"Enough with the teasin' that's all."
That's got to be it for the slow burn (with brief flashes of violence) for the fourth season of Boardwalk Empire as "Havre de Grace" brought almost every conflict to a head just in time for the finale. Okay, not every storyline was pushed to the edge during the penultimate episode since most of the threads outside Atlantic City were already set up for their big, and most likely bloody, finishes last week or even the one before. Like I said, it's a slow burn with a lot of wicks to watch. It may seem odd to refer to a series where someone has their face blown off every installment as a 'slow burn' but the early spurts of violence aren't usually of much emotional consequence with those bodies being merely the pawns in the larger game. Okay, there's maybe an early death per season that really hits home, like Eddie, but the rest of the characters that viewers care about aren't moved into real danger until the final stretch and this season Chalky's had the worst of it with his road leading to the titular...
"Haven of Grace."
Fine. So that's not technically the title. Like last week's "White Horse Pike," this Boardwalk episode is also named after an area not far from AC with Havre de Grace, Maryland being the destination that Mr. White and Daughter retreat to for safety. It seems Albert, yes, Albert was taken in by Louis Gosset Jr.’s Oscar Boneau as a teen and watched the latter run the North and work with (for) the Commodore. Oscar also doesn't seem to think to highly of Daughter and doesn't mind expressing those feelings to the easy rider, poor cook's (pretty but still bruised) face. And you know Oscar is a well respected man not to be trifled with because Chalky barely even tries defend her honor. We also learn the story of how she got her name, a tale almost as depressing as Gillian's Darmody's life. Maybe more? I don't like that she stoked the fire between Albert and Nucky before bailing on him because that's a relationship I'd rather see patched up in time to put the Doctor down. Do you think Chalky's going to bring these country boys back to the North side to settle scores with him? I hope so, Scrapper and the dude playing checkers were badass. Before getting to those scores, let's talk about Gillian's storyline and the big Roy reveal that at least a few of us must have seen coming.
"Childhood doesn't last. Nothing lasts."
It wasn't until maybe an episode or two ago (or at least one or two ago that contain the new 'couple') that I started to smell that bacon stench on him. His good guy act seemed genuine but he was still clearly hiding something from Gillian. That Leander Cephas Whitlock (played by Dominic Chianese more commonly known as Junior Soprano) is quite the piece of work, not only is he fully aware and probably complicit in the horrors that befell her as a child but then he sets her up to rob her of what little she has left. The writers and Gretchen Mol did a fantastic job this season somehow making her sympathetic after being one of my most hated characters on television. I mean, I still don't like her but it's hard not to feel sorry for her and how he life was stolen. She also got to have a nice goodbye with Tommy, finally content to let him grow up in a (potentially) nice household. I say potentially because you know Richard is going to get his hands dirty again at some point. The most interesting developments on the Boardwalk continue to surround Agent Knox and the pressure he's been putting on Eli to rat on the family business.
"I want out."
In a chaotic sequence near the beginning of "Havre de Grace," Gaston Means makes a late night phone call to Nucky offering information in order to make a quick buck before the U.S. Capital Police arrest him for perjury. Nucky doesn't bite but the stench of the skunk does make an impression. Meanwhile, Knox is pushing for Eli to get all the NYC, AC and Tampa conspirators in one room together and it doesn't take long for the younger brother to float the idea in front of Nuck. And just when Eli seemed entrenched in his betrayal, the AC boss suddenly threw in the curve that one day it would be the former running things. I wonder if the idea of being the man in charge changes how Eli is going to handle the situation with the 'baby-faced insurance' salesman. I mean, if he knew how little support Knolliver had at the Bureau, I'm sure the Thompson number two would just tell the Agent to screw or worse. But he doesn't know that, instead Nucky knows that Eli has been talking to the law. Oh, let's not forget about Willy. After all that's happened this season, I imagine the final call will someone fall to him. Nothing gets you out of the game like a bullet. Ask Jimmy.
"The day come, everybody going to run out of road."
Boardwalk Empire returns with the Season 4 finale, "Farewell Daddy Blues," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Terence Winter, the series which has already been renewed for a fifth season, stars Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Vincent Piazza, Anatol Yusef and Michael Stuhlbarg.