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'Boardwalk Empire:' To the lost...

Actor Michael Pitt attends the after party for

Actor Michael Pitt attends the after party for the Gucci, Cinema Society & the Film Foundation screening of "La Dolce Vita" at the Top of The Standard Hotel in Manhattan. (June 1, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Now I suppose is the moment for the obligatory..."If you haven't seen, do not go to the jump...which will briefly discuss the shocking conclusion of ''Boardwalk Empire.'.." Spolier warning dispensed...But if you're still with me, "Boardwalk Empire" became a different show last night. Everything changed, or most everything changed. The show must make both a monumental adjustment, but also repair a breach of trust - to a certain extent anyway - with viewers....

 

   How so? The death of Jimmy Darmody - Michael Pitt's especailly memorable two season turn as "B.E's" anti-anti-hero. A soldier, an adopted son, a father, a lost soul, he ends his last minute on screen in the bright light as he heads out of the trench into the hot fire, and then ...to his death by Nucky. He of course knew he was set up by Nucky - knew he was walking to his own death when he told Richard Harrow that this was something he had to do alone, and walked out the door.

  I'm still not quite sure how to process this one: Why does a show, any show, throw a lead overboard so early in its run? Darmody - or rather creator Terry Winter - had certainly estalished an expiration date when he turned against Nucky - and agreed to his hit, even though his bro Eli engineered it - but I suppose that I like all fans of the show assumed the reconciliation would in some measure extend that. Jimmy spent a good part of this episode drunk, and booze as the reigning symbol of corruption in "BE" is never a sign that a soul has become uncluttered. "To the lost," he said every time he raised a glass, and I suppose if I had paid closer attention, he was pretty much toasting himself. His band of brothers long gone in the fields of France, he joined them in the end.  

  Where does "Boardwalk Empire" go from here?    Again: Not sure. I expected a very different finale last night, and am not entirely pleased with what we got. To lose a character like Darmody leaves a hole in this: Winter and Pitt had given him dimension and to a certain extent soul, and neither can always be said for Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson, who is blithly uncluttered. This show needed a Darmody. Now it has none. 

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