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Boardwalk Empire - 5.07 Friendless Child - Review - Friends of the Friendless?

In it's final penultimate episode, Boardwalk Empire delivers a riveting showdown in attempts to reveal the final say on who Enoch Nucky Thompson really is.

If there's one word to describe the episode it would be intense. With mouthy, trashy-song-singing Seigel getting caught by Nucky's men only to have Willie taken by Luciano, and just at the moment he got back in touch with his father again, puts Nucky in the hot seat, but this time with the threat of his own family.

Get On Your Knees
There was something incredibly refreshing finally seeing Nucky Thompson do all the right things, which was furthered by not only his sacrifice, his acceptance of Eli, his service to Luciano, but also in loosing Mickey Doyle and giving young Joe Harper a way out. For five seasons I never imagined I would see him on his knees for the sake of others.

But what truly makes all of this so moving or engaging are the flashbacks. As I have said on multiple occasions this season, a lot of what's left for Nucky Thompson is coming down to all the things he has done (or not done) for Gillian Darmody (and by extension James Darmody). The reveal that Gillian was trying to escape the monster we all know to be the Commodore and with Nucky simply wanting to get ahead for his own families sake, -and basically is going to bring this poor child back the lion's den and ultimately condone the Commodore's pedophilia of young girls, puts one of the darkest clouds over Nucky to date. I just don't think he can ever escape the rage of friendless children, unless James Darmody is not dead, this reality is not real, or all is forgiven when characters die! (And Again, the casting here is great! Madeleine Rose Yen is the perfect young Gillian--has her mannerisms and intonations down pat!)

I'm Living For Giving The Devil His Due
One of my favorite scenes was Lindsey passing the buck off to young Enoch outside the Commodore's grand estate, in which viewers revisit it like never before, as there was something truly diabolical and darkly haunting the way those scenes of Nucky walking through previously familiar rooms of past seasons was shot. This is the deal with the devil Nucky made that could seal his fate and it's never been more clear that The Commodore is Boardwalk's biggest villain.

I also knew while watching the episode from both the acknowledgement of and the irony of Nucky and Mickey's friendship, along with Mickey stepping out to speak like he always does, that he would be a goner and true to Boardwalk's tropes. As for Eli and Willie, I'm on the fence if their stories will move forward very much, or if they will be held back for a more intricate look at Nucky dealing with Luciano and Gillian by himself and/or if there will be a twist with Joe Harper being Tommy Darmody, let alone if Margret can save his life or his soul?

I'm A Person, It's Personal
I also enjoyed the way the writers went about the taking out Maranzano scene with at first homing in on tax evasion charges against Al Capone, only to switch to a murder scene of the last Boss of all Bosses. The montage of newspapers, photos, and radio commentaries of the street gangs of New York at the beginning of the episode was also a nice touch, reminding viewers of the series close attention to historic details and adding sensational weight to the immanency of people loosing their lives in all out war, but also the way they closed the episode with Nucky finally reading Gillian's letter in which the voice over and montage of adult Gillian in a realization that she's back to where she started, was deliriously dizzying with a repeated phrases and sentences, with that one final haunting image of her as child with a storm behind her on the boardwalk, was just the perfect way to close the episode and personalize everything.

Ultimately the season has done a great job at making me feel deeply for Nucky Thompson, something I didn't think the writers could accomplish in only eight episodes. Whatever happens in the final hour, I can't imagine won't be heartbreaking and full of torn emotions!

What did you think? Did You like the episode? Do you think Nucky will survive the series? Is Gillian really seeking forgiveness or revenge? Will Nucky use Gillian in his battle with Luciano? What do think will happen to Eli? 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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