After killing some eight people in the first season, Jimmy Darmody comes across as "Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in the final episode, slitting the throat of a D'Alessio brother in what some would call a 'beautiful hit'.
Season Five finds the show flashing forward again, this time from 1924 in Season Four to 1931. With that said, the next phase for many of the characters is clear. Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi, Youth In Revolt) is trying to work deals in Cuba that will allow him to have Atlantic City swimming in rum once prohibition is repealed, despite newer and bolder threats to his empire. Al Capone (Stephen Graham, The Damned United) has notoriety more than he expected, with his behavior being increasingly erratic, along with the rise of his use of cocaine. Eli (Shea Whigham, Take Shelter) is barely on the radar for Nucky these days, and last season's baddie in Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright, The Ides Of March) is a blip as well.
From the way the main cast deliver their final moments, it at least was enjoyable. Buscemi gets last moments with Eli and with his ex-wife Margaret (Kelly Macdonald, Brave) and plays them as you expect he would. Chalky (Michael K. Williams, The Wire) appears in the show's nicest two episodes of the season for my money. And Graham has a moment with his deaf son that is both an extension of a scene he had with him in Season Three but also one that delivers the same general finality for Capone. If there was a cast member who I could have done without returning, it easily would have been Gillian Carmody (Gretchen Mol ,Rounders), who is spending Season Five in a sanitarium. I understand why she was kept around within the context of Season Five, but I think it could have been handled better.
To continue on with the nautical metaphors, the final season of Boardwalk Empire tries to not rock the boat, but winds up running itself aground and does more damage to itself than expected. Its last season is better than most, but considering the work the show put in on say, the previous two episodes, this last one feels like a letdown. Technically, it continues to look and sound pretty, but the lack of extras seems to mirror the collective exhale of the production. If you have watched the seasons before this, you will like this one, but pull the rip cord on the last episode or two, just in case. 2b1af7f3a8