Boardwalk Empire: Gyp’d

Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky made a deal to sell booze only to Rothstein, which didn’t make our newest hothead, Gyp, very happy at all. Margaret got further involved with the hospital she’s funding, and Agent Van Alden made a friend in the Chicago Irish mob. Two Face tried to keep Angela’s memory alive and extracted some revenge for her and Jimmy’s deaths by blowing Manny’s head off.

In New York City, a whistling man upends a fishbowl into the sink, lets the goldfish flap around a bit, and then puts it in a glass full of water. We do not see his face or know who he is yet.

Meanwhile, Eli is released from prison, which seems to be in the middle of some desolate wasteland, and is picked up by Mickey, which does not bring a smile to his face. It wouldn’t bring a smile to mine either, having to share a car with this idiot for a long drive. Before they set off, Eli asks Mickey how it is he’s still alive. We’re all wondering that, Eli. Mickey warns him that things have changed and Nucky’s hard to get to these days. He also tells Eli about Manny’s death and we hear that the identity of the shooter is still unknown. Oh, and Eli’s going to be expected to work for Mickey now. Wow, how’d Nucky think Eli would take that? Not well—he gets out of the car and starts walking home, but stops when Mickey tells him no one else is coming for him. He climbs back into the car.

Gyp emerges from his house or hotel in Tabor Heights and is handed a cup of coffee by a henchman who asks him what the plan is. I don’t think there is a plan yet, with this guy. He eyes a nearby service station and wanders over, rather worryingly with his killing face on. Or maybe that’s just his normal face. Hard to tell with this psycho. He notices a sign that says this is the last stop for gas in New Jersey. So, it’s the last stop for gas you can actually afford. Gyp pulls out a map and starts to go over it with the gas pump guy, who tells him they’re the last place to get gas before New York. Gyp asks him who in the area would know a bit about bootlegging and gas pump guy, looking terrified, says the sheriff might know something.

Chez Thompson, Margaret’s having a friend for tea and telling her about last week’s miscarriage drama. At least it looks like she had the grace to wait until after they were done eating. Owen shows up and Margaret introduces her friend, who senses the tension in the air and quickly excuses herself. Sleater counts out some cash from Nucky for household expenses and Margaret asks Owen to pass on a message asking Nucky to show up to collect some award their bishop’s giving the Thompsons for their generosity. So, this is how they’re handling things now. Cold. He promises to pass the message along. Sleater observes that Emily’s doing well and asks how Margaret is. She tightly says she’s fine and she needs to be off on some hospital business. He offers to drive her, but she’s got that taken care of.

Nucky’s in bed with Billie, who gets up to attend to the radiator. Naked, of course. With Lucy gone we need to get the boob quotient up. The phone rings and she answers and chats with someone rather flirtatiously. She hangs up and flirts with Nucky, who heads into the bathroom and thoughtfully takes his razor out of the bathroom cabinet, removing the blade and replacing the razor. Billie notices he seems a bit gloomy, but he shakes it off, kisses her, and says he has to go to a meeting. Also, he’s going to call her landlord, Rothstein, about her crappy radiator.

Chalky! I missed him last week! He’s relaxing in some dive bar I guess he owns, while Dunn Purnsley tinkles away on the piano and Samuel, Chalky’s daughter’s boyfriend, sits nearby, looking uncomfortable. Chalky asks how his schooling’s going and we hear the kid graduated two years early and is a doctor now. Well done, young man. And now he wants to settle down and marry Maybelle, Chalky’s daughter. And because he’s a proper young man, he’s come to speak to Chalky about it.

Chalky sits down and asks the kid (practically dares him, really) to examine him. Samuel does so, improvising instruments with stuff from around the bar, like a glass to listen to Chalky’s lungs and heartbeat. Samuel tells Chalky he has a mineral deficiency and should eat more leafy vegetables. Chalky tells Dunn to go get him a plate of greens and welcomes the boy to the family. Or, maybe, the “Family.”

Margaret tracks down the woman who had the miscarriage at the hospital and asks how she’s feeling. The woman’s not keen on having to laze around in bed all the time. Margaret presses for a review of the doctors, asking whether they’ve given the woman enough information. The woman says she doesn’t need it, having brought nine kids into the world, five of which lived. Yeesh. That’s not a good survival rate, lady. Margaret pries a bit and the woman tells her to back off.

