rooting for Nucky. Knox/Tolliver was an interesting character...very grey. He set up his partner to be killed (bad) yet seems to want to bring down organized crime (is it just for career advancement?). I wanted to learn more of the backstory between Hoover and Knox but I am ok that it wasn't explored more since there are so many story lines of interest.

this is long enough as it is but despite any and all criticism I have above, I do love this show.
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This season was fantastic. Loved Richard, but no death in BE will ever affect me like Jimmy's did, with it they bought my sense that any character could die at anytime. Only thing I'd change about this season is that I wished Livingston's character had interacted with some other characters and planted story seeds for a return next season somehow.
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Great, great season finale. I was quite speechless after watching this. I think many of the viewers gave up on this show after last season but oh boy, did it pay off for those of us that stuck with it. It is definitely one of my favorite shows right now.
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The best thing about Boardwalk Empire is the realistic sets. At the beginning of the show in season 1 the writing seemed to match it.
With season 3 having been such a disapoinment, I hoped season 4 would be a big improvement. It started out better, I liked Chalky (after Richard he may be my favorite chacter) running the club. I thought Narcisse was a good good chacter. I liked the storyline with Gillian and the Pinkerton agent.
But from Chaulky's failed hit on Narcisse to the end of the finale, I thought the story sucked! The ONLY redeeming thing was the fight scene between Eli and the fbi agent. That fight scene was the highlight of the whole season. Other than that fight scene the finale was a total waste of my time!
Richard's death season was laughable. Who watched him ride the train and show up in Wisconson and didn't realize it was his dying dream. When they showed the back of his head, who didn't think now they'll show how he looked before his injury. Why, because we all knew he was on the beach dying.
I may watch the season 5 opener to see if the writing starts to match the awesome sets, but I won't hold my breath on it.
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No, no. He's not dead, just... just very weak and about to be rescued... please.
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fitting farewell for richard harrow...but heartbreaking nonetheless :( RIP richard harrow! such an amazing character that made me watch BwE religiously just to know how his story pans out.

great (but sad) finale!
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The fight between Eli and Knox was very much like the fight between Proctor and Hood in another show I love 'Banshee'. Two people beating the snot out of one another after a buildup of tension over the entire season - resulting in an epic showdown in close quarters utilizing any object one can get their hands on to assist in the beating. Got to hand it to Shae Whigham who plays Eli to perfection. He's been really good this season as annoying Eli.

I always thought it was a brave move for an actor as handsome as Jack Huston to play the part of Richard Harrow. He was so easily the best looking actor in this cast in its history. His story had to come to an end, but why this way? Good storytelling cause I did not see that one coming. If his goodbye to Tommy didn't have you shaking or in tears, then I think you are devoid of soul.

Glad Jeffrey Wright's Narcisse survived - cause its Jeffrey Wright - even though it would have been nice to see him suffer a little.

Next year Capone in charge in Chicago? Yes please. Great season.
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Wow. Having nothing better to do, I watched some of what I didn't see the first time, and hoo boy, was that unnecessarily violent. And not unnecessarily violent in a good way, like in The Sopranos.

The killing of the federal agent by Nucky's brother, I mean.

BE sure ain't a good show. Huston was the best thing about the show, stupid of them to get rid of him. Buscemi stinks as a lead and the show has no hook. For me, at least.
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I think considering Eli is focused on the fact that now his son is going to jail his psychotic attack wasn't too over the top. Sure it was brutal but the man has lost it all, including the one guy who could help him out.
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This is the one of the 3 shows on TV (you want to guess the other 2) that you feel real danger when watching your favorite characters. You are not sure if they will lived when they are face with danger so you are really worried and invest with them. Thus you get the feelings associated that is not available on other shows.

Most other shows you know the character is going to live and they will find some way out of the most difficult situation.

I too expected season 4 to stick with the same formula as the other finales in the previous 3 so I was very surprised. I liked closure with my shows so not very sure if I liked so many hanging stories that I have to wait till next fall.

Overall still a good season 4.

I am okay with Richard's death but so wanted to see the Doctor being punished. Now it looks like he will even have the FBI protection.

One last question though.

How did Nucky know about Eli's plans? I suspect he asked Willie to spy on his own father.

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I'm guessing he does check things before going into meetings in hotels etc.. he's not stupid.
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One of the shows must be GoT. The other......I'll get back to you.
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You are right ! One more to go !
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I don't know really, I have a feeling it's something I don't watch.

