Previously on Boardwalk Empire: Lansky went into business in Florida with Nucky, Chalky gave his new singer a hard time, and Eddie killed himself out of extreme guilt for telling Knox about his meeting with Capone.
We open on Nucky sitting in a restaurant, watching his coffee cup vibrate. He’s in a train station, hence the vibrations, and he tells the waiter he never noticed that before. He looks up and sees none other than Margaret coming towards him, with a kicky new haircut. She sits stiffly (this was obviously a prearranged meeting) and tells him she doesn’t have much time. He tries to get some intel on where she works but she chooses to focus instead on the cinnamon roll he has in front of him, reminding him he hates cinnamon. They talk a bit about Nucky’s upcoming trip to Florida, and then Nucky tells her Eddie’s gone. She misunderstands, thinking he just quit, and Nucky can’t quite deal, so he instead of explaining he hands over the gift for Teddy. She backs up and asks what happened to Eddie and Nucky hesitantly hints around that Eddie’s dead. She tries hard to wrap her head around that and scolds him, saying he can’t just turn up and tell her these awful things that happen in his business. She’s trying to live a normal life now. They turn back to the present, and she asks if he’s giving Teddy some kind of creature. ‘I wouldn’t put something alive in a box,’ Nucky says thoughtlessly. Ouch. Both of their faces register as much, and after an awkward moment she thanks him, checks the time, and excuses herself. Before she leaves, she tells Nucky she’s sorry about Eddie, because nobody knew how to look after Nucky like he did.
Down in Washington, Knox tells Hoover he’s working on the assumption that Eddie committed suicide. Hoover’s not pleased and tells Knox his operation is compromised. He wants to focus on people like Emma Goldman, people whom he thinks pose a real threat, not this nationwide criminal network Knox believes in. Knox begs for just a little more time.
Eli, accompanied by Mickey, steps into Eddie’s old room and the two men start looking around for the key to the safety deposit box Eddie opened up on Nucky’s behalf. Mickey’s sure the box will be empty, because why else would Eddie off himself? Mickey finds receipts from Eddie’s last dinner with Ralph, and Eli finds the picture of Eddie’s kids and the suicide note, which is in German. Neither of them can read it, but Mickey tries to make a joke out of it, because he’s kind of a dick. Eli checks out the birdcage and sifts through the seed, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s the key!
Over at the Onyx, Chalky watches his son tickling the ivories during the off hours. Daughter slinks over and tells him she’s working on something new. He tells her people like what she’s doing now, they don’t need anything new. She says she’s bored and asks if he ever feels that way. He snappishly says that, if he does, he keeps it to himself. ‘That doesn’t stop you from feeling it,’ she purrs before heading up onto the stage for a rendition of Melinda Brown. Chalky turns and leaves.
Sagorsky’s at the VA hospital being checked out, and the diagnosis isn’t good: cirrhosis of the liver. The usual reward for years and years of rampant alcoholism. Though it sounds like since Tommy came into his life he’s been doing a bit better—nothing before dinner, at least. But that doesn’t make up for a lifetime of heavy drinking. He says he’ll stop, but it sounds like it might be too late for that.
He emerges from the doctor’s office, looking lost, and then turns and spots Richard down the hallway. He calls out to him, but Richard flees. Sagorsky chases after him, but he slips on the stairs and knocks himself out. When he comes to, Richard’s standing over him. Sagorsky announces that he’s dying.
Eli, smiling insanely, takes Eddie’s driver’s license to the bank so he can get into that safety deposit box. For the record, it seems that Eddie might have been a customer at the House of T&A. Unfortunately, another man at the bank knows Eli, and therefore knows Eli isn’t Eddie, and he tells Eli they need a death certificate and some sort of legal document giving them access to the box. You live, you learn. The man refuses to budge, because he could go to jail over this. Stymied, Eli leaves.
