Boardwalk Empire, Season 5, Episode 4, “Cuanto”
September 28, 2014, 9:00 p.m., HBO
We are officially at the midway point of Boardwalk‘s final season. If the series doesn’t tie itself up by the end, and it seems poised not to do that on any concrete level - strictly based on the fact that Enoch Johnson isn’t imprisoned until 1941; then after tonight’s episode, at least we can say that Nucky, framed by his flashbacks, and the return of Margaret, has become honest with himself and those around him.
First of all, let’s pour one out for the late Sally Wheat, the character that was too much woman for Nucky, and served no purpose other than to link him to the rum world. You will be missed. Not pulling any punches, or wasting any time with a love-triangle in the last four episodes of the season, once Margaret returned, the show did away with Sally quickly. This works to our benefit, as Margaret and Nucky’s chemistry and banter has always been a strong point on the show. Now with a common enemy, and Margaret’s hands almost as dirty as Nucky’s, he can proudly be himself around her. Not hiding his dealings, not pretending he’s more noble than he is. He even blatantly admits to wanting to save her.
We’ve known about Nucky’s desire to save women since he saw Margaret in season one, we get a closer look at the origins of his complex in the flashbacks tonight, as lil’ Nucky (which he should always be referred to) tries to help his mother. Through his flashbacks, we realize what he’s always been hoping to achieve with Margaret - a healthy family. When lil’ Nucky has dinner at the Sheriff’s house, he witnesses something he’s never experienced, a loving family. This becomes the basis for many of his issues and desires in his adult life. With Margaret he found that which he hoped to achieve, a loving, warm woman, and two children he could father. The problem for so long has been that Nucky has only been able to show a fraction of who he is to her. The rest of him has hidden in the shadows. When Margaret did first learn what was going on behind closed doors, she ran for the hills of Brooklyn. Now she has realized, that in this world, those are the only type of people who can have any success, and she wants it.
It’s a partnership and a match made in heaven.
Other dealings this week include more of the brilliant Stephen Graham as Capone. Someone give this guy a Golden Globe or an Emmy this year, please. His ability to turn it up to 11 as a gleeful, coke addled Capone, to a brutally violent, serious gangster, pummeling all in his wake, is astounding. I almost wish that he didn’t play him in the series, just so there could be a starring role for him has the legendary OG. Van Alden gets found out this week, as Luciano recognizes him, Capone comes close to killing him, but then backs off when he realizes they share a common enemy. Without knowing the history, it seems like Capone could take care of Nucky’s problem for him. Though, Luciano became one of the biggest bosses in organized crime in the States for a period of time, after 1931.
At the midway point of Boardwalk's final season, the gears have shifted as the characters align with their allies, positioning for power.