Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky decided to give jealousy a try and spent more time focusing on his girlfriend’s other male friends than on his business. Gyp got revenge for being cut off from the liquor trade by keeping Nucky’s shipment from reaching New York, and Margaret found a new cause: women’s health.
Nucky’s trying to get Billie on the phone, but the operator tells him to worry about running out of company. Nucky looks up and there’s a boy standing in front of him. He asks if the kid’s hungry and a frying pan full of bacon appears in his hand. Mmmmm, baaaacon. The phone rings and Nucky wonders what’s wrong with it, as a shot rings out and the kid falls dead. Nucky looks down and sees a smoking pistol in his hand…
…and then Eddie’s shaking him awake. Wow, that whole sequence was very Sopranos-esque, no? Eddie tells Nucky that Margaret’s on the phone, so Nucky picks up and she tells him the bishop’s rep is there to finalize plans for the ceremony to honour Nucky. He tells her to just do it without him because he doesn’t even want to do this. She informs him that this is an honour and he’s the one focused on putting up a good front. Nucky hangs up and asks Eddie if Billie called. She did not. Eddie urges Nucky to get up so he can make it to his meeting. Nucky reluctantly drags himself into a sitting position and asks if someone’s frying something.
Margaret returns to the bishop’s man and lies that Nucky’s working. The man says that’s fine, Nucky clearly works very hard to be able to donate that land. Margaret slaps on a smile and says it was all Nucky’s idea; she had nothing to do with it. He starts to run down the schedule for the day, but Margaret notes that the private word with the bishop she requested hasn’t materialised. Bishop’s man says the schedule’s too tight and she subtly reminds him of how much they owe Nucky. He stands his ground, but she won’t take no for an answer and pretty much threatens to go over his head. He promises to look into it. Go, Margaret!
Van Alden arrives at his rather depressing workplace, where the other guys eye him and giggle amongst themselves. As soon as Van Alden tries to write something, his pen explodes and the other guys burst out laughing. Their boss comes out to give them all a pep talk and sends them all forth with their irons to make the world a smoother place. Van Alden hides his ink-stained face and misses out on the new addresses…or something like that.
Nucky heads to Tabor Heights to meet with Gyp and get some things worked out. He asks Gyp what he wants and what his problem is. Gyp says he has customers who want their hooch. Nucky reminds him that there are others who missed out on the deal and they’re not acting like children about it. Gyp reminds him that there’s only one road into the town and one road out, but Nucky says he’ll just use the roads through the Pine Barrens. Careful, Nucky, those Pine Barrens can be dangerous. Also, the Pineys can be a bit creepy. My grandfather used to sell insurance in that area back in the day. He had some stories.
In the interest of keeping things peaceful, Nucky offers Gyp a month’s supply of booze and a night on the town in AC. But after that month’s up, Gyp’s gotta find another supplier. Gyp agrees, but he refuses to shake Nucky’s hand until prompted.
Gillian’s on the phone with Lucky, telling him there are some issues with the roof leaking and the house needs to be maintained. He doesn’t want to waste the money since the house doesn’t even belong to them, it’s Jimmy’s, but Gillian insists Jimmy will sign the house over as soon as he returns. Does she really think Jimmy’s coming back? Talk about denial. Lucky, who’s an investor in this business, tells her to start showing him some returns and hangs up.
He goes to join Lansky, who’s fitting out their drug mule for a delivery. He and Lucky double-team the kid with advice, give him cab fare, and send him on his way. Once he’s gone, Meyer says he’ll be fine, but they need to deal with Masseria, because they’re going to be dealing on his territory. Meyer wants to call the meeting with Masseria so they can call the terms and reminds Lucky that this is just temporary. Soon enough, they’ll be calling all the shots.
Margaret visits the hospital and corners Dr. Landau, the dick who was such a pill at her party, and Dr. Mason, the doc who actually cares. Landau’s polite and congratulates Nucky on his honour. Margaret invites him to the ceremony to offer those congratulations in person. He hopes there are no hard feelings after their altercation at the party and she Stepford Smiles again and says it’s been quite forgotten.
