Thanks to the murder of Jimmy Darmody, I'm no longer indifferent to the character of Nucky Thompson. Those moments of disinterest in his storyline and boredom with his cool-as-a-cucumber persona have now turned to dislike. And that's probably a good thing.
As 'Boardwalk Empire's' main man, Nucky's felt more like some sort of solid, impenetrable rock around which the show's colorful cast of characters revolve. The morally schizophrenic Van Alden, spiritually conflicted Margaret Schroeder, fratricidal Eli Thompson and Oedipally traumatized Jimmy Darmody have all been way more compelling characters than Nucky Thompson.
That's all changed now. Jimmy, a character we've finally come to understand, with a quickness, over the last two episodes, is gone at the hands of Nucky, who raised Jimmy up to be precisely the kind of man he needed to kill, in this season finale.
Or did he? If there's any poison in Nucky's well, it's his own brother, Eli. But the difference between his two enemies was greatly emphasized in this hour. Jimmy was Princeton material and Eli is, well, an idiot. And idiots can be controlled. And no one knows how to do that as well as Nucky.
And in the offing of Jimmy, we're finally convinced, as is Nucky's bride, Margaret, of the kind of man Nucky is. Just because he spends time bonding with his wife's polio-stricken daughter, doesn't mean Nucky's a good person. Rather, he's good to those who are good to him and just God awful to anyone who gets in his way. After all, the man is a gangster.
With that idea thoroughly established, where will the rest of "Boardwalk's" players find themselves, next season. With both the Commodore and Jimmy gone, is this the last we'll see of dotting mother, Gillian and her orphaned grandson, Tommy? And what of Van Alden and the poor Norwegian nanny he's taken on the run? And perhaps most troubling, where will these events leave Jimmy's right-hand-man, Richard Harrow, heading into season three?
These questions, though somewhat concerning, are the stuff of great finales. Jimmy's gone and Nucky's made a definitive move towards the dark side. And his smug, matter-of-fact demeanor the morning after made me that much happier to see Margaret sign over his land to the church. I'll miss the quiet intensity Michael Pitt brought to the role of Jimmy Darmody and though I may be in the minority, I think "Boardwalk Empire" will be a better show, after Jimmy Darmody's death. With such an excellent ensemble cast, there are plenty of minor players ready to step into the spotlight.
And frankly, after last week's revelation, I'm not sure how many more Gillian/Jimmy scenes I could sit through without feeling a bit queasy. Jimmy's death will no doubt have an impact, as I suspect it already has on Margaret Schroeder. And for Nucky, I'm suspect there's no turning back. I don't like the guy and that is, indeed, a good thing.