Boardwalk Empire Recap: Slap!

Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky set sail forIreland, where he offered McGarrigle a guns-for-liquor deal. McGarrigle turned it down and got shot, so the deal’s on. Back home, Margaret’s daughter Emily was hospitalized with polio, and Esther the prosecutor started looking into the Hans Schroeder murder. Jimmy bungled yet another hit, and Manny the Butcher proved his eminent badassary, which Jimmy will no doubt get to see firsthand very soon.

Hoboken! And…what a glorious place it is too. Crates are lowered from the ships onto the dock as Sleater observes. The crates are marked “Irish Oats”, and I guess customs doesn’t bother to check these things, because they get loaded right onto trucks and delivered to AC, where the actual contents—Irish whiskey—are unloaded at Babette’s and other fine establishments. Meanwhile, on the Boardwalk, the strike amongst the city’s black workers is on. A couple of guys almost stop Sleater from going into the Ritz with a crate of whiskey, but a nod from two higher-ups is all that’s needed for them to step aside so Sleater can deliver his crate to the manager from last week, who’s sitting in the hotel’s silent, empty kitchen, in the dark, all alone. How very emo of him.

Sleater tells the man he’s come from Nucky, and that he’s brought booze. The manager has a taste, and it apparently passes muster, though he wonders who’s going to serve it. Sleater tells him the strike’ll end soon enough, and so will their $30 a crate deal on the whiskey, if he doesn’t agree to it soon. The manager asks for 400 cases.

Things are peaceful at the Van Alden establishment. The nanny’s rocking the baby and feeding her, totally at home because she was the oldest of seven kids and grew up raising babies. Things apparently get a bit too domestic for Van Alden, because he immediately gets up and starts getting ready to leave, but then he spots a letter from his wife, rips it open, and pulls out a petition for divorce. Damn. I didn’t think Mrs. V-A would take that step, especially considering how religious she is.

Margaret, Nucky, and Teddy arrive at the hospital to see Emily. The doctor reports that Emily’s sleeping after having had a rather rough night, but they can go in and see her. Nucky takes Teddy in so Margaret can speak with the doctor, who informs her that Emily’s lungs and heart are ok, but she sustained a lot of damage to her legs, and it’s uncertain whether she’ll walk again. Margaret takes a page from Nucky’s book and tries to throw extra money at the problem, but the doctor gently tells her it’s not a matter of money. He expects to have more information by Friday. Margaret takes a moment to watch a little boy learning to use his crutches in the hallway before going into Emily’s room and giving her a lovely new doll to replace the one that had to be burned last week. She and Nucky fuss over Emily while Teddy sits in a chair nearby, looking either nervous or sullen, it’s hard to tell.

At Mickey Doyle’s, big vats of moonshine are being cooked up and the medicinal alcohol’s being cut, I guess, as Jimmy and his sidekicks arrive for an inspection. Meyer takes a ladleful of the moonshine and drinks a toast to George Remus as Al cackles and Jimmy tells Mickey to get things moving faster. Mickey protests that he only has a few guys working for him, so Jimmy tells him to hire more, and Lucky suggests he cull some workers from the strikers on the Boardwalk. Everyone starts to get on Jimmy, because other people are breathing down their necks, and Mickey, probably unwisely, considering what happened the last time he did this, brings up Manny the Butcher again, who’s still asking for his money. Jimmy does what he should have done in the first place and tells Mickey to pay Manny off. Why’s that Mickey’s job? You’re the one who owes him, right, Jimmy? Jimmy goes to leave, but before he goes, Lucky produces a packet of heroin to show him. He suggests Jimmy start passing out some samples so they can begin building up a clientele.

Nucky’s meeting with his lawyer at his new home office, and he’s not happy with what he’s hearing. The lawyer’s clearly pretty outclassed by Esther, who’s running circles around everyone in AC. She’s already managed to get the trial moved toCamden. Nucky asks the lawyer what he’s doing to get the trial moved to AC, where he can work the judge and jury, and the lawyer lamely offers up medical hardship, on account of Nucky’s hand. Nucky yells that that’s not good enough. The lawyer shrugs that Nucky’ll only get a couple of years in jail. Nucky fires him and sends him on his way. After the lawyer walks out, Nucky notices the front page of the paper’s reporting that the Black Sox Scandal trial’s about to begin.

