Boardwalk Empire season three had an uncharacteristically action-packed finish for what was probably the best season this show had to offer. We’re also left with a lot of things to think about, considering how much moving parts there are in the story. This is where I’ll explain what I expect to happen and/or things I’d like to see in the upcoming season.
1. Richard Harrow/ Gillian Darmody
We’ve seen how their relationship had progressed from Gillian being the push boss lady and Richard being her underutilized brothel watch-dog, to Richard taking matters into his own hands and Gillian being driven to the edge by Gyp and his men. Now that Richard has taken her grandchild and had presumably skipped out of town, I expect Gillian to turn to Nucky Thompson for help. Now I realize that Nucky and Gillian had a rocky relationship this season (to put it gently), considering he executed her only son (Jimmy Darmody), but I believe she’ll come to understand that Nucky’s way of doing business was far better than when Gyp had taken over Atlantic City. She’s also got no one else to turn to and I think she’ll find a sympathetic soul in Nucky, who’s been tormented by his decision to take her son’s life for some time. Plus, regardless of how she’s turned against him, Nucky takes care of his own people, and Richard will be caught in his iron sight, considering he’s killed Manny Horvitz at the start of the season.
I expect to see Gillian allying herself with Nucky for the sake of taking back her grandson, and I expect Richard Harrow to be ready for whatever comes.
2. Lucky Luciano & Meyer Lansky / Arnold Rothstein
We saw Lucky and Meyer bust their asses trying to establish their heroin business, and Arnold coming in and disassembling their business by essentially stealing all of their supplies and leaving them penniless. This has undoubtedly created a rift between them, but Lucky and Meyer aren’t powerful enough to stand up to their previous boss, at least without help. This is where I expect them to ally with Nucky as well, considering Nucky has already put a plan into motion to get Arnold Rothstein in trouble with the feds. I believe Nucky will also see the benefit of allying himself with these two because nobody else knows Rothstein like they do, and he’ll potentially have partners who can help him transition from liquor business to drugs and help him expand his empire.
3. Chalky White
Nucky couldn’t have survived his war against Gyp Rosetti if it weren’t for Chalky and Nucky is never one to owe someone else a debt. So Chalky will be allowed to run his black night club in the middle of Atlantic City, just like he wanted. Undoubtedly, this will create more racial tension in the city, and he’ll perhaps be left wondering if this was what he really wanted. I expect to see him put up a front out of pride and keep the club going, just until it incites horrendous actions from a certain hate group in town.
There’s also the matter of his son-in-law, who had his first taste of being a “mob doctor.” Chalky is all about family, and if he is to impress his future father-in-law, he’s going to take more jobs for Chalky in order to stay on his good side. This could also lead to him getting expelled from his college, and him becoming a full-fledged underground doctor, which could potentially bring in more money for Chalky.
4. Al Capone/ Johnny Torrio
It was brought to my attention how odd it was that Al Capone had come to Nucky’s aid on his own, and not on Torrio’s order. Perhaps something had happened to the old guy off-screen that’ll be expanded upon in the upcoming season? We know historically that the Chicago Outfit versus the North Side Gang turf war is coming up, which drives Torrio to retirement. Maybe it already happened. HBO is renowned for taking liberty with the historical aspects of their period pieces, which I’m not quite against, considering this puts all the history-buffs on the same playing field as the rest of us who don’t know what’s coming next. Either way, I can’t help but wonder if something had happened to Torrio that prompted Al Capone to act on his own.
Or perhaps, I’m just grasping at straws. Chicago straws.
5. Nucky Thompson/ Arnold Rothstein & Joe Masseria
At the end of the season, we saw Rothstein and Masseria becoming business partners. Soon, Rothstein will find that his newly acquired distillery will come infested with the feds, and Masseria will realize that a good chunk of his army had been gunned down by Nucky’s allies. Now more so than ever, they’ll come to realize that they’ll need to work together to take Nucky out, but they’ll have to tread carefully with Capone and the law being on Nucky’s side. I suspect this tension will finally bear bloody fruits in the form of another action packed season finale where lots and lots…and lots of people die. It worked for the show this time, so I think they’ll look for an encore performance.
Also, I’ve mentioned this on our weekly podcast as well, but we’ll probably see Nucky transition from being a colorful figure in Atlantic City to a wealthy reclusive figure working behind the scenes, with perhaps Eli as his proxy. Nucky realized this season that he’s too high-profile for the gangster business and that’ll constantly puts his life at risk. He’s thrown away the flower he’s always kept in his breast pocket, so I expect to see a new Nucky who discards his flare to keep his head in the game and stay ahead of everyone else.
6. Margaret Schroeder & Nelson Van Alden
So that’s it. These are the story threads that I could see unfolding in the future, or at least what I would find interesting. If you got any questions or different theories, leave them in the comments section. I’ll be interested in finding out what everyone else thinks.
Written by Daniel Lee