Boardwalk Empire Season 4: Some Predictions, Some Guarantees, Definitely Some Spoilers

Feature Tony Sokol 8/21/2013 at 8:26AM

Boardwalk Empire is based on mob history and I've got a ton of books on mob history to handicap the series. I'm issuing a heavy SPOILER ADVISORY because a lot of this will be right.

Boardwalk Empire is loosely based on the life of a real-life corrupt politician from Atlantic City, Enoch Johnson, who was part of The Combine, a group of seven good-sized mobs that made a fortune together in East Coast bootlegging and supplying other vices that law deemed illegal. A lot of things were made illegal in the 1920s and The Combine had a hand in a lot of that. HBO is pretty good about sticking to history when they need to. Sure they flub a little for the sake of drama, but for the most part they nail it. That being said, there are certain things that will have to happen this season. Therefore, I’m issuing a heavy SPOILER ADVISORY so no one gets pissed at me later because I fucked with someone’s viewing experience.

Okay, not so much about Steve Buscemi’s Eunoch Thompson (friends call him Nucky, the Three Stooges called him Nyuck Nyuck Nyuckie ) because Eunuch Johnson, who he’s based on, is only a jumping off point, so I can’t guarantee my handicaps. Also, I have to tease you. The new season of Boardwalk Empire starts in the middle of 1924. I’m pretty sure that’s the same year as the Leopold and Loeb murder trial, the first "trial of the century." So that will be on the radio the same way that the aviation news was a couple seasons ago. It is also the year that Frank Capone died, so I guarantee that’s where Al Capone (Stephen Graham) will be when the season starts. Yes. Guarantee.

I’m also predicting that this will be Al Capone’s year.  Frank Capone, his brother, was shot dead by the cops in April. The Mafia was backing the Republican Party in Chicago and Frank led about 200 guys who came heavy, really heavy, they brought tommy guns to the voting booths to strong arm voters. Frank wasn’t like Al. He was less a hot head, but his go-to modus operandi was violence. Al was a negotiator. Frank Capone took over the Cicero section of Chicago. His men ransacked the Democrat’s office and the cops were called in. A lot of cops were called in. They wore plain-clothes and Frank allegedly shot at one of them. Allegedly, because witnesses say he never got the gun out his pocket before the cops drilled him with about a dozen shots. Al Capone got away.

I predict Capone will get so pissed he’s gonna shoot a cop and just steal the ballot boxes, because that's the way it went down. He threw his brother one of the biggest mob funerals there’d ever been in Chicago. At least $20,000 worth of flowers and you could buy a lot of flowers for 20 large in 1924. Don’t think they bought them from O’Banion’s though. So that’s where Capone’s gonna be when the season starts.

But that’s not it for Al Capone. 1924 is also the year that the turf war started between him and Dean O’Banion’s people. SPOILER – BIG SPOILER – O’Banion’s gonna die in the middle of the season and that’s going to send Capone into a war that’s going to last until 1929. We’re also going to see more of Frankie Yale.

Okay, that out of the way. I can give a little bit more on Nucky. He’s on top this year. He got rid of Gyp Rosetti at the end of last season and he’s not going to jail yet.

 

Terence Winter, one of the writers for Boardwalk Empire, told Entertainment Weekly that Nucky’s not going to be going out on the boardwalk much this year. So, I predict Steve Buscemi will get even paler. Winter says Nucky still runs the boardwalk, but he’s got to insulate himself. Winter says Nucky will start his own gang this year. Now, this is why I can’t predict accurately about Thompson, you see, Enoch Johnson never started a gang. Never shot anybody that we know of. He wasn’t even half a gangster. He was a politician who took a cut. For the real gangsters on the show, Meyer Lansky, (Anatol Yusef) and “Charlie Lucky” Luciano (Vincent Piazza), Winters says they’ll come into their own this year. They’re still a couple years away from establishing the multi-cultural Big Seven Group, but they’re doing alright. Winter wants to end the series at the stock market crash in 1929 or the end of Prohibition.

What do the Trailers Tell Us?

Ah the trailers don’t tell us shit. That’s their job, to give us false leads. We know there’ll be killings and it looks like Gillian Darmody is going to get nabbed for something. The trailer shows her in court. It could be that she’s busted for killing the guy she passed off as her dead son. Or maybe just because she runs a cat-house. The trailer shows Luciano saying something about “fifteen of his men killed.” Then it cuts to Nucky,  so maybe those fifteen men were from his gang? Or maybe they’re talking about the guys Richard Harrow, half moon I call’s him, blasted while he was saving Jimmy’s kid while Gillian’s place was over-run by Rosetti’s men. We know Nucky is defending his empire, because “no reign goes unchallenged” and it looks like that challenge will come from another king of the underworld, Dr. Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) who just might be a stand-in for Bumpy, the king of Harlem.

The second trailer shows Capone shooting a cop. I hadn’t seen this before I wrote the opening, but to me, it confirms what I was saying about Frank Capone. That cop he’s shooting I am pretty sure is part of the retribution Al meets out for his brother’s death. The trailer shows Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci) going off on Capone for taking on the Chicago cops, that’s gotta be the mob enforcement of the polling booths. When they wanted to make sure voters “voted right.” It also shows Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) acting all gangster, so it looks like he’s going to be on the other side of the Capone wars. But “the only thing you can count on is blood.”

1924 was also the year Joe Bonanno came to America. He’s going to be on the other side of the beef that Charlie Lucky’s going to have in New York. But he won’t be a player yet. He may not be a player on the series.

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