So this episode was directed by my favorite Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire director, Tim Van Patten, previously known for playing Mario “Salami” Pettrino on The White Shadow. So in case you want to know what TV brilliance looks like, here’s Tim in his White Shadow heyday:
The face of brilliance
Man, I had such a crush on him.
Anyway, previously on Boardwalk Empire, shit was rolling downhill and landing all over Nucky, but he’s made out of bile and shoe leather so he never stayed down for long, even after getting shot. Nelson and Chalky aren’t quite as lucky and they’re kind of stuck in the mire. Then Margaret makes a decision that will likely seal Owen’s fate and the young’uns decide to carve out their own place in the world.
Nucky’s in the Ritz elevator with a whistling extra on loan from some unnamed David Lynch movie. The extra comments on a fight that hasn’t happened yet so, ooh, spooky. Wonder if it’s a dream sequence? As a baby wails in the background Nucky gets off the elevator and his suite is full of people, none of them recognizable. He spies a child’s baseball mitt on a chair and a little boy sitting at his desk. The boy holds up his hand and there’s a hole in his palm to which Nucky says “Daddy eats first.” Wonder if that’s symbolic? Nuck hears an animal moaning in pain and there’s a huge buck on the floor with a bullet wound in its neck. The boy fires a shotgun at Nucky, but Nucky’s only daydreaming while his doctor dresses his hand. I usually daydream about sandwiches.
The doctor asks Nucky if he’s okay since he’s jittery from the dream and Nucky says he’s fine, just having problems sleeping. Then he examines his wound and doesn’t get grandiose at all when he calls it stigmata. The doctor chuckles and continues to clean and redress the wound, telling Nucky to protect it. Nucky continues down his road of self aggrandizing/self pity and whines that not many people are lining up to shake his hand these days. Oh, wah, you big baby. The doctor absently empathizes which leads Nucky to needle him about the Commodore’s stroke because Nucky can’t stand not striking fear into people. The doctor mentions the doctor/patient privilege and Nucky starts threatening to revoke the doctor’s alcohol license because Nucky’s an asshole. Before he can go further down that dick rabbit hole, Margaret’s come in to ask the doctor to check in on Emily when he’s finished with Nucky. With a vague warning from Nucky not to forget who his friends are, the doctor leaves and Nucky pathetically tries to tie his tie forgetting he doesn’t have an audience to pity him.
You use that word stigmata. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Over at Eli’s the brood is running around. June, since she’s not dealing with Eli, is in a good mood with the children. That won’t last long. Especially as the doorbell is ringing. One of the brood let’s in Dick Halsey, Esther Randolph’s clerk. Eli’s blowing the guy off lying about being busy with tourist season until Halsey pulls out the subpoena for Eli to testify in Nucky’s investigation. Eli, per usual, overreacts and resorts to bullying Halsey while Old Man Thompson eggs him on. Despite claiming that the subpoena is a professional courtesy because they could have arrested Eli, Eli still bum rushes the guy out of the house because I guess he doesn’t find subpoenas with his breakfast very courteous. As Eli’s slamming the door Old Man Thompson’s has a heart attack from all the excitement, leaving Eli desperate and scared.
Jimmy’s phone rings and he yells for Angela to answer it. When she doesn’t he rushes out of the bathroom, wrapping a towel around his waist and, well, I guess this season’s for the ladies. And gentlemen who like skinny, hairless men. It’s Capone and he’s all “Hey, hey…what’s up buddy?” Jimmy’s not nearly as jovial, wondering why Capone’s been ducking him. Capone doesn’t know what Jimmy’s talking about so Jimmy asks about the gunman he sent to AC, who instead of killing Nucky got himself killed instead. Capone, showing all the warmth and humanity of a jackal says “God rest his soul.” They argue some more about how Jimmy’s a pussy and Capone’s incompetent until Jimmy curses and Angela stops him, because she and Tommy were just lollygagging around listening to Jimmy talk about wanting Nucky dead. I’d say that would scar Tommy, but let’s get real. There will be so many ways for Jimmy to scar Tommy that this one’s just a drop in the bucket.
