Boardwalk Empire Fall Finale: Ready, Set, React!

If you have yet to watch the season finale of Boardwalk Empire, hit the nearest exit. And I repeat: If you have yet to watch the season finale of Boardwalk Empire, hit the nearest exit. 

Everyone else, read on…

Wow.

That was no doubt your reaction after watching Sunday’s game-altering Season 2 finale of Boardwalk Empire. (It was certainly mine.) 

In short, they killed Jimmy! And by “they” I mean Nucky, who shot his rival dead in the closing minutes of the mind-blowing episode —bringing Michael Pitt’s two-season run on the HBO drama to a shocking end.

“Jimmy, throughout this episode, realizes that it’s over for him,” concedes exec producer Terrence Winter in an interview posted on HBO.com. “And I think he knows his end is coming. But before that, he at least wants to make everything right, say his goodbyes, repair what he can and move on. There are a lot of emotions — he’s angry, he’s greedy, he’s bitter — he’s really a mess.

“By the time we pick up Jimmy in the last scene, he’s essentially said his goodbyes to everybody and it’s very telling that Jimmy comes to this meeting… unarmed,” Winter continues. “He was well aware of the fact that he was being set up and he willingly walked into this. I think Jimmy knew this was his fate. And as he said to Nucky, this was really the only way this could’ve ended for us… [Jimmy] was sort of ready to move on into the next world.”

Thoughts? Surprised Empire whacked its second most pivotal character this early in its run? What impact do you think this will have on the show moving forward — both creatively and commercially? And, in non-Jimmy news, how do you think Nucky will react when he learns of Margaret’s betrayal? Hit the comments!

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295 Comments
  1. Nae says:

    Hexx yeah jimmy gone sux. Season 3 without him will be nothing. Getting tired of margret too. Nucky disappointed me. Love A R

  2. Screw HBO says:

    WTF!!!! Jimmy?? For Real. Does HBO not want me to watch anymore. All I know is HBO better write a twice as cool characteron the show next season or that’s the axe for Boardwalk. I hope Richard bangs Jimmys mom!!! Schroeder needs her head bashed in.

  3. Joe blow says:

    Margaret is sooooooo dead next season!

  4. Darren says:

    They can’t afford Pitt. Period. You have an overwhelmingly expensive production with countless character actors to pay. Pitt is a rising star and his salary can only go up. Boardwalk Empire is critically acclaimed and watched by HBO subscribers and illegal down-loaders but it’s not generating enough new HBO membership — not in this economy. This decision came after it was announced that Treme would continue on to a third season despite low ratings. One hand washes the other. They can say whatever they want as to why they did it. This was a numbers game.

  5. OliverW says:

    Not only was Jimmy Darmody the show’s most compelling character, all of the show’s other most fascinating characters — Richard Harrow, Horvitz, Gillian (scary but fascinating), Capone, Luciano, Lanksy, etc. — revolved around him. The characters in Nucky’s orbit, Margaret, Eli, Sleater are not nearly as interesting, with the possible exception of Chalky White. What becomes of these keenly drawn characters next season? Every scene between Margaret and Nucky seems exactly the same — just a bunch of boring dialogue exchanged between two unconvincing actors. Jimmy and his cohorts gave the show its life. Transplanting Van Alden in Capone’s future stonghold of Cicero seems like a very contrived device to keep Van Alden on the show in season 3 (but WHY??). I will continue to watch next season, but if characters like Harrow and the young New York/Chicago gangsters are marginalized in favor of Nucky, Margaret and Eli, I may not watch for long.

  6. guest says:

    I don’t have a problem with Jimmy dying. I was more expecting him to be hanging from a ceiling fan than for Nucky to kill him. The reason I’m no longer interested in the show is cus I was fascinated with the multilayered Nucky.

    Big whoop to watch a bunch of mobsters rise to power. How many shows and movies can I download to see that exact same thing. Now add Nucky to the list of dumb thugs. I have no interest in watching another mob tv show no matter how nice the sets are.

