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Boardwalk Empire Season Finale Recap: Nucky Gets Off and Makes a Decision About Jimmy


The second season of Boardwalk Empire is history and the season finale provided us with one huge surprise. Last week in episode 11 we Jimmy and Nucky Boardwalk Empirewitnessed Jimmy (Michael Pitt) killing his father "The Commodore" in front of his mother after he arrived back in Atlantic City following a heroin binge inside a hotel room in northern Jersey. During which we gained insight into the sordid relationship between he and his mother Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol).

With the season finale looming, there were many unresolved storylines. Would Nucky beat his federal case? Would Jimmy take out Manny Horvitz? Would Margaret testify against Nucky?

The season finale wasn't the "best" episode of the season like last week's episode, but it was a solid season finale, and disappointing in a big way. Not for lack of it's quality, but rather the direction this show will potentially go.

Now onto the recap of Boardwalk Empire's season 2 finale...

Jimmy and Richard Deliver the Klansmen to Chalky

The writers wasted little time in delivering some serious action as Jimmy and Richard roll up on a Klan meeting out in the woods. Jimmy and Richard Harrow send a message by executing a few Klansmen off the bat to show they mean business. They demand to know the identities of the three who shot up Chalky's hangout. 

Turns out it wasn't Jimmy, Eli, and The Commodore afterall. The klan leader gives up all three who did the deeds. They are delivered to Chalky and Jimmy even offers him $5,000 each to the families of the victims. Chalky is surprised considering he offered $3,000. It's not like Jimmy to go above and beyond. He asks Chalky for one favor; to speak to Nucky.

Nucky and Jimmy Finally Have a Sit-down

Nucky and Jimmy have a sit-down finally. Jimmy explains that his father is dead and how he wanted to have him killed from the time he was a child. It's a complete lie of course since we know what did his "father" in.

Nucky wants to know why Jimmy tried to have him killed. Darmody cites his anger as the reason and how Eli was the impetus behind the failed assassination attempt. Nucky needs to do more fact finding.

Jimmy offers to do a favor for Nucky in getting his case squashed.

Jimmy and Richard Make Neary "Confess"

Jimmy and Richard Harrow bust into Neary's office while he's having some quality time with a young lady. At gunpoint they make him recant his testimony against Nucky. After he types up the forced confession and signs off on it he comments about it. Then Richard says "it's also your suicide note" and he puts a gun in Neary's mouth and blows his brains out, promptly sticking the gun in his hand.

Nucky Gets Off From His Federal Case

Esther Randolph is ready to bring her A-game against Nucky. She told Margaret she can paint her in any light and she has a key witness in Neary who can deliver the goods. Now that Neary is out of the picture her case is about to take a nosedive. When she goes head-to-head against Fallon in court - her case has more holes than a 10-pound block of swiss cheese. The judge rules a mistrial and tells her to get her ducks in a row.

Nucky is free as is Eli.

Deputy Halloran is screwed. The judge tells him he will go to Leavenworth, Kansas since Nucky's charge didn't stick. He is on the hook for the charges.

Margaret and Nucky Get Married and She Transfers the Land to...

In preparation for Nucky's impending federal sentencing, he proposes Margaret to marry him. Realizing that she cannot testify against him if they are married - it's all the more reason. They tie the knot and after he gets off from the federal charges he asks her to sign that land back over.

She signs it over to the church though. This surely is not going to go over well in season 3....

Nucky and Eli Get Back on Good Terms

Nucky visits Eli at his home and asks him to tell the truth, much like his conversation with Jimmy. Eli is adamant that he didn't try to have Nucky killed. The truth is that Eli is the one who really wanted to have Nucky killed earlier this season. Remember when Richard Harrow said to him "you would have your own brother killed." Eli had no issue with it at all. Jimmy was the one who had a problem with carrying it out.

Finally, Nucky tells Eli that he has to do one year in the joint and his wife and kids will be taken care of. Eli can handle that. It's certainly better than the alternative he faced; death.

Nucky Tells Jimmy He has Manny Horvitz

Jimmy is at home when he receives a call from Nucky. He has Manny Horvitz and will deliver him when they meet in an hour. Jimmy wastes little time heading out and tells Richard that he has to "do this himself." He goes to the meeting and it's a clear set-up. Eli is there with a shotgun and Nucky breaks it to Jimmy that he's going to be executed.

Jimmy doesn't think Nucky is the killer he pretends to be and tells him to relax and do it. When Jimmy did his first kill, he tells Nucky that he got sick for a few days afterwards. Nucky proceeds to execute Jimmy.

It was shocking to say the least that they killed Jimmy off so early in the show. His character was deep, provocative, and the perfect counter to Nucky.

Maybe this is the way things were meant to be in A.C. But, it's pretty disappointing to see Jimmy killed off after just 2 seasons.

Does this mean Richard Harrow will have a bigger role next season? Perhaps. Or, even Owen Sleater? He has already taken over Jimmy's old job.

Season 3 is going to be very interesting. At this juncture I have some reservations about how strong this show will be without Jimmy (Michael Pitt) having a prominent role.

Nonetheless it was a solid season finale and certainly better than season one's lackluster finale. Next season, it will be interesting to see what role Owen Sleater has. Also, will they eventually rekindle the affair between Owen and Margaret? Also, will Manny Horvitz get his justice at the hands of Richard Harrow?

The Rating Is...

I give this episode a Glenmorangie. It's certainly not a "5" but a very solid finale. The decision to kill Jimmy was puzzling to say the least. There are already many Boardwalk Empire fans who are ripping this decision to kill Jimmy. I can't say I disagree with them. Killing Jimmy Darmody isn't a smart move for the future of the show.

Show scale:

5 - The Macallan - 12 Year

4 - Glenmorangie

3 - The Glenlivet

2 - Laphroaig

1 - Johnny Walker Black


Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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Photo of Jimmy and Nucky from hbo.com