We open on an expectant and out of uniform Eli this week, as he stares at the door out of Nucky’s office. He’s at his brother’s desk, listening to an exchange that’s going on in the anteroom. He readies himself for whatever the meeting will entail, and arranges the desk meticulously, probably for the 30th time that morning. Aw! He’s playing Nucky! It’s actually really cute.
I shall become him.
I like it when Eli tries, regardless of the fact that he usually fails. You’re the Sonny, Eli. Stick to what you’re good at. His deputy walks through the door. It was only a drunk guy who got off on the wrong floor. Letting out a deep breath that contains all the wind in his little sails, Eli slumps down in his brother’s chair, asking if that’s all there was. Deputy Too Stupid for Delicacy remarks that the office is packed when Nucky’s in town… Eli doesn’t understand – when Nucky’s gone, he’s in charge. It’s not like the city shuts down when Nucky’s away. Pfft, it does for me and Margaret. Deputy tries to reassure Eli by saying that people are simply creatures of habit – they know that Nucky will solve their problems, so they go to him. Peeved, Eli orders Deputy to get him a cup of coffee.
I’m doing something fun today, and if it’s making you my Eddie, then so be it.
So, looks like Nucky’s out of town and the B-Team is running the show. Uh-oh. Eli sounds off that he can do what Nucky does – the gladhanding, the bullshit, the yadda yadda yadda. All he’d need is a joke book from the Five and Dime, and he’d be running AC. Okay, so do it.
Oh, but then a real meeting walks through the door. Ward Boss O’Neill pops his head in and is surprised to find Eli there. He hesitates for a minute until Eli bellows that he’s here and Nucky’s not, so what does O’Neill want? Apparently he needs the Friday off from his collections because his daughter’s being fitted for leg braces and he’d like to be there for her. Neary usually fills in, but since he’s been indicted, O’Neill’s got his route, too. Trying on some Nucky generosity for size, Eli grants O’Neill the day off. O’Neill asks if he’s sure, and the old Eli suit comes right back on to snap at O’Neill – “Why wouldn’t I be sure?”
Because you don’t have the foggiest clue what you’re doing and it shows…?
So where’s Nucky? At the Republican National Convention in Chicago. Chicago! Who’s he gonna see while he’s there? Whoever it is, it’s not going to be in the Presidential Suite, because that’s been given to General Wood – a candidate for the nomination. Eddie tries to argue with the concierge, but Nucky steps in with some gladhanding that Eli could never hope to achieve, and snags the suite back from a war hero in about thirty seconds. It’s some beautiful work, completed with some cold hard cash. He’s got the room and some Canadian Club to go with it. If anyone is wondering just how big the differential is between Nucky and his brother, Eli literally can’t GIVE anything away without yelling, and Nucky just made a concierge very happy about screwing over a war hero.
I hope that joke book you’re gonna pick up at the Five and Dime comes stuffed with twenties, Eli.
Nucky and Eddie go wait in the lounge for the room to be prepared, and Nucky sees an advertisement for Colosimo’s restaurant. Hmm… does Colosimo have vengeful illegitimate sons? Perhaps we shall find out at a later date. Senator Edge is in town vying for the VP spot, and either stalking Nucky, staying at the same hotel, or both, because he walks up just as Eddie and Nucky have gotten comfortable. He sits down at their table and proceeds to reveal that yes, he is in town to kiss as many asses as possible in order to get the nomination. But could Nucky kiss asses by proxy for him at Warren G. Harding’s dinner? Edge has got what he describes as a “pressing engagement” and Nucky wisely deduces that Edge would way rather get laid than hang out with a nobody like Harding. Edge laughs it off, and explains that while Harding may not be worth paying attention to, his campaign manager, Harry Daugherty is. Which is why he’s having Nucky go in his place? Nucky’s contempt for Edge matches my own as the scene progresses, and Edge starts to make grand promises of what he and Nucky could achieve once he receives the nomination. Nucky makes sure to point out that he doesn’t really give a fuck about any grandiose plans, he just wants the roads. Stupidly thinking he’s better at any game than Nucky is, Edge gives Nucky the ol’ wink and a smile, and heads off to a neighboring table. And somewhere Calving Coolidge experiences a wave of positive energy.
Is it chilly in here?
Unaware of the Senator’s bad behavior recently, Eddie comments that Edge seems in a good humor. Nucky grouches at him to go check on the room, and we cut back to Atlantic City.
