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Boardwalk Empire Recap | Digging Deeper Into the Finale

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Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) and Jeremiah Panhorst (@jpanhorst) dig deeper into the season finale of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”.

El Dorado

Written by Howard Korder and Terence Winter

Directed by Tim Van Patten

  • Was seeing Nucky’s sin of betraying Gillian on screen make this a more powerful impact to this pivotal event?
  • Now that we have seen the Commodore’s storyline, is it safe to say he is one of the worse characters in TV history?
  • How do we feel now with the decision of having no main title sequence and Nucky not being seen in the episode until the Eldorado scene, which was about 20 minutes in?
  • How do like the way they handled the subject that money does not always solve a problem? Both Nucky and Al Capone learn this the hard way.
  • Terence Winter said the primitive television scene was about illustrating how much the world around Nucky has changed and he will not be part of that changing world. Do we like that explanation?
  • Does the choice of the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” directly refer to Nucky himself?
  • Did Tommy use the $1000 that Nucky gave him to get the gun he used to kill him?
  • What happened to Tommy when he was growing up with Julia?
  • Do we think Nucky feels sorry for destroying 3 generations of the Darmody family?
  • When Jimmy died we see a vision of him back in the bunkers, when Richard dies we see the image of Tommy living happily with Julia, Chalky hearing Daughter singing, and with Nucky we see him as a boy reaching for the gold, what can we take away from this?
  • How great was Nucky and Margaret’s final scene?
  • Do we think Nucky could have lived happily in New York, maybe with Margaret?
  • Are we satisfied with Margaret’s ending? ( her $29,000 would be $440,000 today)
  • Did the Lucky and Meyer storyline suffer the most from having a shortened end to the series?
  • Did we like the call back to season 3 with Al Capone teaching his son boxing?
  • Now that Nucky is dead, who gets his profits from the Mayflower Grain scheme? A whopping $2,364,120.00 which would be over 37,000,000.
  • How great was it seeing Nucky and his father fight?
  • Can Eli have a happy ending?
  • Are we satisfied with the killing of Valentin Narcisse?
  • Can Gillian ever get out of the psychiatric hospital?
  • What became of Nelson Van Alden’s wife and children?
  • Did Willie Thompson turn in his uncle to the feds?
  • Are we still satisfied with the ending and the Tommy Darmody plot?
  • What are some of our favorite moments in the final season?
  • Where does Boardwalk rank among other dramas?

Historical references:

Closing song: If You Want The Rainbow (You Must Have The Rain), performed in 1928 by Annette Hanshaw

King Neptune made frequent appearances on the boardwalk, later paired with Miss America winners.

Cornelius Vanderbilt is buried in Staten Island. I don’t think anything is written on his tombstone.

Terence Winter admitted that Mabel’s tombstone date was a mistake.

Capone’s story basically ends with him turning himself into the authorities, as he would spend most of the ’30s in prison, then spend years suffering from dementia and other long-term effects of syphillis, before dying in 1947?

After Maranzano’s murder in 1931, the Mafia families called a meeting in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was to replace the old Sicilian Mafia regime of “boss of all bosses” and establish a rule of consensus among the crime families. Charlie Luciano established a Mafia board of directors to be known as “The Commission” to oversee all Mafia activities in the United States and serve to mediate conflicts between families. The Commission consisting of seven family bosses: the leaders of New York’s Five Families: Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Vincent Mangano, Tommy Gagliano, Joseph Bonanno and Joe Profaci, the Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone and Buffalo family boss Stefano Magaddino. Charlie Luciano was appointed chairman of the Commission. The Commission agreed to hold meetings every five years or when they needed to discuss family problems.

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  • Some more history (wikipedia)…
    A network of underground tunnels connecting buildings in downtown Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan, Canada) was constructed beginning around 1908. The tunnels original purpose for being built was a planned underground steam system that was abandoned. Entire families lived in the tunnels and worked at above-ground businesses in exchange for food and supplies. The tunnels became a hub of renewed activity in the 1920s for rum-running during Prohibition in the United States. They were reported to have warehoused illegal alcohol that was then shipped to the U.S. via the Soo Line Railroad. The tunnels were also used for gambling and prostitution, all without interference from the corrupt police chief.There has long been anecdotal evidence that American mobster Al Capone had visited Moose Jaw or at least had interests in the bootlegging operations. Although no written or photographic proof exists of Capone’s presence, several firsthand accounts from people in Moose Jaw who claim to have met him have been documented. Capone’s grandniece also confirmed that he had been in Moose Jaw prior to his 1931 conviction for tax evasion. In the 21st century, the city capitalized on this notoriety to restore the tunnel network into the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, a tourist attraction that opened in June 2000.

    • Brendan Fitzpatrick

      I think my favorite little piece of history I found through wiki, was the fact that the first “Commission” meeting hosted by Luciano and Lanksy, took place in Atlantic City, and that Nucky Johnson was actually in attendance. But that would not have been a satisfying ending to the show either I don’t think, even though it may have been a really cool visual shot of them all sitting around the table, and Nucky and Luciano tipping their glasses at eachother as music swells. The End.

      • jeremiahp

        That would have been cool!

    • jeremiahp

      Great stuff Scott!

  • Jai

    great show guys. will be great if you could do one off shows. like top ten deaths or top ten episodes or top ten characters. keep up the gpod work!

    • jeremiahp

      Thanks Jai, good suggestions! I am not sure if we will do more Boardwalk Empire podcasts on Post Show Recaps, but if we do, I think we may tackle one of your suggestions.

  • dapete

    You keep forgetting…Tommy was drunk. Possibly for the first time. Ain’t no sense in it. How many tragic stories are there on the other end of a drunk with a gun.

    Did they ever explain if he know Richard’s fate? I’d like to think Tommy was still driven by the hope he’d find him alive.

    • jeremiahp

      Good point, people do a lot of dumb things when they are drunk. But I have a feeling he was planning on killing him for a while and thats why he bought a gun.

      I would assume Tommy did know about Richard’s fate. Once his body was found, someone would have contacted his sister and Tommy did go to live with Richard’s sister later in his life, but the show never explained that.

  • MtlMike

    Darn, I thought this podcast was supposed to be a more in-depth look at the last episode, not a series overview! I was waiting for that because I was hoping you might discuss a point of contention I’ve had basically since the early days of the show, which is: I ultimately think that the failure of BE to capture the public’s attention like other more successful shows like The Sopranos and Mad Men is due to the casting of Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson.

    I love all of Buscemi’s previous work, but for me (and for many others), he never really clicked in this role. They probably would have been better off with a lesser-known actor (like they did with Gandolfini or Hamm) who could really immerse himself in the role. I liked the series as a whole, but it had real potential to be an all-timer, which I think it fell short of.

    I know I’m late to the show but I’d love to hear what you guys think about this…