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This episode’s title is “Family Limitations,” which refers to a pamphlet on birth control penned by Margaret Sanger. But really, this episode explores everyone’s personal limits – or total lack thereof – though sex and pregnancy play big roles. Also Lysol, but we’ll get to that in due time. Now for a nice daytime robbery!
It’s a sunny day on the boardwalk as Ward Boss O’Neill heads out of the Café Beaux Arts, cash in hand, nervously stuffing it into a leather envelope. According to the list he checks after, he’s about at the end of his route for the day, and that envelope is probably pretty hefty. Everything about this man screams that he’s about to get mugged.
The cash, the nerves, the fact that he probably can’t run very fast.
A kid walks up to him and says this: “Say Fat Chops, you got the time? Or did you eat your pocket watch?” He tells the little shit to bug off and then the kid spits in his face! Egregious! Little Shit runs away and O’Neill actually tries to catch him. Okay, to be fair, if a little 13 year old asswipe spat in my face and ran away, I’d probably give chase. I just feel like the likelihood of O’Neill catching anything faster than an ice cream truck is so nil that he wouldn’t have made it as far as he does. Which is right around the corner to come face to face with a billy club!
Bad luck. And judgment.
His job done, the kid runs off and our billy club-wielding villain takes the money and runs. I wonder if Little Shit got paid or if he just jumped at the chance to spit on a fat guy for free. O’Neill’s probably wondering that and myriad other things as he lies on the boardwalk and little birdies fly all around his head.
Literally! Hilarious shot.
It’s onto Nucky as he lies in post-coital bliss, arm around… LUCY????!!! What the fuck, Nuck? You are a one-woman man when you are with Margaret! She is cute, well-spoken and has read books! Lots of them! This is terrible! I wash my hands of this entire situation!
Anyway, here’s what happens. Lucy’s cooing, asking if it was good for him (it was), if she’s his little tiger cub (she is), and there’s no one else (…)? Interesting. Nucky’s both trying to sleep and trying to avoid either confronting or lying about the fact that he and Lucy are obviously not exclusive. And of course, the one thing Lucy is smart about is knowing when a man’s attentions are straying, so she climbs on top of him and scratches the shit out of his chest telling him he drives her wild.
It doesn’t go over well.
Nucky does NOT like to play it rough, FYI, and he flips out a little at the sudden onset of crazy. He’s pissed (and bleeding), but Lucy protests that she can’t help herself – he drives her wild. And she might not be full of it. The fact that she’s called him “Daddy” three times in 90 seconds tells me there’s probably a little more than rampant gold digging going on here for her. Nucky tells her to quit getting so carried away before storming into the bathroom to clean up. Lucy stares at the door, worried, because while she knows when a man’s attentions are diverted, she’s doesn’t know much about steering them back on track.
It’s sort of the curse of the one-trick pony.
Oh good, onto Margaret, a woman I can stand. She’s visiting Mrs. McGarry at the Temperance/Suffragette headquarters because she has a matter of a personal nature to discuss. So she went to McG? Hmmm, guess it’s better than Edith, but still… Maybe she’s looking for judgy, self-righteous advice.
She explains that a man has made her an “offer.” When Mrs. McGarry questions if it is a financial, domestic or sexual offer, Margaret helplessly answers, “Yes.” Damn. Get it, Girl! Mrs. McGarry asks who the man is, and Margaret says sheepishly that he “runs things.” McGarry catches on almost immediately and her face shows it, so Margaret follows up immediately with the fact that he’ll provide for her and her children – a fact no practical woman in her situation could ignore. When Mrs. McGarry asks if marriage is on the table and Margaret answers in the negative, she delicately mentions that there are several names for women in Margaret’s proposed situation – none of them kind. I’ll say – whore, tramp, concubine, gold digger, mistress… well, I kind of like mistress. It’s elegant, with a long, rich history. All Margaret can say is that he’ll provide. I’m honestly pretty shocked Margaret hasn’t already moved out of her house. Nucky must look like Christ on a cracker to her after Hans. Beatins’, poverty and too many babies vs. kindness, respect, love and a nice house? My bags’d be packed and on the front porch before he even got dressed.
Get a/your move on!
Having heard the whole story, Mrs. McGarry launches into kind of a strange monologue about how she came to Atlantic City. Her husband got bought out by an oil company and moved them from Pennsylvania to a mansion on the shore. When he died, six months later, she sold the mansion, moved into a smaller house, and reveled in all the time she had to devote to her causes. And while the Temperance Movement was meant to protect women, the right to vote will free them. Margaret mentions that she has no mansion to sell, and thus cannot achieve (at least in a socially acceptable way) the independence Mrs. McGarry has been blessed with. And then, in one line, Mrs. McGarry becomes AWESOME. “You must do as you see fit. You owe no one else an explanation.” Four stars, McG! Four stars!
And then, as if Mrs. McGarry’s hidden depths couldn’t get any better, she sees Margaret off with a pamphlet on birth control titled, “Family Limitation” by Margaret Sanger.
Remember how I’ve bashed this woman at every opportunity? Now I wish she was my grandma.