Margaret’s Queen Regent in Nucky’s place, so she and Anabelle are at the Ritz sharing tea. Margaret’s showing off a new bracelet Nucky’s given her, and Anabelle’s impressed, but doesn’t think Nucky bought it himself. Margaret jokes that perhaps Mr. Kessler’s doing Nucky’s shopping for him and that said manservant is hiding a little less than normal under his pants. The two women have a gay laugh at poor, emasculated Eddie, and decide to order more cream cakes. Margaret looks so lovely and happy that Anabelle pipes up that the of a mistress isn’t so bad, sometimes. Before Margaret can agree, Madame Jeunet rushes out and begs for her assistance.
This is why I don’t frequent places I used to work. It inevitably leads to work of some kind.
Apparently Lucy has stopped by and wants to make a large purchase, but Nucky’s cut her line of credit in two. Oh, and she’s drunk. Isabelle expects Margaret to explain to Lucy that her cunny is indeed NOT the draw she thought it was. See? Work.
Lucy stumbles out looking for Isabelle and finds Margaret and Anabelle, too. Now she’s drunk AND pissed. She spits out all manner of bitchy bullshit: “What are you whispering about? Americans don’t whisper!” “My old friend, Anabelle – you’re about as fake as that wig.” And my personal favorite, “Schroeder. Is that Irish for ‘bitch’?”
Because Danziger is English for FUCK YOU!
It’s the bitch remark and not her previous drunken behavior that catches the attention of the patrons, which leads me to believe that when unprovoked, Lucy’s not a mean drunk. I assume that everyone in the hotel has seen her three sheets to the wind countless times, but probably never this angry. Margaret stands up and through clenched teeth tells “Miss Danziger” to get her drunk ass up on out, but Lucy, being Lucy and kind of the wronged party, refuses. She looks down at Margaret and asks if she really thinks she knows Nucky and if he’s her friend. Margaret, having gotten the knack for standing up to Lucy, smiles, “What if I did?” Lucy, lacking Margaret’s talent for insults Margaret and all of her reading have obtained, calls her the “dumbest door [she] ever met.” AND THEN BITCH GETS SLAPPED! I love it! Lucy called Margaret straight toe-up fugly two episodes ago, and all Margaret dished out was a mild tongue lashing. But insult her intelligence? Call her a door? On her new turf? THAT will get your ass a palm to the FACE!
I’m fucking Irish, bitch. I don’t know what kind of last name Danziger is, but it sounds like you grew up drinking milk for breakfast. I drank Guiness mixed with nails and bitterness. Don’t bloody cross me.
Lucy’s so taken aback (wasn’t she a showgirl?) she can’t even fight back, which gives Margaret a second to warn her that the next time won’t be so pleasant. Then Margaret turns on her heel and walks out sticking Anabelle with the bill. Don’t fuck with her. I told you!
Hey, have you ever had a baby with a guy, then he walked out, sent you no money, and like, one of the only people who would help you was his mother? Who also checked your P.O. box for you, and not only brought your bills but also news that your deadbeat douchebag had sent you nothing yet another week in a row? No?
Well, it’s awkward, let me tell you!
Angela’s painting another naked lady, which makes so much more sense now. Tommy thinks she’s pretty, and it kind of creeps me out. Gillian arrives bearing the overdue grocery bill in hand and also confirmation that neither the post office nor the postman had anything else to offer. Angela’s visibly upset, but still hopeful, so she’s not too receptive to Gillian’s suggestion that she start selling perfume door to door. It’s not for her, she says simply. Gillian raises her eyebrows and remembers that Angela and her bohemian types prefer to go au natural. And frankly, as much as I love Gillian, she’s sounding a little haughty for a lady who teaches topless history and grabs a guy’s ding-a-ling after just one meeting.
Angela explains that Mary – her friend (Gillian totally knows they’re doing it, by the way) – is going to introduce her to an art dealer who will look at her work in the hopes of selling it. Understanding, as I do, that none of this has a great chance of translating into cash for food, heat or housing, Gillian kind of snottily points out that Angela could still take some stenography classes. But, dreamy Lesbian Land has captured Angela just the way stony Pearlville captured Jimmy, and she’s ain’t getting’ no job.
At the post office office, Van Alden’s hard at work with his pins, looking for an opportunity to make a visible bust so his boss’ll get off his back when an officer stops in and lets him know that they “got another one.” He hands Van Alden a letter and it’s addressed to Angela Darmody.
