Ooh, of all the things I didn’t expect to see in the “previouslies” we get Nucky burning down his father’s house. We also see several other moments: Mr. Schroeder’s death. The appearance of Louise. The strike’s start. Emily’s polio diagnosis. Machine guns for whiskey. Jimmy buying from Remus. And Manny.
All together that pretty much means that anything could happen this week. It’s a whirlwind. We do get a lovely kiss this week. For the rest you have to step inside.
Before we get into this week’s episode, you absolutely must check out this Boardwalk Empire post from Animals Talking in All Caps.
Okay, on with the show.
A ship has arrived at the Port of Hoboken and a bunch of crates are bing unloaded. Owen’s there to oversee the drop off of “Feeney’s Irish Oats” from Belfast. Oats, my ass. Truck after truck after truck transports them to a warehouse as well as to Babette’s and other establishments.
Owen carries a box down the boardwalk where we see black men on strike as a preacher speaks from a soapbox. Owen weaves around them to the entrance to the Ritz, which is being blocked by two men. Another man nods his approval to let Owen through and the men step aside for him.
In the Ritz kitchen the manager is reading the paper. The place is empty — not just of staff, but also of food. Owen says Nucky has sent him and opens the crate and then a bottle to pour our evil manager a little heaven in his teacup. Thirty dollars a crate. Owen says the staff will be back, that some day the strike will end as will their deal with the Irish. Does he want any? He’ll take 400 cases.
At Van Alden’s apartment Ingrid is feeding the baby. Van Alden comments that she’s very comfortable with the baby. He then gets up and goes to leave her money for groceries when he sees a letter from Rose on the counter. He’s pissed Ingrid didn’t bring it to his attention sooner and when he rips it open we see that it’s divorce papers with a note reading: Nelson, Please attend to this as soon as your activities allow. Rose
Activities, eh? Which ones? He’s been up to so many during his stay in AC. The baby starts crying as Ingrid burps her and Van Alden is clearly upset. He pinches the bridge of his nose and I’m reminded that he gets migraines.
At the hospital, Nucky, Margaret, and Teddy have come to visit Emily. The doctor says Emily is in good hands and will need their love and patience later. Nucky and Teddy go in to visit and the doctor fills in Margaret with the details of Emily’s condition. She’s mostly fine, but the damage to her legs may remain. They can’t determine how fully she’ll recover. He’ll have final test results for her on Friday. Before she goes into the room, she sees a young boy down the hall learning to walk with crutches. It’s all very sad, but saddest is that Margaret absolutely does not want a “crippled” child.
In the room, poor Emily looks so sad and afraid. Margaret has brought her a new doll and Emily asks what happened to the other one. Margaret says this is her doll’s sister. Teddy sits in a chair to the side looking very distanced from it all.
Back at a warehouse with a still, some of Doyle’s men are pouring government whiskey into a big vat. Darmody, Lucky, Capone and others are there. It’s mentioned that Torrio and Rothstein are sniffing around; they know something’s up. Manny’s still asking about his money and Darmody tells Doyle to just pay him already in cash, booze, whatever.
Before Jimmy leaves, Lucky pulls him aside and shows him a packet of heroin. He talks about the quality of the high compared to opium. Jimmy wants to know who’s going to buy it and Lucky says artist types and others (I’m thinking of Angela’s people). Meyer says the numbers are low right now, but they’re very enthusiastic. Lucky leaves him with the sample to share with others.
Nucky’s meeting with his attorney, Ginsberg, who is “extremely disappointed.” Apparently Esther Randolph is relentless and his calls have been of no use. Nucky’s desk has been set up in a new room now that he doesn’t officially run the city anymore. Ginsberg suggests they can use medical hardship to keep the trial in Atlantic County where he can control judge and jury. “You mean this?” Nucky asks as he raises his injured hand. “This wouldn’t even stop me from jacking off.” Ginsberg says he’ll get five years and be out in two. Nucky calls for Kessler to contact “those two anarchists” in Massachusetts, that he found them a new lawyer. Of course, Ginsberg says the difference between Nucky and Sacco and Vanzetti (who ended up convicted and executed, so maybe they did get Ginsberg) is that with them there was still the possibility of innocence. Poor Kessler comes in right as Nucky says, “Get the fuck out” and turns back around to leave, not realizing Nucky was talking to his lawyer. Then Nucky officially fires Ginsberg. Once he’s gone, Nucky looks down at the newspaper to see that the Black Sox trial is beginning.
