'Boardwalk Empire' Final Season Spoilers: Synopsis Reveals Major Death, Nucky Flashbacks

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Sad as we are to see HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' brought to a close by its fifth and final season, the time-jump to 1931 will bring with it significant plot advancements, and new challenges for Nucky Thompson. Now, with the final season premiere set for September 7, a new synopsis of the season and its first four episodes brings with it some major spoilers.

Technically speaking, we couldn't really consider the course of history a spoiler, but for those heading into 'Boardwalk Empire' season 5 blind, it seems the new 1931 timeline will necessitate the death of at least one major character, that of Michael Stuhlbarg's Arnold Rothstein. History records that the real Rothstein was assassinated in 1928 over a gambling debt, and with 'Boardwalk Empire' season 5 moving several years ahead into 1931, well...

Atlantic City, 1931: As the country struggles to cope with the Great Depression and the end of Prohibition looms, Nucky Thompson looks to legitimize himself through alliances with liquor producers, while rivals Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky seek to consolidate their power in the wake of Arnold Rothstein’s death and eliminate all competition – by any means necessary.

In addition to new cast members for the final season that include Jim True-Frost as Eliot Ness, Matt Letscher as politically connected businessman Joseph Kennedy, Giampiero Judica as “boss of all bosses” Salvatore Maranzano and Louis Cancelmi as Capone enforcer Mike D’Angelo, HBO also revealed synopses for the first four episodes, which place a heavy emphasis on returning to Nucky's childhood each episode:

Episode #49: “Golden Days for Boys and Girls”

Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is awash in memories from pier-boy days growing up in 1884 Atlantic City, when the young Nucky (Nolan Lyons) caught the eye of the Commodore (John Elllison Conlee). In 1931 Cuba, Nucky joins Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette) and, with a U.S. Senator in tow, forges ties with Bacardi Rum in hopes of Prohibition’s repeal in the U.S. Working on Wall Street, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) finds herself in the hot seat when her boss, facing an internal investigation, decides his own future. Down but never out, Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) seizes an opportunity to extricate himself from a difficult situation. In New York, Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) sets in motion a bold plan that reverberates all the way to Nucky in Cuba.

Episode #50: “The Good Listener”

Back from Cuba after a dangerous encounter, Nucky pays a visit to the now-retired Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci), who agrees to broker a meeting with the new “Boss of Bosses,” Salvatore Maranzano (Giampiero Judica). In Chicago, Eli (Shea Whigham) and Van Alden (Michael Shannon) are tasked by Mike D’Angelo (Louis Cancelmi), Al Capone’s (Stephen Graham) new right-hand man, to recoup money lost during a federal raid by Eliot Ness (Jim True-Frost). Fresh out of law school, Willie Thompson (Ben Rosenfield) has a job interview. Rebuffed by a group of would-be financiers, Nucky dines with Tonino Sandrelli (Chris Caldovino) before sending a message to Lansky (Anatol Yusef) and Luciano (Vincent Piazza). In 1884, a young Nucky deals with the death of his sister, Susan (Onata Aprile), while his father (Ian Hart) has a standoff with the Commodore.

Episode #51: “What Jesus Said”

Chalky heads in a new direction after assessing his latest partnership. In New York, Margaret finds herself in a quandary as a result of her association with Arnold Rothstein. Nucky hosts a prospective “big fish” partner from Boston. Luciano and Siegel meet with Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) in Harlem, promising business as usual, but encounter resistance. In 1884, young Nucky is privy to the passion of a hotel guest, and flirts with a young girl.

Episode #52: “Cuanto”

Facing a shared dilemma, Nucky and Margaret find common ground in Atlantic City. Luciano encounters an old adversary while meeting with Capone (Stephen Graham) in Chicago. Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette) makes a payment in Cuba amidst concerns of a grass-roots uprising. In 1884, young Nucky shows young Eli (Oakes Fegley) how the other half lives, and takes another step up the Commodore’s ladder.

It certainly makes sense from a historical perspective that Stuhlbarg's Arnold Rothstein would eventually depart the series, though we'll miss his esoteric weirdness among a series that increasingly seems rushed toward its end. What say you, though? Will 'Boardwalk Empire' close out its fifth and final season with a satisfactory conclusion? Watch the latest trailer again above, and give us your predictions in the comments!

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