Well, son of a bitch.
Van Alden cuts it open, pulls out a hefty wad of cash, and then tucks both items into a drawer filled with at least 20 more such envelopes and cash. Uh, an unlocked drawer, too. That’s some hella illegal shit to be keeping in an unlocked drawer, Sir. Just saying.
Onto New York and the World Series is creeping up on Rothstein and thankfully somewhat distracting him from the goings-on in Atlantic City. His lawyer is briefing him on the growing investigation that has now sniffed out two of the paid-off players and Abe Attel. Rothstein’s getting a little nervous at this point – apparently if Abe gets called to the witness stand, he’ll fold like hot laundry, see? Lawyer asks Rothstein to give “it to [him] again,” and Rothstein launches into a very eloquent and patriotic speech about the evils of fixing something as wholesome and American as baseball and how when approached by a group of degenerate gamblers with just such a proposition, he turned them down flat. His convincing… conviction impresses his lawyer so much that Rothstein earns a compliment – he should consider being a lawyer. A principled sociopath till the very end, Rothstein simply states that he prefers to make his living honestly.
And by honestly, I mean… well, you know what I mean. I just don’t’ want to be a lawyer.
It’s back to Chicago and Warren G. Harding’s gala/banquet/meet ‘n greet/what have you. Nucky arrives looking for Harry Daugherty, and a slightly chubby Christopher MacDonald comes forth to greet him. It’s kind of funny how you can see Nucky visibly relax in the presence of someone from whom he doesn’t have to hide great personal contempt. That list seems to get smaller every week for our antihero. The two men introduce themselves, Harry is told to call Nucky “Nucky” and Nucky makes excuses for Edge. Daugherty doesn’t bat an eyelash when he tosses off Edge’s absence and comments that it seems like Nucky’s the one “in the know” anyway. Aww, it’s like they’re two girls who just met and discovered they have a mutual hatred for the popular girl. And then they start plotting to destroy her…
“You saw the suit she was wearing today, right?” “Please, suit? My doorman has a better tailor.”
Harry immediately gets to business – he’s heard that where Nucky Thompson goes, so goes the all-important New Jersey delegation – c’est vrai? Nucky humbly and in so many words confirms as much. Daugherty confides that he thinks Harding could go all the way (brief shot to Harding in the middle of a group of adoring women, standing under his own poster) and if Edge is put on the ticket, it’d be a sure thing. Nucky’s not convinced, so Daugherty reminds him of the campaign finance Senate Inquiry Wood and Lawden (frontrunners) are currently involved in, and that Johnson (another frontrunner) started the investigation, a fact that has made his name a synonym for wet dirt. The real competition is canceling itself out, leaving some room for a mediocre player like Harding to swoop in and spend the next few years doling out sweet, sweet kickbacks to everyone who helped him get there. Which he totally did, btw. I’m from Ohio, and I love being the Presidential State, but it would be super-sweet if just one of those presidents were neither the most corrupt nor the most obese.
Nucky looks at Harding once more among his group of groupies and comment that the man certainly looks presidential. And because we couldn’t have a political episode without a sexist comment, Daugherty pipes up that if those “trollops” get the vote, he will be the frigging president.
One of my favorite pastimes is checking out the Babes of Times Past. Harding was one such “babe,” fyi.
Nucky seems interested, but not so subtly mentions that his support comes at a price. Before making any promises, Daugherty insists Nucky meet Harding, and calls the future president over. Before Harding and his wife arrive, a crying baby catches Nucky’s attention. There’s a young lady cradling a baby and standing at the door to the party begging the doormen to just tell the Senator she’s there. Thankfully, before Nucky can get it into his head to start having sex with her and giving her a house, Daugherty comes back, Senator and Mrs. Harding in tow. Mrs. Harding is very nice looking, but it looks like Harding went cougar-hunting 20 years ago and that’s how they met. Or he was set to marry her daughter, but after the girl’s untimely death or something, he wound up marrying her widowed mother.