Speaking of family, Jimmy’s mom is busy doggy-stylin’ with his “enemy.” Yes! God, I have a sick, sick love for this couple. They finish, light cigarettes and are officially the coolest people in the city. Lucky tells Gillian to call in sick that night from work and she giggles at his stamina – does he ever get tired? And that’s the thing, Lucky points out – he used to kinda… get tired. He hems and haws before finally admitting that he hasn’t been able to get it up with any girl until he met her. She brushes off what she thinks is empty flattery, but he insists – he had an “affliction” down there a few years before, and since then, he hasn’t been able to (insert impotence euphemism here) with anyone. Aw, it’s like she took his virginity all over again! It’s so sweet they make out for a little while like teenagers until the phone rings.
My son has the CUTEST little assassins!
Lucky reluctantly gets up to answer and WHOA! WHOA! HOLD THE PHONE – HBO JUST WENT FULL FRONTAL! Literally kids – remember when “Sex and the City” hyped and hyped that after years of (mostly Kim Catrall’s) ladyparts they were finally going to get on the stick and show some male frontal nudity? And it was Richard Wright? And if you blinked you missed the eighth of his penis they showed? Well, the network, she has redeemed herself, because we were just treated to a good three seconds of Mr. Charles “Lucky” Luciano’s fully-functioning disco stick! And it was well-lit and everything. Sorry if I’m behaving like a 13-year-old, but that was very unexpected.
Anywho, it’s Rothstein on the phone, and he’s fishing for an update on Jimmy. He’s already got a pretty good idea that Lucky hasn’t gotten very far in the search, and even goes so far as to predict that the eminent Mr. Luciano’s pants are missing as they speak. Lucky behaves like a chastised schoolboy, laughing under his breath that he can’t really talk just then – he’s got Jimmy’s wife in bed. And Gillian’s good looks take another victim. Rothstein, pretty perturbed ever since his booze was stolen way back in January, snipes that it’s not Jimmy’s wife Lucky’s got, it’s his mother. Hang up!
Significantly less amazing, but still pretty funny? O’Neill having to explain to Nucky that a kid and a skinny guy took him for three grand in broad daylight on the boardwalk. Nucky’s in disbelief, and I’m not quite sure why. O’Neill is a slow-moving creature who was known by a goodly amount of people to be carrying a large load of cash on him. Matter of time, really. O’Neill, whom I thought would suffer some serious brain damage or some shit from being hit with such impressive force, seems to be doing okay despite the big knot on his forehead. He’s at a loss to how the two got the jump on him. What he does know is that they weren’t from his ward – he’s positive. He thinks they were from Boyd’s territory. They had a “dago” look about them. Nucky responds the way I would have, asking what just what that sort of “look” is, and O’Neill ponders for a moment and answers, “Feeble-minded.” How insightful. Unfortunately, he’s actually right about their ethnicity, so… guess that one’s a draw…
O’Neill promises that he’ll get to the bottom of the whole thing and that if there’s so much as a nickel in a “nun’s cooz,” he’ll find it. Ew. I went to a Catholic High School, Friends, and I cannot tell you the amount of nightmarish imagery those two words conjured up for me.
Nucky moans to Eli about the fact that he was robbed on the boardwalk, less than a hundred yards from his suite. Ever the consoling heart, Eli comments that they were lying in wait – O’Neill had just made his last stop. It’s clear to Nucky (or just his ego) that no one from Atlantic City would be stupid enough to make that kind of move -
- and Eli agrees, but comments that the Italians don’t play by the rules. A lightbulb flashes in Nucky’s head and he asks if Luciano’s still hanging around. It takes Eli a moment to place the guy, and when he does, Nucky snaps at him to keep on the kid. There’s a knock at the door, but Nucky’s too busy using a rare racial slur (guinea bastard, I think) to hear it, so Eddie just walks in at another embarrassing moment. Nucky yells at him to knock, and when Eddie protests that he did (he did! I heard it!), he yells at him to knock like a man. Still not getting the hang of when to leave well-enough alone, Eddie protests that he doesn’t like to disturb Nucky, which earns him some more verbal lashing. Eventually he gets around to announcing that Mayor Hague just called and is sick of waiting around to meet with Nucky. If they don’t meet soon, all roads lead to Rome, but only one will go through New Jersey. Nucky finds that as pretentious and lame as I do, so he rolls his eyes and tells Eddie to set up a dinner. Then it’s another racial slur to Eli (dago – damn, he is pissed) as he orders him to bring in Luciano as quickly as possible.
Karma for cheating on Margaret, if you ask me.
Off to Chicago, in which Jimmy, having recently seen “Aliens,” is playing Five Fingered Filet because he’s all empty inside. His girlfriend died before their one-week anniversary, see, so times have been tough. Anyway, the hookers are impressed beyond all means. Al can’t believe Jimmy’s crazy enough to pull this kind of stunt. Seriously…? Jimmy tells Al they played it all the time “over there,” didn’t Al? Why doesn’t he take a turn? Oddly, Al defers from the opportunity to do something for which an appropriate adjective would be “batshit insane” and tells Jimmy that Johnny’s coming up – time to get to work. Jimmy sticks his knife in his boot poutily to show just how full of angst he really is, and stands to welcome Torrio.
Johnny’s not in the best of moods. After the recent violence, he’s all set to sit down with Sheridan and give up whatever ground they have in Greektown. He’s also not too happy with Al for essentially causing the… breakdown of communication, we shall call it. Al protests that it was just an oversight, but Torrio shuts him down. He doesn’t need the money or the aggravation. Besides, Al’s his driver, his doorman, and his “handling” of things nearly put Johnny in a war. Then the heat’s on Jimmy, but all Torrio does is look at him and ask him, “Are you smart? Are you smart?” I assume to question the reason Jimmy’s even in Chicago or useful at all. Jimmy doesn’t have much to say to that, and Torrio tells Al to go clean the Buick.