Nucky arrives at what appears to be a hotel room—the same room from the opener. He sees the fishbowl sitting on the table with a $100 bill in it. From another room, someone tells him to just put the money in the bowl. Nucky refuses to do so, because it’s $40K and he wants to know who he’s giving it to. He says he’s leaving, and that’s enough to get the guy to let him into the other room, where he introduces himself as Gaston Bullock Means, a man of many (criminal) talents, apparently. He’s the new go-between between Nucky and Doughterty. He’s…strange, to say the least. Nucky thinks his system is dumb, but Means is unconcerned by his opinion. Nucky goes to hand over the $40K and asks what’s up with Doughterty and the former fixer. Means won’t tell him, even when Nucky offers to pay him. Nucky hands over his bribe, and then the next customer arrives. Means invites Nucky to watch the man through the peephole he’s drilled in the door, and Nucky watches as the other man leaves his own bribe in the fishbowl. Means tells Nucky to wait until the other guy leaves, then depart himself, and give Means’s regards to Rothstein.

Margaret’s next stop is Dr. Mason’s office. Mason’s the man who told her why the woman miscarried. Margaret criticises his attitude and he tells her she’s projecting her own frustration with how women at the hospital are treated onto him. She gets up in a snit, goes out in the hall, spots that other doctor who was such a jerk at her party, and marches back into Mason’s office to give him what-for. She tells him she’s not just some rich lady pissing about, and if he has a proposal for helping these women, she wants to hear it. He seems bemused but willing to give this a go with her.

Mickey and Eli are sitting in the car near that last pumping station in New Jersey, even though Eli’s impatient to be out of there. First, though, Mickey has to give a payoff to the local sheriff so their convoy doesn’t get harassed when it comes through the next night. Eli remembers the man as someone who was begging for police jobs a few years back. The man dismisses him.

Lester and Maybelle are having a cute sibling moment when Chalky comes in and dismisses his son so he can have a sit-down with his daughter. He tells her about Samuel coming to see him that day. She’s aware, because Sam called her afterwards. Chalky eases the conversation towards marriage and she asks him what it was like when he got together with her mom. Seems mom’s father didn’t think Chalky was good enough for his girl, but then he “ran into some problems” and Chalky helped him out. And got a wife as payment, I guess. Chalky tells Maybelle that having a doctor in the family is good for the Whites. Maybelle, however, doesn’t seem interested in becoming Samuel’s wife. She wants someone “interesting” like her father. Oh, sweetie. You’re an idiot. Chalky tells her that her life would suck if she did that and informs her she’ll be marrying Samuel after all.

Mickey finally delivers Eli to his doorstep and tells him he’ll be by at 8 a.m. One of Eli’s kids answers his knock, and then all 900 of them come pouring out of the woodwork to hug him, along with his wife, June. He embraces her tenderly and it’s rather sweet.

Gyp goes into a local diner and asks about the spaghetti and meatballs. The waitress describes what was, at the time, a rather new dish for mainstream America. He asks for a little of the wine they have stashed in the back too, but the sheriff overhears and suggests he get some coffee instead. Gyp agrees. Sheriff tells them there’s not much going on here these days, but down in AC or Asbury Park, there’s plenty of action. Hint, hint: don’t stick around too long. Gyp’s dinner is delivered, he takes a bite, and observes to this partner (sarcastically, I’m sure) that it’s better than mama’s.

Rothstein’s. Arnold plays pool and tells Nucky he’s heard Means is a “colourful” character. Nucky wonders if they really want to get wrapped up in Harry’s Washington-based messes, but Rothstein thinks the protection is valuable and the cost fairly insignificant. Really? $40K was insignificant? Damn, how much does Rothstein make a year? Rothstein reminds Nucky that things are volatile just now, which Nucky realizes is a reference to Manny’s death. He and Rothstein talk suspects: not Meyer, because he’d have to clear it with Rothstein first. Rothstein moves on to their arrangement and Nucky tells him there’s a shipment going out the following night. And then Nucky briefly forgets what day it is, which worries Rothstein a bit, but Nucky promises he’s got people on top of it. Nucky tells him about the lousy radiator at his girlfriend’s apartment and Rothstein hints that Nucky’s not her only boyfriend.

At home, Margaret reads the letter about the award Nucky’s supposed to get and asks the maid to find Nucky’s morning suit and make sure it’s cleaned. The maid relays the message that Nucky won’t be attending the ceremony, but Margaret says he most certainly will attend.