These things do happen…
Pleasantries are exchanged, and Nucky compliments Harding on a speech the man gave in Rhode Island. Harding tosses it off, exclaiming he could “bloviate” all day, and then starts doing exactly that. The thing is, I don’t think he’s doing it ironically… And even if he were, it seems like bad form to admit to your political supporters that you can bullshit at the drop of anything, much less a hat. He starts in on America needing to return to normal, to get steady on her feet, to get grounded, etc. He goes through about five more euphemisms for “calming the fuck down after a major international conflict,” or, my favorite made-up campaign word “NORMALCY!!!” when Daugherty, sensing any further “meeting” between Harding and Nucky is going to hurt his cause, whisks the Senator away to another group of people he’s slightly less likely to alienate.
Nucky internally shakes his head, and tells Mrs. Harding that she must be very proud of her husband. Proving she’s seated in the Crazy, Not Stupid section, she comments that “It’s a terrible, wretched thing.” At Nucky’s confusion, she explains that a fortune teller told her that Harding would die in office. SPOOKY!
And I thought New Yorkers were nuts. Friggin’ Ohio.
If Edge stoked his contempt, the Ohio delegation stoked Nucky’s abject bewilderment. He leaves the party looking relieve to be rid of the mad tea party and meets Harding’s mistress at the elevator. She looks upset, but not “Fatal Attraction” upset, so Nucky decides to approach. He greets her and tells her she has a beautiful child. This girl has no subtlety whatsofuckingever, as evidenced when she tells Nucky that she and her infant are friends of Warren’s. The italics are hers, not mine. I guess before the advent of television, you could be a Monica Lewinsky and still maintain a fair bit of anonymity. Nucky gazes at the baby sadly, either ruminating on his own lack of children, or regretting the world of crappy adults this kid has been born into. Trollop asks if Nucky has children of his own, and he gazes at her for a moment before admitting that no, he had a son… but he died. WHHAAAT??
Or maybe he just moved to Chicago…?
It’s back to… wherever Van Alden lives, as we come upon him having lunch with his wife. Awesome! Will she speak? She sits down next to him and he holds out his hand in a gesture that should say tenderness but really says, “Hold my hand OR ELSE.”
Nelson says grace and comments that the tulips are looking a little ragged in the garden. Rose immediately starts to cry. No shit she does! If my husband were gone all the fucking time and then popped home only to eat some food and insult my perrenials, I’d start crying, too. Oh, wait… that’s not it. She just can’t have babies. Okay, that’s fair, too. Van Alden HILARIOUSLY does not know how to deal with this kind of emotion from his wife, and awkwardly tells her that she puts herself through the same thing every month. Well, to be fair, nature does, but considering the way most conservative Christian religions meld evil, femininity and the menstrual cycle, I’m not surprised he considers his wife should be in control of her feelings.
She cries that her inability to bear children means she’s not fully a woman. Her clothes say the same thing. I feel like conservative Christians would be happier people if God would personally reveal to them the wonders of fashion and color. Rose laments that no baby will grow inside of her and that in the place of that joy, every 28 days the blood flows. Rose grew up reading a lot of Shakespeare…
I find it amusing to imagine telling someone like Rose that God is punishing her for her unstylish hairdo.
Nelson, still unable to cope with something that can’t be solved with guns or self-flagellation, simply tells her to eat. Calmed down a bit, Rose mentions that she saw someone named Naomi Ellsworth at the milliner, and the woman recommended an operation available for women in her condition. Like I said, completely unable to deal with a problem that cannot be solve by self-flagellation or guns, thus eliminating medicine, Nelson remarks that if God wanted them to have children, they would have them. Oh, but Rose has been studying (bad, BAD wife!), and she counters that if God had wanted people to die of appendicitis he wouldn’t have given them the ability to treat it. I’m proud of her for that statement not only because it shows she’s got an eensy-weensy amount of balls, but also because given the look she gives Nelson after she makes it, it appears it took every ounce of said balls for her to stand up for herself.
This woman wants a baby the way Nelson wants Margaret to be his virgin love slave.
Rose explains there’s Mrs. Ellsworth had trouble conceiving as well, and that there’s an operation available for women with similar conditions. At first Nelson balks at the idea of surgery, and then he nearly dislocates his jaw from it having dropped so many times in one minute when Rose tells him that said surgery costs $240. Damn! I feel like that’s gotta be like, $30,000 in real-time money. If anyone would care to do the research on that, feel free. Rose, having realized that she can make her husband pay attention to her if she cries, starts bawling again wailing that she just wants to give him a son. Desperate to make his home life something he’d actually want to visit again, Nelson puts his hand on her shoulder and claims that all he wants is for her to be happy. He’ll see what he can do. He begs her to eat once more, and our visit to the Van Alden’s comes to a close.
