'Boardwalk Empire' 4.5: Two Deaths
Boardwalk Empire's 4.5 last night brought us two deaths - one, not unexpected, given what we know from real history - the other totally unexpected, because it was of a character for whom there is no record, but for whom most viewers including me have had great affection.
Eddie has been a staple on the series from the beginning, an epitome of loyalty for Nucky in a world in which even his own family often failed to come through for him. Why the show runners chose to write Eddie off the series beats me. The usual reasons range from the actor leaving to the producers wanting to put someone else in that niche who could have a great impact, so who knows. But if the reason is anything other than the actor - Anthony Laciura - leaving, I'd say the producers made a mistake.
Eddie was in many ways the soul of the series, the person who kept track of almost all of Nucky's activities, and thereby bore witness to the show we were seeing. The Feds probably don't realize the full measure of ultimate damage they did to Nucky by turning Eddie, which had the effect of Eddie taking his own life. We haven't actually seen Eddie's dead body, so I suppose anything is possible, but Eddie's surviving that fall has to be highly unlikely. Loyal to the very end, unable to live with himself as an informer on his boss, Eddie chose to take his own life.
The other death is one which history tells us happened in 1924: Frank Capone, portrayed in BE as a moderating influence on Al (in reality he was said to have been even more violent than Al), was in fact killed, likely by police, in April 1924. Boardwalk Empire did do a good job in showing us Frank's last minutes, in particular his realization that Van Alden was about to kill Al. In that context, the death of Frank was even more of a crucial turning point than it might have been in real life: had Frank not been shot up at that instant, he would have killed or badly wounded Van Alden, which would have changed the course of the series.
Other than Van Alden's brief resurgence as a would-be killer of criminals now sealed to secrecy with Frank's death, the only other bright spot in this episode was Nucky's masterful saving of his nephew - it's always a pleasure to see Nucky operating at his peak.
Just as watching Boardwalk Empire continues to be a rare pleasure of television.
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