Spoilers for Season 5, Episode 6 “Devil You Know” follow.
Ever since I started binge-watching Terence Winter’s “Boardwalk Empire” last summer, the show has often left me with mixed feelings. Throughout the series run, there have been a handful of plots and characters that mattered very little in the grand scheme of things.
It’s a show that is far from perfect, but it still has some of the greatest production design and cinematography that I have ever seen in a show. Not to mention the occasional episode, like last season’s finale “Farewell Daddy Blues,” that will leave your jaw on the floor.
“Devil You Know” doesn’t quite pack the same punch, but it felt like an episode where the loose ends are starting to be tied up.
Spoilers after the jump.
“Boardwalk Empire” is historical fiction. And like many people I am always intrigued by what parts are real and what parts are fabricated. A lot of “Boardwalk Empire” is fabricated, with many of its main characters never having existed.
2 of those fictional characters died this week – Chalky White and Agent Nelson Van Alden, Also two of the greatest performers in the series – Michael K. Williams and Michael Shannon. While Chalky had a strong dramatic character-arc in season four, the show never seemed to find a set direction for Alden. Who began the series as a religiously-deranged prohee, and found himself under the anonymous employment of Al Capone.
It made sense that Alden’s character took the path that he did, but in the end you could’ve stripped his whole storyline and it would’ve taken away very little from the show in the long run.
It has been brought up many times that both these characters died so that the final two episodes can draw focus to Nucky, who, after all, is our main character. It was a brilliant idea to focus-in on Nucky’s past and to bring the younger Gillian into the picture, which will make her character seem a little less unimportant. She can be considered a symbol of Nucky’s destructive climb to the top.
Spoilers from history follow:
It is worth nothing though, for the history buffs, that Enoch Johnson (the man Nucky’s character is based off of), doesn’t die until 1968. The other milestone in his life was his arrest on tax evasion charged in 1939 (8 years after where we currently are in time), He entered prison in 1941 and was paroled in 1945. Something we may see in an epilogue if there is one in the final episode.
So Nucky should be safe, he’s about to go to war though and we also know that Lucky Luciano lives till 1962 in history and his associate Meyer Lansky didn’t die till the elder age of 80. So there shouldn’t be any casualties in these characters.
We should witness the arrest of Al Capone, however, which should be an epic showdown. Again, the only major characters that can be expendable are the ones not written in history. This could include Margaret, Gillian, or even Narcisse. Regardless it should be a blowout, and hopefully maintain the strength of the past season finales.