  7. Satchel says:

    Wow. I really can’t believe that Winter decided to kill off Jimmy, especially so damn early in the series. I know the writers think that was the logical, realistic, conclusion, but I strongly disagree. Killing Jimmy seemed an uncharacteristically cold and soulless thing for Nucky to do. I mean c’mon! The guy raised him like a son! Ill admit that it would be hard for Nucky to forgive Jimmy after trying to kill him, but the way he back-stabbed Jimmy is pretty hard to stomach. When Jimmy had made the call to have Nucky killed, he didn’t want to, and basically warns him at the last minute, allowing Nucky to save himself. Jimmy was trying to make things right, and he did help Nucky by killing Neary and killing/suppressing the other witnesses.Jimmy had honor, Nucky doesn’t know the first thing about it.He is a reptile. It completely turns what I thought of Nucky upside down. Up until this point, Nucky is presented in a way that makes him easy to root for. He seemed to have a Robin Hood-ish quality, and it was easy to think that he wasn’t a bad guy. Not anymore. From this point on he is just going to seem like a ruthless, evil bastard. Killing the closest thing you have to a son in cold blood, …definitely evil.
    In a way, I have lost both my favorite characters in the show; Jimmy is gone, and Nucky is shown to be a soulless murderer whose story is not one I am attached to anymore. He has gone from being a largely sympathetic, if conflicted character, to being just another one dimensional sociopath. I just want to see him get axed now. I don’t know if I am going to keep watching Boardwalk now, it’s just not going to be the same show. Jimmy was by far the most interesting character, and the dynamic between him and Nucky was a huge part of the show for me. I feel like now that its gone, so has my motivation to watch. The only way this ending would make any sense is if it was the end of the series, which is the way it basically feels to me.
    It was a bad idea to off such an integral character so early in the show, especially when we were just getting to really know him. Although it has been a really great show, I am disappointed in Winter for pulling this stunt. It is nothing short of cliché really, characters in HBO series are always start getting killed off really early and this time it just wasn’t the right thing to do. It didn’t make a lot of sense, destroyed our sympathy for the main character, took the best actor out of the show, and killed off a wealth of interesting avenues that could been explored with Jimmy. Winter, what the hell were you thinking?
    On a side note this episode was as beautiful and engrossing as any of them, and the scene where Jimmy dies and it flashes back to his days in the trench is really well directed, if heart-breaking and infuriating.

  8. Denise says:

    Killing the 2nd lead for shock value & buzz and explaining it as a “necessary” way to show Nucky’s transformation & Jimmy’s resignation to death is 1) a fatal blunder in gauging what your audience wants and 2) presumptive that the show is so strong it will withstand any arbitrary (and misguided) whim of change you care to dole out. Honestly, have the producers/writers watched 2-1/2 Men lately? It’s audience base has steadily declined since Sheen’s departure, nuts or not. As the saying goes – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…….” Boardwalk deserves a demonstration of fans turning the dial on Season 3 in response to this hubris.

  9. over_there says:

    Eh they blew it. Nucky should have killed Eli. Because he didn’t, Nucky seems like even more of a fool and a sentimental wuss now and they were going for the opposite sort of transformation. It’s a mess.

    If Nucky believed Jimmy he had to kill Eli. If he believed Eli he had to kill Jimmy. Nucky chose Eli’s lies over Jimmy’s truth.
    Eli was the one who had it coming. Nucky couldn’t accept the truth because it would mean killing his own brother.

    Now Eli has betrayed Nucky repeatedly for next to nothing. Jimmy was pulled in by his real father. Nucky even understood that. “Nothing looms larger.”

    Jimmy was in way over his head as a boss. He needed Nucky back in charge. He made an awesome, sincere peace offering by keeping Nucky out of jail when he really did not have to.

    Nucky’s last chance to figure it out was that Jimmy came unarmed.

    The way they’ve done it, the big transformation they wanted, it should really have been Eli catching a bullet in the rain from Nucky.

  10. James says:

    It’s all down hill from here the problem is a show is only as good as it’s lead..the sopranos was loved not just cause it was a great show but because of Tony …it took me a while to even watch the show because the lead character didn’t interest me it wasn’t until I found out about jimmy’s character that I began to love the show…no Jimmy no board walk empire

  11. Denny O says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! What are the writers thinking about? Jimmy was drunk as you remember, perhaps he was dreaming. If not, I think HBO did a great injustice to the show. Everyone gets whacked in this show but not a main character like Jimmy. Jimmy was a war hero, Nuckey is a piece of crap but a main character who is certainly a low down scoundrel who deserves to be whacked. Jimmy’s war hero buddy, Richard,I hope whacks Nuckey. Anyhow I will have to wait until my friends tell me because I don’t plan on watching another episode. Thanks HBO for a good run that ended in diaster, for me anyhow!