With that, it’s onto EARLY PORN! I love that with the advent of every form of new media, there comes the dirty form of said new media. Exhibit A:
Silent movie porn.
And because this show is so fond of its witty transitions, it just so happens to be religious porn! A priest and a nun carouse together for Eli’s and some other Aldermen’s amusement, as a projectionist furiously winds the reels. Awesome, his brother’s away, so he’s throwing a porn party! It’s not so bad not being taken seriously, huh, Eli? The guys (including Fleming…) laugh and drink and make comments about how much better school would have been if the nuns were all sex-crazed hedonists, and finally they get down to spitting up O’Neill’s route. Projectionist will take one side, Fleming’ll take the other, and Eli will take the casino – he and his wife have a wedding to go to that night, so they’ll hit it on the way home. Would that wedding be taking place Saturday night, perchance…?
Business finished, the guys return their attention to the porn, which suddenly disappears to a sizzling noise in the background. Projectionist gets up with a frightened look on his face and all of a sudden the reel bursts into flames. The guys stand there dumbfounded for a minute before Eli raises a glass to “Too hot to watch!” and everyone starts laughing. I don’t think Eli would be very happy if he knew that this sort of thing is the only part of Nucky’s job he’s good at.
Back in Chicago, Nucky and Eddie pull up to 2222 Cathouse Blvd.! Yay! Time to visit Torrio. Two worlds collide! It’ll be so dramatic!
P.S. Don’t you love that this was masculine in the 20s?
Nucky and Eddie are felt up upon entry, much to their confusion and discomfort. Torrio waits till his security is finished and then busts in to reprimand the guy for patting down friends. Nucky notices that he waited till the guy was finished, and Torrio explains that it’s a new world. Nucky agrees and is sure that Sheridan would, too… if he could talk. The mutual respect between the two gentlemen is a pleasure to watch. Torrio goes on about Jimmy, HIS boy, and what a frigging genius the kid is. He orders two rums for himself and Nucky, but wait – they don’t have any! He asks Nucky where the hell his shipment is and Nucky promises it’ll arrive presently. Apparently the ladies are just all gaga for this “Mary Pickford Cocktail.” They mix grenadine with rum, because, as Nucky finishes, the bootleg stuff tastes like crap.
So, buy your booze from me.
Torrio asks if Nucky’s in town for the convention and Nucky, slightly distracted by Eddie getting some surprise ass, answers that he’s a politician, after all. He asks if Torrio knows anything about Harry Daugherty, and Torrio is a fat load of no help until Nucky mentions that Daugherty is from Ohio. Well, what do you know? There’s a judge from Ohio getting diddled on a nearby couch!
Since everyone’s in a good mood at the bunny ranch, Judge Graves is more than happy to come over and share a little. Harding’s a puppet for the Ohio Gang (how did I get lucky enough to be Irish, Greek, from Ohio AND recapping this show – according to the writers I am weak, crazy and stupid), and Daugherty is the hand up his back. The Ohio boys know what they’re doing when it comes to politics, so they’re not to be trifled with, but they’re good to their friends. Before he can go into any further backscratching detail, Belle arrives, and the Judge literally cannot leave fast enough.
Sex, bringing people together since there’ve been people.
Torrio comments on how difficult it was getting the dark meat up from the black belt, and before Nucky’s token eyebrow raise at racism can occur, there’s a ruckus in the foyer! Jimmy plays hero and tosses a guy out for going too far with one of the “ladies” after she’d said “no.” If the guy comes back he’s gonna get his pecker cut off. Or syphilis. Same diff.
He turns and sees Nucky sitting with Torrio, immediately checks himself. The emotion… it’s too strong. He immediately asks if everything’s okay, and Nucky scoffs at Jimmy’s idea that the only reason he could come to Chicago had something to do with the imminent Mr. Darmody. He’s been coming to Chicago since before Jimmy was born. Torrio chuckles, “Who do you think lit that fire?” After a bit of cold staring (longing), Nucky decides it’s time to leave. He tells Eddie to call them a cab, and Eddie…
hat most certainly in hand…
…heads out. Jimmy offers to give Nucky a ride for old time’s sake, but Nuck’s not quite ready for that. He thought he was over Jimmy, but… it’s too soon. It’s just too soon. And now, seeing him with Torrio, so happy. Man, the first cut is the deepest. Also Nucky’s pissed because he thinks Jimmy isn’t sending any money to Angela, and tells Jimmy as much. Jimmy protests that he writes Angela every week, but Nucky doesn’t listen, and Jimmy makes the broodiest brood face that ever brooded after his birthdad leaves.