Unless it's The Walking Dead which can be pretty savage with its cast removal, and seemingly will be again before the end of the season.
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See you got it right again. Yes ! BE, GOT and TWD ! That's the 3 ! Can you think of anything else that would kill off 2nd leads ?
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Is it Family Guy? Lol
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It is a good show. But is it that good? Not sure...
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Nope. It's just better than the knuckle dragging moronic Duck Dynasty, and as such, the idiots in the television audience think it's therefore GREAT TELEVISION.

It ain't. The day of GREAT TELEVISION is lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng gone.
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What sniper shots directly out of a window/ledge? That is about the dumbest thing you can do. Shoot out of the back of the room where you have cover.
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Richard Harrow was my favorite character on Boardwalk Empire and he will be sorely missed. I expected the writers to blow Narcisse to Kingdom come,
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''yea narcisse was supposed to die. that brilliant bait and switch is what made this a great finale!!!" what a let down. all that buildup for nothing.
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Frakkin' EPIIIIIC finale ! Oh Lorde... This is the power of intelligent TV! The finale montage with the song "Farewell Daddy Blues" and all the protagonists each on his/her respective course was so beautifully dramatic! Loved it ! The title is so intelligent because it can be interpreted as Chalkie is the daddy of a departed daughter, so Farewell Daddy Chalkie, and RIchard who says "I love you" like a father to little Tommy and ends up dying as a new-born daddy who can connect, so Farewell Daddy Richard, you will be sorely missed.
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Although I think the show is genius (it's as though the writer rolled a dice before making decisions -- it's THAT unpredictable and realistic), I was massively disappointed by the finale. Not because it didn't end with a bang, but because the bang was in all the wrong places.

First Jimmy, then the butler, and now Richard?! Oh, thanks writers, you've killed off 3 of the most interesting characters, and the only 3 who were actually likeable.

I'm looking forward to seeing Capone and Chalky next season, but ... blah. Such a good season, just to end like that?
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Just to add: I think part of people's disappointment with this finale was just because we thought Richard deserved a happy ending. Hell, he might be the only one who did, by this point.
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Richard deserved a happy ending , but I never expected that. Its completely out of character for a tragic hero to ''live happily ever after''. One thing I expected from the finale was resolution, and that never came. In fact I think the actual finale was the previous episode. A lot was resolved therein. Farewell Daddy Blues was more a prelude to next season. Hard to believe theyre willing to drag Dr, Narcisse into a whole nother season with Lucky and Meyer standing around like furniture. So many actors, so little progress.
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What. The. Hell.
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exactly
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I wonder if Richard truly died or was unconscious due to the shooting? Will have to wait 10 months to confirm. :(
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100% dead. Don't get your hopes up.
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not Richard :( He was my fav- I will miss him.
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I think this review is spot on, and I agree with it way more than I agree with a lot of these comments. Earlier I said I'm not sure if I will continue, but I will. I completely understand people's anger and sadness over Richard. Believe me, I am too. In the death pool section I said I would be sad if we lost a few certain characters, but I would be fucking devastating if we lost Richard. And I am, but I also feel this was his time. It is ironic that he died a small shootout as opposed to the blaze of glory he could of died in last season when he raided the brothel. You people should read Jack Huston's interview with Sepinwall, where he basically says he felt character had gone full circle, and he didn't want Richard to get old or repetitive. You also got to admire the balls on this show for killing fan favorites. The creators of SoA and True Blood should take notes from this show.