Just can’t find good help these days.
Despite his ire toward Al, Johnny seems to understand that Jimmy’s got less rocks in his noggin and chooses to vent some frustrations to him. The “fuckin’ mick – no offense,” came into his house and spilled blood all because Al didn’t know how to do business. Jimmy takes the opportunity to offer his opinion, telling Torrio that he thinks it’s a mistake to get out of Greektown completely. They made a foothold at the one bar where Al kicked the shit out of the owner (ain’t much meat on Al, but what’s there is cherce). And the bar brings in good money. He knows Johnny doesn’t want a war, but a full-on retreat doesn’t look so good. I love how Jimmy is schooling Torrio on how to be a proper gangster. Jimmy advises Torrio to talk to the Irish and come to an understanding. Torrio asks him what the hell that means, and I have a feeling very little talking is going to be involved in this course of action.
I really need to kill something Irish, Johnny. I don’t care if it’s the fucking Lucky Charms guy, it has to happen.
Back in AC, Van Alden’s undergoing a surprise field office visit from his boss. Van Alden’s not in love with being caught off guard EVER, especially when he’s made very little headway in nailing Nucky and has been spending too much time sniffing Margaret’s castoff hair ties and investigating her past. Boss is disappointed with the lack of visible results in AC – raids, bottles broken in front of newspaper reporters, what have you. Nelson offers the report on Nucky Thompson he’s prepared – he was going to mail it but it’s not quite finished. Boss’ flunky jokes that Van Alden certainly has enough stamps – aww, he made fun of the post office office. I like the post office office. Well, mostly I just like typing it and giggling to myself, so I guess Flunky and I are in kind of the same boat.
Boss looks over the report and wonders that if Van Alden is placing Thompson at the head of a large criminal organization running the alcohol consumption and delivery inside of Atlantic County, where are the financial records? Where are the corroborating witnesses? Nelson answers that he’s still working on those nitty-gritty details, but did Boss see the part about the capital crime in the report? The one where Nucky ordered Jimmy to steal back a liquor shipment from Rothstein and five men were executed? And then pinned it on a man named Hans Schroeder? Boss did notice that part, but not favorably. He’s confused at Van Alden’s skeevy obsession with the delinquent baker’s apprentice – he one that apparently caused the agent to pull Margaret’s immigration file. And poor Nelson – despite the fact that he’s scarily accurate about Nucky’s “secret” life, no one believes him, and he’s creeping everyone out. All he can muster is that he’s just trying to be thorough.
Boss shuts the report disdainfully and tells Nelson to bring him something tangible.
And start being less of a freak.
FINALLY! Nucky and Margaret. Aw, they’re lying in bed and Nucky is obviously so much happier in Margaret’s arms than he was in Lucy’s, that I feel a little better about this morning’s unpleasantness. A little. Nucky better get his act together soon, though. I do NOT ship problem couples. It’s too stressful.
It’s the afternoon, and I think they’re in a hotel room – not his though. Looks like Margaret hasn’t pushed Lucy out of the big house, yet. He asks what time it is, and she answers, “Half three.” He corrects her and says, “Three-thirty,” and she does this adorable American accent bit (“It’s three thirty, Bearcat. Get a wiggle on!”). Nucky rolls his eyes and tells her to not get carried away. Jeez, Nuck, controlling much? She asks if he doesn’t want her to sound American and he doesn’t think so. I guess in an era where there were still widely used ethnic slurs for Europeans, that’s kind of a compliment. Margaret reasons that’s it’s an Irish maiden he wants, and ups her baroque a little. Nucky asks her what she wants, but she hasn’t thought about it – she says. He calls bullshit, and she wonders what her neighbors will think – does he give all the widows new flats? He smiles and says he helps out where he can.
Read: Not just the widows! All manner of women – you’ll be introduced at the next ice cream social.
She pokes at his tank, noticing the scratches from Lucy. Awkward. Nucky looks away and explains wryly that he suffered a hunting accident. Margaret wisely questions who was hunting whom, and I sort of love her for at least not being so naïve as to think that all of sudden Nucky would become a one-woman man. A wiser women than I, that Margaret. Though, while she might be aware she’s not the only lass in Nucky’s orbit, that doesn’t mean she’s super-comfortable with it. When he tries to kiss her instead of answering her question, she shies away and tells him she needs to leave – pick up the children, get back to work. Nucky pulls her back to bed and meaningfully tells her that no, she doesn’t. She looks up at him and just asks, “Then what am I?”
We went over this with Mrs. McGarry – whore, gold digger, mistress…
Nucky watches, disappointed as Margaret slips into the bathroom. She turns on the faucets, grabs the Sanger pamphlet from atop the toilet and sits down to give it a read. As an Irish Catholic girl three pregnancies strong, Margaret is not well-informed when it comes to birth control, and her face shows it.
She opens to the page explaining the soapy water method from “Vera Drake” (mix Lysol with water and insert into vagine, thus killing the offending sperm) and I realize just how much I take the Planned Parenthood clinic at which I wait patiently for my Nuva-Ring every three months for granted. I’d scream for her not to do it, but what are her other options? Leather condoms? Mormon underwear?
Godspeed, Margaret Schroeder. Godspeed.
