Boardwalk Empire: Nowhere to Hide

www.indiewire.comPreviously on Boardwalk Empire: Chalky went on the run, and Nucky went into the heroin business with Masseria and Narcisse.

Chalky and Daughter are being driven past a sign for Havre le Grace, through pitch-black woods. Chalky asks how ‘Oscar’ is doing and hears he’s ok, for an old dude. They pull up at a dilapidated mansion and the two men driving them tell them to wait while they go inside. While they’re alone, Chalky tells Daughter how he came to know Oscar: as a kid, Chalky got into a fight and was seriously beaten up. Oscar cleaned him up, gave him a job, and went on to teach Chalky everything he now knows. A light comes on inside the house and another man comes out and tells Chalky and Daughter to come on in. They get out, hesitantly, which is understandable considering the day or two they’ve had. Chalky asks the man who he is and is introduced to Winston, AKA Scrapper.

Means wakes Nucky up in the middle of the night to try and shake him down for $50K worth of information. Means is talking a bit crazy, refusing to say what sort of information this is and changing his price by the second, so finally Nucky hangs up, just as the capitol police burst in and arrest Means for perjury before a senate committee. Well, I can’t say I’ll miss him.

Early the next morning, Chalky joins Daughter on the front porch and they admire the view of the Susquehanna River. Chalky tells her it flows out to the Chesapeake, then to the ocean, and from there goes wherever it wants. ‘How lucky,’ she observes. Scrapper appears, leading an old man who’s very nearly blind—this would be Oscar. He calls Chalky over, feels his arm and hands, chuckles and asks Chalky when the last time he was in these parts was. Chalky says it’s been nine years, since his youngest was born. Oscar asks if she’s the one getting married and Chalky tells him child marriages are severely frowned upon. Oscar shrugs that he’s seen it, in his day (pre-Civil War). Oscar asks Daughter what her name is, and when he hears it, kind of mocks her. He asks what she looks like and Chalky admiringly says she’s a beauty. Oscar sends her to the kitchen to whip up some food, along with Scrapper and the other boys. Once alone, he asks Chalky what he came for. Chalky’s evasive, but intimates he’s been betrayed.

Back in AC, Leander’s urging Gillian to accept a $37,000 offer on the Commodore’s house. She doesn’t think that’s enough for her to raise Tommy and support herself for the rest of her life. Leander asks about her boyfriend, suggesting she push for marriage. She turns her attention to her lawyer, asking what will happen if she loses her custody case. He says there’s always the appeals courts, but honestly, the case could drag on for years, and might see Tommy in a home for friendless children. Gillian starts to look overwhelmed.

Eli meets with Knox and tells him that Nucky’s in business with Meyer, Narcisse, and Lucky now, because he basically had no choice. Knox asks where Chicago fits in and Eli says it doesn’t. Knox tells Eli he needs all the players in a room together, so he can get them on charges of trafficking across state lines. Eli’s clearly wrecked to be doing this and recalls how Nucky protected him, back when they were kids. Knox dangles Will’s future over Eli’s head and Eli agrees to see what he can do. Before he leaves, Knox tells Eli to lay off the booze, because he’s no good to anyone drunk.

Gillian finds Tommy playing out in the Sagorskys’ yard and asks if he knows who she is. He knows she’s mimaw, and that his mother’s dead and his father disappeared, which is fairly well informed, for a kid his age. With a little persuasion, he comes over to her and she embraces him, only to have Richard come out and order her not to touch the boy. Harrow tells her to leave and Gillian asks if he planned this with Julia. He says he didn’t plan anything. Gillian takes Jimmy’s dogtags out of her purse and asks Harrow if she can give them to the boy, so he has something to remember his father by. Richard allows it, and she gently hands them over and tells Tommy to keep them safe. She then asks Richard to take good care of the boy and leaves, surprisingly dignified but clearly struggling not to cry.

Nucky’s hosting family dinner, for a change, at the Albatross. Before they go in, June asks Eli what’s bugging him and he just whines that his brother’s only playing the part of devoted family man. She rolls her eyes and goes in as Nucky comes out to greet them.

