All things on TV end eventually, and tonight marked the official end of the road for Nucky Thompson on “Boardwalk Empire.”
What will the legacy for this series ultimately be? There are a number of different ways to look at it, It was one of the most beautiful series in HBO’s history, and the production values were always top-notch. The same can be said for the performances by and large. Sometimes, the pacing was a little too slow.
Still, Terence Winter and the entire team should be proud of what they did tonight in composing an incredible series-ender, and one with an ending that almost justified the frequent flashbacks and reflections: It was Jimmy’s own son Tommy who put the bullets into Nucky, and we have come full-circle. The past is now the present.
We always knew that there was no way Nucky would live to see any future that was anything other than a television screen, but the question was always how. This was almost perfect. It was subtle, sudden, and surprising. Having it be a grand shootout would have taken away from who Nucky is now. It made since that it was his own past mistakes that would come back to haunt him so much.
We’re going to be thinking over this ending for a while now, but everything from the camera breaks to the final shots seemed worthwhile.
The only criticism that we would offer in these final minutes is that for a show that was about such a proactive man in Nucky Thompson, there was certainly a lot of time spent holding back. Thanks to that, we’re not entirely sure that the show ever lived up to being as spectacular as it could have; there is something to be said for restraint, but this final season tried a little too hard at this for just eight episodes.
While we will criticize the series’ final run, it’s hard to say too much negative about the finale itself. It did so much right that it washed away many of our complaints, even if we would have loved to see Chalky make it here. Episode Grade: A-.
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