At the Commodore’s some businessmen are complaining about the strike. (This is a younger group than the usual old white men.) The Commodore is pissed at what’s being said and bangs his cane, trying to speak. Jimmy tells them all to negotiate with the striking workers, give them a raise; they can afford it. The men are arguing again and the Commodore bangs his cane again saying “Now, now.” Jimmy gets most of them to leave, saying his father needs to rest. With the majority gone Eli tells Neary that they just need men with billy clubs to take care of it. Great. Violence was a common strike breaker back in the day. Eli says he’s got Halloran on scene.
Neary tells them that Randolph had Halloran in her office. Old Mutton Chops (Leander Whitlock) asks Jimmy if this is how he’s going to do it and Jimmy asks which plan — “billy clubs or throwing them off the pier” — it’s too hard for him to choose. Mutton Chops mentions that his “predecessor” knew how to keep “the coloreds happy.” The Commodore speaks! “Why don’t you just show them your cock?” Everyone gets quiet, clearly thinking they must have misunderstood, but no. The Commodore stands and said, “You heard me” and suggests Jimmy lift up his dress and show what he’s got. Then he demands a drink. Well, it seems the big C’s still got some spunk.
Teddy is saying his bedtime prayers. Margaret suggests they say a special prayer for Emily and he does, but I’m not sure he means it. “Mama, I can’t move my legs,” he says as she starts to leave. Then as she freaks out and is checking him over, he starts laughing until she smacks him so hard across the face that he starts bawling. Nucky comes in saying, “You were just praying,” clearly wondering what the hell just happened. Margaret runs out of the room.
Nucky finds her on their bed. She says Teddy’s got his father’s cruelty and Nucky says he just wants attention. That while he knows Emily’s sick, that’s not the same as understanding. I’m always amazed at Nucky’s moments of parental knowledge. He’s going to New York the next day to hire a new lawyer and says he’ll take Teddy with him.
Back on the boardwalk, “the coloreds” are peacefully moving in a circle singing a hymn when at least 30 white men with bats come around the corner and start beating on them. The strikers are mostly men, but there are women there too and you hear them screaming as people are beaten down. As the sheriff’s deputies stand around monitoring things, a few breakers move toward them. Two of deputies turn tail while Halloran stands there oblivious until he takes a couple hits to the back and falls to the ground. They continue to beat him after he seems to be unconscious.
In New York, Nucky and Rothstein enters an office with a baseball on the desk. The lawyer gives the ball to Teddy telling him it was signed by Ty Cobb. When Nucky prompts Teddy with a “What do you say,” he replies, “Ty Cobb is a bad man.” Out of the mouths of babes. Nucky tells Teddy that his comment is true, but if you’re on his team, Ty’s the man you want at your back. Teddy goes out to the reception area and the attorney pulls another ball out of his desk drawer to put on the desk.
Mr. Fallon (the lawyer) says he probably can’t get the trial moved back to AC, but he’s great with juries and judges. His fee is $80/hour, which includes his skills in working with these key players, but if Nucky doesn’t have the funds for any bribes he’ll be relying solely on Mr. Fallon’s “legal acumen”. Nucky asks Rothstein what he would do. Rothstein says, “No one likes a long shot more than a gambler.”
Halloran is alive, but he’s not looking good. He’s in bed bandaged up when Eli arrives. He’s brought him some fresh peas from his wife’s garden. Halloran asks what he’s going to do with them. He’s certainly in no condition to cook. Maybe he can freeze them and use them as an ice pack.
Eli asks what happened out there and Halloran says two came up behind him. Eli suggests that once he’s on his feet they’ll go to the Northside and he can point out who did it. Halloran, though, says he wasn’t beaten by black men, but by the breakers: “Normal white men.” Eli suggests they thought he was someone else and Halloran gets angrier saying he was in his uniform. Eli’s a jerk (not that this is news) and says that Halloran should think about what he might have done wrong to deserve this. Halloran is clueless at first (he’s not the smartest guy anyway, plus he just took a few blows to the head). Eli says he needs to ask himself, “What should I make sure I never, ever do again?” and tells him this is a good time to reflect. I don’t think this was the way to win Halloran’s loyalty. And I’m right, because as soon as Eli leaves, Halloran picks up the phone and asks to be connected to the post office. If you think he’s recanting, you’re nuts.
