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We Have a New Leader for the Title of the Most Gut-Punching TV Death of 2012

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | November 19, 2012 | Comments ()

I'm talking about Charlie Cox's Owen Sleater, and not just the way it was done, but the remarkably stunning way with which they pulled it off. Did anyone see the coming? Anyone? Earlier in the episode, when Owen was making plans with Margaret to escape, I was wondering how he would die, but I didn't think it would come until the finale or, more likely, next season, after he and Margaret were on the run. My thought was that he was such a dignified, strong character, any way with which they chose to kill him wouldn't seem fitting because, even if it was only for a second, a man facing death is bound to look weak. Owen Sleater doesn't have it in him to look weak or vulnerable.

They solved that issue by smartly killing Owen off-screen, presumably by Masseria. I thought for a moment that it was Nucky, who perhaps had learned of his affair with Margaret and had him killed. But the shock on Nucky's face at not only the death of Owen, but the reaction of Margaret ruled that out. It plays well, too, because it basically exhausts Margaret's purpose in Boardwalk, and if her character is killed off in the finale, it won't come as a surprise (perhaps a relief, for Kelly MacDonald is another great actress wasted in a distracting role).

I admit, too, that I was barely paying attention to the scene because I wasn't expecting any huge twists to arrive, which is probably part of why the scene was so effectively shocking. To see Owen's head, in a box, was devastating. To witness Margaret react to her lover's head, in a box, was downright debilitating. I didn't get to "Boardwalk Empire" until around 1:30 last night, and I still had a hell of a time sleeping afterward.

It was a crushing image.


Of course, after I got over the illness in the pit of my stomach, my first thought was this:


It was that thought that allowed me to process my grief.

R.I.P. Owen Sleater. I hope there is a place for you in HBO heaven next to Jimmy Darmody and Eddard Stark.


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