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Episode 1.05: Nights in Ballygran

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St. Patrick’s day is approaching and the liquor business will be booming. Thank God for the Irish! The big event is the annual Celtic dinner, which will be attended by many local dignitaries, including Nucky and Eli, the Commodore, and some city councilmen. Nucky meets with ward boss James Neary who will be in charge of supplying the traditional green beer for the event. The beer is stored in a garage owned by Neary, on 2727 Caspian, inconveniently located behind the street from Margaret Schroeder.

Margaret is awoken from her sleep by the sound of men wheeling barrels of beer being unloaded off a truck into the garage. She makes up a loaf of soda bread as a gift for Nucky, who see encounters in the lobby of his hotel. He is quick to dismiss her, and her gift (leave it with the bellhop for me), saying he was late for a meeting. She then first reports the beer truck to her friends at a Women’s Temperance League meeting. The women bemoan the lack of local enforcement of the new prohibition laws. Margaret and Mrs. McGarry, the leader of the Temperance League, decide to go to Nucky to report the beer. Nucky tells the women what they want to hear, and he promises them his brother Eli will shut the business down "before the tide goes out." Once again she is awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of more beer being unloaded and this time she confronts the men, and Neary. They tell her not to worry they beer is mainly for the Celtic dinner. The next morning, she puts on her stolen green lingerie, and her finest lavender dress, to once again meet with Nucky. Neary goes in to see Nucky, and Margaret is turned away by his assistant, Eddie.

Feeling hurt, she decides to up the ante and to report the beer to FBI agent VanAlden. He tells her the FBI is aware of 117 such locations and he only has the resources to handle but 10% of the cases. What VanAlden is looking for is a way to tie all the locations together so he can shut them down simultaneously. She is frustrated by all the men who "speak boldly but do nothing." In between the lines, what VanAlden is looking for a way to tie this all to Nucky. She mentions the relationship of Neary to Nucky but doesn’t seem to make the connection herself about Nucky's involvement.

Back to the party planning, the midgets are tired of the demeaning typecasting, and more importantly, their pay performing as Leprechauns. Carl goes to Nucky to negotiate an increase before they agree to perform at the dinner.

Eli has been reading motivational books by Dale Carnegie and wants to campaign for re-election at the Celtic dinner, despite Nucky’s discouragement not to do so. The Irish were only there to have a good time. Reluctantly, Nucky obliges his younger brother. Eli’s speech at the dinner instead gets some in the crowd fighting amongst themselves before Nucky brings the festivities to order back with his charm and a few Irish jokes. The midgets perform in costume and bring in whiskey, in lieu of the green beer, which Nucky said was confiscated by the Feds.

VanAlden and his men raid the party with the orders to shoot anyone who tries to leave. Ward boss Neary is arrested as a result of Margaret’s statement to VanAlden. As the men leave in shame, they are taunted in song outside by the Temperance League, who are carrying protest signs.

VanAlden watches as the barrels of green beer are demolished. A drunken Eli returns home, resentful and jealous of his older brother's influence in town. For the third time, Margaret is awoken from her sleep, this time by Nucky Thompson banging on her door. Nucky cuts to the chase and they passionately embrace in the hallway.

Gillian offers to raise Tommy for Angela, but Angela declines. Perhaps Jimmy’s suspicions about Angela’s affairs with the photographer were correct after all, as we see her go to his store.

In Chicago, Jimmy pays a bedside visit to the recuperating Pearl, who is becoming hooked on her opium painkiller. Torrio wants her out unless she can earn her ($100/day) keep, which is now very unlikely due to her significant facial disfigurement. Jimmy again pays a romantic call to Pearl. He is down the hall, cleaning his clothes in a sink, when he hears a single gunshot. Pearl is dead on the floor of her room with a wound to her head, and a gun by her side, in an apparent suicide. Jimmy goes to a Chinese opium parlor to smoke his troubles away.

In New York, although it is months after the 1919 “Black Sox” World Series has ended, Arnold Rothstein is concerned he will be named into the investigation.
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