For the other things, I'm actually glad Narcisse lives. Killing the Doctor of Crime would of been the predictable thing to do, and probably what most creators would've done. I think there is more to do with Narcisse, unlike Gyp Rosetti and Agent Knox. Speaking of Knox, seeing Eli beat Knox to death was probably the most satisfying death on TV all year. That fuck has had it coming since he pushed the likeable and innocent Eddie Kessler to kill himself. Like Slayerette said, I don't how they arranged for Eli to go to Chicago, but I do look forward to the dynamic of the Capone brothers, Van Alden and Eli. I'm not sure how much Gillian we will see next season, or if the Mickey Doyle hit will happen, or what is going between Rothstein and Margaret, but we'll see. All in all, it was a very good season.
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I wasn't a fan of killing off Richard - but the reality is his character was done anyways. If he made it to his wife and Tommy, that would have been the end of his character since he didn't have the stomach to work as a hired killer anymore - we saw that during the kill the dog episode - he wanted out. Right now, we are lamenting Richard - if he made it, we would have been - oh well. The writers made us feel his loss - that's what the show is all about. Great way to end the Richard character who was done regardless.
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Richard "Half-Face" Harrow walks into a brothel and kills 10-12 armed gunmen (shooting most of them at point blank range). Though he was shot at multiple times, he emerges unscathed, with unharmed boy in tow. Bulletproof?
Cut to last night's finale, Harrow spots his quarry and though he could shoot the head off a match at a thousand yards, he manages to botch the assassination of Valentin Narcisse, killing a friend's daughter in the process? A dozen men couldnt hit him at close range, but he's killed (?) by a lone gunman standing 50+ feet away.
This finale gave you nothing you wanted, and everything you didnt.
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But that is what makes the show so great. Some things you can predict like in most shows but every know and then it is the complete opposite happening of what you expected.
Mr Harrow lost his soul in the battle fields of Europe but slowly got it back during this season and the end was kind of poetic in that way. A stone cold killer misses his target, kills an innocent and gets killed him self by a run away bullet. And he died under the boardwalk just like he lived his life under its empire.
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This is a part that is weird - he could have taken a second shot at Narcisse and got him - something a hired assassin would do when he botched it - and then got away. That's the enigma that is Richard after the dog episode - he could barely pull the trigger on the first shot - and stood stunned by what he had done instead of taking the second - his heart just wasn't in it - and he paid the price.
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I couldnt predict that nothing would be resolved. If I could, I wouldnt make time to watch this show. Its already the second slowest show on tv. Now when its great its great, and when it aint it aint. Looking back i'd say gillian had the best arc this season. (Now that ending was astonishing and unexpected).

yea well, that sounded awfully sweet but it still played out in a disappointing way. that season finale was a mess. yea richard was a great character, but this was not a befitting end for the character or the season.
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Why do people say "slowest" like it's a bad thing? I'm so sick of boring fast paced shows where they take no time to build up characters or atmosphere.
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I like those slow shows. Just re-watched the Wire another rather slow show that really build up its characters. In a way BWE´s likable bad guy Richards went out in similar fashion as The Wires likable bad guy Omar. They can face any enemy, kill with out remorse then they hit the dirt in a rather unexpected way unsuitable for the way they lived. But I like it.
In real life all time tough guy Capone went to jail for tax evasion and later on died from syphilis, how gangsta is that?
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There is so much screen time completely wasted on this show, and its a good show, but it would be a lot better if they cared about moving the story along, rather than trying to save money by providing you with stagnation. The only reason you keep watching is to see meaningful progression of the story. When thats not there , its a disappointment. Yea of course you love the characters, but not because they stand around with their hands in their pockets. These characters and the atmosphere has been building for three seasons now. They've been built for a while, now lets get on with it.
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Richard Nooooooooo!!! (but it was a brilliant end). Depressing as Fu--dge, but that's what good stories are made of. Looks like a lot of good set-ups for the next season. Do we really have to wait until next fall?
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1. The scene between Hoover and Narcisse. I didn't know the devil could make a deal with himself. It's like the bad guys are trying to stop the badder guys. Does that make sense?

2. Jack Huston was just amazing playing Richard Harrow for the last four years. I am so glad that he finally got Tommy away from the Dragon Lady.

3. Shea Whigham stole this episode. He was awesome in the scene with Nucky and Willie and he was even awesomer (sorry) in the scene with Knox/Tolliver. Now he's reunited with Michael Shannon in Chicago.

4. Narcisse lives! Sonofabitch!

5. Richard kills Maybelle by accident. Didn't see that coming. Jumped when he pulled the trigger.

I'm looking forward to Season 5. Who will remain and who will be added?

Thank you, Mr. Winter and Scorsese.
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A very good review of season 4 finale. We lost our "other" Jimmy, and it was very sad. Who would think you'd root for a cold-blooded assassin? i think we will now see the downfall of Nucky - in real life Enoch Thompson did not have a long shelf life. So switching to Chicago will allow for something to build in the way of a new show...
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The real Enoch didn't have a long shelf life? He lived until 1968 and died at the age of 85... still has quite some time considering the show is currently in 1924...
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I wish season 5 could start tomorrow. So many questions in need of an answer.
I guess in season 5 there will be a lot more happening in Chicago with so many characters there. It does sucks that Richard is out but this show keeps killing great characters only to bring new great ones in. So I guess the whole Jimmy part of the story is dead now? Unless of course they will try to find out who put a bullet in him. But I think the ppl who know Nucky killed him is also dead. Horvitz was killed by Richard and the rest of the characters at the scene was just extras so I doubt they will come back in to the story.