Night has fallen in AC, and Eli’s cousin’s wedding is over. His wife is asleep in the front seat of the car when Eli stops at Lolly’s casino to pick up the take. I smell trouble… He walks in and one of the table runners is all hands on deck against the craps table, and everything else is silent. Eli gets about two seconds of confusion before the banditos make their presence known by telling everyone to (continue to) freeze! Eli instinctively reaches for his gun (he is the sheriff, after all), and gets shot from behind. He goes down in shock, and the banditos take the money and run.
I’d like to be the sheriff again, please…
Nucky’s going through an equally excruciating evening having dinner with Senator Edge, who’s making jokes about how many dinners he never pays for. Peach, this man. Nucky’s looking customarily bored and annoyed with his company when runs over to give him a message. Eddie whispers something in his ear, and Nucky looks stricken for a moment before taking his leave to make an urgent phone call. Sometimes tragedy is perfectly timed.
The phone urgently rings in Margaret’s flat back in AC, and she wakes up to answer it. Nucky gives her the news, and asks her if she’ll do something for him. She agrees wholeheartedly and announces that she’ll go to Eli’s side immediately. But wait, Margaret! You’re a mistress, not a real girlfriend. Eli’s being cared for, what Nucky needs is for Margaret to go to the Ritz, take a very important ledger out of his desk (without opening it, Pandora), and hide the goods away in a secret cubby in his closet. Nucky, if your mistress didn’t know you were criminal, telling her to hide a ledger in a secret cubby is a red flag. I know this from personal experience.
You might as well let her read the damn thing.
Uncomfortable and slightly confused at this odd request, Margaret asks if one of Nucky’s aldermen shouldn’t be taking care of this. Then my stupid little heart goes SQUEEE all the way home, when he tells her that in this time of unrest and attack, she’s the only one he trusts. I’d chop up a frigging body and have human liver pate on toast by the morning if Nucky Thompson said that to me. Margaret of course promises she’ll do exactly as he says, and asks tenderly if he’s all right. So honest that my stupid little heart lurches in fifty different directions, he answers that he doesn’t know, and hangs up.
God this scene was wonderful.
I love it when Nucky’s soft little underbelly’s all exposed.
Aaaand now it’s time to pay the piper for his parenting mistakes. Nucky’s at the cathouse, staring at his watch annoyed. It’s late and the place is empty. What is it, Sunday or something? Since when is nighttime when the kittens take their naps? Anyway, Jimmy finally limps in and Nucky asks what he’s drinking. Whiskey, he answers, and pours them both two. Nucky snits that he figured Jimmy’d be drinking champagne these days what with pretty new suit and all. Mighty big talk from a guy who matches his spats, Nuck. Richard’s followed Jimmy to the doorway and Nucky asks who he is. Jimmy tells him that Richard’s a war buddy, and Richard introduces himself, but hangs back.
Your Eddie and my Eddie can never meet, you got that?
The two men toast to the lost, and Jimmy wonders what Nucky’s doing there – it’s obviously not a social call. Nope, it’s not. Nucky needs “James” to come home – the shit’s hit the fan just a smidge. Lolly’s was robbed by the same guys who hit Chalky a few months back and robbed O’Neill in broad daylight. They’re at war, and Nucky needs to show that he has considerable means to defend himself. Like what? A singular hit man with a limp and a one-eyed sniper? Okay, that was unfair. Richard is obviously totally capable with one eye. I just wanted to write one-eyed sniper.
Jimmy’s enjoying the shit out of making Nucky squirm, and comes around the bar to make a point of mentioning that Nucky treated him like dirt just that very afternoon – and now he expects Jimmy to act as his long-lost son and return to the fold?
The writers haven’t even decided if I AM your son, Nuck.
