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Boardwalk Empire - 5.04 Cuanto - Review - The Past Matters

Just wanted to apologize for no advance preview this week. Like most of you, I didn't see the episode until it aired Sunday night and it appears that HBO will not be giving anymore advanced viewings for the remainder of the season, which means no more previews from me for the remaining episodes.

I have to say that this one was rather incredible. I didn't think it would be possible for Boardwalk to begin to sum it's story in eight episodes, but the writers found some way to pack so many scenes into this one without having it feel overly rushed, that it left me both hopeful and impressed.

Hello Ladies, Goodbye Ladies

I knew from both the set up in last week's episode and from plot points given in the press releases, that Sally Wheet would most likely be murdered before episode five, as Margret begins to come back into Nucky's life and where Sally's tenacity and independence seemed ripe for a recipe of disaster, being a woman alone in a foreign country and where more often than not, do the people closest to Nucky always seem to meet their demise!

But the writing of the situation couldn't be more interesting, as a Nucky gives and takes in a playful game of tug and war with Margret seeming at first rather jealous of Kennedy one minute and distant and aloof another. The contrast of a man playing games and refusing at all costs to show his hands and that two woman for very different reasons will pull away from him, I think only spells out a sense of oneness for Nucky Thomson, but I think it's unclear if this singularity means life, death, and/or total aloneness.

Is There More To This Than Meets The Eye?
I was surprised to see Kennedy reappear. It makes me suspicious and causes me to wonder if he doesn't still have more of a role to play then I had previously thought he would after last week's episode. Even though the soldiers and curfew are reasonable enough answers to explain Sally's death, I can't help to wonder if there still isn't someone else behind it, whether that would be Kennedy or Luciano? I keep thinking back to Jimmy, who was mentioned by name in the episode, and the after math with Gyp Rossetti in the sense that Boardwalk has to try and end this on a "personal" level for Nucky Thompson, if the series wants it's viewers to feel compelled or satisfied.

Rewarded For Bad Behavior
The flashbacks to 1884 I also found again intriguing. I was also surprised that Nucky's relationship almost seemed more dependent on Sheriff Jacob Lindsey's rather than the Commodore, despite that he seems to be taking after the Commodore! It also was neat to see more of young Eli and how Nucky was both trying the protect him of the harsh realities of their own family, but also trying to make Eli understand his attraction to formality, taste, and wealth. Something that I think Eli only ever understood or appreciated to point, but never to the level of his older brother, which continues to point out Nucky's odd enigmatic role.

A Daft  Tango:
Seth Graham and Michael Shannon also had some great moments in this episode. It is really amazing to see how Graham has morphed into the more often thought of famous and all consuming Al Capone, compared to from where and when the series starts his story from and to also see Van Alden be as sure of himself as he was when the series started, but also with implications that he also can't hide from his past. I feel certain that D'Angelo will pull Van Alden and Eli back into the game with Van Alden reprising his role as an agent of the US Government--perhaps even promising to clear his name, but I would make no mistake that Luciano is going to do everything he can to make his dream of The Commission come true...

Favorite Scenes & Musings
My favorite scenes are Margret's and Nucky's drunk banter while sharing a meal, Young Nucky and Eli taking in Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey and their two children also during a meal, Van Alden's response to Al Capone placing a gun in his mouth, and Sally Wheet meeting her demise. For Margret and Nucky, it was nice to see two people pick up from where they left off, but, at least for Margaret, slightly different people. Their light teasing left a hopeful playfulness. For Sally Wheet, the scene was just so painfully gut-wrenching and again true to Boardwalk in adding yet another senseless act, which also paralleled the final scene with Al Capone and the demise of the poor guy who worked for him. Where ever Boardwalk is going in it's last four episodes, it feels immanent and harrowing.

The episode title Cuanto is a Spanish word that translates to English to mean, "As Much As" or "As Many". The word can be used as a pronoun, an adjective, or an adverb, but it seems in any context the title is really asking it's viewers, "How much is enough?" and/or "Is this all really worth it?". 

So what did you think of the episode? Favorite scenes or bits of dialogue? Are you sad to see Sally go? Do you think Margret and Nucky will end up together before the series ends? Any theories on Kennedy or Luciano? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author - Darthlocke4
Laura Becker (Darthlocke 4) is a long time commentator, TV addict, and aspiring writer participating with other fans on SpoilerTV. She writes reviews and analytic type articles. Some of her other interests include philosophy, cultural anthropology, reading, drawing, and working with animals, as she grew up and continues to work on her family's horse farm.
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