This week’s episode of BOARDWALK EMPIRE continues down the same path it’s been on. If the season were given a title, it would be “let’s get the whole gang together for one last party.” Let’s talk about some old friends.
We haven’t seen Chalky since the first episode of the season, and already so much has happened that it wouldn’t be shocking if you needed a reminder of where we left him. After escaping a chain gang with another prisoner named Buck, we find the two of them breaking into a house. One thing is for sure, Buck is fucking crazy. It appears since Buck has the gun, he’s also the one calling the shots. Only his plans are as scattershot as his mind. Chalky knows this, and bides his time while they have the two women of the house hostage.
Now, I’m not sure if the writers decided to do away with the useless character of Buck since he did nothing to advance the story, or if there is a point to the whole damn thing? In my opinion the whole Buck subplot was a waste of time, and advances Chalky no further in his character arc than if he’d escaped on his own. Either way, the hammer to the brain was too long coming.
Here’s where I think Chalky is heading. Other than himself, there are two people he blames for the death of his daughter, Nucky and Dr. Narcisse. Nucky holds some blame since it was his gunman, Richard Harrow, who fired the fateful shot. Dr. Narcisse is the reason things went far enough for the whole scenario to happen in the first place. No matter what, Chalky will be looking for vengeance.
Speaking of Dr. Narcisse, we catch up with him as well. Last time we saw him, J. Edgar Hoover owned him outright. I’m not sure what’s happened to him along the way, but it seems the Dr. is back to his old tricks in Harlem. He’s paid a visit by Luciano and Seigel who offer him protection by Maranzano and the Sicilians. Dr. Narcisse basically tells them to kick rocks, and in return Luciano sends men over to one of Narcisse’s whorehouses and kills everyone there.
What will Dr. Narcisse do in retaliation? As we’ve seen in the past, he isn’t a man to be trifled with. He really has two options that I can foresee. The first, involves Hoover and the feds, but I don’t really see things playing that way. Instead, I think now that Nucky and Narcisse have the same enemies (Luciano, Lansky, and Siegel) they may join forces to put Luciano’s crew in their place.
Nucky on the other hand has been working two angles at the same time. The most important one is his desire to come out of the other end of prohibition with a legitimate business on his hands. To that end, he spends most of the episode lobbying Joseph Kennedy Sr. to go into business with him. The problem is Kennedy is an uptight, teetotaling asshole. He pushes Nucky hard on his family, or lack thereof, and why Nucky wants to go into business together. I don’t see this business relationship going anywhere. Instead I think the other path is Nucky’s route.
This path involves Nucky gearing up for war against Maranzano and Luciano. He’s already getting weapons and men stockpiled with the help of the ever-annoying Doyle. He’s also going to need friends. This is where Capone and Narcisse may come in handy. Capone has helped him once before, and it would be a great way to get Eli into the fold. As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which is where I believe Narcisse will come in. Sure they probably hate each other, but they also hate Luciano just as much. Between the attempted hit on Nucky and the destruction of Narcisse’s whorehouse, I see these two lining up.
Margaret on the other hand is in a whole world of hurt. In the aftermath of her boss killing himself, she’s become the focus as the firm tries to untangle all of the crooked things he was up to. The problem gets even deeper when Arnold Rothstein’s wife gets involved. Mrs. Rothstein’s husband had a lot of money invested in the firm, and Margaret’s signatures are all over the documents pertaining to those investments. Mrs. Rothstein may be the only person who knows Margaret is married to Nucky. She means to sue Margaret for all the missing money and drag her and Nucky’s names through the papers to get it back. This drives Margaret back to Nucky.
More thoughts on the Boardwalk:
– We get a lot of child Nucky flashbacks again. This time we see how Nucky meets his first wife and the love of his life, Mabel.
– Nucky receives a letter with a strange return address … is it from Gillian?
– “Enoch walked with God and he was no more.” Does this mean that Nucky won’t die at the end of the series?
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.