Margaret is in church. She’s sitting alone on a pew praying. The priest comes by and asks if something is wrong. She tells him about Emily and how Emily’s fear is killing her (Margaret). Father says that “God is with her” and Margaret says he was with her when she got sick too. Ouch. She’s got nowhere else to turn, she says, but she’s clearly not comforted here. Father brings up her recent confession. He says her devotion to God is something she has to demonstrate, not just claim.
Jimmy and Richard have come to meet up with Chalky who asks how Nucky’s shoes are fitting these days. Jimmy says they’re a little tight. He’s here to see if they can work something out to end the strike. Dunn Pernsley is there too and pissed about the breakers. Jimmy claims that neither the breakers nor the Klansmen who shot up the warehouse were his idea (which is true, but he didn’t really try to stop either event). What he’s bringing to the table is an offer to talk to the governor and get Chalky’s murder charge dismissed. That’s a nice offer if he can make it happen. Chalky looks at the men with him and then asks what else he’s got. Chalky wants justice in the form of $3000 each to the families of the men who died. And he wants the shooters delivered personally to him. Jimmy says yes to the money, no to the men. Chalky says, “There’ll always be next tourist season, right?”
Teddy and Nucky are in a hotel and Teddy’s saying good night to his mother on the phone. Nucky says good night too. After hanging up poor Nucky’s left staring at the kid. He tells Teddy about his own sister, Susan (we finally get the story!), who had consumption as a child and that he and Eli were jealous of all the attention his mom gave to their sister. He says that they knew, however, that their mother loved them. Teddy asks, “How about your dad?” (He’s a smart little shit.) Nucky lies and says his dad loved them too.
Teddy asks Nucky if he’s in trouble and Nucky says no then corrects himself to “a little.” He says people are claiming he did things that he didn’t really do and Teddy asks if it’s about burning down his dad’s house. Teddy says he saw it. Nucky says it was an accident. “Don’t worry, Dad. I won’t tell,” Teddy says. Wow.
Back at Jimmy’s warehouse with the government booze there’s some kind of “situation”. Ah… it’s the Irish whiskey. Everyone’s got it already so no one’s buying from Jimmy’s guys. With the Coast Guard bought, the question is where’d this Irish whiskey come from. Richard knows — it’s Owen, Nucky’s Irishman. Lucky says they need to pop the Mick. Everyone’s pissed. Meyer’s the only one with calm and sense — he proposes that they split up and sell it in their respective towns. Jimmy says AC is his town. Lucky suggests Philly, which is then shot down because of Manny. But Jimmy’s on board to sell the stuff however they can.
Randolph is questioning Van Alden in her office — they’re prepping him for the witness stand. They remind him that he can only speak to what he knows, not unsubstantiated information. She then asks about Mr. Schroeder and he says that was theory and he doesn’t know anything about it. Off the record, does he think Nucky did it? No doubt whatsoever. They break for lunch and Van Alden can’t get out of there fast enough. In his absence Randolph’s men ask if they have enough and Esther says, “Let’s bring him in.”
Someone’s knocking on Manny’s door and he goes to check it with a gun in hand. It’s Doyle, everyone’s favorite buffoon. Manny lets him in and then pats him down from head to toe. He takes him into the parlor. Manny’s not looking so good. He’s in an undershirt and you can see his shoulder is bandaged. Doyle says the shoulder is on Waxy, that Jimmy had nothing to do with it. Manny wants to know what Doyle wants. He’s brought a bottle of whiskey and he’s offering more to pay off the debt. Manny opens the bottle and has a taste. He’s annoyed Jimmy sent Doyle to “do his bidding.” Manny tosses over the matchbook he got off the man who tried to kill him.
Manny is an angry man. Not just that Jimmy tried to kill him but that he’s sending this piss water to try to pay him off. Doyle says he’s just paying the debt. “He who dies… pays all his debts,” Manny says. Doyle reminds Manny that he’s still in business and doesn’t have to deal with Jimmy again, just Doyle. Manny stands and says he’ll take the payment, but he also wants to know where to find Jimmy. Manny throttles him, jerking his neck around, to change Doyle’s mind about not giving Jimmy up.
