Boardwalk Empire: S4E5 “Erlkönig”

8.3 Overall Score
Main Plot: 8/10
Sub Plots: 7/10
Anticipation: 8/10

Shooting at Western Electric | Eddie's sad demise

Gillian's drug addled plot became boring

This week’s Boardwalk Empire, fittingly titled “Erlkönig,” saw the demise of two characters. While this isn’t exactly new to the series, they killed off characters that were actually likeable, and in turn made me nervous as to whether or not some more of my favorite characters will join the morgue. The death of Frank Capone might not have struck a chord with viewers as strongly as Eddie throwing himself out his window to close the episode, but it definitely puts some wheels in motion. Other than these tragedies, we get to see young William take a dark turn and Gillian walk around New Jersey embarrassing herself in every possible place.

To be blunt: I strongly dislike Gillian as a character. She has turned from a cunning force (behind Jimmy, of course) to a delusions-of-grandeur-spewing junkie. The only thing keeping me invested in her story is what the fate of Tommy, Jimmy’s orphaned son, will be, and of course what role newcomer Roy will have in the show. Gillian showing up at Tommy’s school, only to be dragged away, was more annoying than heart wrenching, and when she asked Dunn for heroin it just felt like a shoe-in to show us that Dunn was now a big heroin dealer under Narcisse (who doesn’t show this week).

Nucky saving Will from his accidental murder was much more interesting, on the other hand. William got to see how Uncle Nucky handles business, and that lying to him would get him nowhere. He eventually told his uncle exactly what happened, and that his roommate was in on it as well. When Will was reciting the lies he would tell the auditors, we could see the shades of darkness that apparently run in the Thompson family show again. It will be interesting to see where Will’s story will end, but for now Nucky seems to want him to graduate college. Pushing the blame of the killing onto Will’s innocent roommate was predictable, but seeing him studying and subsequently arrested was unsettling to say the least.

Boardwalk Empire - EddieI can’t express how much I love that Van Alden and the Capone brothers seems to be a recurring theme this season, and the image of Van Alden doing cocaine has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the show yet. Van Alden is clearly afraid of Al though, and even though Frank is good to him, Van Alden still drew a gun on the gangster in a vulnerable moment. Unfortunately, this led to Frank drawing his gun on Van Alden, causing poor Frankie to get gunned down by policemen. This was one of those awesome moments in Boardwalk where you get to see real history play out in front of your eyes, in this case Frank Capone being shot to death at Western Electric. After these events, Al is furious, and says to Van Alden while looking over his dead brother: “Every f***ing thing that crawls is gonna pay.” Oh boy.

This finally brings me to the more substantial death, Eddie. After being tormented by Knox and one of his cronies (how awesome was it when he punched Eddie in the gut and Eddie immediately pukes?), we find that Eddie himself is not who we thought he was. He was actually a fraud, and had stolen money and abandoned his family in Germany only to come to America. He didn’t just leave that room broken, but he told the agents what they wanted to hear about Nucky Thompson. That final scene with Eddie jumping out his window was chilling and I really felt the loss of a character who has been with us since season one.

“Erlkönig” was a great episode that brought the death of two major players on Boardwalk. One spurned the fury of Al Capone, while the other might have been the undoing of everything Nucky has worked to gain. This, along with Gillian being a drugged mope and William showing his darker side made “Erlkönig” an episode to remember, though most will want to forget that last scene. RIP Eddie.


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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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