Some might focus on the mayhem unleashed in this season finale of Boardwalk Empire, but my favorite moment was a quiet one.
Murder Makes Strange Bedfellows
Nucky (Steve Buscemi)'s remaining allies are Eli (Shea Whigham), the amazingly resilient Doyle (Paul Sparks), Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) and Al Capone (Stephen Graham), who apparently came from Chicago to help out without the blessing of his boss, Torrio. Sadly, Chalky and Al don't get along that well, as the racial tension between the two crews spills over into threats and violence. Who would have thought that Al Capone was such a racist? Well, I guess it isn't that surprising. The two antagonists end up bonding, though, over their shared love of gunning unsuspecting people down.
Gyp And Gillian Forever
Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) finally got "what he deserves," as per the equally deserving Gillian (Gretchen Mol). Man, those two were quite the creepy couple, huh? Gyp took care of Gillian, and got out of the house before Richard (Jack Huston) showed up, guns blazing, to rescue Tommy (Brady and Connor Noon). Gillian had one surprising sympathetic moment, flashing back to her ruined childhood while in the throes of a heroin overdose. Gyp just continued acting loony, singing a song to mock Nucky as his under-appreciated right-hand man, Tonino (Chris Caldovino), stabbed him in the back. Gillian's really dead, right?
Nucky's Wheels In Motion
Nucky's play against his enemies was masterful, but it makes one wonder where he'll find friends next season. He tricked Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) into supporting him in exchange for a business that Nucky then ratted out (fair play for Rothstein, who engaged in similar backstabbing against his erstwhile allies, Luciano (Vincent Piazza) and Lansky (Anatol Yusef)). Nucky also had all of Masseria's (Ivo Nandi) departing men ambushed after he tricked Rothstein into having them called off. His only real failure was in trying to convince Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) to come back to him. In a neat reversal of the final scene in The Godfather, she sticks to her principles, refusing his money, and quietly closes the door in his face.
Who's Coming Back, And Why?
Unlike some shows, Boardwalk Empire has ended its season pretty conclusively. There is still a lot to sort out, but the main storylines here are all wrapped up. As far as I can tell, Margaret is done and gone. It would be nice if they replaced her with another strong female character. Gillian and Gyp are gone, obviously. Nucky is isolated again, but stronger. Doyle continues to live, somehow, and Chalky's fortunes should be rising. To me, in fact, it seems like Nucky's story is kind of at a dead end. I'd be cool with it if they revamped the whole show and shifted the focus to Chalky. That would be a great show. I'm not sure what's going on with Van Alden, but at least they didn't toss in a scene of him in Chicago, getting a new job selling encyclopedias.
It was an uneven season, but it ended strong, with the last two episodes among the best. What were some of your favorite moments from Season 3?
"We didn't stop when the going was good. Always a little bit more, just in case."
-- Nucky explains to Eli how their hardscrabble upbringing affected their approach to life.
"F__k do I know? Name sounds like a toothache."
-- Luciano responds to cops interrogating him for the name of his Chinese heroin supplier.
"I like having you around. If I didn't know where you were, I might get... anxious."
-- Gyp refuses to let Gillian leave the house with Tommy.
"I don't know about you, Gyp, but sometimes I wish that someone would give me exactly what I deserve."
-- Gillian should be careful what she wishes for.
"All this time I thought I'd had some civilizing effect, but there's only so much you can teach a person, before you reach the limits of his capabilities."
-- Rothstein laments after Luciano's outburst.