Perhaps William Thompson will play a larger role? As Capones boss Torrio said "it is a young mans game". And William seem eager to learn and that he actually killed an innocent person does not seem to haunt him that much. If he got more of his uncles brains then his fathers he could turn out to be a good character.

Anyway, there is a lot of plots still alive that will make a 5th season just as good as the previous 4.
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Just to add. In the end when William and Nucky speaks about Eli and what have happened Nucky takes out his cigarette case but it is empty, William then hands over his who is identical to Nuckys. In William Nucky have found his lost son who he thought he had found in Jimmy previously. And like with both of them, they found a mentor in Nucky who knows all there is in the game of power.
Watch that scene again, it is very telling.
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Is William REALLY Nucky's son - Eli kept saying he was trying to steal his family - maybe there's a hidden affair years ago that Eli either doesn't know about - or knows about and has a deep seated resentment towards Nucky - and is why he keeps turning on him. With Nucky's power, is it unimaginable that William is Nucky's kid - and hence the interest Nucky shows in him ???
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This episode was definitely not what I expected it to be, which is probably why I liked it a lot.

I wonder just how much 'retiring' Nucky plans to do, and obviously they'll play a major part next season. I'm sort of annoyed Willie has become such a prominent character, I mean, I understand his significance and the importance of some of the more questionable storylines involving him earlier this season, but that doesn't mean I have to like him.

So Eli's off to Chicago then? Anyone have any ideas how this was arranged, and by who? I often forget all the inner-workings and politics of everything, so when stuff like this happens I don't know what to think. I really expected him to die, but then again, I expected Knox a lot more, and I guess if anyone was to kill him, Eli would be the obvious choice. Can't say I cared for the scene in which Willie walked in on Nucky about to kill Eli though. It would have felt repetitive if he had killed him, but having him live also feels safe and sentimental, so I guess there was no winning me over there.

I didn't expect Maybelle to die that way, that was so sad, but I definitely didn't expect Harrow's death too. I have a lot of respect for a show like Boardwalk when it shows no fear in killing off characters. I will seriously now refer to this show as the only television series where no one is safe. I was sad to see Harrow go, but at the same time, his storylines this season were underwhelming, and despite it being by a stray bullet, I think his death was fitting. Still unsure about how I feel about him killing Maybelle though, I guess I just can't digest it knowing that there's no consequences for his character.

So glad that they're keeping Narcisse around. I know a lot of people hate him, and yes he's a contradictory character, which funnily enough is what Hoover said during their discussion, but he's so intriguing and fun to watch. It'll be even better watching him trying to instil his beliefs while secretly working for the men he hates and hopes to overthrow. I hope they keep him around for a good while, there's potential here. And there's also the hope of that eventual showdown with Chalky, too.

Can't say I've ever been as enthralled with Chalky as other fans, and his interactions with Narcisse were his only brought spots for me this season, so watching him sitting in replacement of Oscar on the porch doesn't make me see brought things for the characters future. I mean, where to from here?

I have this dreaded feeling that we've not seen the end of Gillian. Her character seriously ran out of things to do once Jimmy died, and she's been painful ever since, so I hope Boardwalk's done with her, but I doubt it. It's like the seem to need to have a prominent female character in the series for fear of being labelled sexist or something. I'd say what's worse is that the two prominent female characters they do have and among the series most hated in Gillian and Margaret, so why be afraid to get rid of them?

Speaking of Margaret, I found the inclusion of her and Rothstein in the montage a little unnecessary, the same with Daughter's appearance too (although her singing served a purpose). Couldn't they just wait for the next season? Like some have mentioned, perhaps this was initially written as a series final, but who knows. I'm excited for this storyline, despite it featuring Margaret though, which is a good thing.

Overall, a subdued, yet still surprising and emotional finale. And the best part about it all is that there's so much more to look forward to. I can't wait for Season 5.
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If you think of this show as the only television series where no one is safe, then you obviously don't watch Game of Thrones...
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I do watch Game of Thrones. But who dies in that series is predetermined by the books written by George R.R. Martin, therefore any deaths that occur in the television series aren't that shocking to readers.
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You make some excellent points in your comment and I was surprised that anyone cared about Maybelle. Maybe I'm cold hearted but her death didn't phase me. I'm curious what you meant when you wrote the following about Richard "no consequences for his character"...what do you mean?
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It wasn't Maybelle I necessarily felt for, but for Chalky and Harrow. Watching your daughter get shot in the head would be a traumatic experience, and accidentally killing a young kill would be too.