Sheriff Thompson’s in jail and Esther Randolph has come to visit. (So that’s who they were bringing in.) Eli’s pissed that she had him arrested at his home and she says her professional courtesies don’t extend to murderers. Halloran, it seems, had a lot to say about Eli and Mr. Schroeder. Of course, if Eli’s got a lot to say about his brother she might negotiate with him.
Margaret is at her vanity table. She pulls out a few pieces of jewelry that she drops into her purse along with the envelope of cash.
Father is listening to music in the rectory when Margaret arrives to see him. He stops the music and adjusts his collar before she’s shown in. He invites her to sit. He asks after Emily, and Margaret says the doctors haven’t given any predictions yet. Father says they don’t want to give her false hopes. She’s looking for a miracle, she wants her daughter made whole, and to live and grow and not suffer for no reason. Father asks if she recalls their earlier conversation. “An act of devotion,” she says. Then she pulls out the money and jewels and places them on the table between her and the priest. He asks what it is and she says it’s a donation for the church. He wants to know why she’s doing this. She says it’s a weight on her, on her soul, and she wants to be free of it. He picks up the envelope of cash and decides he’ll take it. He looks at her and says, “Shall we pray.”
Jimmy’s looking out at the beach. Angela comes in and asks, “What’s so fascinating?” He says there’s a man on the beach with no cares in the world. Angela suggests Jimmy pull out a blanket and join him. Wouldn’t we all love to do that?
It seems Richard just dropped her home and Tommy’s at Gillian’s. Jimmy says he has to leave for a few days and asks Angela to ask him where he’s going. She says he’ll tell her if he wants to. She doesn’t want to fight. She looks so sad and Jimmy’s smart enough to see it. He says he knows she’s unhappy and that she’s afraid and he’s going to take care of things, show her he can be the person she wants him to be. (I think without a sex change, he’ll never really be who she wants him to be.)
They’re face to face now, bodies close and she tells him she heard a joke today at the bakery. “A man goes into a hotel and he says ‘I’d like a room and a bath’ and the clerk says ‘I can give you a room, but you’ll have to take the bath yourself’,” and she starts laughing. It’s awkward and yet sweet and then she kisses him. They stand together, foreheads touching. They’re so perfect for each other and yet not. She kisses him again, asking if he has to leave right away then pulls him toward the bedroom. He says he doesn’t know what he has to do.
Emily has spinal polio. Her paralysis will be permanent. Margaret can’t say anything at first. Finally, “Did your daughter pray?” she asks because the doctor had said his daughter prays every night for the children in the hospital. Nucky asks what they do now and the doctor says they’ll fit her for braces and send her home. When Emily’s ready they’ll try therapy and hope for the best.
Teddy’s looking through a box of stuff and pulls out an old photo. It’s a man, a young child, and a woman holding a baby — his family from a few years earlier. He puts it away in his cigar box along with his new baseball.
There’s a woman asleep in bed. You can hear the surf outside, so I’m going with the Darmody house. And yes, that’s Angela. The man, who has now entered the house, is Manny. He’s got a gun. As he moves through the house to the bedroom we can hear water running. He enters the bedroom and it’s clear someone’s in the shower in the adjoining bath. Is it Jimmy?
Manny approaches the bed where Angela is asleep. He leans over and covers her mouth, waking her, and pulls her from the bed. He holds her in front of him, mouth still covered until the person in the bathroom comes out. He shoots and we see a women fall to the floor dead. Manny releases Angela and she runs to the dead woman — Louise. “What the fuck?” he asks and then “Where’s Darmody?” Angela tells him he’s not there and Manny confirms that Angela is Jimmy’s wife. She says yes and then begs of him from where she kneels on the floor next to Louise, saying she has a child (who is hopefully still at Grandma Gillian’s house). “Do you want money?” she asks. She says she can get it from Jimmy. Manny says, “Your husband did this to you” and shoots her in the head. He fires a couple more shots into both women and then leaves. I’m blown away (pardon the terrible pun).
Jimmy is driving into Princeton as the episode ends.
Next week looks to be an episode full of revelations including a confession from Margaret to Nucky about Owen. Oooh.