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Episode 1.11 : Paris Green

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Episode 1.11 “Paris Green”

Nucky and Margaret attend the performance of escape artist Hardeen, “just as good as his brother,” the late Harry Houdini. “Deception requires complicity, however subconscious” Hardeen tells Margaret, which later seems to have hit home with her. Their dinner partner, Harry Prince is flat broke thanks to a [Charles]Ponzi scheme, thereby costing him Annabelle as well. Again on her own, Annabelle reaches out to her former boyfriend Nucky for help (cash). As he did with Margaret, he pulls out a wad of cash and peels off a couple hundred dollars off the top for Annabelle to tide her over for a few months. Her crocodile tears quickly disappear as she offers to revisit their old bedroom adventures. Margaret overhears this walking in, and bitterly notes, “Mr. Thompson’s gift is to never remember who owes him what.” By the way, with the help from Margaret, the League of Women’s Voters is going to formally endorse Bader for mayor.

The next evening, it’s a formal dinner reception with the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Nucky wants Margaret to again play her part. She is wavering under the burden of the guilt from her “arrangement” with Nucky. Fueled by her previous meeting with Agent VanAlden, Margaret confronts Nucky about the death of her husband. “What purpose did it serve to make me a widow?” Try as she might to convince Nucky that she is above it all, Nucky sees through her. "A good person wouldn't be here right now. Although they’re not married, Nucky wants an heir via Margaret and is furious about her “whore-like” practice of (Lysol) birth control. She slaps him and he responds by smashing her dressing mirror with his drinking glass. “You won’t be needing that anymore, will you?” In other words, she won’t be able to look at herself in the mirror after all this.

Margaret packs up her children and leaves the apartment. Nucky turns to Gillian’s favorite card-reader for a glimpse into what his future holds.

While dining at a Chinese restaurant, VanAlden cross-examines Sebso about the death of Billy Winslow. Nucky gives Sebso information on an illegal distillery to help him gain VanAlden’s trust. On their way to making an arrest at the distillery, VanAlden is moved by the baptism being performed in a river by Deacon Cuffy of the Shiloh Baptist church of Atlantic City. Returning to the river during another baptism ceremony, VanAlden commands that Sebso go into the river and unburden his guilt. VanAlden repeatedly forces Sebso under the water, waterboarding him to “unburden his soul,” and to “force out the devil.” He goes too far and Sebso has dead. “Thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked,” VanAlden proclaims to the stunned congregation. He flashes his badge and his gun as he leaves the river.

At Gillian’s request, Jimmy pays a bedside visit to his dying father, the Commodore. The Commodore was 54, and Gillian was 13 when Jimmy was conceived, their meeting arranged by his “pimp,” the town sheriff, Nucky. Nucky was married to Mabel and was ambitious, looking to move up, so he catered to the depraved desires of the Commodore. The Commodore boasts that Atlantic City was a swamp before he arrived. He paved the streets, built hotels. “The wrong man is running this town,” he tells Jimmy. The doctor takes a hair sample from the Commodore and diagnoses that he is suffering from arsenic poisoning. Obviously, someone wants the Commodore dead; to wit, Jimmy confronts Gillian.

Nucky visits Eli, while their father sits on the front porch, upset about the house fire. Eli is furious that Margaret is aware of the truth about her husband’s death. The father of eight, who committed the murder at Nucky’s behest, feels rightfully threatened. “This woman is a liability that you created.” Now that she has something to hold over Nucky, he has “handed her a blank check.” Eli tells him that no one cares about Nucky except for what he can do for him. Nucky compares Eli as Hardeen to Houdini, someone no one would know anything about, if not for his brother. Eli is out as sheriff, his “resignation” accepted by Nucky.

Angela and little Tommy arrive at the Dittrich’s photography store, each with a suitcase in hand, hoping to escape to Paris with Mary. The Dittrich’s skipped town the night before. They return home and are startled by Jimmy. Jimmy decides not to argue with Angela for the sake of Tommy.

Since the murder of two of the D’Alessio brothers, the rest of the D’Alessios have gone into hiding. Harrow goes to Jimmy and offers to travel to Philadelphia to kill their mother, their sisters, and their brother, a dentist. “That would make them stick their heads up."

The investigation of the Black Sox scandal is circling around Rothstein’s associates. He needs help in Chicago….to be continued.

The title "Paris green" has a double meaning. It could imply Angela's hopes for a new future away from Jimmy. Also, the reference is to a poison that is derived from arsenic.

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