Boardwalk Empire will air its fifth and final season this year. Michael K. Williams has revealed that this season will jump forward seven years into the heart of the Great Depression.
The season 4 finale Farewell Daddy Blues was a departure from the previous finales, which usually saw resolution. At the end of last season we saw the death of one of the main characters, Richard, and the rest of the main cast in turmoil. Terence Winter tied up the finale with multiple scenarios for the main characters so it will be interesting to see where everyone stands after a seven-year gap.
When we last saw Jillian Darmody she was arrested for murder after opening up to her new boyfriend, who turned out to be a private detective. Back in May Gretchen told Gold Derby “it was sad, it was so traumatic, I think that is a testament to the writing really, because they do play the audience in this way… you hopefully get the feeling a little bit almost sympathetic for her if that’s possible… The whole journey of last season was pretty incredible because she got cleaned up… for the first time in her life she’s opened her heart… and it just didn’t quite work out.” Gretchen did not confirm that she would reprise her role for season five. But it would not be surprising to see her emerging from prison for the final season. Terence Winter discussed Jillian’s story last November (spoilers)
The war between Chalky and Dr. Valentin Narcisse is not over. We saw the terrible accidental shooting of Chalky’s daughter last season. Michael Williams said ““It ended very badly for Chalky last year. His family life is no more, and he is desperately seeking Dr. Narcisse to settle old scores.”
A new character has been introduced for season 5. Travis Tope will play Slim, a young drifter who comes into town and to work for Mickey Doyle. I am still surprised Mickey has made it to the last season.
Eli Thompson was packed off west after Nucky learned of his betrayal, and Eli beat the sinister Agent Knox/Tolliver to death with a vase. Who picked him up in Chicago? The hapless Nelson Van Alden/George Mueller.
There was quite a bit going on with some of the character’s historical counterparts in 1931. Al Capone should be firmly installed in Chicago, Johnny Torrio having moved back to Italy in 1925 after the attempt on his life. 1931 was not a good year for Capone, however, he was convicted of tax evasion and earned an 11 year sentence.
Arnold Rothstein was murdered in 1928, although perhaps he won’t be relegated to an off-screen death. Last time we saw Nucky’s estranged wife Margaret she was fleecing Arnold for fancy new digs for herself and the children.
Meyer Lansky was instrumental in Luciano’s rise to power in 1931, and we’ll likely see something of the war between Luciano and the ‘Mustache Petes’ Joe Masseria and his rival Salvatore Maranzano. Maranzano and Luciano engineered Masseria’s murder, with Luciano then taking over Masseria’s gang and becoming Maranzano’s lieutenant. But Maranzano turned on Luciano just a few months later. Luciano came out on top, going on to be the most dominant organised crime boss in the US. Until he was imprisoned in 1936. Meyer Lansky would fare better, after Capone’s incarceration he began to move his money off-shore to a Swiss bank account.
Meyer Lansky’s gambling empire included casinos in Cuba, where Nucky Thompson was heading for last season before plans went awry. The real-life Enoch Johnson would not go to prison for tax evasion until 1939, and it’s hard to tell what direction Winter is going to take with Nucky this season. With so much going on with Capone, Lansky and Luciano and the tensions between Narcisse – last seen being turned against Marcus Garvey by J. Edgar Hoover – and Chalky still simmering Nucky’s storyline will have to prove pretty strong. Of course after a consistently excellent four seasons of Boardwalk Empire we can expect the final season to top them all.