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The Best Episodes of Boardwalk Empire

Updated July 16, 2019 663 votes 222 voters 3.4k views56 items

There are so many good episodes of Boardwalk Empire, but which ones really stand out? Do you like "Two Imposters" the best, or is "Margate Sands" your favorite episode of Boardwalk Empire? To determine once and for all what the best episodes of Boardwalk Empire are, let's rank every Boardwalk Empire episode from best to worst.

Boardwalk Empire was a crime drama that aired on HBO for five seasons, from September 19, 2010 to October 26, 2014. Set during the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and 1930s, Boardwalk Empire centered on Enoch Malichi "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buschemi) and his run of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Critically-acclaimed, Boardwalk Empire was nominated for 57 Emmy Awards. The series made a splash with its very first episode, an $18-million production directed by Martin Scorsese.

Vote up your favorite episodes of Boardwalk Empire, and downvote any bad episodes that you really didn't enjoy, despite how much you love the series as a whole. It can be painful to put one Boardwalk Empire episode over the other when there are so many good ones, which is why you can vote on however many episodes you like.

  • 1
    Season 3 Episode 12: Season Three Finale. Desperate to weaken Gyp's alliance with Masseria and reclaim Atlantic City, Nucky cedes control of one of his prized assets to Rothstein. Harrow returns to Gillian's brothel for some unfinished business.
  • 2
    Season 3 Episode 11: Gyp makes his move in Atlantic City, forcing Nucky and Eddie to seek refuge with Chalky. Gillian contemplates a business future that includes an unwelcome partner. Luciano makes a deal he'll come to regret; Harrow loses his house privileges.
  • 3
    Season 2 Episode 12: Season Two Finale. With Nucky's trial looming, Jimmy looks to make amends. After weighing an offer from Esther Randolph, Margaret makes a decision that will change the course of her future--and Nucky's.
  • 4
    Season 4 Episode 12: Season Four Finale. Eli braces for the worst as Agent Knox sets in motion his plan to take down Nucky. Capone and Torrio reach an agreement in Cicero. Chalky looks to settle his scores. Richard Harrow steps forward to save Tommy, at Gillian's expense.
  • 5
    Season 1 Episode 1: Series Premiere. January, 1920. On the eve of Prohibition, Atlantic City's duplicitous Treasurer, Nucky Thompson privately tells his Ward Bosses about the opportunity to make huge profits selling bootleg liquor.
  • 6
    Season 5 Episode 7: Nucky, at war with Luciano, looks to hold onto his assets in Atlantic City. Willie and Eli become involved in Nucky's war. Maranzano meets his fate. Nucky reads Gillian's letter from the hospital. In 1897, Nucky does a discreet favor for the Commodore.
  • 7
    Season 5 Episode 8: Series Finale. After a shakeup, Nucky looks to relocate to Manhattan. Margaret impresses Nucky and a grain-company stockholder; Luciano tends to unfinished business while establishing a mob commission; Nucky visits Gillian at the hospital.
  • 8
    Season 2 Episode 11: Nucky prepares Margaret for a worst-case scenario as Esther Randolph plays out her trump cards. Jimmy revisits his college days; Mickey Doyle chafes at sharing his liquor profits; Eli refuses to cop a plea; and Nelson's past comes back to haunt him.
  • 9
    Season 3 Episode 10: Nucky reaches out to Gaston Means to keep Jess Smith quiet in Washington, and enlists Owen to neutralize Gyp's alliance with Joe Masseria in New York. Margaret considers an alternate future; Van Alden's side business backfires.
  • 10
    Season 5 Episode 1: Season Five Premiere. In 1931 Cuba, Nucky forges ties with the hope of Prohibition's repeal in the U.S. Meanwhile, Margaret finds herself in the hot seat; and Lucky Luciano sets in motion a bold plan that reverberates with Nucky all the way in Cuba.
  • 11