One for the ladies
As Jimmy hangs up to chase after Angela, Torrio walks in on Capone, wondering who he’s talking to. Capone tells him it was Dah-ma-dee but that he had no idea why he was calling. Maybe because it’s pandemonium in AC. Or maybe it’s because Al sent and incompetent gunman to kill Nucky. Who knows. Anyway, Torrio’s expositing about how he’s meeting with George Remus because George Remus has a liquor delivery coming in. Torrio makes a reference to Romulus, forgetting Capone’s a meathead, so Capone reminds him by asking if Romulus is Remus’ partner. Derr. Torrio can’t handle Capone’s idiocy so he tells Al that whatever bullshit he’s working with Darmody to keep him out of it and not to be stupid. Has he met Capone? Then he takes his walleyes to schmooze George Remus. They really have such a loving, supportive relationship. I can see why Al was so loyal to him last week.
Back at Nucky’s house where the doctor is examining Emily. She has a slight fever so he suggests Margaret call him if it spikes. Margaret tries to figure out how Emily got sick but the doctor just foreshadows that a bug is going around and there’s nothing to worry about. As Nucky walks through the room to get Owen, Owen hands his coffee cup to Katie, barely acknowledging the girl, while he smarms “Ma’am” at Margaret, and dude, I thought you were smoother than that. That doesn’t stop Margaret from being a stone bitch to Katie, while doting over Emily, because a day without making Katie feel like shit is like a day without sunshine. Katie just snaps that it was just coffee. Realizing she’s not getting a rise out of the girl she orders Katie to take the children to Lillian.
So over Margaret’s bullshit.
Finally, with an audience to pity him, Nucky futilely tries to put in his collar clip so Margaret can come and fuss over him. She asks where he’s going and he says he’s meeting with Mensch. She wonders why it can’t take place in their home but he’s also meeting with Esther Randolph. Margaret continues to fuss over how she doesn’t want him to leave the house, like he couldn’t get shot in their home, but when Nucky offers to have Owen stay behind to look out for Margaret she’s all “Oh, no….that’s fine.”
Their phone rings. (A lot of phones ring with a lot of news.) It was June calling to tell Nucky that his father died. Nucky both does and doesn’t register this news and what it means. As Margaret watches him for clues on how to react, he just repeats that he’ll eat breakfast in the office and leaves.
Nelson’s watching Abigail in her basinet and the initial thrill of being a father has receded and been replaced by the dread of being a single father. That and the general dread with which Nelson approaches everything. He’s waiting for the new nanny to come so he can go to work. Her name is Sigrid and she hasn’t a clue what she’s getting herself into when she tries to make small talk with Nelson about the baby as he marches her down the hall to her room. He points out that the baby will sleep with her then he gives her the tour, showing her where the kitchen and water closet are, as well as pointing out, with some pride, the victrola he bought Lucy. They discuss the conditions of her employment which she finds it acceptable so he adds that the job is seven days a week. She points out that she will need some time off, but this was before organized labor established a weekend so sucks to be Sigrid. Although Nelson does offer her one Sunday off per month if she prepares the baby’s meals in advance.
Keep telling me what to do and that will be one Sunday every two months.
She’s still not picking up on what a super freak Nelson is and tries to impress him with her cooking skills, offering to cook dinner for him but he’s Nelson, he’ll probably just self-flagellate for dinner. She takes a new tack and asks the baby’s name. Even that poses a problem for Nelson and he hesitates before barking out “Abigail.” Then he tries to leave without so much as a goodbye but Sigrid wonders if he’d at least like to kiss his baby goodbye. After considering if that’s a mortal sin, he throws caution to the wind and kisses the baby on her forehead. As he’s leaving Sigrid is cooing at Abigail about how her Papa loves her then starts singing. It’s all so sweet that Nelson has to leave before he gets further root rot from all these feelings.