At the end of the day, Jimmy’s doing very well in Chicago, so he doesn’t really see a reason to head back to AC and risk getting put away for murder. Nucky points out that however well he’s doing in Chicago, Jimmy’s rise will eventually hit that most tragic of glass ceilings, interracial mafia marriage. Jimmy’s Irish and Torrio’s Italian – Nucky assures him that he’ll always be on the outside looking in, no matter how valuable he to the Italian organization. Not sure what to make of that just yet, Jimmy just points out how much his suit costs to give Nucky an idea of what “incentive” really looks like. Getting the picture very clearly, Nucky insults Jimmy’s lack of subtlety and makes him an offer: five percent of everything that comes in by boat and ten of anything that comes in on wheels. And he’ll work out things with the Feds. Jimmy needs to think about it, but Nucky’s said all he’s gonna say in the way of convincing. He tells him to go ahead and think, but not to ever (EVER!) keep him waiting again. Nucky exits into the night, probably feeling like taking one of the longest showers of his life.
Fucking stench of humility.
One hour later in the morning, Margaret’s putting her children back to bed in Nucky’s suite before heading to his desk to retrieve the Forbidden Ledger. She sits down slowly, turns on the light, and opens the desk drawer. There the ledger sits, full of secrets! She places it on the desk, and stares at it for a minute before deciding that knowledge is power and trust… isn’t, and moves to open it. PHONE RINGS!!
It scared me as much as it did Margaret, but that’s not even the worst part! She picks it up and says, “Hello?” but no one answers! And I swear I can hear heavy breathing! So creepy… She asks who’s there because nobody fucking pocket dialed in the 20s, and there’s still more heavy breathing, so Margaret decides it would be a fine idea to announce who she is – Mrs. Schroeder. To no avail, of course, and the mouth breather hangs up.
Margaret’s left alone to be tortured by a telephone once more, and we fade away on her nervous stare.
At what I can assume is just before daybreak, Nucky meets up with Daugherty at the convention hall. He looks to be feeling a little better, in a freshly pressed suit complete with carnation. But he’s not well-enough for small talk, so he gets right to the point. He heard from Judge Graves that Daugherty plays ball, and Nucky’d like him to join the New Jersey League. The entrance fee is simply one ruined career express mailed to Senator Edge, if you please. Nucky reveals that he agrees with Daugherty that Harding will take the nomination, but stresses that it’ll be a slow climb. He agrees to back the man, though, as long as Edge isn’t on the ticket. Daugherty’s happy to have new friends in high places, but is pretty curious as to why Nucky’d be abandoning the idea of having a Vice President in his pocket. Nucky hilariously calls Edge a dirty, backstabbing chisler. Man, the black people on this show really need to start spreading “motherfucker” around so I can start taking the white people seriously when they start hurling insults.
Nucky spits that Edge gave all the road money (HIS road money) to Frank Hague in Jersey City. And that smarts, Harry. It smarts real good. Harry wonders how Nucky found out and Nucky says Hague, an even bigger backstabbing chiseler, told him so. He believes him because they’re friends. Harry laughs at the delightful incest of it all, but his laughter dies in his throat when Nucky questions what the campaign manager plans to do about Harding’s “lady troubles.” Not only is there the case of the president’s illegitimate daughter, there are several more cases, one of which is currently blackmailing the president to be. See, I’d know more about Harding if that part of his background had been more focused on in my AP US History Class.
Anyway, because of her baby, Nan’s the biggest risk to the election, and Harry doesn’t appear to know quite what to do about that. Enter Nucky! He offers to put Nan up in AC till the election, and have Margaret look in on her every now and then. Problem solved! And then he gets his road money.
Take my mistress – please!
The two men shake on it, and the deal is done. Nice and neat, and probably ridiculously refreshing for Nucky.
In AC, Gillian’s in an Indian costume in a pay phone – Jimmy’s calling her at work. She’s surprised to hear from him, but he plays it off. Can’t a fella call his mother every once in awhile…
Like when he needs a hug?
She tells him he can call her twice a day if he likes – what’s up? Jimmy mentions that he’s seen Nucky, and both he and Gillian lament Eli’s shooting. Sort of… It kind of sounds like both of them are trying to get talking about it out of the way. Which they do in good time, and Gillian plays mommy for a bit. She tells him he sounds lonely, and Jimmy sweetly (because it would be bad for him to tell her about his opium-addicted suicidal girlfriend and the violent revenge rampage she inspired in him) just tells her that he was thinking of her. She asks him to come home, and he evades. Instead INSTEAD he asks her to tell him all about “this Luciano guy.” Which she proceeds to do! Whaaaaattt???? Is Gillian sleeping with someone to spy on them on her son’s behalf? This is the coolest family EVER!!!
They’re like the Incredibles. The Late-Night version.