Dinner Chez Chalky. His son talks about jazz, which his mother disapproves of. Maybelle wants some jazz at the wedding reception, but her mother vetoes that, of course. The youngest begs to be excused so the kids can go play some of that heathen jazz music. Once they’re alone, Mrs White tells Chalky he shouldn’t have taken his son to the club, because it puts ideas in his head, and is that what he wants? ‘What does it matter what I want?’ Chalky asks poutily before getting up and stomping out.
Richard’s done the only thing you can do with an alcoholic with a death sentence: taken him to a bar. Sagorsky tells Richard he and Julia both know what he did to get the kid out of that house, and he thinks it’s pretty heroic. Richard admits he’s done other terrible things, and he’s killed so many he stopped counting. Sagorsky says he’s done plenty of awful things himself, including killing a 13-year-old in the Philippines for being somewhat profound and not having ID. And then he came home, got married, and had some kids, because that’s what you do. He tells Richard about his cirrhosis, saying he’ll be dead in a year, but Richard will still be there, because he’s finally come home.
Eli tosses restlessly in bed, keeping his wife awake, so he offers to sleep downstairs. She doesn’t protest, just tells him to take a blanket. He hesitates and suggests going up to Philly to check on their son. June isn’t sure that’s a good idea, because Will will think his dad’s prying, and little birdie needs to fly and all that. With the wisdom of a woman who’s raised a million kids, she reassures her husband that Will will talk when he wants to.
Nucky’s down in Tampa, at Sally’s, meeting with McCoy, who says he’s sorry about Eli. Nucky reminds him that it’s Eddie who died. McCoy gets ready to tell Nucky something important, but then a trio of rednecks come over and ask McCoy if he knows whatever happened to Tucker, the local bigwig McCoy macheted to death last time Nucky was down south. They’re ready to make trouble, but Sally coolly pulls out her shotgun and makes it clear she’s not afraid to use it. The rednecks get lost. Nucky asks him what the hell’s going on and McCoy says Tucker just took off, but it’s ok, he’s got a new investor, named Pierce, who has all kinds of connections. Nucky reluctantly agrees to meet the man, then apologises to Sally for the disturbance.
In come Lansky and Lucky, so I guess they’re friends again, and Nucky gets ready to explain what’s what.
Knox makes a surprise visit to Mickey’s warehouse and asks Mickey and Eli if something’s wrong, because things are pretty quiet around the warehouse. He tells them he just wants to make sure he doesn’t want to get in their way and poke around where he doesn’t belong. Eli thinks he’s looking for a payout and counts out some bills. Knox comes over and takes them off the desk. He turns and finds his exit blocked by Mickey and asks if they’re closed for inventory. Eli says there’s been a death in the family. ‘Was it sudden?’ Knox asks. ‘Just the last few feet,’ Mickey answers. Knox offers to help, if he can, but Eli says it’s all taken care of. But then he thinks of something Knox can do to help and asks to see his badge.
Knox is dispatched to the bank to demand access to the safety deposit box, claiming Eddie was a Prussian nationalist under investigation by the government. The banker folds.
Julia leaves her dad in his room to sleep it off and hears Tommy downstairs, talking to someone. She goes to investigate and finds him chatting with Richard at the door. The boy tells her that Richard was in ‘Wiscon-stin’.
Apparently evening entertainment at Sally’s includes alligator fighting. Fun. Nucky observes that she seems to like the blood sports and she tells him she’s just getting warmed up. I’ll bet. McCoy pulls Nucky aside to meet Pierce, who tells him the rednecks have some nasty gators, but they can be worked with if you get to know them. Nucky introduces Lucky and Lansky, and Pierce seems to recognize Lucky’s name. Talk turns to business, and Nucky reveals that he knows this man’s real name is Petracelli. Everyone seems amicable enough, though Lucky’s awfully quiet. Once they get a moment alone together, Pierce switches over to Italian and we learn the following: he knows Lucky, and he’s also connected to Joe Masseria, which is bad news for Lucky, because presumably Masseria doesn’t know about this particular deal of his. Pierce offers to give Masseria a call so they can all do business together.
Daughter Maitland goes onstage at the Onyx and sings something very different indeed—blues. Apparently not what the guests were expecting in their background music, though they do listen attentively. Chalky is stonefaced.