Some of the city’s movers and shakers are meeting with Jimmy, Eli and co. at the Commodore’s, complaining about their empty hotel rooms and spoiling produce. They tell Jimmy they need to get this problem sorted out, and fast. The Commodore tries to speak, but he can’t manage it, so Jimmy tells him to relax and tells the others to offer a nickel raise across the board. They all raise a fuss about the whole thing just repeating in a year, and the Commodore tries talking again. Jimmy uses that as an excuse to send everyone away, and as he goes, one of the guys growls at Jimmy to do what he’s being paid to do. Since when was Jimmy being paid to act as a sort of racial intermediary?

Bader, one of the few to remain behind, says he thinks Jimmy’s handling this the right way. “No you don’t,” Eli says witheringly before suggesting sending in 50 cops with billyclubs. Jimmy’s not on board with that plan, because he thinks it’ll just start a riot. One of the other guys mentions that Deputy Halloran was talking to Esther the other week, which seems to make Eli nervous, as it should. The other’s aren’t worried, though, because their whole plan is to just blame everything on Nucky.

Uncle Junior brings the subject back to the strike, telling Jimmy his predecessor had no problems keeping the black workers happy. Jimmy says he’s not Nucky, and now that they’ve established that, they should try to come up with an actual solution to this problem. The Commodore finally manages to speak and, essentially, calls Jimmy a wuss.

At night, Margaret’s tucking Teddy into bed. When he finishes his prayers, she suggests he add a special one for Emily, which he obediently does. She kisses him goodnight and goes to leave, but then Teddy suddenly tells her he can’t move his legs. She understandably freaks out, but then he starts giggling, and Margaret slaps the hell out of him. I can’t really blame her for that. Not funny, kid. Nucky comes in as Teddy starts wailing, and wonders what’s going on. Margaret rushes past him to their bedroom, where she curls up on the edge of her bed. Nucky joins her and she muses that the kid has his father’s cruelty. Well, that’s taking it a bit far, Margaret. Who was doing the slapping back there? Nucky reasonably tells her the kid just wants attention, but she won’t hear it. Nucky offers to take Teddy to New York with him the next day to get him out of her hair.

The strikers are still out on the Boardwalk with their signs, signing a hymn. A crew of men—not police, unless they’re plainclothes—suddenly come striding up to them, armed with pipes, clubs, and bats, and before you know it, a regular old melee has broken out. The AC policemen on duty turn and walk away, all except Halloran, who suddenly gets the crap kicked out of him by a couple of the Billyclub Brutes.

In NYC, Nucky’s getting an introduction to Rothstein’s lawyer, who almost immediately hands Teddy a baseball signed by Ty Cobb. Instead of thanking him, Teddy just says that Ty Cobb was a bad man. Maybe so, but he’s a bad man whose signature’s going to be worth something someday, so think futures, kid. Nucky sends Teddy out with the secretary, and the lawyer pulls another Ty Cobb ball out of a drawer full of them (heh) before pouring some drinks and starting to talk about the case. He admits he might not be able to get the trial moved back to AC, but he’s pretty good with juries, so Nucky should be in good hands. And all it’ll cost is $80 per hour. Ouch! Nucky asks Rothstein what he would do in this situation and Rothstein urges him to go for it.

Halloran’s laid up in bed, jaw wired shut, arm in a sling, looking pretty poorly. Eli arrives to visit him and deliver some fresh peas from his wife’s garden. Eli puts on a good show of pretending he had nothing to do with Halloran getting beaten up, even though he clearly ordered it. Eli urges him to think of what he might have done to deserve what happened to him, which confuses poor, dumb Halloran a bit, but by the end of the conversation, it looks like he might be catching on. After Eli leaves, though, Halloran picks up the phone and calls up the post office. See, Eli, the thing is, if you’re going to have one guy in on all your worst sins, including burying a body recently, it’s best to keep him firmly on your side, and having him beaten to within an inch of his life isn’t the way to do it.