Mickey gets into an altercation of his own with one of his drivers, who’s apparently skimming off the top, and claims he was the one who offed Manny. That’s enough to intimidate the man, who forks over the missing cash.
Babbette’s. Nucky waits in a private room upstairs for Gyp to show and remembers the series premiere, when Jimmy was newly returned to AC and Prohibition was opening up a whole new world of possibilities. His trip down Memory Lane is interrupted by Gyp’s arrival. Gyp observes that the new days are clearly better than the old ones—they’ve both come far in their lives. They drink a toast and Gyp tries to hit on Babbette, who ably fobs him off. Gyp tells Nucky he hasn’t seen his wife in days, so he’s pretty hot to trot and wants to visit Gillian’s place. He offers to take Nucky with him but Nucky demurs. He makes an offhand comment and Gyp pretends to be offended, which gets Nucky’s “oh, crap” face on.
Meyer sends his mule out for yet another shipment, and the kid doesn’t even get down the block before two of Masseria’s goons beat the crap out of him. Meyer sees all and shoots one of them. The other gets away, despite the kid chasing him down the street, shooting wildly.
Late at night, Van Alden stares at the cracked ceiling of his apartment while his wife/nanny soothes the baby. She tells him he’ll have to buy a new shirt so he puts up a nice, respectable front while out selling. She asks him to tell her what’s bothering him and he says it’s just a headache. She urges him to smile, and when he tries it’s like Frankenstein’s monster trying to smile. Seriously, it’s as if he’s trying to learn how to do it. She starts to give him a handjob and he manages to smile for real before she climbs on top of him and tells him what a handsome, wonderful salesman he is.
Gyp gets dropped off at Gillian’s place and tells Nucky he’s glad they settled things, because having enemies is so very stressful. He gets out and is greeted by name by Gillian while Nucky watches him go in.
Inside, TF is taking shipment of a crate of hooch from Mickey’s warehouse. The delivery kid asks if he likes working there and if he gets to have some fun with the girls. TF says he doesn’t. Out of nowhere, the kid tells TF that Mickey’s the one who shot Manny. Why he’s suddenly telling TF this is a mystery, but TF is mighty interested.
Nucky’s on the phone—for real this time, I think—trying to reach Billie, but she’s not picking up. Margaret comes down and is surprised to see him at the house. He says he thought they’d all head to the church together tomorrow. She’s like, fine, whatever. Clearly wanting some kind of connection, he tells her he’s been having trouble sleeping, but she just recommends warm milk.
One of Gillian’s courtesans recites a poem for the guests. Gyp seems both bored and befuddled. Gillian offers up music, dance, or games next. Gyp gets up and asks her for a word, but she says that’s not what he came for. He tells her not to sell herself short, so she takes him into the office. There, he compliments the look of the place and comments the upkeep must be expensive. We learn quickly that a) Gyp’s been to the place before (I might have missed that detail earlier) and b) he knows Lucky’s invested in the brothel. Gyp mentions that Nucky’s a worried man these days but Gillian says she knows nothing about his worries, since they don’t have much contact. He makes it clear he’s not happy with this new arrangement with Nucky and Gillian urges him to take care of himself. Gyp tells her she’s awesome and he doesn’t like the fact that Nucky didn’t even come in to say hello to her. This gets Gillian talking—she tells Gyp she heard Eli tried to have Nucky killed. Gyp seems interested in this tidbit.
Nucky and Margaret arrive at the church for the ceremony. Nucky complains about the fit of his suit and they remember that the last time Nucky was in church was on their wedding day. They process up the aisle and take their seats in the front pew with the kids. Nucky eyes the choirboys singing and is amazed to see that one of them looks like the kid from his dream, complete with bleeding cheek wound. It’s just a hallucination, of course, but he’s sufficiently freaked to clutch Margaret’s hand until the bishop calls him forward. He keeps seeing the shot kid with the choir while the bishop speaks, but he manages to hold it together.
One of Van Alden’s coworkers invites him out to a speakeasy after work. He says his wife’s expecting him. They apologize for the hazing, saying they all had to go through it, so he agrees to let his hair down a bit.
Post-ceremony, Nucky can’t stop staring at that kid, until Margaret calls him back to earth and asks if he’s ok. He quickly excuses himself, just as Margaret’s called over to meet with the bishop.
