2014 has come and gone, and as we start our new year, let’s take a moment to look back on what made the previous one great and what made it teeth-grindingly frustrating. Here are the best and worst of 2014 as voted by you! Thanks to everyone who voted, hope to see you back here at the end of 2015 for more judgment!
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Young Nucky’s mentor, Sheriff Lindsay, decided he’d had enough of pimping out children to the Commodore and left it up to Nucky to continue his awful, awful work. Nucky and Margaret started shorting Mayflower Grain Corp’s stock, Lucky and Meyer got to work creating a crime family consortium, Eli’s wandering around rather aimlessly, and Capone’s about to get nailed on tax evasion charges.
No opening credits this week, just a shot of a pile of clothes (looks like someone watched Mad Men) and then we see Nucky walking naked into the ocean. He starts to swim, further and further out, so far that I start to wonder if he’s just going to drown and the entire episode will just be a black screen or tying up everyone else’s loose ends or something.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Meyer and Lucky made moves against Nucky and Maranzano, prompting Nucky to go ahead and declare war. Eli managed to get out of the whole Capone situation alive (unlike Van Alden), which could make things super awkward for his eldest son, who’s now working in the US attorney’s office.
Will Thompson’s boss gets on the radio to talk about the crime wave engulfing New York and New Jersey, as we’re treated to vintage photos and headlines of said massacres. We also see how jumpy Lucky and Meyer are (with good reason). Every time a door opens they clearly start. But their time has not come. Yet. Nucky is still hitting the booze hard. He reluctantly puts down a bottle of Bacardi to go meet with a strangely chill Maranzano.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Sally mouthed off to the wrong people and got shot, Eli and Van Alden got pinched and are being forced to work with the Feds, and Chalky busted out of jail and went to go seek revenge on Narcisse, which led to an unexpected face-to-face with Daughter Maitland and…her daughter.
We pick up right where we left off, with Chalky and Daughter staring at each other, He asks what she’s doing there and she says she has business there, which is, honestly, none of his. She warns him he has to leave. He glances at the child and she only says that the child isn’t Narcisse’s. Chalky asks whose she is and Daughter firmly says ‘she’s mine.’ She’s totally Chalky’s. One of the men who works there knocks on the door and demands to know why it’s locked. Daughter lies that she’s changing. He tells her to unlock it when she’s done, because Narcisse is going to be there soon. Chalky settles in to wait with her.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Young Nucky became a sort of protégé of Sheriff Lindsay. In the present, Sally got shot, Nucky came up with a solution to Margaret’s Caroline Rothstein problem, Chalky escaped from the chain gang, and Mueller got recognized by Lucky and had his whole cover blown by fellow agent Mike.
We’re done with the 1880s and have now moved to 1897. Nucky’s a young deputy sheriff dealing with a townie who takes him under the boardwalk to show him what she’s sure is a dead body. She goes on and on about all the terrible things that go on at night there as young Nucky uncovers…a dead hog. She seems almost disappointed it’s not an actual body.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky struck a deal with Bacardi Rum down in Cuba to become the sole US importer, but was having trouble attracting extra money to the project. Margaret hit money troubles of her own: Mrs Rothstein’s getting ready to sue her for more than $100,000. In Chicago, Mueller/Van Alden’s in deep with an increasingly insane Capone.
In 1884, the summer season’s coming to an end. Little Nucky finishes sweeping the verandah, then moves inside the now empty hotel and starts poking around, marveling at the grandeur of the place. He goes to sit on a sofa and is caught by the manager, who takes him to the Commodore’s office. Commodore shows him the photos of half-dressed young girls he’s arranging on his desk as he unrolls his grand plans for Atlantic City and schools Nucky on attracting investors so one doesn’t gamble all of one’s own cash on any venture. Commodore tells Nucky that his services are no longer required, since summer’s over. Nucky begs to keep working for the man but Commodore is unsympathetic and just tells Nucky to leave his uniform before he goes home.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky set about trying to find out who wants to have him killed while also making connections with Joseph Kennedy. Margaret’s boss shot himself, prompting her to pull Rothstein’s file, Chalky escaped from the chain gang with a Dunn Purnsley-esque companion, and we got a few forays back to the 1880s so we could learn absolutely nothing about Nucky that we hadn’t already found out over the past few seasons.
Chalky and his new buddy break into a home and immediately start raiding the kitchen. They must be super hungry, because Chalky actually cracks some eggs into a glass and drinks them down. Ick. They wander around, checking the place out (it’s a nice house) and Chalky asks Milton if this is the right house. Chalky wants to leave, but a young woman appears and they ask her for cash, promising to leave as soon as they have it. They all say that in these scenarios, don’t they? She claims not to have any, and lets slip that someone else is in the house with her. After a few moments, her mother comes down the stairs and seems startled by the sight of two strange black men in her home.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky almost got his head cleaved in Cuba, but overcame that to secure the exclusive rights to Bacardi rum. Eli was shipped off to Chicago after murdering a federal agent in his own living room, and the agent formerly known as Nelson Van Alden (now George Mueller) joined the Capone gang.
Eli wakes in an alcohol haze to the sound of federal agents raiding the enormous warehouse he’s working in. Or, you know, ‘working’ in. He pulls it together enough to realise he needs to get out of there. The feds have commandeered a huge pile of money, as well as a lot of liquor.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Hoo boy. Well, Chalky got into a tangle with Valentin Narcisse which wound up with Chalky on the lam and his daughter accidentally getting shot to death by Richard Harrow, who died shortly after, making new bride Julia a widow. Margaret started a new life in New York, working for some sort of scam, by the sound of it, and crossing paths with Rothstein. Eli was blackmailed into helping out a creepy federal agent, and then had to go on the run after killing the guy, and Nucky explored new business opportunities in Florida.
I have to confess, I actually wasn’t planning on recapping Boardwalk anymore after last season. It’s not that the season was really bad it’s just…I dunno, I didn’t really love it. Watching every episode was starting to feel like a chore, and once they killed off Harrow I felt like I was just done. I didn’t really care about anyone anymore. But then they announced this was going to be the final season, and I figured I might as well stick it out to the end. So, here we are.
Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Chalky reconnected with his old mentor, only to have the guy get shot. Eli persuaded Nucky (who may or may not be suspicious of his brother) to have a sit-down with all the players from New York and Tampa, which will allow Knox to move in with serious charges, and Gillian unwittingly confessed to first degree murder.
A not-at-all symbolic storm is brewing off the coast while masked men approach the Albatross, taking Nucky’s men hostage. Nucky is apparently oblivious as he gets some Spanish lessons over the phone from Sally. She asks him what his plans are going forward and he tells her that, after today, he’s not going to make plans. Today, however, he’s doing the last thing he needs to do.