  12. rich says:

    I agree with one line in the blog about doing this so early in the run. It’s ok to kill of major characters further in a series. I’m all about character’s development and the main five or so off the bat is what defined the show so far for me. Other things hadn’t come into place to retire my fix of those characters. They might as have well have knocked off nucky

  13. Erika says:

    I was such a fan of boardwalk until this last episode when Jimmy was killed! I turned to my boyfriend when it was over and said “I’m not watching this show anymore.” It’s like in Sopranos if they killed Christopher Moltasanti in season two. Jimmy should have absolutely been a series finale kill. It’s just too bad because Jimmys character could have gone on to do so much more. I guess now we’ll never know…

  14. Sicily says:

    I CAN’T BELIEVE THESE DUMB ASS WRITERS!!! Jimmy was the best part of the show! I have such a big crush on Michael Pitt and he was an important part of this show. When I saw Nucky shoot him I had to bury my face in my husbands shoulder and look away after that I got up,told my husband I wont be watching this crap show anymore, ran upstairs and didn’t even watch the ending. Even my husband is not watching next season, and he knew I like Jimmy. He is also PISSED OFF and won’t be watching next season. WE ARE CANCELING OUR HBO!! Thanks to the crappy writers who should get fired!
    A very disappointed viewer!

  15. Hanna says:

    I also will be canceling my HBO this was by far the worst finalle. I think they killed Jimmy off too early in the season. I don’t care what happens next season and I am boycotting it.

  16. d.j. 426 says:

    WOW…COMPLETE B.S. I WAS WAITING TO SEE MANNY GET THE SHT KNOCKED OUT OF HIM BUT INSTEAD JIMMY DYING…FCK THAT!!!!! JIMMY WAS THE SHOW AN HE WAS ALL THE ACTION ESPECIALLY IN THE BEGINNING OF THE FINAL EPISODE…HE FIXED THINGS AN MENDED TIES…ALSO NUCKY WOULDNT OF WALKED OUT OF COURT WITH OUT JIMMY AN RICHARD…SO I FEEL JIMMY DESERVED A CLEAN SLATE WITH THE BS BETWEEN NUCKY AN HIM…..I DONT GIVE A FCK WHAT THE WRITERS HAVE TO DO BUT DO ME AN ALL THE FANS A FAVOR AN BRING JIMMY BACK !!!!!!

  17. Katrina says:

    Since we can’t start riots on the streets because our beloved character was killed off and this ruined the show I am posting a link to a petition to bring him back:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/bring-james-jimmy-darmody-back-from-the-dead/#13244290203331&action=udata&udata=false

  18. Nicola says:

    I must say that killing off Jimmy was a mistake and I feel he was an amazing character and the best character out them all. When I first saw the previews of season 1 of Boardwalk Empire it was the clips of Jimmy’s character that made me take notice of how good this show will be to watch. I too have no interest in the next season. When watching Jimmy being shot, I was angry and felt what a waste of a good show. I would of loved to have seen Nucky kill his brother and forgiven Jimmy. Bye bye Boardwalk Empire. Michael Pitt amazing actor and Jimmy was an outstanding character.

  19. Disappointed says:

    I would have rather seen Thomson killed Jimmy was the show. He was by far the most compelling most character, the show revolved around him not Thomson. HBO has a long history of putting out great shows then stepping in and destroying them, it’s Boardwalk’s turn. I will not be watching next season, Boardwalk is dead, dead, dead.

  20. TI says:

    Jimmy was the coolest tv character since Omar on The Wire.A huge writng error took place here.I fail to see the attraction people have for Steve Buscemi. This show has to be cancelled now.

  21. v mackaben says:

    I had not seen the last 2 episodes. I tivo them. So today I had the time and finally was in the mood to watch both. I was blown away watching Jimmy die. I really thought he was there to kill Manny, that is what I had hope for. I was upset when Nucky killed him. Jimmys life was a mess, and I hated that his mother molested him, and that now she had his son. I would have hoped he would have stay a little longer in the series. But what an ending that was. I was shocked. Also Margaret signing over the land deed to the church, I dont know why she would do something that stupid being married to Nucky now. I will see the series when it starts. I did not care for the death of Jimmy. I do like Richard and want to see what happens next. I am not going to boycott the show, it is still interesting and shocking. I still want to see more.

