So? What do you think, “Boardwalk Empire” fans? Will Jimmy Darmody make it to Season Three?
That’s really the biggest question as we head into the gangster series’ season finale Sunday night (Dec. 11) at 9/8c on HBO. It’s the 12th and concluding episode of the show’s second season and the character of Jimmy (Michael Pitt) seems to be the one about whom we know so much now that we don’t see where this character can go if the producers keep him around for Season Three.
And come to think of it, there’s another character who’s kind of in the same boat: Federal agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon). We’ll explain why a little farther down as we take a look at some of the show’s major characters and where things stand with them as we head into the finale:
1) Jimmy: In last week’s doozy of an episode, we learned an awful lot about Jimmy. In the flashbacks, we learned he slept with his mother (Gretchen Mol). And in a climactic present-day scene, he stabbed his father (Dabney Coleman) after attempting to strangle his mother to death. Holy Oedipus! Dad’s probably dead (though the character, “The Commodore,” did make a miraculous recovery from a stroke this season, so anything’s possible with this guy). The thing is: Jimmy’s powerful father and patron is dead, so is his wife (Aleksa Palladino — killed a week earlier), his business partners — Capone (Stephen Graham), Luciano (Vincent Piazza), Lansky (Anatol Yusef), even Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) — have decided to sell Jimmy’s liquor without him, and the butcher from Philadelphia, Manny (William Forsythe), is out to kill him. Barring a turn of events we can’t foresee, Jimmy’s a man without a future.
2) And so might be Agent Van Alden: This guy has been an accident waiting to happen all season long. He’s ultra-religious and self-righteous, and yet he had a baby out of wedlock leading to his divorce, he’s on the take, and worst of all, he drowned a fellow agent last season in a moment of religious ecstacy. Last week, that act caught up with him as he was confronted with a witness to the drowning by the federal prosecutor Esther Randolph (Julianna Nicholson). He ran away, but it would seem his career working for the feds is over — and if he’s caught, he’ll go to the chair. Under the circumstances, we don’t see how Van Alden can serve any useful purpose next season.
3) Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi): Notice how this show’s main character is No. 3 on our list? Like Nucky himself, who’s been marginalized in the Atlantic City power structure because of various indictments and investigations stemming from his corruption, Buscemi’s played second (or third) fiddle the last few weeks as other stories take center stage. It’s a certainty Buscemi will be back next season, though, so we’re curious to see whether Thompson/Buscemi gets to reassert himself in a big way in the finale to Season Two.
4) Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald): Nucky’s live-in gal — whose own husband he had killed in Season One — seems to harbor nearly as many secrets as Jimmy Darmody. She’s conflicted about her Irish relatives in New York, she has doubts about her Catholic faith and her relationship with Nucky (stemming from his obvious criminal activities), she’s dealing with her polio-stricken daughter, and also, occasionally, sleeping around. As a result, the tension in the Thompson household is great these days. We’re wondering if that will also implode somehow Sunday night.
The second-season finale of “Boardwalk Empire” airs at 9/8c on HBO.