Out in the hallway, Nucky tries again to reach Billie, but she’s still not answering.
Margaret, now with the bishop, calls Dr. Landau over for an introduction and tells the bishop that Landau’s trying to convince her and Nucky to sponsor a women’s health clinic at the hospital. Oh, Margaret, that is AWESOME! Way to run roughshod over this jerk! The bishop likes the idea and asks Landau what he has in mind. Margaret pipes up with suggestions for seminars and decent prenatal care. The bishop’s on board and gives his blessing, asking to be kept apprised of their progress. He leaves and Margaret turns that smile on Landau and tells him he’s “finally trapped her.” I love her so much.
Mickey’s place. Gyp comes in expecting to meet Nucky and gets Sleater and Eli instead. Naturally, he is not happy. Eli tells Gyp his booze is all loaded up. Gyp goes to leave and Sleater adds that Nucky had a message: Bone for Tuna, which is actually supposed to be Buona fortunua—good luck. Gyp looks like he’s suppressing some rage as he leaves.
Van Alden sits awkwardly amongst all the partying people at the speakeasy and gets annoyed with one woman for spilling her drink on him. And then his day just gets worse as the place gets raided. Yeah, getting arrested would be all kinds of awkward for him, being a former prohibition officer who’s wanted for murder and all.
Mickey brings a chick home for a bit of fun and tells her about the Kama Sutra, but there’s to be no funtime for him, because TF is sitting in the corner, a revolver levelled at Mickey, who is, rather hilariously, literally caught with his pants down. The woman runs and TF tells Mickey to put his hat on. He obeys, thoughtfully pulling up his pants as well, and they head out.
One of the probies questions Van Alden at the speakeasy, asking for his name, occupation, etc. He seems to recognize Van Alden, but he can’t quite place him. Then he realizes they live in the same neighbourhood. The guy shakes Van Alden down and lets him go.
Gyp’s on the road back to Tabor Heights while one of his sidekicks talks about having recently seen Nosferatu. Gyp doesn’t care, because he’s still mulling the Bone for Tuna thing and getting all offended because Nucky dared to employ an Italian phrase and wish him luck. Yeah, what a prick. Gyp thinks Nucky was mocking him.
Nucky’s at the suite at the Ritz, once again on the phone. Eddie delivers congratulatory messages from everyone who’s anyone, but all Nucky wants to do is find out what’s up with Billie. He tells Eddie to go get the car. While he’s waiting, TF marches Mickey in and Nucky asks what the hell is going on. TF forces Mickey to tell Nucky about the lie he told about killing Manny. TF tells Nucky that he was the one who killed Manny. Nucky blinks a bit, absorbing that, and then, at Mickey’s request, asks TF to put the gun away. TF complies and Mickey weasels out.
TF tells Nucky how he did the deed and says he killed the man because of Angela. It wasn’t for Jimmy—Jimmy, says TF, was a soldier who fought and lost. Nucky asks if he and his family are safe and TF tells him that he and Margaret were good to him, so they have nothing to fear. Nucky asks him if he thinks about the people he killed and TF tells him he already knows the answer to that before sweeping out.
Margaret reports her success to Dr. Mason as they make their way to the space for the new clinic. Predictably, it’s a crowded storage closet. But girlfriend has a project and you know she’s going to make this work.
At the Last Gas Station, Gyp stands around, smoking contemplatively, when the sheriff pulls up and says he heard Gyp was going back to New York. He heard it from Nucky’s man. He warns Gyp about smoking near gas pumps, wishes him luck, and starts to head back to the car, but we already know that Good Luck is Gyp’s unsafe word this episode, so he sprays the sheriff with gasoline and sets him on fire. You know, I’m starting to think this guy’s kind of a psycho.
Nucky arrives at Billie’s and lets himself in with the spare key, only to find the place empty and dark. He takes off his overcoat and prepares to settle in for a while.
The next morning, he wakes to the sound of bacon frying. He wanders into the kitchen and finds Billie in there, making some breakfast. He asks when she got home and she says it was just a little while ago. He tells her he was worried because he was alone. She tells him he’s not alone anymore as he comes over and cuddles her.