Boardwalk Empire Season 5 “Friendless Child” Review

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Heading into the penultimate episode of the series, students of history and Boardwalk Empire fans had some inkling that Nucky was not going to make good on his promise to kill Luciano and Lansky, unless the writers were prepared to rely on a very uncharacteristic departure from real life events. That has never made the series any less entertaining, but heading into the final two episodes of the series, it definitely piqued my interest as to how the battle (as well as the overall story) would end for Nucky. Last night’s episode, “Friendless Child” made several large strides in wrapping up things for Nucky and demonstrating just how powerful and ambitious Lansky and Luciano had become during the seven year time jump.

Making efficient use of their time, the writers used radio broadcasts and a mini-jump to the climax of the conflict to take viewers to each side’s respective big move – Nucky kidnapping Bugsy, which led to the kidnapping of Will. Kidnapping is a very un-Nucky like thing to do, as he’s had these men in his home and around his family. A more composed, clear headed Nucky would have take into consideration the potential threat to Margaret, her kids and other family members before pulling such an impulsive move. It was nice to see the Boardwalk Empire writers borrow a page from HBO’s Rome and use a fictional character to set off a significant series of events. Here, it was Eli killing Maranzano in order to get Will back safe and sound. Not everyone made it out alive – Mickey Doyle finally ran out of luck.

Despite the troubled family history we’ve seen in the flashbacks, Nucky chose family in the end. This, I suspect, is one of several redemptive acts we’ll see from the character as the series draws to a close. With Gillian at the center of the flashbacks this week, it will be interesting to see how Nucky chooses to right that wrong. If someone would have told me when Boardwalk Empire first began, that the series would end with Gillian and Nucky at the heart of the story – I probably would have stopped watching. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, as I would have really missed out on 4 seasons of excellent writing and acting. And as far-fetched as it may have seemed several seasons ago, getting back to Nucky and Margaret feels right. This is due, in large part, to the writers excellent use of flashbacks this season. Credit is also due to the actors, who have done brilliant work portraying the younger versions of Steve Buscemi, Dabney Coleman and Gretchen Mol.

Until next week!

One more episode to go, Boardwalk Empire fans! What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off below!