Boardwalk Empire 5×01 ‘Golden Days for Boys and Girls’: The kiss off

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Here it is folks. The final season of Boardwalk Empire is upon us. Many critics say that the show ran its course in the first season. Which is total rubbish in my opinion. I’ve loved every season of BE so far and I cannot wait to see how everything gets wrapped up. Sadly, HBO shortened the length to just eight episodes this time, but this is still a better outcome than some HBO shows received in the past. With that in mind, let’s be grateful and begin again.

Nucky is having visions of a distant past when we are brought up seven years in the future to Cuba in 1931. Even though he’s dancing with Sally he seems lonesome and bitter, a fate I think that was always his to bear. From his flashbacks throughout the episode it appears that Nucky was always lonely and ambitious, his eyes forever fixated on an isolated peak. One lesson his cruel childhood does teach him is that hard work is always preferable to the dumb luck others have. Sally and Nucky meet with a senator and discuss America starting over with the repeal of prohibition. I’m not sure if the show will make it that far with only seven episodes to go, but it would be nice to see if Nucky’s plans to import Bacardi rum into America pans out. This would also bring the show full circle, since the first major scene we see is the prohibition era beginning.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

We see Chalky in the next scene being dropped off in the middle of some horrible grey woods, where it’s always cold and damp probably. He’s serving out his prison sentence through hard labor on a chain gang, hardly what we’re used to with the magnificent Chalky. The interwoven scenes of the woods and Cuba are so starkly different you can’t help but feel terrible for him. At this point I was frowning at the television as much as Chalky. When a skirmish breaks out later between the guards and the inmates I cheered as Chalky and his strange new friend broke free and escaped into the wilderness.

Margaret Schroeder is still employed at Connors and Gould and we see an uneasy meeting take place. Her boss Mr. Bennett is speaking about a film he saw with his wife and a Mickey Mouse cartoon. He half-heartedly describes what happens in the cartoon and tells his staff to never give up. Just the way the scene was framed makes you feel incredibly nervous and you can feel the pressure building. Mr. Bennett says, “The country is strong, the market is strong, Connors & Gould is strong, everything’s gonna work out fine.” Shortly after this he shoots himself in the head with a pistol. Everyone screams and runs, Margaret is traumatized for life, and the episode doesn’t quite answer whether or not she’ll have a job in the near future. These are dark days indeed.

Before we go any further I will mention that there is no Al Capone this episode. It’s frustrating to me because Al was just starting to take off last season but now I don’t think the show will be able to give him the send-off he deserves. Stephen Graham is an incredible actor and should have his own spin-off. Also, Arnold Rothstein dies off-screen in the seven-year gap. This is also disappointing because I really enjoyed this character.

However, we do get an update on Lucky Luciano and Joe Massiera. Specifically that Lucky and his gang shoots the living daylights out of Massiera after cutting a deal with Salvatore Maranzano. Later, we see Lucky rising in the gangster ranks as he slices his hand and shakes with the other members of his new family. Maranzano calls him a hero and Lucky just seems sort of unimpressed with the whole affair. It makes you wonder if this is what he truly wants or what he feels he should want.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Later, we revisit with Nucky and Sally as they’re trying to make a deal with the CEO of Bacardi. He’s pretty hesitant at first, but Nucky charms him and convinces the senator to play nice and tell the CEO what he wants to hear. The senator is pretty upset with Nucky for making him into his “whipping boy” and won’t make any guarantees. The scene is set up to frenetic bongo drums and moves so quickly you barely have time to realize that Nucky gets attacked by some random street thug. Just before Nucky gets hacked to bits with a machete his new bodyguard steps in and whacks it through the assailant’s head like a coconut. Then, in perhaps the oddest scene of the episode, a la Daryl Dixon, he chops the dead guy’s ear off. He gently places it in his pocket and walks away to a cheering crowd while Nucky looks on in horror. Nucky later buys off a local police officer with $200 bucks to keep the incident quiet. Got to lay low if there’s any chance of securing Bacardi’s bid.

So, what did you guys think? I really liked this episode and think it’s an excellent start to the new season. I can’t wait for the next episode. Were you disappointed? Underwhelmed? Ecstatic? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Sarah S. is an aspiring couch potato and currently haunts the Midwestern United States. She spends way too much time watching TV and being a pop culture junkie. When she’s not ranting about movies and TV on social media, you can probably find her with an iced latte in hand or fixing everyone’s problems. Sometimes she writes really silly stuff on Twitter and Tumblr.

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