It’s dinnertime in Chicago, and Jimmy’s guest of honor at Al’s house. For the most awkward meal in the history of meals eaten ever. He asks if they’re sure he can’t help with anything, and gets shut down immediately. Al’s crotchety Italian mother grouchily asks what Jimmy is saying and Al translates. A pretty redhead I can only assume is Al’s poor wife offers her condolences for Jimmy’s “friend” – Pearl the waitress who was hit by a streetcar. AWKWARD MOMENT 1. Al announces (with glee, because it means he gets to SMASH!) that they’re gonna have a talk with the driver the next day – make sure he’s more careful in future. With that, the sausages are ready and it’s time to eat. Al’s son, Sonny, about Tommy’s age, is on the floor playing and ignores his father when Al announces it’s dinner. Al’s wife tells him to leave the boy alone – he’s off in his own world, but Al doesn’t like being disobeyed. He yells a little more and then stomps on the floor, finally getting a startled reaction from his son. Al mutters, “Dumb fuckin’ kid,” and sits down, his wife glowering at him. She grabs Sonny and sits him at the table. Al asks his mother to make some coffee, and she snappily asks in Italian if his stupid Irish wife’s arms are broken, and Wife mentions that she doesn’t speak Italian, but she knows what “stupido” means. Jimmy just starts to eat.
Al, obviously hoping the family he steals and beats so hard to provide for would change into entirely different people when he brings friend around, mutters about what a house he has – “a guinea for a mother, a mick for a wife and a dumbbell for a son.” The minute Sonny learns sign language (oh, he’s obviously deaf, btw), he’s gonna learn “fuck you, Dad,” and give himself hand cramps from signing it so much. Wife tells Al not to call their son that, and Jimmy deftly moves the subject to his own son – about Sonny’s age. AM 3! She asks if he has a likeness (nope, Jimmy’s not a fan of photographers, remember?), and he doesn’t, so he describes the little guy. Al gripes that he bets the kid comes when Jimmy calls. Not unless Jimmy invents cell phones in the next few weeks.
Jimmy tries to ask Sonny a question, but he gets ignored, too. Then Mama Capone trips over Sonny’s top, and drops the coffee, making quite a commotion. Remember that scene in “Mr. Holland’s Opus” when Mrs. Holland realizes her son is deaf because when they’re at a parade and the fire engine blares a siren, he sleeps right through it? That’s about what happens to Jimmy. While Al, Wife and Mama Capone are cleaning up the coffee and yelling at each other in the way only Irish and Italian people can, Jimmy starts snapping his fingers in Sonny’s ear. Al notices after a second and the two men share a look that can mean only one thing.
“Think your son’s deaf, Man.” Man, I think my son’s deaf…”
Because Al needed another reason to be violent. Thank you, Fate.
Oooh, we return to Atlantic City and La Belle Femme for the inevitable Clash of the Titans between Lucy and Margaret. This could go either way, Folks. The fighters have differing strengths, but they are most certainly evenly matched. What Margaret has in wit, purity of spirit and soft, Irish beauty, Lucy has in equal parts alcohol tolerance, sex drive and vaginal superpowers. Outcome unclear.
Lucy’s at the counter bitching that Isabelle doesn’t have any lingerie she likes. Isabelle tensely asks for more information about what Lucy is looking for, and Lucy patronizingly asks the shop owner why anybody buys underwear in the first place. Isabelle, mentally placing Lucy’s breasts in a guillotine (still in use till the 1970s!), answers that underwear is purchased to cover something up, or show something off. Way to understand the concept of CLOTHING Isabelle. For someone so superior, you are one simple bitch.
My hands are for the holding of things.
Lucy, now that Isabelle is on her train, continues that she wants “it in lights” – something vampy and sheer, with a cutout over her crotch. She demonstrates rather than explains this cutout to Isabelle. And, okay, I’m sorry, I’m now firmly in belief that Lucy’s vagina must be lined with chocolate, cocaine or something else delicious and addiciting, because I refuse to believe that otherwise Nucky could stand her company for longer than ten minutes without shoving a grapefruit in her face. She shlubs around like the only parts of her body she can muster the strength to hold up are her boobs and her abdomen, and her two tones of voice appear to be “drunk” or “crazy/pissed.” I was kind of in love with her when she was a tangential character, but I really don’t want to go any deeper into the cesspool of stupidity and STDs that is Lucy. Maybe she’ll get her face all cut up, too…
Isabelle heads to the back to see if she can find any scraps of lace she can staple together in some sort of circular pattern, and Lucy turns to Margaret. She gives her the old “You’re my competition?” once-over and comments on how shitty Margaret’s job is. Margaret lets it roll off her back and simply states that she’s done worse. Lucy snots, “I’ll bet you have.” Oh, zing. Kinda walked into that one, Margaret. First punch goes to Lucy.
Isabelle returns with a piece of black lace, whose only feature differentiating it from a dominatrix’s doily is the hole she demonstrates is in the middle. Lucy approves and says she’d like to see the piece – on Margaret. And the second punch goes to Lucy, as well. Keep your gloves up, Margaret. Lucy flounces into the dressing room, and when Margaret stupidly looks to Isabelle for help, Madame Jeunet merely shrugs and looks away.
What’s the French word for “twat”?
Margaret gingerly steps into the tiger’s den and hangs the… thing on a hanger. She begins to undress, all the while Lucy watching her, immensely pleased to be getting a look at what she’s avoided in not having children. Man, I bet Margaret kind of wishes she and Lucy got along better at the moment. She’d be a great girl to ask about birth control methods that didn’t involve abrasive household cleaners.