Chalky and the other men eat their meal while Daughter does the dishes. Chalky asks Oscar why he continues to live in this place when Chalky’s willing to get him a nice spot in AC. Like Atlantic City’s so hospitable right now, Chalky. Oscar’s happy to remain where he is and be beholden to nobody. Oscar tells him the city’s just a den of vipers, and Chalky claims that’s not so. All evidence to the contrary, Chalky. Scrapper asks if they should all go down to the shore and wash these problems away, but Oscar tells him it’s not as easy as all that. He then turns his attention to the food, which sucks, and says Daughter can’t cook worth a damn. She looks pissed off. She’s also annoyed that Oscar referred to her as an ‘easy rider.’

Gillian goes to see Roy and babbles a bit about how she’s been walking around for ages. He asks if she’s high and she reassures him she’s not, she’s just happy because she’s finally free. And she really does seem happy.

Nucky and Eli meet up on the Albatross porch and Nucky apologises for how things have been going. Eli shortly tells him that’s just life. Nucky brings up Chalky and Eli just as shortly says he made his bed and is off on the lam somewhere. Nucky complains about being strongarmed by Narcisse and Eli reminds him how bad things were just last year, asking if he’s ready for that all over again. He urges Nucky to sit down with New York and Florida and work something out, so they can get their city back. Nucky looks out at the armed guards dotting the beach, and then asks Eli who, on their side, he doesn’t trust. Bader, Eli answers. Nucky’s not worried about him, but brings up both Means and Knox. Eli says Knox is fine.

Roy and Gillian have dinner and she chatters on about how she plans to sell the house now and that Tommy will be better off with Richard and Julia. He tells her she’s making the right decision and he’s happy for her. He also says that the Piggly Wiggly merger’s going through, which’ll mean a big bonus for Roy. Gillian asks why he’s not celebrating and he admits he hates it when things end, and now he’s being sent along somewhere else by the company. She looks downcast, thinking this is a breakup, but instead he tells her how much he admires her and wants her to come along with him and marry him. Just as Leander suggested! Gillian accepts.

Thompson dinner party. They pump Will for info on the mayor and he tells them he walks around his office with his trousers off. Because he doesn’t want to get them wrinkled. The lighthearted mood continues and Will and June push their luck by poking fun at Eli for his hypochondria, which is apparently a thing with him, though I can’t recall ever having seen or heard anything about it before. It’s a good opening for June to mention the life insurance policy he bought from a blue-eyed babyface choirboy type. That description gets Nucky’s attention, and Eli harshly shuts his wife up just a little too late. Dinner mood’s officially been brought down.

Chalky wanders into the living room and watches Scrapper put Oscar down for a nap on the sofa like a fussy baby. Scrapper tells Chalky that Oscar gets tired, but hates to lie down. The others compare old age to infancy, though Scrapper points out that babies at least have their lives ahead of them. One of the guys leaves to go visit the local watering hole and Chalky takes his place at the game of checkers that’s underway. Scrapper asks if Chalky’s as big a deal as Oscar says. Chalky doesn’t really answer, and Scrapper suddenly tells him he’s not afraid of anything. Do we have Chalky’s new Dunn? Chalky spots Daughter out in the garden and leaves them to go talk to her. She brings up Oscar’s slagging off her cooking and Chalky tells her the guy’s just from a different era, like that should excuse plain old bad manners. She asks what they’re doing, just sitting around there, when Chalky’s got a family and wants some people dead. Instead of answering, Chalky asks for more details of her mother’s death, clearly suspecting Narcisse’s part in it. She confirms it, adding that she didn’t know her own name yet, so he called her Daughter and it stuck. That’s surprisingly little imagination for Narcisse. She goes to Chalky and urges him to run away with her and never look back. They’re interrupted by Scrapper, who comes to tell Chalky that Oscar’s looking for him.

Roy and Gillian leave the restaurant, she giddily asking him what their magical future life will be like. They make out for a little bit, and then he goes to pull the car up so she can get in. He’s barely got it started before Pearson, the guy he and Gillian pretended to be married for several episodes back (who was apparently ousted from his job over the merger), comes stumbling into the garage, calling for Roy, who gets out of the car to deal with this. Pearson threatens to show Roy what it’s like to lose everything, and Roy pulls out a gun and shoots the man dead. Gillian directs him to get in the car and get them out of there.

Nucky joins Will for a post-dinner smoke and Will asks what’s up with his dad. Nucky tells him not to worry about it, because Eli’s just a bit touchy. He probes for a little info on the insurance salesman but Will doesn’t have much to offer. June comes out, ignoring the smoking, and announces that she and the girls put everything away, because she likes knowing the place is tidy.