  22. janef says:

    I was stunned. Terribly so. I don’t think it was the best move. Yes, it was shocking, but…now what? The only thing that gave me some sense of satisfaction was seeing that Margaret realized that Nucky was lying through his teeth about Jimmy re-enlisting and got even by immediately signing away his land to the church…AND making it sting that much more by doing it as Mrs. THOMPSON!! But- aside from that giving SOME satisfaction, I think the show will feel the loss with the Jimmy character being written out. In all reality, it was this character that tied all the other characters together. He was the glue that kept the other characters from splintering off into loose ends. Now with the glue gone, I’m afraid it will be difficult to keep the other characters meshed together and the writers will have to work very hard to get the same cohesiveness going again that they had with Jimmy in the ensemble. I will watch next year, but I’m skeptical of how successful it will be now. I just can’t help but think there could have been a better direction to go.

  23. burton says:

    Definately have lost interest in the show , he was 80 % of the reason the show was good ! It’s just an average show now at best …. will not watch anymore.

  24. colin says:

    ^^^ agree with most of all above me.

    Was my favorite show and I only watched it for Jimmy, everyone else I could care less, in fact I was hoping Jimmy would kill Nucky the whole time i watched season 2. Long story short…

    Writers, In the act of killing Jimmy you have killed your dedicated fans and I will not join you in the next season. As far as i’m aware Jimmy was the Boardwalk Emperor.

  25. Helen Haining says:

    Couldn’t believe they killed Jimmy off, and until I found these sites, I thought I was the only one grieving for him. I still don’t think he’s really dead though. My theory is that Nucky shot Jimmy with blanks just to convince Manny (the Russian) that he was out of the picture. Nucky doesn’t usually do the killing, so why was he so eager to shoot Jimmy himself? If I am wrong, please,please could the writers give my theory some thought and write Jimmy back into the show!!

  26. Al Capone says:

    James was this show. First season was a 6 out of 10. Second season minus the last episode was a 9 (Breaking Bad is the only show I will ever give a 10). Last episode ruined the series. Now i’m boycotting HBO and waiting for the Capone spin-off.

  27. Jimmy's girl says:

    I signed the petition to bring Jimmy back. There’s a link in these comments somewhere.

    Also, I don’t even have HBO and only watched the bits and segments on youtube-not entire episodes- and I was captivated by Jimmy. Then The last video I saw was titled :Nucky Kills Jimmy. I thought it was fan made and couldn’t be real.

    Then I watched it and was devestated. I wanted to cry when J was killed. That tells you how magnetic Pitt was as Jimmy! I haven’t even watched FULL episodes and I was devestated by his demise. I feel really sorry for the rest of his fans; I can only imagine how they must feel because they’ve watched his full episodes and not pieces like me.

    I’d like to buy the 1st two seasons of BE but not really the rest. I agree with some others here who said J was our eyes. We saw Gillian through J’s perspective, the Commodore, Nucky, and the guy with the half-face. We saw through Jimmy, not Nucky. Was that a writing error???

    And Angela’s character was interesting. A lesbian lover in the 20’s? What would the social reaction have been. What was Jimmy’s reaction? I never got a chance to see. Margaret & Nucky ARE boring, like some others said here. The female characters are boring in period pieces like these because there’s nothing for them to do except wait for the men to get back from killing.

    Also, no offense to anyone but I’m not interested in this early version of Capone, Lansky & Meyer. I watched “Al Brown” tending bar in a scene & it was so boring! The writers said nobody really covered their “rise to power” before & I suspect there’s a reason for that : it’s not interesting. Capone is interesting to me when he’s powerful & has Frank Nitti by his side, not when he’s working as a bar tender! Who cares about this? I like Meyer Lansky running Las Vegas, not trying to strike deals while begging for his young life! Boring. And again, this Capone, Lansky stuff has been done ad nauseum, and done better (The Untouchables, Mobsters).

    J Darmody was the Frank Nitti to Nucky’s (sort of) Capone. You don’t kill Frank Nitti in season 2 unless characters of equal or greater salt have been fleshed out. BE has none. The Capone character in BE hasn’t even been fleshed out enough as a character, he’s just a shadow.

    Having him kicking a reporter that asked for an interview at the bar was a Joe Pesci scene taken straight from Goodfellas. Only in the BE scene it was unwarranted & made no sense, was the wrong scene to demonstrate violent character development for Capone. AND, it’s been handled better by Joe Pesci.