Rothstein’s at a racing stable discussing a “late entry” with Max Hirsch and how it’s totally not at all illegal. They bond over how manipulative they are as Charlie and Meyer walk up. As Hirsch leaves, Rothstein and the boys make small talk about getting sun and placing loser bets until Rothstein segues to Philadelphia. Meyer and Charlie practically send up a bat signal that they’re up to no good while bullshitting Rothstein that it’s business as usual.
Rothstein asks them about Nucky’s shooting. Charlie mumbles as Meyer mentions that Nucky had beef with his brother, Eli. Charlie practically sprains an eye socket shooting Meyer the side-eye but Rothstein figures it was probably Darmody. You’re all right! Charlie tries to cover for Jimmy saying he doesn’t have it in him. Rothstein gets a look in his eye and asks “Pillow talk, Charlie?” Which, HAHAHAHAHAHA. But Jimmy only has eyes for Richard. Lucky gets squirrelly and says “What? Wit da mudda? I’m troo wit dat,” and if that’s what helps you sleep at night, Charlie, believe he meant Gillian. Tired of dealing with the children, Rothstein starts sniffing the air, trying to find a properly menacing and yet somewhat oblique reference. When Meyer asks what’s wrong, Rothstein just says “Eskimo” “Manure.” The young’uns are all “WTF?” but Rothstein glares and says “What can you expect when you conduct your business in a stable?.”
You just know he can see them.
Mensch reads off the list of charges Randolph has against Nucky. They include, tax evasion, bid rigging, embezzlement of county funds, graft, gambling, prostitution, various and sundry Volstead act violations…blah, blah. Nucky sasses Randolph about the list and chief investigator kindly responds that they can amend the complaint. Randolph compares Nucky to an onion with all the layers of corruption and he says he prefers to think of himself as an artichoke. I guess because they have hard, fibrous cores? Then he gets on his high horse and says that, for the record, the charges are baseless. Esther points out it’s an informal meeting so there is no record which leads Mensch to suggest a plea but Nucky’s full of a fool’s confidence and says he’s completely innocent of all charges.
Randolph suggests they move on to discussing his shooting. Nucky’s still sassing her because I guess he doesn’t think he ever needs to kiss anyone else’s ass. Chief investigator wonders if he’s not interested in knowing who wants him dead. Nucky just wants to know who the shooter is because the list of people who want him dead is too long. Randolph asks if Nucky knows Johnny Torrio and this finally gets Nucky to tone down the bitch, but he still lies that he doesn’t know Torrio. Randolph is like “Bitch, I know you do,” and the chief investigator tells Nucky the shooter, Vito Scalercio, lived in a building managed by Capone. Randolph tells Nucky that his closest friends are out to kill him and Nucky’s regained his bitch, telling her to go after them. She says in good time and that they’ve subpoenaed Eli and the aldermen, and started taking statements. Mensch says he’s entitled to those transcripts and now it’s Randolph’s turn to sass Mensch, saying they’re fascinating reading.
Now would be the time to stop acting like an asshole, Mr. Thompson.
Not finished unnerving Nucky, Esther moves on to asking about Margaret, wondering how they met. Having struck a nerve, Nucky refuses to answer her question, wondering if he’s supposed to do her job. Esther doesn’t cow, she just tells Nucky she has ways to show her gratitude, then points out that chief investigator Lathrop saved Nucky’s sorry ass. Nucky’s surprised at the news so Esther tells him a “thank you” would have been in order, then they leave, having kicked Nucky around enough.
Down at the beach a bunch of guys are building a human pyramid, just ‘cause, as two girls literally skip around. They’re all wearing olde timey swimsuits that probably caused more than their fair share of accidental drownings. Who wears wool swimsuits? Angela’s wearing the far more practical lightweight, black cotton swimsuit with boatneck, capped sleeves…socks and boots? Whatever, the woman next to her is getting harassed by the beach patrol telling her swimsuits must be no more than seven inches above the knees. She thinks that’s bananas, but Angela tells her they’ll measure.