Morning’s dawned and Nucky’s checking out of the hotel, Eddle, luggage and Nan in tow. He’s stopped by Edge on his way out who wants to discuss why the hell Nucky’s leaving before the delegates have voted. Finally done having to play nice, Nucky plays mean. First he calls Edge “Wally,” then he confronts him about the road money, then he tells Edge he doesn’t like getting fucked over, and THEN he tells his old buddy that the only way the man’s gonna see the inside of the Whitehouse is on a guided “fucking” tour.
Okay Nuck, say it with me – “On a guided fucking tour, m-o-t-h-e-r-f-u-c-k-e-r.
Edge is left standing in the lobby, dick in hand still trying to process what’s just happened as Nucky heads out with his strange little entourage.
Back at the 2222 Everyone Gets Lucky St., the Italians are having a grand old time playing cards. Torrio, Al and two other flunkies are taking the piss out of each other in Italian as Jimmy stands in the doorway feeling left out. Aww, pobrecita…
There’s no place like home, where the card games are in English and he’s always asked to play…
In AC, Van Alden’s at the post office office, and he gets a letter from his wife bearing an article about the surgery she wants to have. In one of those moments where Van Alden has the choice to be either human or his particular brand of Christian, he falters for a moment. He opens the drawer with Jimmy’s letters to Angela and starts pulling out the cash from each one. It’s so, so terrible that Van Alden has backed himself into a corner so much so that the only way he can be a loving husband is to break either his laws or society’s.
I don’t know how to feel about this!!
On the train, Nan Britton (whom you should really look up) is reading the first lameass love poem Warren ever wrote her. It’s full of sappy bullshit and middle school rhymes, but Nan’s over the fucking moon for it. Doesn’t surprise me since she’s actually wearing a campaign pin.
The baby is your campaign pin, Nan. We all know who you’re voting for.
Incidentally, the poem does contain the line “Hold Me in Paradise,” which is the episode’s title. It’s a reference to how Harding feels between Nan’s legs (ew), and I’m wondering if the broader meaning isn’t the Waspia desperately clinging to the vain hope that the world will remain a pleasant place with the odd accidental death, as opposed to a place where nice policemen get shot.
Nucky compliments the poem, and the conductor stops by to let the passengers know that they’ll be making a coal stop soon. Nan goes to freshen up and Nucky asks if there’s any news coming out of Chicago. Why yes there is! Harding received the nomination after ten ballots – just as Nucky predicted. The conductor leaves and Nucky turns to Eddie to comment that “That imbecile is going to be the next President of the United States.”
At Van Alden’s place, his wife collects the mail and finds a letter from her husband. She eagerly opens it… at the same time Angela opens a letter filled with cash in her apartment. Rose’s letter contains a frigging bible verse on how she should stay the course and deal with her tragically empty womb in a godly fashion. She bursts into tears yet again and she and her husband remain on painfully different planes of existence.
On the upside, Angela can pay her $11 grocery bill and then some.
Nucky finally arrives home and to his brother’s bedside. Eli’s wife rushes to him as soon as he enters and the doctor has good news – it may take awhile, but Eli’ll be back on his feet eventually. Nucky asks for a moment alone with his brother, and the doctor and Mrs. Thompson exit. Nucky tenderly asks how his little brother is doing, and all Eli can say is that “They came outta nowhere.” Aw, Nucky’s not even mad. It’s okay, Eli… Nucky takes his hand and tells him that it’s only money – forget it. Eli growls that they’re at war, and this is a siege. To that end, Nucky’s asked Jimmy back. In all the years they’ve been doing “this,” not once has one of them gotten hurt. They need help. Eli’s finally in too much pain to feel slighted and just looks away in tacit agreement. He also becomes like, the 8th person this episode to say “It’s a new world.”
It’s actually not a new world. It’s a very old world. It’s the humans who are new. And shitty.
Finally we close on Margaret’s Choice. She’s still sitting at the desk, as she probably has been for the entire night. Is she keeping watch, trying to decide whether or not to open the ledger or both? Probably both. I’m guessing Margaret, much as I would, believes that while no one else should see the ledger, and would protect it with her life, also thinks she has every right in the world to see how the man who provides for her comes by his means.
Within two pages the scope of Nucky’s enterprise becomes clear to her and the episode closes on a face that hasn’t decided how to feel about something it already suspected. Interestingly, the song “Silver Lining” is playing over the credits…
It’s a new world…