Margaret’s at church, praying, when the priest comes up and asks her what’s happening. She tells him about Emily and he sits down beside her, reassuring her that God is with her. Margaret rather bitterly says God was with her when she was stricken, too. The priest brings up her recent confession, and she quickly says she doesn’t want to discuss that. Rightly—what does that have to do with anything? It almost feels like this priest wants to gossip, get a little titillation going, or something, which is just wrong and creepy. The priest tries to make all this relevant by saying she makes requests of God but gives nothing in return. What’re you supposed to give? I thought it was mostly a “just be good” kind of deal. Margaret says she gives her devotion and the priest says that her devotion is something she needs to demonstrate.

Jimmy and Two Face meet up with Chalky to discuss the strike. It starts out fairly amicably, but then Chalky and Dunn bring up the recent attack on the strikers, and the Klansmen shooting up the warehouse way back at the start of the season. Jimmy pleads innocent to both, which kind of just makes him look incompetent as a leader, if you ask me. Chalky thinks so too. Jimmy offers to make Chalky’s murder charge go away by asking the Governor really nicely. Chalky wants more: money for the families of the men who were killed. Jimmy agrees. Chalky also wants the shooters delivered to him personally. That Jimmy can’t agree to. So, no deal.

Cradling his new baseball, Teddy chats on the phone with Margaret before turning in for the night. Nucky gets on briefly to tell her they’ll be home the next day and to wish her goodnight. Once it’s just the boys again, Nucky sits down and tells Teddy about his own sister, Susan, who apparently died of consumption. Nucky admits to being jealous of their sister for getting all of their mom’s attention, but they knew their mother loved them just the same. Teddy suddenly asks Nucky if he’s in trouble, and Nucky admits some people think he did something wrong, but that’s not true at all. Teddy thinks this is about Nucky burning down his dad’s house last season, but Nucky firmly tells him that was an accident. Teddy, cutely calling Nucky “dad,” promises not to tell.

Al arrives at Mickey’s, where the others have gathered to report they can’t sell a drop of their liquor because the whole town’s already supplied with Nucky’s far cheaper (and probably far superior) whiskey. Ha! I kind of like watching some of these guys, but it makes me rather happy to see them fail. I guess it’s because it means Jimmy failed too, and I have no interest in seeing Jimmy succeed these days. Jimmy knows Nucky must be behind this, and the others wonder how he’s getting it in, since Jimmy’s supposed to have the coast guard in his pocket. Lucky darkly observes that Jimmy’s supposed to have a lot of things. Sounds like there’s some dissent in the ranks. Lots of it. The guys all jump down Jimmy’s throat, and Mickey joins in, saying the workers are still striking, and there are more of them than ever out on the Boardwalk, so Jimmy’s screwed all that up too. He’s batting a thousand these days, isn’t he? Jimmy promises to take care of it and he and Lucky start yelling at each other until Meyer steps in to suggest they split up and sell it in their respective towns. Jimmy points out that AC is his town, so Lucky suggests he go to Philly to sell it. “I wouldn’t go there, if I was you,” says Mickey, who’s fast proving to be way smarter than we ever dreamed of. Is it me, or is he getting less annoying, too? Jimmy tells Mickey to take Philly, and he’ll head north. Then he throws a little temper tantrum and starts kicking some of the crates. Lucky and Meyer look disgusted, and even TF seems embarrassed to be associated with Jimmy just now.

Van Alden’s being prepped for the trial by Esther and her henchmen. Esther asks about Hans Schroeder, whose name, along with Margaret’s, appears several times in his files. Van Alden evades the question, so Esther goes off the record and asks if he really thinks Nucky ordered Schroeder’s murder. Van Alden says there’s no doubt in his mind at all. Esther suggests they break for lunch, and once Van Alden’s gone, Lathrop asks Esther if she thinks they have enough. Evidently she does, because she tells him to “bring him in”.

At Manny the Butcher’s house, someone knocks on the door, and Manny is reasonably wary of opening it. Armed with a pistol, he checks to see who it is before opening up to find Mickey on his porch. Mickey comes in and finds himself getting patted down. He passes and is invited to sit. Mickey claims that Manny’s shoulder, which was wounded in last week’s shooting, wasn’t Jimmy’s fault, because the shooting was all Waxy. Manny drops it and asks Mickey what he’s brought. Mickey hands over a bottle of whiskey and offers to deliver $5K worth to settle Jimmy’s debt. Manny points out that Jimmy, while claiming to be innocent of the shooting, won’t come deliver this himself. Mickey claims that Jimmy’s busy.