Angela picks up that she’s not from AC and she’s from San Francisco, bastion of free-loving hippies, even before there were free-loving hippies. The woman says her name is Molly Fletcher and the beach patrol ghouls writes her a summons for $10. When Molly says she doesn’t have that kind of money the beach patrol ghoul says she can spend the night in jail, then. Molly stands up to argue her case and a bunch of men start catcalling her, which brings out an exasperated “Nice, you’re attracting the beach lizards, now,” and I believe that’s the first recorded reference to Jersey Shore. As Molly makes things worse for herself when the cop shows up, Angela steps in and pays Molly’s fine, calling her “cousin” and saying she’ s a joker. With a tenner in her pocket, the beach patrol ghoul leaves, telling Angela to cover her “cousin” up.
And keep your fornicating ways in San Francisco. We’re God’s people here in Atlantic City.
With that out of the way, Angela remembers she likes the ladies and introduces herself. Molly calls herself “Louise.” Molly Fletcher was just the name of a character in the novel she’s writing. Louise wonders what Angela does “When she isn’t squeezing out cherubs,” and I guess sexism isn’t just for men. Angela gets all Angela and mumbles about not having decided, yet.
Jimmy’s in the Commodore’s study wondering if the botched attempt to kill Nucky was all his fault. While Jimmy’s prepping his Hamlet Gillian’s still playing Lady MacGillian and points out that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. So comforting. Mickey’s brought Manny to creep everyone out except Gillian because he asks if she’s Jimmy’s beautiful wife. She preens and minces that she’s his mother and thanks Manny for the compliment. After some more flattery, Gillian takes her leave as Mickey watches. Jimmy slaps him to remind Mickey that this whole MILF thing is still about 75 years off.
Go ahead, look the crazy in the eye.
As they sit, Manny starts jovially asking about Nucky and why he had to read about it in the papers. Jimmy says that’s how he heard. Manny doesn’t appreciate getting shined on so he asks about his $5K. Jimmy says he doesn’t have it, but it doesn’t really fly when they’re sitting in that awful, ostentatious parlor. Jimmy points out it’s the Commodore’s and not his which leads Manny to go all Rothstein telling a seemingly pointless story about someone bringing a deer into his shop for just the head which angries up Jimmy’s blood and now it’s Mickey’s turn to be the unlikely voice of reason as he hushes Jimmy. Then Mickey asks if deer are kosher, on account of Santa Claus.
Manny continues about how he asked the man how he came to kill the deer and the man has his friend hunt so he can get the trophy. Manny’s got Jimmy’s number and says that he’d kill just to impress his friends. Jimmy says “he’s eaten venison” (I assume he means he’s killed before because we saw him with the Sheridans.) and Manny says he can see that, and that Jimmy probably hid behind his Papa to pull the trigger. The slow zoom implies this sets something off in Jimmy, but he’s still almost dead inside and managing two different facial expressions this episode has exhausted him.
Nucky’s sitting alone having a drink as Margaret comes in. Emily’s sleeping (foreshadowing!) then Margaret says she’s sorry about Nucky’s father. He shrugs it off with a “People die,” but Margaret’s taken aback. You’d think burning down the house would indicate theirs was not the most loving relationship, but Margaret still expected more. Nucky says he pretends all day and doesn’t want to pretend with her. So she asks about Esther Randolph and he admits that she knows about Margaret but he doesn’t know if he’s going to jail. Margaret wonders about herself and he says he won’t let anything happen to her. Margaret thinks this is all becoming too much and he should walk away before he gets killed, but the real Nucky’s back full of righteous anger and no self-awareness when he asks if he should just give everything to the “greedy bastards.” Margaret suggests it’s just as greedy to keep fighting for material things when you can get killed. These words have no meaning to Nucky.