As for Harrow's consequences, basically he never had time to process what he had really done. The guilt etc. of killing Maybelle. His death so soon after didn't give him the chance too have to live and deal with that.
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I get it.

I think he was already having a hard time dealing with killing (couldn't kill the dog) and that is why he couldn't stay calm and make the correct shot. He seemed to struggle with his "guilt" this season and I wouldn't of wanted to see even more of a struggle since this time he killed an "innocent". He suffered a lot just for killing "bad guys" and even if we didn't hear him talk about his struggles, just the scene with the dying dog spoke volumes on his feeling guilty on killing "bad guys".

way to wordy...sorry about that;-)
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Oh, and thanks for taking the time to read my comment, I know mine tend to become quite long-winded.
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lol @ long-winded....so are mine. I just got caught up with this series (binged it yesterday and today).
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Nucky still has a great relationship with Capone - Nucky made the call to send him to Chicago.
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Thanks, that'a what I figured - I just wanted to confirm.
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Totally frustrated, didn't sleep for 2 hours after watching this one, this made no sense and was a very poor ending to the season.
I'll have to see if I bother to watch this next season.
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I couldn't have put my thoughts about Richard's death any better Cory. He shone in Jimmy's absence, but this season he had definitely been domesticated and had rediscovered the humanity he was convinced the war stripped away. I would have loved to have seen more of him and his character, but after that point there's really no where else to go, so I completely understand it also. I didn't even think about the fact 'that he went out knowing that he wasn't a cold killer who couldn't connect with people', Cory, so thanks for that. It made me feel better about his death.
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I think this season was better than last ( with the exception of Gyp). I loved Richards character but it has sadly ended. Are we all going to harp on about it like Jimmy? He will at this stage be my favourite character but I'm sure there is another one around the corner. Enjoy the ride people.
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Two words: I'm done.
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I never started. Aren't I smart? But I do surf in and out, and man that Jack Huston is some good actor. That Huston bloodline will out, won't it?

Rest of the show is a violent bore. I still say Buscemi is the worst lead in the world.
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I never liked Buscemi when he was doing movies probably due to the parts he played in those movies. When I first saw him in season 1, I was thinking for such a big show, they probably should have gotten a bigger name. But after 4 seasons, he had grown to be one of my fav leading man on TV and he proved he can played Nucky very well.
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Soooo remember back at season's 2 finale when Nuck killed Jimmy so we/he were clear he couldn't be half a gangster and all that? It was a bold choice and killing a character like Jimmy had to lead to big changes around. Season 3 kind of had it that way but this season Nucky was waaay half a gangster again. He should have killed Eli to redeem that at the end. I think Eli's out of potential as a character and we can't have him betraying Nuck every 2 seasons and surviving just to end up at the bottom of the chain again.
Besides, Nucky telling his nephew he's not the man he thinks? WTF should that mean? Maybe the writers are considering retiring him or putting him aside to focus on other stories and maybe it would be for the best.

Richard was just misused all season. They knew we wanted him there but it appeared as if they didn't really know what to do with him. At the end they kind of had a good idea and fucked it up with a random event (when and why would Richard get nervous before a killing? he is the fucking terminator when he has a mission) that lead to his death. Yeah, it was a poor decision but he better be dead 'cause it would be pretty cheap if he wasn't after that sequence.

I get they didn't want to kill Narcisse because there are things they can do with him, he's fresh (or History or whatever 'cause I don't really know if there's some reality there). But all that buildup (and misleading previews) between him and Chalky was just for a disappointing conclusion.
Same with the Eli shit, great buildup and at the end... a big nothing. I didn't really care for the agent or found his death to be a satisfying conclusion to that storyline: he could have killed him anytime before, told Nuck everything and it would have been the exact same. If it was to end like that then there never was anything in play.

This series is slow... snail slow... but it has build up to satisfying finales in the past seasons. This one was just played safe for the most and the "shocker" (Richard) was just bad and like it was fabricated in no time.
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The show has been dealing with Richard's inability to kill professionally anymore. He used to be machine-like because he had no life, now he has a chance of a wife and family he can't bring himself to do it. There was an episode earlier in the season that dealt with this almost exclusively with this, it wasn't out of nowhere and if you watch the season over it makes sense.