    I enjoyed seeing Chalky White vs the Klan scenes. I like how the KKK messes up everyone’s businesses-both black & white- in the name of the white race. They could provide a nice threat to bootleg,prohibition businesses. But yeah, Jimmy was the guy that carried BE. Plus he was the strongest actor and sexy, too. SORRY, BETH, IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE MY SAYING THAT! PITT WAS SEXY! DEAL WITH IT! Or maybe you dig Angela? Is that why you hate people saying Pitt is sexy??

    Anyway, I’m not interested in the show now but would like to buy season 1 & 2 when they come out on Blu Ray.

  28. J says:

    Seriously? People on the Internet are idiots. This made sense on every possible level:

    1) As has been mentioned repeatedly, Jimmy tried to have Nucky killed. For the morons blaming Eli, do you think Nucky received a written transcript of the meeting where this decision was made? He knows Jimmy had the final say, this was Jimmy’s group.

    2) Following up on that. Nucky may still kill Eli, but for the time being he needs someone to take the fall for the election rigging. Another suspicious death is simply going to keep him in the hot seat. He needs to divert the attention of the courts and the press. Remember when he mentions blood being thicker than water earlier in the episode? Well Eli already came to him in a desperate state, he knows him, knows how he thinks, and knows that now that their father is dead he is his only family.

    3)Eli is no leader. He followed Nucky, who told him that he had no talent as a leader so he acted like a child and did what? He followed the commodore and Jimmy! Nucky knows that with those two out of the way Eli has no powerful allies in town and completely lacks the ability to out maneuver him. Eli has two choices, die or behave. Jimmy had a taste of power, proved semi-competent at speaking/leadership, had allies, and would always be a threat.

    4)Stop acting like this is the first time this has ever happened. Stop pretending that shows like the Sopranos never did the same thing. Pussy had a TON of screen time in season two, but no one was surprised that he got clipped. Same with Tony B in season five ;) Case in point, you endanger the boss man, you die.

    5)No one cares that you don’t like Nucky. You don’t need a sympathetic lead. I’m sorry, but go watch network TV if you want predictable plots and “nice” protagonists. Someone said kill Eli, “I wouldn’t have cared.” Well exactly, do you want to be challenged? do you want a story that deals with the harsh realities of the world? Or do you want to actually care about what happens? Maybe you don’t like it, but you clearly care. Isn’t that the point? To give a rats ass about the characters? And despite the narrative liberties being taken with the historical foundations for the show, it is still ultimately about Nucky Johnson (the basis for the show’s Nucky Thompson). News flash, he lives well into the 1960s, Nucky’s not going anywhere, Jimmy was a nobody, a character that existed to move the plot along and develop Nucky’s character.

    • J says:

      P.S. Petitions to bring back a character that is clearly dead? Jesus. Get a life and start a petition about something meaningful. Terrance Winter has specifically stated that Jimmy is NEVER coming back! There’s a freaking bullet hole in his forehead! Wow.

      It’s also beyond hilarious that most of the people slagging this show’s writing online lack the ability to string together a grammatically coherent sentence or utilize the built in spell check on these boards.

  29. Jessica says:

    Hi – I agree that the death of Jimmy’s character surprised and disappointed me, but I think this show has enough going for it to continue on successfully. I’ll watch the third season. :-) In a way, it was smart to kill off such a strong and popular character so early on. Now, we all won’t know what to expect! It adds an element of unpredictability to the show.

  30. steak says:

    Jimmy was one of the best characters on the show, and it sucks that he got killed. But still im kinda looking forward to watch Al Capone as one of the main characters, im also curious about what place Richard Harrow will have on the show now that Jimmy is gone.

  31. Diana Vreeland says:

    Jimmy Darmody was the most interesting character on the show. Now they’re left with mostly historical figures which will limit their options to factual events. In addition, there is no hottie left to light up the screen. Too bad, HBO. Very short-sighted, and I predict Season 3 will be unsuccessful and the end of the series.

  32. i get that everyone is upset because they loved jimmy and he was a major asset to the show, but they had to kill him off in order to remove the threat to the main character, nucky and to show his transformation of being a real gangster, not just a half gangster. also, they had to kill him off because he’s not a real person while almost everyone on the show is real… jimmy was taking up too much of the storyline because it is a show about nucky thompson not this made up character (no matter how good he is). i’m sad too but i understand i know it wont be the same either. there was no where else to go for jimmy but death after he challenged nucky and then almost killed him :(