Margaret wonders if the shooting wasn’t a sign and Nucky decides the best way to explain it to Margaret is like she’s a halfwit. He tells a joke about a drowning man who puts his fate in God’s hands. First a lifeguard comes, but God will save him. Then a row boat, but God will save him. Finally a steamship comes, and still, God will save him. The man finally drowns and asks God why he didn’t save him. God provides us with the episode title, telling the man he sent two boats and a lifeguard, what more did he want? Margaret still isn’t comfortable with the situation so Nucky makes empty promises that they’ll both be fine.
Jimmy comes home to see Tommy napping while Angela has a cigarette outside the window. Jimmy comes out and takes a cigarette from her pack wondering if she’s smoking now. Angela thinks it’s a dig but he’s just wondering when she started. He walks off to smoke and Angela wants to know why he married her. Jimmy says “Because I love you” in such a dead way that even I was a little hurt for Angela. She wonders if that’s what he tells himself and he’s not interested in getting into it so he belligerently tells her it’s what he told her. She tells him she knows it’s not true.
Jimmy asks Angela the same thing, but with the gate finally opened she admits she only married him because it was expected of her because of Tommy. He sarcastically calls her “romantic” but she’s just being honest and wants him to be, too. He still clings to the façade and says he never lied to her but Angela says he doesn’t tell her anything. Angela starts laying the guilt trip on Jimmy about how he disappears for hours, even days, at a time and comes home with blood on his clothes and she doesn’t know what he’s doing, so he snaps that he’s “selling booze.” She asks if he tried to have Nucky killed and Jimmy says yes. Jimmy’s angry and maybe ashamed and Angela’s just relieved to finally get some answers, awful though they may be.
She wants to know why Jimmy would do this and Jimmy tells her about the original plan to have him arrested. She can’t piece together how Jimmy could turn on someone he genuinely loved like Nucky but Jimmy tells her Nucky’s not as he seems. Jimmy goes further into how this mess came about and that he never really wanted it but he kept crossing every line he drew in the sand and fell deeper into it. Angela still can’t get how he could shift and wants to know what changed his mind. Jimmy croaks out “My mother.” With that creepy bit of information, Angela leaves, satisfied in the knowledge that he’ll never love her enough to want her dead, and thanks him for talking to her. Jimmy looks Hamletonian.
Nucky’s baby blue Rolls drives up to the AC Armory as servicemen run drills and unload weapons. He’s scheduled a meeting at the armory. He stops to chat with one of the servicemen and bribes him to send the Feds on their way when they show up. Noticing all the shiny, new guns he wonders what they’re for. They’re all surplus from the war. Then the serviceman makes a mildly obnoxious anti-German comment and laughs at his own cleverness. As Nucky heads into the armory, Eddie heads back to the car muttering “asshole” under his breath because Eddie’s spent a lot of time around Nucky.
Heh. I’m an asshole.
Nucky’s meeting with Torrio and Rothstein to discuss his shooting. Nucky, thinking Torrio’s aware of what’s going on, tells him to call off his goon, Capone. Torrio’s in the dark so Nucky tells him the shooter lived in a building leased by Capone. Torrio’s not nearly as loyal to Capone so he tells Nucky about all the chats Al’s been having with Jimmy and Rothstein fills in that Jimmy solicited him, too. Nucky wants Rothstein to vouch for Luciano and Lansky but he can’t. They soon piece together that their underlings are working together, or as Nucky says “the pups have grown fangs.” Indeed, Nuck.