Margaret finally gets down to her birthday suit, but for some reason doesn’t move to put on the lingerie. Can’t say that I blame her – what would be more undignified? Modeling lingerie that Lucy will almost certainly wear for the man they’re both currently sleeping with or… just standing there naked for no reason. Lucy looks at Margaret’s figure and comments on her lack of brassiere. Margaret explains that she tried one, but it wasn’t comfortable. Lucy recommends that she try again – she’s saggy. Also, it’s obvious that she’s had children, she looks like the kitchen help and she might as well be a quickie someone would bend over the kitchen table. I’m not sure at what point in Lucy’s little monologue of spite Margaret said to herself, “I think this bitch is one of those people I don’t have to explain myself to!”, but something set her off, because she puts her slip back on and begins to get dressed. She also scores her first point of the match by simpering that Nucky doesn’t seem to agree. Third punch awarded to Margaret.
You and I won’t be in this ven diagram for long, Toots.
Not nearly finished, Lucy remarks that Margaret doesn’t know very much. She knows what the fucking League of Nations is, Swifty. Lucy explains that Nucky was raised a good Catholic, and that every once in awhile, he starts worrying about his soul and whatnot, and tries to be that good Catholic boy. By sleeping with two women a day, neither of them his wife? It is so painful watching Lucy try to execute logic…
Anyway, she goes on to say that all she has to do is give Nucky a look:
And do this:
Item 2. This is so gross, I’m denying Lucy a point on grounds of unsportsmanlike conduct.
And supposedly Nucky always comes running back. Margaret, slightly more self-assured now that she’s got her clothes on, smiles to herself and begins a story about her childhood in Ireland. Hmm, interesting strategy. I’m not totally convinced of its effectiveness, but I’ll listen. Apparently, there was a raggedy man who came to her village one year in possession of a rooster that could play a song by pecking out the notes on a toy piano. The children were enthralled at the magic rooster, and cried when it left. Or something. Anyway, it came back next year, doing the same thing, but this time, Margaret and the other children stifled laughter at the man’s ratty clothes. Oh yeah, Margaret, I’m sure as an early 20th century Irish villager you were the snappiest of dressers. Pfft. Despite the children’s less than warm response, the guy comes back a THIRD year! And this time, no one even came out to see him. Lucy, her brain having reached its daily capacity for critical thinking, dumbly asks what the frigging point is? Margaret says that year after year, the rooster only ever played that one same tune. And that maybe Lucy’s quinny (vag) isn’t quite the draw she thinks it is. BOOM.
With that, Margaret flounces out of the dressing room, grabs her coat and bag, and tells Madame Jeunet she quits. Hooray!
And the champion, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Celebratory ragtime plays as Nucky’s blue Packard drives up to a very nice row of townhouses and Margaret and her children get out. Eddie grabs their bags and refuses Margaret’s offer of help. He welcomes them into a townhome that exceeds every single one of her meager expectations. The kitchen’s stocked, there are three bedrooms and a dining room, and if the children break anything, it will be fixed. Eddie’s on his way out when Margaret asks, honestly, what I would have asked, if she is to wait for Mr. Thompson? Eddie explains that he will call, and then, revealing that she is seriously not used to being waited upon, asks if Mr. Thompson is nice to Eddie. She’s certainly not going to be mistress to a man who shares Isabelle’s “fondness” for the help. Eddie confirms that Mr. Thompson is very nice to him – he is a very nice man.
We’re in counseling, of course, but what couple doesn’t go through their ups and downs?
Cut immediately to Nucky – “Are you trying to sass me you dirty cocksucker?” Oh, hilarious juxtaposition. You slay me. He’s questioning Luciano who comments that he thought Nucky was all about the manners. Well, yeah, so are most people until you may or may not have stolen from them. Nucky says as much, but also calls Lucky a little prick who shows up where he doesn’t belong. Lucky asks if he needs permission to look at the ocean, and Nucky confirms that yes, yes he does need permission to look at his ocean. He makes the point that Lucky’s boss recently tried to lift $100,000 from his pocket, and Lucky counters that his boss doesn’t exactly see it that way. Eli (he’s there, too) pipes up that Rothstein doesn’t run Atlantic City, and Lucky snaps back that no, he doesn’t. He runs a little town called New York – maybe they’ve heard of it? Eli wonders that if New York’s so great, what the fuck is Luciano doing spending so much time in AC? Well, see, Lucky likes the view between that… gasha’s (I think that’s what he said, I assume it means girl) legs. And boy was that a mistake. If there’s a skank you don’t call a skank in front of Nucky, it’s Gillian. He and Eli share a dangerous look, and Nucky moves to stand over his prey. Gillian Darmody, he presumes. “Is that her name?” Lucky snits. Which earns him a slap on the back of the head!
That MIGHT be the mother of my child, you little shit.
Because he is a child and will be treated as such – so much worse than just getting punched. Well, Lucky’s not gonna stand for that – he moves to attack Nucky , and of course Elias has him over the desk with a billy club before he can get so much as a foot in Nucky’s direction. When he finally stops trying to land a blow, Eli lets him up. Nucky explains very carefully that MRS. Darmody is free to do as she pleases, not always to her benefit. However, Lucky would do well to treat her with the utmost respect. He does to her face, at least.
