Boardwalk Empire: Season 5

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HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe winning period series comes to a close this week, with its final season being released to Blu-Ray and DVD today. A truncated eight episode season wraps up storylines for the show’s characters as Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi) career seems to be coming to an end.

Set six years after the previous season, we find ourselves in 1931, the repeal of prohibition is on the horizon, but the country is in the middle of the depression, and it has hit everyone including Nucky’s business interests. But, looking to the future, and trying to go straight (at least a little), Nucky, with Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette), makes a deal with Bacardi in Cuba to be the rum’s distributor in America when the laws are reversed.

But things aren’t destined to be easy for him, or for any of the other characters in the series. With a shortened season, we don’t get as many glimpses of Margaret (Kelly MacDonald) and Gillian (Gretchen Mol) as would be liked, however, the writers have interwoven the current season with flashbacks to Nucky’s youth on the Boardwalk, from his rough home life, to serving in the Commodore’s (John Ellison Conlee) hotel, and serving as a deputy. You get to see how some characters meet, how they developed into the characters we see now, and it adds depth to things we already knew.

We watch the feisty, and temperamental Capone’s (Stephen Graham) rise. Mueller’s aka Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and Eli (Shea Whigham) are in service to him, while the Feds continue to circle and look for a way to bring the mobster down.

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As familiar faces like Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams), Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) and Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) make their appearance through the course of the eight episodes, bodies begin to pile up as mob warfare increases and everyone is looking for a way to get ahead.

Inevitably a confrontation is coming, for Nucky, and Luciano, and when things are made personal, instead of sticking to business, things get even more dangerous.

The series continues to immerse itself in actual events, as their characters race to the show’s conclusion, and not all of them, if any of them, have happy endings. In short, I was shocked by a number of them. The show is sharp, well-written and acted, and now that I’ve watched, and enjoyed the show as much as I have, I’m sorry to see it go.

As in previous seasons, the show looks fantastic, the production is top-notch and the image is gorgeously crystalline on Blu-Ray. Spread over three discs this final set will round out your collection nicely, the only thing that bothered me was the sparse amount of extras, my favorite from previous seasons, the interactive Boardwalk Chronicle that let you read about historical people, events, and their interactions with the show’s characters, all while you watched the episode.

Boardwalk Empire is drama done right. It took a genre I was never really interested in, that of mobsters and crime, and engaged me in the characters and stories, drawing me in as I mainlined the season almost all in one go.

The series goes out on top, and is now available for sale on Blu-Ray and DVD, pick it up today!

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