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'Boardwalk Empire:' A look forward to finale

"Boardwalk Empire": Step right up... binge now before

"Boardwalk Empire": Step right up... binge now before this fine series ends for good next season. There's a little something for everyone here -- if everyone happens to be interested in the general idea of gangsters and Atlantic City circa the bootleg era. The third season is probably the most action-packed (with Bobby Cannavale) but season two is, by popular acclaim, the must-see one. Available on HBO Go. Credit: HBO / Abbot Genser

"Boardwalk Empire," one of the finest dramas of the decade, wraps next week in an episode entitled "Eldorado." HBO yesterday offered up the first look at what to expect. For the quickest of catch ups -- and spoilers lie ahead, like right Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) has essentially ceded his entire kingdom, from Atlantic City to Cuba, as a condition for the release of nephew Willie (Ben Rosenfield) who was snatched by Luciano (Vincent Piazza) to secure the release of "Benny" Siegel (Michael Zegen.)

And just like that, the looming war between Luciano -- who managed to remove his own boss, Maranzano (Giampiero Judica) as part of the bargain to release Willie -- seems to hold all of the cards. the promo and see what you can see. I'll bet very little... Clearly, "Boardwalk" and Terence Winter have a highly specific endgame in store for Thompson, and a fade-to-black is almost certainly not among the options.  What do we know? That Gillian (Gretchen Moll) has reached out to 'Nuck' for one last favor; that Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) appears to have permanently removed Chalkie White (Michael Kenneth Williams) from his sights; that Al Capone (Stephen Graham) is facing jail time; that Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) will not be making, alas, an appearance in the final episode; and that Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) knows the difference between going long and short on stocks...

But I suspect that none of this will get us very far in "Eldorado," co-written by Terence Winter and Howard Korder. Surprises are in store.

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