Now it’s time to talk. Everything Charles sees in AC is Nucky’s – place a bet, buy a drink, ride the Ferris wheel. He goes on to warn that if Lucky steals, despite the boy’s protests that he didn’t, there will be consequences. He’s to tell his pack of guineas and his boss that very thing. At least that’s what I assume he was to do, because there’s a very loud knock at the office door interrupting them. Scares the shit out of Nucky apparently, because he bellows a loud, “Jesus,” and Eddie pops in. When questioned about his knock, Eddie recalls that he was told to knock in a manly fashion. “Leave the fucking door on the hinges, for Christ’s sake!” is all the thank you Eddie gets for following directions. He sighs and delivers that news that Mrs. Schroeder is very happy with her accommodations. Calmed down a bit by the news, Nucky nods and sends Lucky on his way. Lucky smirks thanks at Nucky for showing him how it’s done in AC, and takes his leave.
You’ll pay for slapping me. I don’t know how, but I’m gonna go home, have some sex with Gillian, think about it, and trust me. You’ll pay. Probably in a week or so.
Back in Chicago, Jimmy’s still staying in the room where Pearl died (creepy), and sending Angela some money. He writes that it’s “to use as [she sees] fit.” Ugh, Jimmy’s that guy now. One of the girls pops in and tries to get him to come downstairs and socialize, but he’d rather be alone. She sweetly gives him back the book Pearl was reading and heads out. Jimmy leafs through the pages and finds a California postcard. It has two kissing oranges on it – the girl’s named Pearl and the guy’s named Jimmy.
Jimmy opens his desk drawer to put the postcard away and spies his dogtags. He picks them up and regards them for a minute, before slipping them over his head in a bit of really obvious foreshadowing.
He’s killing something before the end of this episode, that’s for damn sure.
The next day, in AC, Van Alden pulls up to Margeret’s old house, totally unaware of just what a nasty surprise he’s about to get. He knocks on the door some until Edith, Margaret’s old neighbor comes out. Edith’s pretty pissed about a couple of things, I’m guessing. One, her friend is gone and she gets to spend her days bitter and alone again. Two, said friend just Cinderella-ed the shit out of life, and, frankly, if I were Edith, my fucking fingernails would be green with envy.
She announces to Van Alden that Margaret doesn’t live there anymore – no idea as to where the family might have gone, but Margaret’s probably off “drinking champagne.” She snits that the young woman was out at all hours and expected Edith to watch over her “brats.” AND she works for French people! Well, to be fair, not anymore, and she never liked it. Van Alden asks if that was at the Ritz, and Edith confirms. AND Mr. Schroeder (a lovely man, in Edith’s warm and accurate opinion) has only been dead four months, too – shameful. AND just this afternoon a blue limousine picked up the family and carted them all away to God knows what Sodomite House of Ill Repute! Practically salivating at this point, Van Alden asks if the limo was a Rolls Royce (you know, like the one Nucky has?), and while it’s clear Edith isn’t certain, she answers that yes, it was. Van Alden’s excitement turns almost to horror at the idea of his perfect waif is turning to a life of sin with Nucky Thompson of all people.
It’s Edith’s turn to salivate as she catches the look on his face and eagerly asks if Margaret did something wrong. Van Alden ignores the question and asks if there’s anything else Edith can tell him. She stubs out her cigarette and tells him Margaret’s a whore.
Comment if you think being a whore is better than being an ugly, spiteful bitch!
It’s onto Sheridan in Chicago as he chats up a coat check girl at what looks to be some kind of nice banquet facility. She’s dumb, he wants to take her to the movies, that’s about the size of it. Then Torrio, Al and Jimmy walk in and the interesting begins. Sheridan, cigar in hand, comments that when he was little, there was a sign outside that said “No Dogs or Irish.” Now he could buy the whole building if he wanted to. Torrio rolls his eyes and mutters, “You’re an inspiration to us all.” Ha! The Italians (and Jimmy) get patted down and check their coats when it’s confirmed that they’re clean. But when Al moves to frisk Sheridan’s men, Sheridan’s all, “No, Boyo, I’m the top this time. I’m armed, and I’m gonna stay that way. You don’t like it, you can leave.” Al’s about to protest some more, but Torrio stops him from fucking anything up again, and tells Sheridan the arrangements are fine. The boys head upstairs.
Hope you boys brought some lube!
Sheridan begins by sort of apologizing, but not really for the disfiguring of Pearl by saying that anyone who knows him will say that when he’s threatened, he acts out. Torrio defends his crew, explaining that they weren’t threatening anyone – just expanding their reach, dipping their toes in the water. Sheridan mocks that they got all wet, didn’t they? At least their whore did. At the mention of Pearl, Jimmy feels the need to mention that she was 18, and Sheridan responds just as well as you’d expect to any mention of sentimentality. He brings up the Greek restaurant owner who still won’t be able to eat for another month because of Al, and Torrio plays peacemaker, explaining that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding. Then Sheridan surprises me by sincerely apologizing “about the girl,” and the meeting moves on.
Sheridan, in the interest of keeping good relations is prepared to give the Italians a three block radius in Greektown. He goes into detail of what those three blocks entail, but we never hear it. The camera closes in on Jimmy, then his knife, still in his boot, and Sheridan’s voice fades away. Just as Jimmy might consider grabbing the knife, one of Sheridan’s men sees it, and the guns come out.
I forgot I had it. No really, that’s what he says.
