Please note: the following bit is going to be extremely Boardwalk Empire Spoilercentric. If you are not caught up with the second-to-last episode of Season 3, "Two Imposters," then run away and come back when you're up to speed.
Seriously. After the jump we're going to get right into it.
Okay, are they gone? Good.
Where are you going with those guns, Richard? What the hell do you think you're doing, Richard? No, Richard, wait please don't die AGGGGHHHH--!
As I mentioned on Weekend Justice, somebody on that end of the story has to die. And it has to be tragic. (I was trying to think...has anybody left the series happily? The only one I could come up with was Lucy...because at least she left on her own terms.) But because this series does not do the expected, Richard's only shot at surviving--IMO--is because we're all expecting him to die. So just to screw with expectations, they might let him live. And to serve tragedy...Tommy might get killed.
All speculation. However, I fear the worst. I fear Richard--one of the most awesome characters on the show--will be leaving us.
To that end, I offer up five alternate endings for Richard Harrow that we can use in our imaginations as necessary. Use those as well as alcohol, of course. In no particular order:
Scenario 1: Richard decides to take Julia and run away to Europe, where he's discovered and becomes a collage artist, eventually becoming a mover and shaker in the surrealist movement.
I mean, come on, Richard heading for Europe and getting to hand with the likes of Picasso and Dali? What's not to like about this? The art circuit would love him--they could make all kinds of pretentious claptrap about the art he's wearing and then pay out the yin-yang for his work. Thus, he's comfortable and living well, providing for his now wife. He could move back to the States during World War II, and die an art hero, surrounded by grandchildren. First Run Features could one day release the DVD of a documentary about his works. One of them would be hanging in a stairwell at the MOMA right now.
Scenario 2: Richard is rescued from harm by Erik, the Phantom of the Opera.
All right, I know, but I don't want Richard to die. And if we look at the book sequel to the Webber musical, The Phantom of Manhattan, we learn that Erik was in Connecticut after the events of that book--and helps out and is helped in turn by disfigured war veterans. Right? I mean, let's face it--when you want to see Gillian strangled for what she said to Richard...who better than the guy who made a practice of the noose? And hey, the book has no singing. So it's not like we're sending him into a musical.
Scenario 3: Richard grabs Julia and Tommy and moves to the West Coast to become Richard Harrow, P.I.
I actually really like this idea. Cosette pointed out that Richard isn't exactly an unmemorable person, thus making it hard for him to sneak around and tail people and whatnot. I figure he's like a Nero Wolfe who actually leaves the office when the case is about to close. He's got a crew that does the initial legwork and sneaky bits and when you need the #1 Hardass, Harrow is on hand. Imagine this spinoff series as a lot like what would happen if you crossed L.A. Confidential with The Equalizer. Jesus, the more I think about it the more I Want This Show.
Scenario 4: Richard is saved by Nikola Tesla, who turns him into a cyborg. Then he and Tesla fight crime.
Tesla is actually in New York in this time period, so it wouldn't be too weird to have them run into each other. Richard gets a new lease on life and Tesla does as well, and they work out of New York City fighting crime. They could even wind up doing battle with other characters from the Boardwalkverse. You could even have Tesla be off in his lab somewhere so after the initial meeting, Richard goes out on missions and Tesla's like Charlie over an intercom. That way you can have David Bowie reprise the role and it works. Look, you know you want this. Just admit it.
Scenario 5: Richard is saved by The Doctor, and becomes his new Companion.
The best part about this one is that it can happen at any time because The Doctor's a frickin' time traveler. So if Richard bites it, just tell yourself it's not a fixed point in time and rest assured that at some point in the endless expanse of time, some version of The Doctor shows up and saves his ass. And truly, could there be a better thing that watching Richard snipe Daleks from the open door of the TARDIS? "You said to aim for the eye stalk? Hrmm...all right."
Well, there's a very good chance none of that will happen and we can instead look forward to seeing Jack Huston turn up somewhere else and kick some more ass in a different show and/or film. We can hope he survives, but gird your loins just in case. Because if he does make it through Season 3, I will be quoting him when the credits roll: "I don't fucking...believe this."