Manny tosses over the matchbook he got off his would-be assassin and tells Mickey he knows Jimmy was behind the failed hit, and now he’s trying to buy his way out of trouble with a few bottles of whiskey. Yeah, when you put it that way, it’s pretty insulting. Mickey promises Manny won’t have to deal with Jimmy, just Mickey. Manny accepts the payoff but demands Mickey tell him where he can find Jimmy “for a quiet chat.” Mickey tries to wriggle out of talking, so Manny starts to torture him a bit.

Eli’s cooling his heels in a jail cell, which is something of a turnaround for him. Esther comes by, introduces herself, and tells him that Halloran has a lot to say about him. If Eli has anything to say himself, say, about his brother, she’s all ears.

Margaret sits down at her vanity table/jewelry box and packs all her jewelry and the cash she’s been stashing into a purse. She takes it over to the rectory, where she interrupts the priest’s afternoon of opera and wine. She apologizes for disturbing him, and he tells her not to worry about it. He asks after her daughter, and she says the doctors don’t want to make any predictions about her future at this point. He reassures her they just don’t want to give her false hope, but she just wants something to cling to, and she wants her daughter to be cured and to live a long, full, healthy life. He brings up their earlier discussion, and she produces the cash and the jewelry, telling him to take them as a donation for the church. He’s a bit thrown, because that’s not really how it’s done, and he asks her why she’s doing this. She admits it’s a burden to her, a weight on her soul, and she wants to be free of it. He picks up the envelope of cash, leafs through it a moment, and tells her this should be fine.

At his home, Jimmy stands at a window and looks out over the beach. He’s joined by Angela, and they watch a fat man sunbathing for a few moments. Jimmy observes that the man’s just enjoying a nice, carefree afternoon. Angela suggests he grab a blanket and join him before she goes to put some flowers in a vase. Jimmy tells her he has to leave town for a few days, and then wonders why she doesn’t immediately ask him why. She says she trusts him, and if he wants her to know, he’ll tell her.

Jimmy says he knows she’s not happy, but he wants to make it up to her and be the person she wants him to be. Angela takes that in, and then tells Jimmy a bad joke she heard that day. They chuckle, and then she kisses him and suggests a little pre-roadtrip sex.

Nucky and Margaret are back at the children’s hospital, meeting with the doctor, who has grave news: Emily had spinal polio and will likely be paralyzed for life. Nucky takes Margaret’s hand, and she rouses herself from her horrified stupor to ask the doctor if the daughter he told her about during their last trip there prayed for Emily. The doctor gently tells her he’s sure she did. Nucky asks what the next step is. The doctor says they’ll measure Emily for braces, then send her home, and when she’s ready, they’ll start therapy. Nucky looks sympathetically at Margaret, who looks back at him in a slightly more hostile manner.

Back home, Teddy pulls a picture of his family—Margaret, little Teddy, baby Emily, and Hans—out of a keepsake box he keeps under the bed. He looks at it for a moment, then tucks it away with his new baseball and slides it back under the bed.

Angela’s fast asleep in bed when Manny walks in (right through the unlocked front door!), gun out, looking for Jimmy. He enters the bedroom, walks over to the bed, claps a hand over her mouth, and drags her out of bed. In the bathroom, the shower is suddenly turned off, and as soon as a figure emerges, Manny shoots. But it’s not Jimmy coming out of the shower, it’s Angela’s latest girlfriend, that novelist she met on the beach. Gotcha, Manny! Farewell, proto-hipster-girl, we hardly knew ye, and kind of didn’t want to anyway. Manny’s so surprised he releases Angela, who races to her dead lover’s side. She’s seriously got the kiss of death with girlfriends, doesn’t she? Manny recovers himself and asks her where Jimmy is. Angela sobs that he’s not there. She begs Manny not to kill her, because she’s got a little boy. Manny tells her to remember that her husband did this to her, and then he raises the gun and fires, killing Angela. Well, damn, I didn’t see that coming. I didn’t really like Angela much, but I wouldn’t have wished that on her. Fare the well, token lesbian! Whatever will HBO do for scintillation now?

Jimmy, meanwhile, is on the road, heading back toPrinceton. Yep, those eating clubs will surely buy up all that hooch, Jimmy, don’t you worry!



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