The knife’s handed to Sheridan who’s not happy that Jimmy managed to sneak a blade into the meet. He puts the blade to Jimmy’s neck to help him to remember not to sneak shit in if he’s not willing to share with the whole class, and then confiscates the property. They all have a drink so bygones can be bygones, and the meet’s over. Hey! No one died! Booooorrrringg….
The gentlemen head downstairs and Torrio excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Uh-oh. That can mean one of only two things. Torrio has a weak bladder and is thus succumbing to old age, or he’s avoiding being present at the scene of a crime. Sheridan heads to the coat check and this time it’s a redhead working. The blond’s on coffee break. Or tied up in the back because the redhead working is the very redhead that tried to get Jimmy to come downstairs the night before! She’s a mole! She gives Jimmy his coat and hat, looks at him soulfully and nods. He gives her a quiet thank you, turns around and KILLS EVERYONE. Well, him and Al who got handed a shotgun. Literally, everyone in the lobby dies. Sheridan gets shot in the stomach and manages to hang on long enough to see how royally he’s been screwed. Then Jimmy walks over to him, puts his gun under Sheridan’s chin and says, “I think you’d agree that Greektown belongs to us, now.”
And pop goes the Sheridan.
Torrio’s shuffled out quickly, and Jimmy grabs his knife before he and Al follow into the car. Mission accomplished.
Nucky and Margaret are at it again, but this time in her new lovely master bedroom. Actually, they’ve just finished and Nucky’s on the couch tying his shoes. Margaret emerges from the bathroom in a bathrobe, looking refreshed and Nucky asks her what she’s been doing in there for so long. Is she ill? She’s gonna be if she keeps pumping Lysol up her pooch. No, she says, she was just luxuriating, and kneels between his legs to button his shirt for him. Thank God, I love this couple, but I don’t think I ever need to see their fellatio. Nucky sighs that he likes making her happy, and Margaret kisses his chest, thanking him. Then the phone rings, startling them both – Nucky’s gotta go. Business. But they make plans for the evening – Hardin, Houdini’s brother is opening at the Globe, and Nucky would like Margaret to go with him, followed by a supper with Hardin and his wife afterwards. You can guess how excited Margaret is when you consider that the last “fun” outing she probably had was the most recent Temperance meeting. It’s awesome.
They’re so cute I have to believe this evening is going to go horribly wrong.
Back in Chicago, the boys are celebrating their considerable win at the brothel. Torrio’s going apeshit at how smart and strategic Jimmy is, and giving him credit for the whole thing. As well he should, really. Al’s sitting off to the side, trying not to yell out, “Hey! I had the shotgun! He had a girly little handgun! Where’s my applause?” Torrio goes on and on about how he wished he had ten men just like Jimmy when Al finally can’t take it anymore. He gets up, raises his glass to Jimmy, calling him a standup guy… when he’s not pissing himself on the floor that is. That tasty segue leads Al to tell the story of how he HILARIOUSLY shot a gun right next to Jimmy’s ear a few weeks ago, scaring the crap out of him. Oh yeah, Jimmy’s a total pussy when he’s asleep.
Jimmy and Al laugh it off, and the story looks pretty harmless, until Al launches into another genius comedic bit – why when Jimmy was over in France, he was a model soldier – there was no paddy that could get the latrines whiter than he could! Burn…?
And then Jimmy gets pissed. Not super-pissed, just pissed enough to call out Al on his probably fictional “Lost Battalion” war record. He says something to the effect of the battalion being lost because Al got Brooklyn confused with France. Wordsmiths, these two. Clouds of anger roll in over Al’s face, and even Torrio looks uncomfortable for a minute. The important thing to remember about Al Capone is that he can dish it out and that’s fucking it. There is no other part of that equation.
It’s why he’s fondly remembered as kind of a bastard.
Before Hardin, Nucky’s having his first supper of the evening with Hague, who’s finally getting the attention he’s been demanding. He’s a little grouchy he’s been waiting all week to sit down with Nucky, but Nucky tosses back that Hague got what he wanted (fat envelope), so what’s the problem? Hague agrees that Nucky’s fulfilled his part of the bargain, and Nucky tries to confirm that Hague will fulfill his. There’s plenty of Road Appropriations money to go around, and Nucky wants to make sure the appropriate share goes to AC. Hague wonders if Nucky doesn’t have enough friends in Trenton, that he has to come to a democratic mayor for this sort of thing. Nucky warns that he’s got a man he’s sending to the White House, and Hague laughs off the idea of Edge in the Oval Office. Nucky acknowledges that Edge isn’t the “Great Emancipator,” but he’ll be a profitable friend to Nucky and thus, a profitable friend to Hague. Satisfied, Hague continues eating and asks where they’re headed after dinner. Nucky’s eyebrows raise and he asks, “Tonight?”
Tell him you have plans, Nucky. TELL HIM YOU HAVE PLANS.
Hague sniffs at Nucky’s comment and pouts that if Nucky has something better to do, he can always head home. Nucky sighs and invites Hague to see Hardin with him and Margaret. Oh, good. Margaret cannot get stood up for her very first real date. She just can’t.
