Spoilers: The Shocking Boardwalk Empire Finale
By LISA HIRSCH
December 12, 2011
Boardwalk Empire wrapped up season two with a literal bang, not a shock given the violence-heavy HBO show; the surprise element arose from who took the bullet, and who pulled the trigger.
Nucky Thompson has long had a complicated relationship with his surrogate son Jimmy Darmody, with much of this season centering on Jimmy assembling an army to take down Nucky, but it looked like Jimmy was ready to bury the hatchet on Sunday's night's episode, seemingly redeeming himself by dismantling the government's case against Nucky by taking out a key witness and having the others recant their testimony. (The show hasn't been shy with the drama this season, with all of this coming after Jimmy's wife was gunned down with her lady lover, it was revealed that he slept with his mother, and he stabbed and killed his father.)
But it seems that blood is thicker than water in Atlantic City, as Nucky took back his wayward brother Eli, but couldn't see past Jimmy's betrayal, in an epic episode that culminated with Nucky putting a bullet in Jimmy's head in a rainy field, standing over him and proclaiming, "I'm not looking for forgiveness," before unloading a final bullet into his one-time protégé. Complicating the scenario even further is that Jimmy arrived for what he could only suspect was a trap completely unarmed, leaving one to wonder if his was a suicide mission from the beginning.
With that, the show put an end to one of the show's central characters, and ostensibly the most multi-layered, leaving viewers to wonder who could possibly fill the void going forward.
It seems that the show's writers are wondering that themselves, with showrunner Terence Winter telling EW.com, "One of the things I wanted to do by design in the finale is make the audience pissed off [at the start of the episode]. I wanted people to say [when it seemed like Nucky and Jimmy would reconcile], 'Oh great, after all that, it’s all going to be forgotten and Jimmy is going to be back in Nucky's good graces.' I wanted them to think right up to the very end that Nucky is going to forgive him and take him back. It was a really hard decision. You're sort of blowing up your own show, in some ways. Now we're back in the writers room trying to figure out where we go from here without Jimmy Darmody."
Another finale shocker came when Margaret, who earlier in the episode meekly agreed to wed Nucky, signed over the worth-a-fortune land deed Nucky put in her name for safekeeping, to the Catholic church. Seeing how Nucky rewards betrayal, it's anyone's guess whether Margaret (who, to make matters worse, was unfaithful to Nucky with his handsome driver Owen Sleater) will survive season three.