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Fuck you are so right I feel I've never felt so wrong. I completely forgot about that episode. I still think they didn't know what to do with him 'cause they made that episode (as you said) to find a right way to kill him. They introduced that change so they could make him the shocker. Still it didn't work like Jimmy. But fuck you're too fuckin' right. It wasn't thought of at last moment, it was meant to be the shocker all along. I still believe it was bad though.
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For me the Richard stuff was better than the others. I thought pretty much the same as you about the Narcisse/Chalky stuff- a bit of an anti-climax.

I also felt Nucky not killing Eli after yet another betrayal was a bit of a stretch, but the kid walking in did kind of justify it, although it was a bit convenient. Nucky is a more tired figure than when he killed Darmody and was basically about to skip the country when he was stopped, I wonder what will happen with him next season
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Roberto- I hope so too, I think the first few seasons have worked focussing on Atlantic City with the real life gangsters dipping in and out, but the more we get in to the 1920's, the more this becomes the time of New York, Chicago etc. I suppose the only worry for the writers is that focussing on real people- Cappone, Lucciano etc, gives them less room for dramatic license, so they tend to keep them on the fringes
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I hope they will take the show on a Game Of Thrones direction because Al is way to interesting and at this point the show doesn't deserve a main character. I hope they would do that kind of The Godfather from every point of view. What do you think?
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For those upset that Richard's death was too ordinary or that he didn't go down fighting, I'd like to point out that a lonely death from a random forgettable character does make for good art. We see the guns blazing deaths nearly everytime and doing it this way feels less cheesy and more real. If it helps, he technically sacrificed himself to ensure Gillian stayed behind bars and away from Tommy. Richard wasn't even supposed to survive through 1 episode originally so I feel he got his due. Though, it does kind of blow that he died right after murdering an innocent(an actual innocent) woman.

I'd also like to point out that Steve Buscemi is pretty scary during the 2-3 times in the series Nucky actually has gotten hands on with his vengeance.
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I think that it was fitting and well written that he died after killing an innocent.

They spent the whole season showing us Richards newly (re)acquired humanity, how he got a family, how he wanted to stop beeing a killer and how he started to struggel with killing. It fits that, after failing to kill Narcisse and instead shooting an innocent woman - he got hit by a stray bullet and died.
The way it was set up, had he survived, I don't think he could have lived with himself and the knowledge of killing the girl. Had he just continued on like bevore, that would have contradicted everything the writers did in this season with his character.

I am sad to see him go, but I think it was a (at that point) necessary death and the charcater had a full and rather satisfying storyarc.
Saving the boy was his penance for killing all those rather guilty men, and his death was the penance for killing an innocent woman.
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Actually not that many people really died I feel? But damn yeah, lots of stuff happened, very little made me bummed out, but of course there will be that obvious one thing that happened...

But really, the biggest payoff was Nelson picking up Eli (and probably knew beforehand that he was doing it, hence the lack of surprise on his face), and that scene is perhaps the one I'm most looking forward to seeing the continuation of next season. It also would mirror the season opener where Eli was picked up by Micky in many senses.....oh did I mention I'm happy Mickey didn't end up being killed in a life insurance scam :P ?
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For the most part I actually liked this finale, unlike most of the other people commenting so far. Sure, it wasn't as epic or satisfying as last season's, but it did a good job of bringing a lot of characters to new places, and bringing some closure to their current arcs. And yeah, it could be said that the finale left us with a fair amount of uncertainty in terms of who is actually where/what will happen next season. However, emotionally speaking everything was resolved fairly well.

There is one question that I though, one that the show itself asked previously. And no, I'm not referring to why Richard Harrow had to die (even though he may not be dead; they kind of did the same thing with Gillian last season, ish. But let's be honest: he's dead. His death was their big twist for the very end of a finale in which not that many people died). No, my question basically asks the opposite of another character. How is Mickey Doyle still alive? Seriously, how is that guy still breathing? Nucky even has a financial incentive to kill him. I mean, I guess now's not the best time to kill him what with so much focus on him and his operation. But damn that guy is really, really, really lucky.
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How is Mickey Doyle still alive? Maybe because of the luck of the Irish;-)
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Doyle is still alive because he is in essence a cockroach. Somehow, he always survives despite being universally hated.
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You'll be able to tell when the plot is going to resurface next when it informs you of the insurance Rothstein took out on Mickey, and Nucky's purchasing of said insurance, during the 'Previously on Boardwalk Empire' segment of the episode. Seriously. When something random like that pops up, like it did in the middle of this season, you obviously know a call back like that is going to be fairly significant in the grand scheme of the episode.