With that figured out, Torrio wonders what Nucky will do, and we get to see how each of the young men came to be the kinds of gangsters they are. Torrio and Nucky discuss his options, all of which suck and while Torrio starts with “Kill’em,” and lands on “retire,” Nucky wants to control everything so he doesn’t have to take any hits. Rothstein’s been quiet the whole time until he advises Nucky to do nothing. Torrio and Nucky think he’s crazy but Rothstein Rothsteins about how he mostly makes his living as a gambler, and to succeed you only place bets when there’s a play. So when there’s no play, he plans and waits for his opportunity and when the play presents itself he bets it all. He could have saved them all the brain power of figuring out what the hell he was talking about by saying “Be patient, they’ll fuck up eventually,” but then he wouldn’t be Rothstein.
Sometimes even I have no clue what I’m talking about.
Nelson and Sawicki are having lunch on the boardwalk and Sawicki’s remembering just how scary Nelson is as he tries to strike up a conversation and Nelson just snarls for the check. The counterman tells Nelson that police eat free, but Nelson remembered his ethics today and said that they’re federal agents and it’s against regulations. Sawicki shuffles around guiltily until the blinding glare of Nelson’s “morality” cows him into agreeing. The counterman hands over a check with a “Just being neighborly,” which brings on a hypocritical speech from Van Alden explaining the difference between malum in se, or evil in and of itself and malum prohibitum, which is a “wrong dictated by statute,” or a load of bullshit. Sawicki plays along, bringing up accepting a free lunch, but Nelson adds “…or selling whiskey,” and this is new for Nelson.
Sawicki wants to get back to the Post Office so he non-agrees agrees, but Nelson wants to know his honest thoughts. Sawicki takes a moment to give us the historical context of what happens when hare-brained ideas from the fringe become policy and that laws that stupid are impossible to enforce. Nelson’s heard enough but rather than bring on the fire and brimstone, he crumples up the lunch check and walks off. Hmmm. Looks like someone’s been turned.
Louise takes Angela to a party on the beach and it’s all very Rob Base circa 1921. Louise has been in town for, like, days and she already knows the entire boho community while Angela just mopes around her big house. I like Angela, but she can be kind of a drip. Louise tells her about the last party where someone made a sand sculpture of Jesus with two heads but Angela, the alleged artist, wants to know why two heads. Louise overstates the symbolism that not everything has to make sense. Then she tells her friend Arthur her dream about a purple snake that she chopped up, and he immediately assumes it’s about his penis. Did I mention he’s a dancer? He asks Angela to dance, but she’s still a drip and rediscovering her lady-loving ways so she declines. Louise holds Angela’s hand to drive home last season’s storyline and tells Angela they’re invisible there. A little later, out on the patio and looking very much like “maiden aunts,” Angela gives Louise the most chaste kiss, but I’ll cut her some slack, she lives with Jimmy. This is passionate for her.
The most passion Angela’s felt since Jimmy beat up the photographer.
Margaret, Nucky and Teddy are playing a game about geography while Margaret rocks Emily, who’s still ill. As Margaret explains where England is and how to travel there, Nucky has an epiphany. Teddy tries to bring him back around to the game, calling out “Uncle Nucky,” but in a not overreaching at all way, Nucky tells him to call him “Dad.” Margaret’s all “Whuh huh?” but she recovers well enough to ask if Teddy would like that. He’s seven so he hasn’t a clue that he’s more or less the same age as Nucky’s dead son, so he says yes. Then Nucky tells Emily to call him Dad, too, but she knows she’s collecting her last paycheck so she’s all, “Whatever.” Then in a not at all symbolic way, Teddy tells Nucky “Your move, Dad,” and he smarms, “Yes. It is.”
But first he has to stop by the funeral home for his father’s wake. He goes early to be alone, but Eli’s there, too. He softly asks Nucky why he’s there, but Nucky can’t ever let Eli catch a break so he sneers that he has every right to be there. Eli says he’s just surprised and they start arguing about the shooting. Eli lies that he had nothing to do with it and Nucky whines that he didn’t stop it, either.