    Season 4 Episode 9: Nucky refuses to back Chalky in his conflict with Narcisse. Julia considers her options after Gillian makes her case in court. In Cicero, Van Alden stands up to Capone and comes clean to O'Banion. Rothstein looks to trade an insurance benefit for cash.
  • 12
    Season 1 Episode 7: Nucky purges some bad childhood memories; Jimmy forges a new alliance with a fellow veteran; Luciano and a friend cut a deal with the D'Alessio brothers.
  • 13
    Season 3 Episode 4: After tracking down a liquor thief, Nucky and Owen end up spending a long night hiding out from the Feds with the precocious perp. Mickey makes a routing call that will have far-reaching consequences. Capone's feud with O'Banion heats up.
  • 14
    Season 5 Episode 6: In Harlem, Chalky encounters Narcisse in hopes of setting Daughter Maitland free. Federal Agents enlist Eli and Van Alden to help take down the Capone Organization. Pained by a recent loss, Nucky turns to the bottle, and the company of a pair of barflies.
  • 15
    Season 4 Episode 8: Nucky's shipment from Florida arrives with some unexpected cargo. Eli is backed into a corner after Agent Knox uncovers some new dirt on the Thompsons. Willie reconsiders his recent choices. Chalky throws down the gauntlet toward Valentin Narcisse.
  • 16
    Season 3 Episode 7: On Easter Sunday, Eli looks to get back in Nucky's good graces. While Richard and Tommy spend the day as guests of the Sagorskys, Gillian stays at home and makes a sacrifice to improve her future. In New York, Gyp heads downtown in search of a blessing.
  • 17
    Season 2 Episode 5: After paying lip service to his enemies, Nucky introduces a surprise guest speaker at a Memorial Day dedication for war veterans. Eli questions his allegiances, but ends up digging himself a deeper hole. Jimmy is taught a painful lesson.
  • 18
    Season 4 Episode 5: Nucky heads to Philadelphia to deal with the fallout from Willie's liquor fiasco; Eddie Kessler is detained by Agent Knox; Gillian turns to an unexpected source to score a fix; Van Alden is recruited by the Capones for a job.
  • 19
    Season 1 Episode 12: In the Season One finale, Nucky and Atlantic City brace for change on Election Day; Torrio brokers a deal between two nemeses, with far-reaching consequences; Jimmy ponders his future, as do Margaret, Agent Van Alden and Eli.
  • 20
    Season 4 Episode 10: Tipped off by Sally Wheet, Nucky enlists Eli and Agent Knox to check out extra cargo in Florida shipments. Margaret considers making a deal with Rothstein to improve her family's living conditions. Capone grows suspicious of Torrio; Nucky faces a dilemma.
  • 21
    Season 3 Episode 8: Gillian makes her peace with Jimmy's death, though not with Nucky, as Gyp arrives to play ally. Working off his debt to O'Banion, Van Alden attends a meeting with Capone and Torrio; Nucky pays a visit to Andrew Mellon; Billie eyes a future in film.
  • 22
    Season 4 Episode 4: Nucky gets to know Arnold Rothstein over a card game, and sizes up an unexpected partner for his Tampa land deal; Eddie Kessler gets detoured after making a delivery; Agent Knox fills Hoover in on the Thompson operation.
  • 23
    Season 3 Episode 2: Nucky mixes business with pleasure in NYC; Gyp makes a power play in Tabor Heights; Chalky and his daughter fail to agree on her future with Samuel; Eli gets a new boss and faces new realities at home; a major liquor shipment takes an unexpected detour.
  • 24
    Season 5 Episode 4: Facing a shared dilemma, Nucky and Margaret find common ground in Atlantic City. Luciano encounters an old adversary while meeting with Capone in Chicago. Sally Wheet makes a payment in Cuba amidst concerns of a grass-roots uprising.
  • 25
    Season 1 Episode 2: Investigating the heist now linked to Hans Schroeder, straight-and-narrow Agent Nelson van Alden pays a visit to Nucky; a concerned Nucky sends his brother, Sheriff Elias Thompson, to the hospital to sow the seeds of doubt in the widow Schroeder's mind.
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