As for why he's not dead yet, well basically they set up this plot for next season. As soon as they reintroduced this idea I knew it was unlikely that it would be followed up by the end of the season considering the multiple plotlines they also had to conclude with Eli, Knox, Narcisse, Chalky, Gillian and Harrow. Another plot they introduced late in the season and one that I know will continue into the next is that of the relationship between Rothstein and Margaret, and since Rothstein purchased the insurance on Mickey I imagine once Nucky decides to kill him, he, and Margaret, will become involved, allowing the characters to connect once again.
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That was one lame season finale. it left almost everything unresolved. you knew Maybelle would die because there'd have been no reason for her and Narcisse to cross paths. Richard is a tragic character so you've known for ages that he would die, but did he? Gillian's finale was in the previous episode. So was Van Alden and O' Banion's. Eli's whole storyline was a bait and switch. So was Chalky's and his finale was ridiculous. "I got my daughter killed, now I'm just gon' have a drank," Thats it? Seriously? Everything has all been leading up to this? Hard to believe this is the same show in which the D'allesio brothers got dealt with.
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Horrible! Well the last ten or so minutes were at least... Man! They go from one of the most epic intense and awesome exchanges between Eli and the prohibition officer that was just an amazingly great executed scene.. they go from that to making the biggest friggin mistake they could possibly make and kill off the best character on this TV show in the weakest way possible! Killing Richard I figured was inevitable by the series end but not this soon and not in such a lame way. First of all I felt the decision to have him accidently kill Chalky's daughter was poor but I was willing to except the inevitable Richard guilt and hope for forgiveness and Chalkys quest for revenge but to have him just get shot like that and bleed out is pathetic! He was such a remarkable character and to not have him at the very least go out with some dignity or honor in my opinion is a disgrace to his honor. It is a slap in the face to the loyal viewers who have stuck with this show sense the beginning.... Will I continue to watch?,,, Yeah I guess so because I love the whole 20s era and their are other great characters on the show but this makes me incredibly angry and upset and It's probably a good thing for the show that it wont be back for a year or so because I'll need the time to forgive them for ruining such an amazing character.... Also to have characters like Narcise and Gillian outlive Richard is such a shame that I can't even fully comprehend it..
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Yea Richard's finale was a real kick in the nuts to loyal viewers, it was a writer's copout. I was really amazed at how one scene turned Gillian's boring ass storyline into one of the best and most shocking ever. I was stunned when the feds 'came out of the closet'. Now that we're expecting an escalation of the beef 'tween Chalky & the Doctor, they'll probably kill off Narcisse stupidly in the opening scene of season 5, then find something abyssmally boring to focus on.
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I understand your frustration, but you also need to remember that this show is based on real events that actually took place. They just can't change history to make people happy.
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richard and narcisse are fictional. narcisse is based on casper holstein. chalky white is based on chalky wright, a boxer from texas.

some characters they can do whatever they want with.
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In the end it IS a TV-Show. It is based on reality, so the setup of the show is based on that but overall it is still fiction. And it is not supposed to be a documentary. So I think they should do what seems right for the show and makes for an interesting story. Within reason and the established universe of the show.
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Well.. Considering Richard Harrow is a fictional character and not based off a real person I'm pretty sure they can do whatever they want with him..
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I'll write more later, but that was fucking devastating. Not sure if I will continue.
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Looks Like BE took the path of Hell On Wheels and left everything up in the air. (Except Gillian.) This might turn out to be the series finale
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Pretty 'tame' Season Finale but damn did it get screwed up. Things seem to be moving on completely again this time. I feel that if this season was the Capone intro, next one should go full on.

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Richard!!!! : , (

WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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why what? will he live or die? who knows. you certainly can't tell from what we saw in this episode. almost every storyline terminated with a questionmark. why maybelle? for an emotional response no doubt, who writes this crap anyway?
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OH he dead for sure :(
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Richard definetly bit the dust... down do the dream montage of happiness and the frozen face of life emptying him by the harbor.. complete bullshit!
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