Boardwalk Empire – Season 3 Finale Review

The finale of Boardwalk Empire season 3 is with us – Ronan takes a look.

The third season of HBO’s gangster saga Boardwalk Empire comes with a close with probably the best hour of tv I’ve seen this year.

A lot of people complained about the meandering storylines this season but most of those will be shutting up when they see the final episode. The writer’s have managed to bring the story’s to a satisfying conclusion and deliver a fantastically violent crowd-pleasing moment as well.

Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) has seemingly been knocked off his top dog position as the number one bootlegger in Atlantic City by Noo Yawk criminal/lunatic Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale – a revelation) and a full blown war between the factions is racking up a massive body count.

To reclaim his status he has to bring together his business partners Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and Chalky White (Michael K. Williams), who don’t exactly see eye to eye due to Chalky’s race and Capone’s racism. As predicted the results are pretty explosive.

Meanwhile in New York we are slowly bearing witness to the dawn of the modern American mafia courtesy of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Arnold Rothstein. The shenanigans and backstabbing here are quite confusing at times but still interesting to watch.

We also get to see the conclusion of Margaret Schroder’s storyline, in my opinion the weakest aspect of the season. I can’t fault Kelly Macdonald’s acting of course, it just seems like her story was an afterthought this year.

The highlight of the episode is without a doubt Richard Harrow’s one man assault on Gillian’s Bordello where we finally get to see the full extent of the skills he picked up in World War One. It’s bloodthirsty and you probably will cheer but it’s tempered by the dawning realisation afterwards of how damaged Richard actually is and how he has lost all he loves in life.

I was sceptical early in the season as to how the show’s quality would bear up due to Michael Pitt’s absence but I’m glad to report that it’s as good as ever due to a fantastic ensemble cast pulling their weight and wonderfully nuanced writing from Terrence Winter and co.

Roll on next year.

Ronan O'Meara

Updated: Dec 04, 2012

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