As Gyp and Nucky square off in the third-season finale of Boardwalk Empire, we're finally beginning to root for Atlantic City's criminal mastermind.
Bully battle for the Boardwalk
It's taken a year, but finally we're feeling some sympathy for the gangster Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) on Boardwalk Empire, as HBO's crime drama corks its third season with a mob war.
The walls closed in on Nucky last week as the mad-dog Sicilian Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) and his stooges came after him with guns blazing, wounding his faithful butler Eddie Kessler (Anthony Laciura) and forcing them into hiding with his last true friend, Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), the ringleader of Atlantic City's black mob.
Why we're now rooting for Nucky is simple: we've never seen him so vulnerable - hungry and dirty as a mongrel dog, hiding out in a decrepit beach house; nor so compassionate - risking his life to help a nervous medical student pry the bullet out of Kessler.
The fact that Nucky cared enough to finally ask Kessler if he had a family - it turns out his manservant has a wife and kids in Germany -came as a revelation to Nucky, who looked ashamed that he had waited until Kessler was near death to even bother to ask.
With the much-humbled Nucky now re-empowered by the surprise arrival of his cigar-chomping ally from Chicago, Al Capone (Stephen Graham) - get set for a Gyp-vs-Nucky bloodbath of a finale.
The only question is who will win?
Boardwalk Empire is broadcast at 11pm on Monday on OSN First HD