UK VOD review: Boardwalk Empire Final Season, Episode 5 (King of Norway)
Luciano/Lansky's quest for world domination7
Sweeping things under the carpet5
Neil Brazier | On 14, Oct 2014
Over the past four episodes we’ve been wondering just how Boardwalk Empire was going to wrap up all its loose threads, as the show edges closer and closer to its denouement. Episode 5 gives us our answer – it’s going to throw as much as it can at the screen and hope that it sticks.
The King of Norway touches upon almost every character arc, continuing to build each person’s narrative but never lingering. As soon as Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) returns to Atlantic City, he’s off to New York, his business with Nucky done in a flash. Gillian (Gretchen Mol) is visited in the institute to remind us that she is still a part of this show – although in what capacity still remains a mystery.
It’s hard to justify why we have to spend time in the company of Gillian, just as it is to continue the flashbacks to the young Nucky’s life. This time, they jump forward 13 years to 1897, when Nucky is the Sherriff’s Deputy, understanding the city above and (literally) beneath the boardwalk. In an episode where plot point after plot point is fired at the viewer like a tommy gun through a restaurant window, it’s scenes like these that just serve to annoy.
One thing the flashbacks do get right, though, is casting: young adult Nucky is played scarily perfect by Yorkshire’s own Marc Pickering. From the dentures (to create the smile) to the mannerisms, wide eyes and posture, every detail makes Pickering seem like the spawn of Buscemi. It’s not just the visual similarities either; the voice, the tilt of the head and inquisitive nature all make this a natural fit.
With every visit to Chicago, Boardwalk Empire opens itself up to be overshadowed by the brilliant Michael Shannon who, once again, is on top form. Alongside his other former badged lawman, Eli (Shea Whigham), the two share an awkward meal with their partners, as dark secrets are revealed and they become deeper embroiled in the shady goings on.
The beginning of the end for Al Capone (Stephen Graham) starts here and it’s starting to become a bigger deal than Nucky’s own story. While the reality for both characters’ demise is fairly dull, the fall in fictional Chicago is actually more appealing, thanks to the exciting characters. While Nucky is dealing with politics and teaching his henchmen to speak English, Capone is bludgeoning people to death and revelling in his notoriety. In Nucky’s own show, Capone is now more fun to watch.
Not got Sky? You can watch Boardwalk Empire Season 5 online in the UK on NOW, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription – no contract. The subscription includes The Walking Dead Season 5, Soderbergh’s The Knick and (from 30th October) Arrow Season 3.
Photo: © HBO