Boardwalk Empire Season 5 Review “Cuanto”

When Boardwalk Empire ends, it will be interesting to see which character will earn the title of “most resilient.” With all due respect to Nucky’s business savvy and ingenuity, I believe the title might just belong to Van Alden, Eli Thompson or Mickey Doyle.

Ever since Van Alden AKA George Mueller became a member of Al Capone’s criminal gang, I find myself holding my breath out of fear that the former FBI agent’s past will come back to haunt him with fatal consequences. It also doesn’t help that the Al Capone we’re currently witnessing on Boardwalk Empire is by his nature irrational at times and hot headed. He’s even worse when under the influence, so I knew last night would not end well for someone, considering the fact that when Capone wasn’t talking, he was sniffing nose candy. Although the empire state building bludgeoning was clearly inevitable from the time it first appeared in the episode, it didn’t make watching the poor sap on the receiving end of the attack any easier to watch.

I Van Alden would be outed when Eli arrived in Chicago, but Eli was either lonely and needed a familiar face or saw Van Alden as a quick way to become familiar with Chicago mob life – or perhaps a combination of the two. When Luciano arrived in Chicago and remembered Van Alden’s very memorable face, I just knew it was the end for the character. By the way, it was nice to hear Luciano invoke the memory of the gone, but not forgotten Jimmy Darmody, as he recalled how he knew Van Alden. Although the resilience of Eli and Doyle can be quite baffling at times, Van Alden demonstrated last night why he’s managed to stick around this long. Despite his unstable boss carelessly waving a gun around, Van Alden managed to find a way to cheat death by appealing to Capone’s vanity. His ability to talk Capone out of killing him would have been unrealistic had it not been for the copious amounts of coke Capone was sniffing. It was a brilliant way of approaching a man who forces his guests to watch newsreels about him.

For every character who seems to have nine lives, there are other characters who run out of options or become victim of time and circumstances and find themselves on the long list of Boardwalk Empire casualties. Last night, Sally Wheat found herself unable to charm her way out of being murdered by Cuban soldiers. With Sally dead, I would suspect that Nucky’s Bacardi deal is not long for this world either. This is probably for the best, as it will allow Nucky to focus on the war brewing around him, which will be very interesting now that it looks like Nucky and Capone will pair up again with a potential assist from Narcisse.

Much to my surprise, my favorite episode was the reunion between Nucky and Margaret. In her interactions with Joe Kennedy, we saw the bright, charismatic character who once won over Nucky’s heart. Unfortunately for Nucky, Margaret’s charm was not enough to secure him a partnership with Joe. It was fun to watch the estranged couple get drunk, reminisce and ultimately acknowledge that they needed each other when they were together and that their lives benefited from their companionship.

The show continued to effectively use flashbacks this week, as it becomes more and more apparent how Nucky became the ambitious politician we’ve seen over five seasons. It looks like we’re heading towards as flashback with Gillian, as we saw the first signs of the Commodore’s interest in underage girls.

Until Next Week!

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