Eli tells Nucky about the subpoena and that they served him at his house. Nucky doesn’t want to talk about the subpoena so he asks why Eli didn’t hold the wake in his home. He says the kids didn’t need to see their grandfather like that. Nucky starts having a stream of consciousness conversation mostly with himself about another family wake and that he came early to be alone and that he’s there for their mother and “Susan.” Eli’s trying to mourn his father but Nucky keeps shooting him down. Their father’s not in heaven, he was a miserable bastard and their childhood was awful.
Eli takes one last stab at bonding over their loss and says that whatever he did, he made them the men they are today: A narcissistic, greedy jerk and a bitter, resentful mess? No, he meant that at some point they ran AC. Nucky ends the bonding and Eli accurately, if self-servingly, points out that Nucky has no capacity for forgiveness. Nucky proves this by telling Eli to grow up and take some responsibility. Eli just walks off instead of arguing and Nucky goes to take one last look at his dead father and sees that the old man’s shoe isn’t tied. As he goes to tie it the full, complicated weight of everything his father’s meant to him crashes around him and Nucky breaks down in sobs.
A messenger delivers a fruit basket from Nucky to Lathrop with a note that reads “You’re a peach. Thanks for saving my life.” Curious, but on to the next scene where Jimmy, Gillian, the Commodore and Uncle Jun are meeting with Nucky. He’s there to tell them that his father’s passing and his recent brush with death have made him reprioritize things. He’s resigning his post as County Treasurer and has told Bader to work with them, he won’t stand in their way. He’s going to retire and leave AC, and everything that comes with it (dun DUNNNN!), to them. Jimmy wishes Nucky luck and Nucky wishes it back. It all seems so heartfelt and meaningful, but this is only the eighth episode and there will be at least a third season, so I’m betting on it’s a scheme.
Nelson comes home to the nanny singing a rather somber lullaby to Abigail. He walks back to his bedroom and closes the door before pulling a bank pouch with a decent sized stack of bills in it. He hides it behind the mirror and gets twitchy. So, looks like Nelson’s “Come to Jesus” moment is over.
There goes salvation.
Nucky’s in his office, looking out his window when Eddie announces that Chalky’s there. They discuss Chalky’s situation and Nucky says he’ll beat the charges if he just listens to his lawyer, but Chalky’s more concerned about losing control of the city’s Black community. Nucky tells him that’s why he called the meeting. He wants to help Chalky get justice for his community. Chalky jokes about killing more Klansmen, but Nucky brings up the conversation they had where Chalky mentioned the thousands of Black service workers who listen to him. Nucky suggests that Chalky stage a strike to get their justice, but Chalky thinks it would shut the city down during tourist season. He wonders why Nucky’s behind this and Nucky’s all “Fuck if I care, I’m quitting in a half hour.” HA!
Jimmy, Eli, Uncle Jun, Richard and the dirty aldermen are all at Babette’s to celebrate Nucky’s resignation. They’re boozing and carousing and having a great time because they haven’t a clue what’s about to hit them. They’re celebrating Bader naming Neary as interim treasurer (hehehehe) and then they salute to how super awesome everything is. Except Richard. He sits in the corner trying to be invisible as Patrick Ryan and some chippy flirt right next to him. Jimmy really can’t bear to see Richard sad so he goes to his friend saying “WE did it.” Richard’s still anxious so Jimmy tells him he’s a part of all this and that they’re going out to buy Richard a new suit and to fix his mask so he can find a “nice gal” and settle down. Richard still looks miserable and he’s breaking Jimmy’s heart, because Jimmy is still capable of love, even if it’s just for his broken friend.
Eli doesn’t have that same capacity to love Richard so he walks over to talk to Jimmy because he may not be a bright man, but he knows his brother. Jimmy looks like he wants to punch Eli but Mickey and Manny show up in time to redirect Jimmy’s simmering rage. Mickey starts talking like the Cowardly Lion talking about bowing. To the king. Of the FOREEEEST! Jimmy tells him to kiss his ass while Mickey’s down there. But Mickey’s a roach so he doesn’t take it personally.
