Robert De Niro plus Martin Scorsese in any visual medium is never a bad idea. (See: Virtually any of their collaborations.) But when Scorsese executive produced and directed the pilot of the HBO gangster series Boardwalk Empire, De Niro wasn’t present.
One of Boardwalk Empire’s saddest images—spoiler alert–was that of the mask of Richard Harrow, the show’s facially disfigured World War I vet and hit man with a heart, lying in the sand following the character’s death at the end of the fourth season. A Boardwalk fan can now have that mask. It is being auctioned off as part of a Screenbid auction beginning today.
Caution: spoilers ahead! For, well, everything.
Like Nucky Thompson, Boardwalk Empire always had trouble fitting in. Despite an impressive Emmy haul for its first season (including a win for executive producer Martin Scorsese, who directed the pilot), the series never seemed to find its footing. There were the regular comparisons to Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and ultimately, regardless of Steve Buscemi’s stellar acting work, Nucky just didn’t meet the criteria to gain access to the Don Draper and Walter White-populated Club Antihero.
On Sunday night Boardwalk Empire will wrap up its five-season run. The following day the latest installment of the show’s soundtrack will hit iTunes, featuring songs by Norah Jones, Elvis Costello, JD McPherson, series favorite Loudon Wainwright III, and Regina Spektor, whose rendition of “Love Me or Leave Me” will appear in the final episode. EW has the exclusive first listen here.
The decision to bump off two major characters in last week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire made for an excellent hour of television, but the unfortunate trade-off is that the show’s penultimate episode, “Friendless Child,” is almost painfully anticlimactic. Even next week’s series finale runs the risk of being bereft of heart-pounding drama, because there’s no one left to care about should there actually be more deaths in the offing.
Last week’s episode, “King of Norway,” may have been the best of the season, but tonight’s “Devil You Know” was the most pivotal. At the expense of two of Boardwalk Empire’s most complex characters (and talented actors), the show now heads into its final two episodes with Nucky Thompson front and center. Thing is, it’s hard to get all riled up for Nucky’s upcoming war with Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky—because we’ve seen it before, at the end of almost every season.
If there is one positive to the abbreviated eight-episode final season of Boardwalk Empire, it’s that we only had to slog through four lukewarm episodes in order to get from last year’s fiery finale “Farewell Daddy Blues” to the next (and, possibly, last) truly stellar hour of the series. Although, with only three episodes left, “King of Norway” will, at the very least, end up the fourth-best episode of the season, which ain’t too shabby.
It’s pretty much a given that loyalty will end up a major theme in any mob-related narrative. In the case of Boardwalk Empire, the concept extends beyond the characters into the minds of its audience.
It sounds crazy, but we’re now more than one-third of the way through Boardwalk Empire’s final season. The question is, will the next five episodes be enough to resolve all of the loose subplots still flailing around from Chicago to New York to Atlantic City to Cuba to wherever the hell Chalky White is (an off-hand reference to the town of “Chambersburg” suggests he’s somewhere in Pennsylvania)? Already it feels like certain characters are being sacrificed for the greater good of giving Nucky a Walter White or Don Draper-worthy send-off: Jeffrey Wright’s much-lauded villain Dr.
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