Oscar and Chalky shoot the breeze about how the Commodore apparently screwed Oscar over back in the day. Oscar brings up Nucky, and Chalky, who clearly thinks Nucky set him up to get killed, says that Nucky will pay plenty, soon enough. He asks what he should do for now, though, and Oscar urges him to stay where he is and build something up. Chalky’s not keen on the idea.

Eli’s clan packs into two cars while Will and June bid Nucky goodnight. June takes a moment alone with her brother-in-law to tell him Eli’s drinking again. He offers to talk to him and she says it’ll be fine. She noticeably hesitates before getting into the car with Eli, but obediently gets into the passenger seat. Nucky calls Eli over and teases him with a poem Eli wrote to some girl when he was 13. Eli takes it calmly, because that was decades ago, now. Nucky tells him to put together the Tampa-New York-AC meeting.

Chalky joins Daughter in their bedroom late at night and she starts talking some serious depression talk. Narcisse would not approve. Chalky agrees to run away with her and never look back.

At Gillian’s, Roy is quietly freaking out and ignoring his drink. Gillian tells him he needs it, but he still can’t drink it. She reassures him he acted in self defence, but he thinks he’s a murderer. He wonders what to do now and she forbids him from calling the police and getting carted off to jail. She reminds him that nobody else saw what happened, so they should just let it go. It’s easy, she’s done it! She tells him about Replacement Jimmy’s death last season. Wow, that was really, really stupid of her. Roy’s panicking because he shot a man thinking his life was in danger, but she’s admitting to willfully murdering an innocent young man. Roy, suddenly, calms down and, in a steely voice, calls out: ‘you get that?’ Two other men step out of the shadows and say they did, loud and clear. Roy announces that he’s with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and she just admitted to first-degree murder in front of witnesses. Good thing he had the guys there, right? Also, apparently the lesson this season is that anyone who seems sort of like a Midwestern hayseed is a federal agent, so keep that in mind. Gillian’s confused, but it all gets a bit clearer when Leander steps out and tells her that he owed the Commodore something. And that something was making sure his rape victim got sent to prison? Ok. Guess she did smother the man to death. Roy looks briefly upset, but that doesn’t stop Gillian from lunging at him, and then trying to flee, only to be trapped by the other Pinkertons as she rages, like a caged animal. They pin her to the ground as she wails.

Late at night, Oscar’s asleep on the couch, and Chalky’s asleep upstairs. He wakes and finds Daughter missing, goes downstairs to find her. The couch is also unoccupied, so he goes out on the porch and finds Oscar sitting in the rocking chair with a shotgun. Oscar tells him Daughter’s gone and Chalky yells at him for not stopping her. ‘Why would I?’ Oscar asks, quite reasonably. Seriously, Chalky, it’s not his job to keep your girlfriend around. Oscar gets up and peers into the night, leaving the porch and walking towards the woods. He shouts for whomever is out there to show themselves, and someone shouts, ‘the girl!’ Oscar says she’s not there, so Voice says they’ll take ‘the other one.’ A shot rings out and Oscar falls, wounded. Chalky grabs the gun and begins shooting at the men who emerge from the woods, threatening to put his head on Narcisse’s desk. Scrapper and the others arrive and run off the men, then go to check on Oscar, who’s dead. If Chalky didn’t have enough reason for revenge before, he sure as hell does now.

Meanwhile, Nucky calls Sally for another one of their chats. She asks what’s on his mind, but he can’t seem to bring himself to speak. After a while, he tells her he wants out. Yeah, I would too, after the last few years he’s had.

3 thoughts on “Boardwalk Empire: Nowhere to Hide

  1. [“Oscar shrugs that he’s seen it, in his day (pre-Civil War).”]

    I could see this guy being born right before the Civil War, but I suspect he was still a kid when the war was going on.

    1. [“Gillian’s confused, but it all gets a bit clearer when Leander steps out and tells her that he owed the Commodore something. And that something was making sure his rape victim got sent to prison?”]

      You do recall that it was Gillian who more or less ordered Jimmy to murder the Commodore . . . right? It’s possible that Leander suspected she was involved.

  2. I’m confused-when did Gillian smother the Commodore to death? Jimmy stabbed him to death when the crippled Commodore tried to defend Gillian as Jimmy was strangling her for her unconcsionable suggestion of how to deal with Angela’s death regarding Tommy. Was there an episode death swap-out I am not aware of?

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