Mickey Doyle, king of the cockroaches.
People are pulling Jimmy in different directions when all he wants to do is get drunk with Richard so he gives a speech, instead. As he hobbles around the room he says all the right things about how Nucky filled their heads with empty promises but now Nucky is gone and the war is over, they’ve won and to the victor goes the spoils. He’s really letting his Hamlet slip, looking madder and nearly deranged the further he goes into the speech. But they’re all celebrating because, again, they don’t know how screwed they are so they cheer Jimmy and Uncle Jun anoints him “Prince James” since Prince Hal would be too obvious. Jimmy sits with a chippy as another drapes herself over him and his giant Holly Hobby eyes are practically vibrating in their sockets from everything that’s racing through his brain.
Nucky’s home and sees Margaret chatting quietly with Owen. He briefly looks askance at them but there was plenty of room between them for the Holy Ghost, so it was fine. Owen sees Nucky who tells him there’s a light out in the kitchen. Margaret comes in to kiss Nucky goodnight and that she’ll have a “girl” take care of it in the morning and Nucky and Owen sit to have a drink. Nucky says he has something to discuss with Owen and for a Sinn Féin bomb-maker Owen has one lousy poker face. But he sits there as Nucky asks what he was doing the day he got shot. Owen apologizes and says he ran into a friend. Nucky look off to where Margaret left and wonders if the friend was from Ireland. Owen’s face blanches and if he had a bigger Adam’s apple it would do that dramatic GUUUULP move, but he doesn’t so he just looks like he lost a bet with a fart.
Define friend, sir.
Owen pretends he doesn’t know what Nucky’s talking about but Nucky’s wise to his game…except Nucky’s talking about garroting the guy in the pub, not banging Margaret. Phew, that was a close one. Nucky says he knows Owen never left the cause and he wants Owen to set up a meeting with McGarrigle in Belfast, to set sail immediately. That’s one way to deal with your legal problems. Owen doesn’t question or care, really, he’s just happy he’s still able to whore around with the lady of the house.
Back at Babette’s and Mickey’s explaining to Jimmy that all he needs is the booze and they’re back in business. Jimmy’s drunk and crazy so he tells Mickey he heard him the first time but before they can move on Eli busts in to offer Jimmy a word of warning. Nucky’s smarter and more dangerous than Jimmy so don’t underestimate him. Jimmy tells Eli to fuck off because Jimmy doesn’t believe in foreshadowing. Eli walks off realizing that he hitched his wagon to a confused and angry kid.
Mickey slithers back to discuss the liquor plan so Jimmy exposits about Al hooking them up with George Remus who gets pure government liquor and they can cut it down. Mickey’s happy with that, but Jimmy sees Manny and gets ragey all over again wondering why Mickey brought him. Mickey thinks he’s fine but Jimmy thinks Manny’s a pain in the ass about the money. Realizing that Manny can’t hear him, Jimmy launches an invective assault including some anti-Semitism for good measure. Mickey, being the practical roach that he is, points out it’s not a good idea to make those jokes because Manny’s not like Mickey. He has standards and gets offended. Manny keeps trying to encourage Jimmy to join the party so Jimmy says “Sure,” then flings Mickey off the balcony. Dude, he was just trying to help. Plus, he’s a roach. He’ll be back.
Tonight we dance! Tomorrow I really lose my shit!
Back in the dream, only now the moans are human. Nucky startles awake but the whimpering continues. He rolls over to see Margaret sitting by an open window, cradling Emily as she wheezes from her fever.
So that’s it. I know several stars have vaguely referenced exciting things to come at the end of the season and with all the cast on some precipice or another I can see a lot of dominoes falling soon. My favorite story has been the corruption of Nelson but everyone seemed to fine tune the holes and weaknesses from last season and the pacing has shifted from plodding to hypnotic. Plus, there’s just pure magic in the combination of Tim Van Patten directing a Terence Winter script. I still love Salami.
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