“He who dies pays all his debts.”
As we begin the episode, the Irish Oatmeal trade is booming! At least, it is according to the large influx of Feeny's Irish Oats crates that are being brought into the country, which (surprise) contain Fitzgerald's Irish Whiskey. Yes sir, high times are going to be had by all now that Nucky's got his booze back. All, of course, except for poor Margaret, whose daughter is still fighting what may or may not be polio. As if she didn't' have a hard enough time with that on her mind, Teddy is starting to get jealous of the attention his sister is being paid over his own presence. Never-mind that though, old Nucky is here to save the day by whisking Teddy away to New York!
If only Nucky's problems could be so relatively simple. Esther Randolph is still gunning for him and his current legal counsel isn't exactly coming up with the bright ideas he was at the beginning of the season. Which means it's time to say goodbye to Mr. Ginsberg and find a new lawyer. And where else would Nucky go for a new lawyer than Arnold Rothstein, who's still embroiled in that nasty Black Sox scandal. So to New York he'll go, with Teddy in tow, where he'll meet Mr. Fallon: a lawyer who's known to make friends with judges and have a pretty sharp legal mind. We'll see where this goes in the next couple episodes, but if I had to bet anything I'd say Mr. Fallon is going to be a big player in Season 3.
As the Nuckster takes his lumps and regroups for legal combat, a strike rages on outside the Ritz Carlton. Dunn Pearnsley and his brethren are camped out, their ranks firm and resolute, and their patience as unlimited as the rights they pursue. This doesn't spell good news for the newly minted royalty of Atlantic City, Jimmy Darmody. His burgeoning empire is already under siege by one of Nucky's last acts, and as such the exact course of action is something no one can seem to agree on. Ultimately, it is decided that a bunch of strike breakers (armed with bats and billy clubs) are to take to the picket lines and break some strikers. (And to think, Jimmy was the one out of the whole Cadre who wanted to do things the civilized way and settle it with “a nickel raise across the board”.)
On the business end of things, the Darmody Empire is in full swing with the Medicinal Alcohol business. And what better way to broaden the portfolio than getting into the hard drug business? Lansky and Luciano bring a sample of their finest Heroin for Jimmy to push onto the streets, and for now Jimmy is more worried about unloading the alcohol first. The only problem with that is that the streets are already flooded with a wildly under-priced, yet awesomely over-qualified brand of “oatmeal”. Still, even if the alcohol was there, who would serve it? This vexing puzzle leads Jimmy to interface directly with Chalky White. Mr. White makes his demands clear: he wants the Klansmen that killed his men in Episode 1, and he wants $3,000 for the victim's families. Jimmy balks, and Chalky walks stating, “There's always next tourist season.”
Van Alden and Eli Thompson got the horrible end of the stick this week, as law enforcement took another punch to the gut. Or in the case of Deputy Halloran, a beating to a pulp. Eli got to put out his own mini-hit this week as he punished Halloran for talking to Esther Randolph. Meanwhile, Van Alden could do nothing but talk to Esther as he was being grilled on his case file pertaining to Nucky. While most of his case was theory and conjecture (especially the murder of one Hans Schroder), Randolph decided it was enough to pursue and made her first steps towards learning the truth by arresting and sweating Eli. (And we're STILL waiting to see some sort of consequence for what happened with the last murder he committed.)
This week was probably the most desperate for Margaret, at least the most desperate we've seen yet. Her daughter's illness turns her back to her faith, but unfortunately it's more of a superficial connection than an actual faith. Much like W.C. Fields on his death bed, Ms. Schroder seems to be keen on finding some sort of loophole that will grant her child her health once more. She even goes as far as petitioning her confessing Priest for help and prayer, through a generous donation of jewelry and money she'd horded from Nucky's trousers. Ultimately, no matter what she did, the outcome was the same: her daughter has Spinal Polio, and there's a good chance the paralysis will be permanent.
The biggest thorn in everyone's sides is none other than Manny Horvitz, everyone's favorite Kosher butcher. He's still mad that Jimmy tried to whack him, and as such he's looking for Mr. Darmody so he can have a little...talk with him. This talk results in him making a trip to Atlantic City himself and sneaking into the Darmody residence to exact his revenge. With Angela sleeping, and someone in the shower, Horvitz grabs her as a hostage and waits for our mystery guest to come out of the bathroom. Sure enough, that guest emerges and it's...Angela's girlfriend. Manny's pistol doesn't care, as it shoots her down in cold blood. Confused, he sorts through his thoughts as Angela mourns, and then pleads for her own life. Not even the sake of her son is considered as Manny shoots her down as well, telling her that her husband is to blame for her demise. As we the audience mourn Angela, Jimmy is driving into Princeton. Completely unaware of anything that's transpired, he's ready to sell some liquor.
So Angela and her girlfriend have paid Jimmy's debt to Horvitz in spades. Naturally, Jimmy's going to ache for some payback himself, and with the Young Guard supposedly elbowing into the Darmody racket to take a bigger piece for themselves, Jimmy will have plenty of time to hunt down his wife's killer and bring him to justice. (Though it looks like he gets banged up pretty badly next week. And possibly does his mother. Seriously HBO, leave the incest alone. I don't care how hot Gretchen Mol looks, it's still creepy.) Two episodes from the curtain, and Boardwalk is still showing viewers what compelling television looks like. And from the looks of it, it looks pretty damned fine.
Next Week: “Under God's Power, She Flourishes”
* See The Cops on the hunt for Jimmy!
* See Margaret confess to Nucky!
* See The Young Guard oust Jimmy and take for themselves!
* See Gillian dancing naked in front of a fire, casting a blood hex on all of her son's enemies!
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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