Eli’s back in Eddie’s room, where Knox finds him, checking out the birds kind of cutely. Knox hands over the contents of the box and claims he was sweating the whole time he was at the bank, although we all know this man doesn’t sweat. Eli’s surprised to see that nothing was stolen, at the same time confirming that Eddie killed himself. Eli tells Knox they have other accounts they need to clean out, so they’ll need to keep using him and his badge. As Knox turns to go, Eli asks him if he speaks any German. Knox lies that he just took a year in high school, but Eli still hands over Eddie’s letter. According to Knox (and who knows if we can believe him), it’s a letter to his son, telling him how happy Eddie is to learn he’s a grandfather. That’s as far as he got before apparently giving up. Eli wonders which of the kids the letter was destined for and worries about something happening to him, leaving his kids behind, unprotected. He starts to cry and Knox hands over a handkerchief, which is monogrammed with JTM. Hmmm.
Lucky’s pacing nervously in his hotel room, getting anxious about Masseria coming after him for leaving him out of the deal. Meyer tells him to chill, saying they’ll just cut Masseria in, but Lucky thinks it’s too late. He considers doing away with Petracelli and backing out of the deal, but Meyer won’t hear of them doing any such thing. Lucky can do what he wants, but Meyer’s staying in. Lucky reminds him that they’re partners, but Meyer calmly says they’re not, not on this, not anymore. Lucky stomps out and Meyer tells him not to touch Petracelli.
Sally delivers a drink to Nucky and pours herself one too. They drink, wincing at the harsh taste. Mmm, moonshine. Nonetheless, they take another drink. Nucky asks what she knows about Petracelli and she plays coy, figuring Nucky’s already made up his mind about the deal. He says he’s not sure, because he’s not certain of things lately. He goes on about how he keeps trying to build something, but he’s not sure why, and he keeps on going, for reasons unknown. He talks about Eddie and how he wonders if he needs to be worried about what he knew. Sally gets tired of his drunk talk and punches him right in the face, which is a really effective way to shut someone up, or at least to get them to change the subject. She helps Nucky back to his feet, and then punches him again, telling him how much she hates a whiner. He says he won’t hit a woman, so she threatens to beat him up some more, so he pops her one in the face. She leaps at him, and soon their tussling turns to sex. Yeah, no surprise there.
Richard, Julia, and Tommy are taking an evening walk by the water. Richard asks about Gillian and hears about her strange visit to the kid’s school. Julia says she doesn’t know or want to know how Gillian lives. She tells him there’s a hearing the following month, and then the judge will decide who gets the kid. She admits it’s hard, because they can’t talk about what happened, so they can protect Richard. He tells her not to worry about that and she says he killed all those men and then ran away. ‘Would you have wanted me to stay?’ he asks. She reminds him that he kind of dumped a kid on her, and while she’s not keen on being a single mom, she’s not sure she can trust Richard anymore. Tommy and Julia head towards home, and when Tommy asks Richard if he’s coming too, Julia says he is. Aww, yay! I always hoped these two crazy kids would make it work.
Nucky arrives at Sally’s the next day to meet with Meyer and McCoy. Meyer tells him he’s covering Lucky’s share, so now it’s Nucky, Meyer, and Petracelli, with McCoy getting a finder’s fee and acting as Nucky’s man on the ground in Florida. Nucky orders up a drink for the road and Sally pours them out. Meyer offers his condolences for Eddie, and they all raise their glasses.
Daughter’s apparently been summoned to Chalky’s office for a scolding. He reminds her that she has a very particular job to do, and it doesn’t include blues. Apparently 10 customers took off during her song. She goes to leave, saying she’s going back to New York, because Chalky doesn’t like her. He says she’ll do what he says. After some back-and-forth about Narcisse, she tells Chalky that she saw him watching her the previous night, and she knows what he is. She once again turns to leave, so he roughly pulls her back and they have sex too. So, apparently, if you treat someone like crap, you’ll get laid. Good thing to know!