Does anyone else feel like this season has been really tightly wound and they keep tightening the screw? And not just Gyp or Al but everyone’s on edge. Even little Meyer’s running around killing people. And it’s still January 1923. So let’s check in with everyone.
Nucky’s in a total shit mood and taking it out on anyone who talks to him including, especially, Owen who has stopped hiding his ambition under a bushel and started thinking that his fancy hat and overcoat make him Nucky’s equal. He’s openly questioning Nucky and telling Mickey’s crew what to do, while Nucky’s standing there. Nucky pays him back by writing him up for a poor job performance and gives him a warning that he better find Rowland Smith or HR will have to take formal action. Owen’s all “whatever” but it comes out like mewling because he was there when Nucky shot Jimmy in the face.
Eli’s spying all this and I briefly think he’s dumb enough to invite Owen to his bitter party and start plotting against Nucky again, but he’s just trying to get back into Nucky’s good graces by offering his surprisingly good cop instincts. Nucky just sneers at him because Nucky’s become genuinely awful this season. Eli starts piecing a lot of things together and remembers, “Holy crap, Mickey’s incompetent” then chicken littles his way around AC but no one will listen to him because he’s still Eli. Surprisingly, this does not deter him from trying to do the right thing.
Nucky and Owen go to Smith’s hideout then get stuck there when the Prohies stop by to take care of Rowland themselves. But Rowland’s a fresh, but fresh-faced, kid who’s a charmer and a fast-talker and it seems like Nucky’s a little taken by the kid, maybe recognizing a bit of himself in Smith. Things aren’t always as they seem.
Over with the real-life gangsters, Al’s heartbroken that even at a school for the deaf his son, Sonny, is still a sweet little boy who’s easy to pick on. So he takes out his impotent rage at his child’s predicament in the worst possible way. In New York, Meyer and Charlie discuss how to address Masseria and not at all gay when Charlie talks about Meyer’s shayna punim while Meyer worriedly tells Charlie not to sit by any windows.
Meanwhile, Margaret and Dr. Mason have cleaned out the storage room and are ready to open up their women’s health clinic, except they need a nun to review the material to make sure there’s no problematical phrasing like “vagina,” “pregnant” or “menstruation.” Mason proves that it’s not just Margaret who tweaks his dickish behavior by sassing the nun then they all share an awkward moment when someone has to explain what Kotex is.
Finally, despite everything but a literal anvil landing on his head that said “Stay out of Tabor Heights,” Mickey sends off the delivery through Tabor Heights. And it ends just about as well as you’d think.