"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 about...now: 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.
Now...watch 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.