Nucky has been almost a supporting player in his own show for this fourth season, which is no bad thing when you have characters like Richard, Chalky, Van Alden and Al Capone in the wings.
Each gets a big moment in tonight’s ninth episode: Richard makes big changes in life and career; Chalky faces down the sinister Narcisse, who bares his teeth tonight; Van Alden mans up and rediscovers his old hunger; and Al, who sets Van Alden’s transformation in motion, is fast becoming a coke-fulled whirligig of violence and paranoia. Even Rothstein has matured from two-dimensional kingpin into a fully-formed personality facing potential ruin.
The only weak link remains Gillian, whose custody battles and addiction struggles still feel too dislocated from events elsewhere. Nonetheless, after its customary mid-series meander, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is building up to another ferocious finale.