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Boardwalk Empire Watch - Season 2, Episode 7: Peg of Old

“I think the world's going to find out what kind of man it's dealing with.”

Jack Dempsey’s back in town, preparing for a huge boxing match that’s going to be broadcast on the wireless for $2 a pop! Who’s the big man behind the precursor to Pay Per View? None other than Nucky Thompson, naturally. In fact, Nuck’s got Dempsey’s help selling this new fangled wonder of broadcasting. The coup de grace is none other than an appearance at Babette’s, where many will gather and nothing possibly bad could happen. (They just threw in that ominous panning shot of the restaurant in last week’s preview for no reason.) Just as Nucky seems to be getting back into swing, a reporter questions his relationship with his former Federal Prosecutor, to which he replies that nothing more than an innocent golf game was had.

The same can’t be said for the new Assistant Federal Prosecutor, one Esther Randolph. Right from her first scene, she seems like the no nonsense type who takes charge, plays by the book, and steals people’s desks at a whim. Just ask Agent Van Alden about that last part, as it was his desk that was commandeered for her command post. To say that Ms. Randolph is the most troubling woman in his life is a blatant falsehood, because lo and behold Lucy has recovered from the birth of the little baby (who still doesn’t have a name) and she really wants that money Nelson promised her for their arrangement. The only problem is, he doesn’t exactly have the cash at the moment. Truth be told, it seems as if he never really planned on paying her in the first place. This sends Lucy into a fit of rage, and into the company of a friend from not so long ago.

But first, let’s discuss the first ever complete summit of The Young Guard, which happened in the sitting room of one Jimmy Darmody. Al Capone finally joined the ranks, and when the boys got together Jimmy laid out his plan step by step. Nucky goes to jail, Jimmy replaces him with a new, more manageable Treasurer, Jimmy and his pals take over. It seems simple enough, except for the fact that Elias, Lucky, Al, and pretty much everyone but Jimmy decides that Nucky’s too big of a liability to keep alive. The popular vote is Nuckster’s gotta go down, and after some reluctance Jimmy signs off on the hit. He later expresses concern and regret in a private conference with his mother, and in true Shakespearean fashion she reminds her son that what’s done is done and that all he can do at this point is rise.

Nucky, unaware of the plans being drawn against him, starts to wonder about the new Assistant Federal Prosecutor and what type of person she is. Just as he seems to be starting into strategic analysis, Lucy decides to show up to his doorstep. After some light reminiscing about their relationship, she asks for what she’s come for: money. She wants a little something to help her and the baby through, and in swell fashion Nuck pulls through. Much to the chagrin of Agent Van Alden, whose hopes to keep Lucy under wraps are now officially dashed. What’s more, Nucky sees this as an opportunity to try and further corrupt the formerly incorruptible agent by offering him a bribe that’d take care of the monetary strain a baby can have on a household. Van Alden, returning to his true form, turns this information into Esther Randolph, in hopes that this may strike another blow against his sworn enemy.

Perhaps the central story this week was Margaret Schroder’s visit to her family. She is greeted by the other Rohans who moved over to America, and we learn not only that she came to America before she did, but also why she left Ireland. As it turns out, “Peg” was a bit of a town trollop, and as such she got herself into trouble. Instead of staying in her homeland and being punished, she decided to set sail for America, which sadly led to her miscarriage during the crossing. Margaret tries to smooth things over with her family on this visit, and she hopes to facilitate that smoothing through a little bit of currency. After some thought, her brother refuses the bribe and declares her dead to him once more. Which finally drives her into the arms of Owen Sleater, Irish Playboy and Deadly Assassin. (He gets to show off both skills this week, the latter bring showcased in a particularly bloody hit.)

While Margaret’s back story is the centerpiece, there are two major events that unfurl outside of that plot line. First, it looks like Lucy has left for good when Van Alden comes home to see a neighbor tending to the baby while he’s left to discover a dirty diaper with the title page to A Dangerous Maid pinned to it. Second, and more importantly, while Jack Dempsey makes a push for Nucky’s big wireless plan, a would be assassin shoots Nucky through the hand. Babette’s erupts into chaos and Jimmy, looking as if he’s about to throw up, marches out of the dinner club with a little more self assurance.

So now Nucky’s two direct competitors are looking for blood. One’s got it, and the other’s hungry for it. Like I said before, it’s all downhill from this week on. Margaret’s story continues to become more and more interesting, whereas Jimmy’s rise to power might come to a screeching halt if he can’t stomach the bloodshed he’ll have to dish out. (Especially when we thought he’d learned his lesson last week.) Most of all, Van Alden is just about ready to tear Nucky’s face off himself, if only because he’s caused Lucy to abandon him and poor Abigail. (He seems to have settled on that for the name of his child. We’ll see if it sticks.)

Next Week’s Thrilling Continuation: “Two Boats and a Lifeguard”

* See Esther and Nucky square off!

* See Jimmy hold court over The Young Guard!

* See Nucky and Rothstein looking over their shoulders…together!

* See Richard Darrow sharpshooting Adolf Hitler across time!

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.