In Chicago, Jimmy’s reading alone in his room because revenge didn’t bring Pearl back, when there’s a knock at the door. No one answers when he asks who it is, so he grabs his handgun and creeps toward the door. I feel like if you need to arm yourself before opening your door, you maybe shouldn’t be opening your door. Anyway, it’s Al. Of course. Al tries to laugh it off, but Jimmy keeps pointing his gun at him until the other mobster shows him what’s behind his back. So things are tense…
All joking aside now, Al reveals a brown-paper wrapped butcher’s bundle full of steaks. Jimmy stares at him for a minute… as I would… until Al explains that the night they met, Jimmy said that he liked them. Aw… it’s like it’s their anniversary. Jimmy smiles sheepishly and apologizes, inviting Al in. Please let them sit on the bed and touch each other’s arms and tell each other how much the other means to them and let’s never fight again! Seriously, it’s really cute. Al comes in and Jimmy offers him a drink, which he refuses. See, he gets stupid if he drinks too much – he runs off at the mouth. And then Al Capone becomes a person in what I’m sure will be on his Emmy Reel. He very maturely and rationally explains to Jimmy that when the war stories broke out, he looked bad in front of the other guys. And you don’t do that to a buddy. Is that what they are, Jimmy asks. Al wants to know what Jimmy thought they were and his answer, because he is an insensitive douche is that they are “accomplices.” And if you wondered just how fucked up Al’s life has really been, he wonders if buddies and accomplices aren’t the same thing.
Let’s shoot each other and be blood brothers!
Before he goes, he can’t stop himself from talking about his son. He knows he’s deaf, but he tries to sing abd play the mandolin for him. He puts his son’s hand to his throat, and he knows Sonny can feel it, but it’s not the same. He can’t stand to think that Sonny is being punished for things that Al has done. Jimmy offers some consolation in the form of medicine making new strides every day, but it does little for the weight on Al’s shoulders. He exits with a trademark joke (because humor’s his defense mechanism) and that’s that. I’m sorry, did anyone really need Al to have a sob story? Because I didn’t. It seemed hammy and trite, despite good acting.
Aw, he’s a person. With feelings and everything. Whatever.
And now onto the topless ukulele player! She’s singing “Secondhand Man,” and it’s really pretty.
Hague and Nucky make some dirty jokes and then get down to business. Nucky wants a highway from New York to Philly, running right next door to Atlantic City. Frank seems amenable, and even seems to like Nucky, despite the fact that he’s a “republican son of a bitch.” He likes him so much in fact that he warns Nucky not to put so much faith in Walter Edge. Edge is a silent partner in a paving company that doesn’t really have an address, but is located in and around Jersey City – where Nucky’s roads aren’t. If he’s more than a little peeved, Nucky doesn’t show it, just asks Frank why he would tell him that. They’re not exactly on the same side. But maybe they are – Frank says guys like Edge come and go, but bosses – him and Nucky – they’ll be around forever.
As long as you pay your taxes…
Aww, Nucky made a new friend. At the expense of his awesome new girlfriend, of course, who’s introducing her children to a new babysitter as we speak. Margaret explains that the children are usually asleep by nine, so they won’t be any trouble. “No trouble at all, I love babies,” Babysitter says.
“Whores, on the other hand…”
Sensing the ice cold judgment, Margaret awkwardly explains that she doesn’t usually require a babysitter’s services, but she’s going to see Hardin tonight! Oh, her excitement cuts me like a knife… Babysitter smiles that same joy-free smile once more and nods knowingly. She understands, she sits for all the young ladies. Before Margaret can confirm which young ladies those might be, the phone rings. It’s Eddie. No Hardin tonight – impromptu Boy’s Night – Nucky will call, blah, blah, blah. Margaret hangs up the phone, terribly disappointed and now tasked with the doubly embarrassing task of canceling the babysitter because her sinful, sinful date has been postponed. But she doesn’t get the chance. An impeccably dressed woman named Annabelle drops by, little girl in tow. She has a date, too! But hers is actually happening, you see, and little Ruby needs someplace to be for the night. Margaret doesn’t mind, does she? “Us girls all help each other out.”
You do have the pamphlet, don’t you?
Then Margaret makes the mistake of asking, “Which girls?” She already knows the answer, but it’s like smelling sour milk – it’s oddly hard to resist, even though you know it’s going to be horribly, horribly unpleasant. And it is – Annabelle says, “The concubines,” practically winking. She’s a little more comfortable in her station than Margaret is, given the look that flashes over the latter’s face when she hears one of those “terms” Mrs. McGarry mentioned. Then Annabelle looks around and asks if the flat is “the three-bedroom?” Margaret nods, and Annabelle verbally smacks her in the face again, with an impressed, “Well, your fella sure must be sweet on you.”
Sometimes the idea that what other people think isn’t important and what you think matters most can comeback to bite you real, REAL hard in the fanny.
And because he hasn’t been creepy enough in this episode, it’s onto Van Alden. He stares at Margaret’s immigration files, handling them with extreme delicacy. She was 16 when she crossed, and when she left Ireland – oh, what’s this? She was pregnant! Scandal! AND when she arrived in America she suffered a miscarriage… or perhaps took advantage of the shipboard Planned Parenthood. Putting those documents aside, Van Alden stares at a lovely likeness of Margaret taken when she was 16 (and pregnant!). Her soon to be ravaged innocence cries out from the picture, and what does Van Alden do with it? Props it up on a lamp and NO, he does NOT jerk-off to it. Pervs.
He just flogs himself. And not for the first ime.
Back the… brothel, I’m guessing? Hague’s living the dream.
Two girls, one cup.
And Nucky’s watching, half-disgusted, half-interested. Ukulele asks him what he’s thinking, and he looks down at her and says he tries to be good. She sweetly says, “It’s too late to be good tonight.” He appears to agree.
And Margaret waits by the phone.
The telephone, torturing women since 1876.
We all have our limits…