In his garage, Eli opens a birthday gift for Will (one of his kids, I guess?) and finds a model airplane kit, which he puts together and sets on the dining room table. He’s contemplating it when Will (ahh, it’s his eldest, who seems too old for such things now) comes down very early in the morning, on his way to work at the lumberyard. Eli tries to get him to eat some breakfast, but Will says he’s fine. Eli takes a moment to tell him he’s proud of him for taking care of his mom and siblings, but Eli’s home now, so the kid should really get back to school. Will looks uncomfortable and excuses himself as soon as his boss pulls up outside. Eli shows him the model airplane, but Will’s not too interested.

Mickey’s cracking the whip at his warehouse while men load the trucks going up to New York that night. A Prohibition officer strolls up and asks where the shipment’s going. Mickey gives him his payoff and the man departs. One of Mickey’s boys brings in Eli, who goes and starts helping out with the loading. How the mighty have fallen. And yet, Mickey always seems to stay near the top. How is that possible?

Nucky and Billie are having dinner with Vi, a friend of hers, who’s building Billie up and telling her she’s going to get into some show that year and everyone will just love her. Billie tries to think of a way to work Vi into the act she’s planning and Nucky promises to have a word with Lee Shubert when he sees him next. Billie’s more accustomed to Nucky’s crazy connections than her friend and saunters off to go talk to someone else while Vi squeals. Nucky sees Billie chatting with another man in the bar, quite flirtatiously, and he totally tunes Vi out while the jealousy takes over. Billie comes back and tells Vi she was just chatting with ‘the Spider of Wall Street,’ and if that was an actual person, it’s not someone famous enough to turn up in a Google search. Vi starts talking about some mean article her bitchy mother sent her, while Billie retakes her seat and starts groping Nucky’s package right there at the table. Classy!

Mickey calls all his men to attention so Sleater can lay out the plan for that night: the convoy’s heading to New York City and making exactly two stops: at that last NJ service station in Tabor Heights to refuel, and then a warehouse in Brooklyn. Once he’s done, Sleater strolls over to Eli and promises to tell Nucky that Eli’s situated. Eli doesn’t seem delighted that Sleater’s clearly above him now. Sleater explains that he sees things run smoothly these days. And he does it so handsomely, too. He tells Eli there’s an extra $50 for the trip to New York, but Eli says he doesn’t have a weapon to take. Sleater hands him his own.

Chalky’s joint. A Dixieland band rocks out while patrons dance in that crazy 20’s non-Charleston way. Maybelle’s there with Samuel, getting annoyed with him for…everything. Not drinking, not talking loud enough. Samuel tells her that, if she doesn’t want to marry him, she should just say so. And then he gets annoyed with some guy dancing nearby for jostling their table and asks the man to watch what he’s doing. And naturally, the guy pulls a knife and slashes Sam across the cheek. Damn, dude. He asked you politely! Dunn intervenes and beats the hell out of the knife wielder. Maybelle looks sick and calls for her father, who demands to know what she’s doing there. He hands poor Samuel a handkerchief for his cheek and asks if he’s ok to walk. Samuel stands and nods and Chalky tells him to get out and take Maybelle with him. Samuel says the knifer needs help, and although Chalky tries to stop him, Sam’s a doctor and that wins out. He goes to administer some first aid and Chalky asks his daughter if she still finds him so interesting.

Sleater and Eli arrive at the service station, only to find the pumps locked and no one around. Mickey suggests they just find gas further along but Sleater says they’re all running on E right now and running the risk of getting stranded along the way. Sleater takes things into his own hands and breaks into the service station to get the keys, which brings out the sheriff. Despite having been paid off earlier, the sheriff’s now not going to let them through, because he’s been paid off even more handsomely by Gyp (presumably). Furthermore, Gyp’s bought the service station, and he’s not about to open up for the convoy. It doesn’t take long for everyone to pull out their weapons for a gold old-fashioned standoff. Gyp tells the men they’re not going to New York that night. He tells them to say hi to Nucky for him.

Nucky’s making a late-night snack for Billie, who’s surprised that Nucky can actually cook. The phone rings, but when she goes to answer, Nucky holds her back and tells her he wants her—and everyone else—to be honest about what she wants. She asks him what he wants (I think he just told you, Billie). He says he wants everything to run all by itself so he can spend all his time hanging out with her. She laughs and tells him he can’t. He asks her who keeps calling and she says she promised she’d never tell, and he promised he’d never ask. The phone rings again and they both turn to stare at it.

It’s Sleater, apparently, phoning from some house in Tabor Heights. He goes back out and quietly asks Eli if he’d trust their men in a gun battle. Nope! Looks like Rothstein won’t be getting his shipment that night. Mickey tells the convoy to turn back around and head back to AC.



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