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Atlantic City is in a state of flux. Nucky’s situation has become more precarious as he’s learned the hit called on him was likely done by one of his former flunkies, although not necessarily how close to home the idea started, and worse still, that Esther Randolph may not be as willing to work with him as that smarmy creampuff Thorogood. But she does give up that the shooter was from Chicago and lived in a building owned by Torrio and managed by Capone. Oops. Nucky convenes a geezer meeting of himself, Torrio and Rothstein to discuss this development and they all figure out that their underlings are staging a coup. Nucky wants to act swiftly, but Arnold works his weirdo mumbo jumbo and convinces Nucky to do nothing until he has a play, which Nucky figures out while playing house with Margaret and the children where he not at all creepily asks them to call him “Dad.”
Jimmy, meanwhile, has decided that he wants to stage his own version of Hamlet in his head and really starts unraveling. He and Angela have a very direct and sad discussion about the state of their marriage and exactly what Jimmy does to provide and she admits that she only married him because it’s what’s expected of her now that she has Tommy, and besides, she was tired of being hectored by Jimmy. With this resolved, they pretty much go their own ways, Jimmy keeping his nascent empire together as he falls apart while Angela is tickling her Sapphic fancy with some boho novelist from San Francisco. No word on exactly who’s taking care of Tommy during all this.
Margaret is getting squirrelly about hitching her wagon to Nucky now that he has a legitimate prosecutor and all his money is sunk in property he was supposed to sell back to the city to build the roads. She wants him to walk away from all the organized crime since he’s getting shot at now and he’s all “Whatever, whatever. I stole this city fair and square I’m not giving it up without a fight.” Then he pulls a pretty ruthlessly brilliant stunt that well and truly screws Jimmy et al.
But Jimmy’s too busy counting all his chickens before they hatch and convincing Richard that he’s the only one Jimmy really loves and suggests they buy Richard a new suit and fix up his mask so he can find a nice girl (Jimmy really was rather sweet in his dunderheadedness) but Richard’s ambivalence tweaks Jimmy’s paranoia and he has a really weird fight with Mickey and Manny that doesn’t end well. Eli tries to warn Jimmy that Nucky is smarter and more dangerous than Jimmy is, but no one listens to Eli, so I guess he’s the idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing? And when did we leave behind The Sopranos and start in with Shakespearean symbolism?
Meanwhile, fatherhood has not softened Nelson one bit as he hires a nanny to spend all her time with baby Abigail so Nelson doesn’t have to and he’s also not fully repentant as he’s still skimming off the top of their raids. Hmmm. He was so sweet with her last week.
Finally, old man Thompson dies after Eli is subpoenaed to testify against Nucky. Nucky tries to attend the wake in private but Eli shows up and tries in his bitter, ham-handed way, to reach out to Nucky to which Nucky responds with snarling invective before breaking down, after Eli leaves, because that was one fucked up relationship he had with his father to end so quietly.
By the way, I spent Saturday morning in the presence of none other than Nelson Van Alden himself, Michael Shannon. I saw his new movie Take Shelter, which is brilliant and unnerving and he’s phenomenal in it (with an assist from Shea Whigham as his best friend), but during the Q&A afterwards he showed himself to be rather hilarious in just how unseriously he takes virtually everything but the work. Totally charming right down to his turquoise and black striped socks. And his face is that amazingly odd in person, not that I got that close.
Full recap in a few days, but until then you can read last week’s here.