Season 4

Season 4 Episode 1 “New York Sour”

It’s a snowy February evening in Warsaw, Indiana, 1924. Two men are headed to Columbus, Ohio and stop off at the Tippe Canoe gas station and restaurant. They won’t make it to Columbus. Richard Harrow guns them both down outside. In his office at Old Mission Title and Insurance company, “middleman” Franklin Werner, who was only taking “orders from Milwaukee,” is staring down the barrel of Harrow’s gun. Harrow refuses his offer of $5,000 to walk away and puts two bullets in his head. Later, Richard returns home to for a sentimental reunion with his sister, Emma.

Nucky is a bachelor living in the Albatross hotel. Trouble with NY hangs from his neck like an albatross, having him always looking over his shoulder. Nucky has called for a big sitdown to broker a peace treaty with Joe Masseria, and his man Lucky Luciano, and Arnold Rothstein, and his man Meyer Lansky. Masseria refuses to shake hands; fifteen of his men were killed. Nucky wants what he has and no more; the casinos, numbers, and the wire south to Cape May, north to Asbury Park, west to Trenton. “What was brought to my doorstep, I returned, and I would expect all of you to do exactly the same,” Nucky rationalizes. “Now why should I trust any word come out of your mouth?” a reasonable question posed by Joe the Boss. Nucky responds with a briefcase full of money. Masseria is satisfied with the tribute, “this ends that.” Rothstein philosophizes, “All of man’s troubles come from his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself. Is that what you do in here?” “I ran the odds on the way down…on whether you’d attempt to kill me. 14-1 against.” Nucky arranges for Arnold to have no limit stakes at Lolly Steinman’s casino.

Chalky White is now the owner of a club on the boardwalk called the Onyx. He’s looking for acts at his nightclub, and meets with Dickie Pastow, a connected talent booking agent with Owney Madden from Manhattan. Madden runs the Cotton Club in Harlem. His wife is drinking a New York Sour, and propositions Dunn Purnsley. They go back to a hotel and just as they’re getting started, Dickie surprises them with a gun. It’s a game the couple likes to play, and Dickie wants to watch Dunn finish what he started. Instead, Dunn smashes a bottle and kills Dickie with it, practically cutting off his head. The wife escapes from an open window. Chalky is very angry. Nucky and Eli are also there and want the wife found. Dunn disposes of Pastow's body.

Eddie Cantor introduces Nucky to an aspiring actress, and also warns her about him. She seduces Nucky, and makes it clear she is looking for a sugar daddy to make her big on Broadway like Billie Kent. Nucky has Eddie tell her to leave instead. Later, Nucky is on the balcony looking at a photograph sent to him by Captain Bill McCoy, who used to run Nucky’s bootlegging ships. McCoy advises Nucky to come to Florida to see the “big hauls” there, and we know he’s not talking about the fishing. He's talking about a land deal in Manatee County.

Eli’s oldest, Willie, is home from Temple University and wants to learn the family “business.” Nucky advises him to focus on his college grades instead. Agent Stan Sawicki is breaking in a new agent, Warren Knox, and introduces him to Eli and Mickey Cusick Doyle. Eli pays Sawicki for his “above and beyond” help with a problem in Brigantine. Elmer Borst tells Agent Knox that the backdoor of his barn is booby-trapped with a shotgun because his bootleg whiskey is being stolen by other bootleggers. Knox is no rookie after all. He sets up Sawicki, who is killed one night at Borst’s barn, and then Knox kills Borst.

Al Capone brought his two brothers Frank and Ralph to Cicero. They truck in some working girls from Torrio’s cathouse for a party at the “Cicero Quilting Society.” Republican Cicero city manager Joe Klenha is on their payroll. Torrio is getting some unwanted press. The Democrats election promise is to clean up the town. Torrio’s “factotum,” Capone, is upset that they spelled his name wrong in the papers, so he makes a personal visit with the Cicero Daily Tribune reporter to give him the correct spelling

Gillian is in a custody court battle with Julia and Paul Sagorsky for Tommy. They have been raising Tommy since Richard left him with them. Thanks to Gyp Rosetti, Gillian is hooked on heroin, and is also looking for buyers of the Commodore’s estate, the Artemis club, while selling herself at the same time.

Re: Season 4

The Harrow killing spree was cool enough, but did we really need more of that? Hopefully we'll take a break for more character development now that we've met Emma. On a side note, the scene where he shot the guy in the office gave me some serious "No Country For Old Men" vibes, in particular the killing of Woody Harrelson. The opening scene of this episode had the old man whom Chigurh intimidated at the gas station. And of course there's Kelly MacDonald.

That Dunn Purnsley scene was brutal. I found the character of Dickie fairly interesting - you really get an idea of what he's all about from his two scenes. He finds black people entertaining, in more ways than one. I can't say he exactly deserved what he got, but he really had it coming. You don't ambush a man like that, it was humiliating. If he had been more straightforward with Dunn and said "i want to watch you bang my hot wife", things might have gone better for him.

Meanwhile, Chalky's treatment of Purnsley was interesting. Calling him "Sweetback" seemed pretty funny and amicable at first, but later when he was yelling at Purnsley from inside the car and laughing with Eli, he really seemed like a hardcore Uncle Tom. It figures. Chalky really backed Nucky in the gang war, and Nucky owed him that club. But now that he has it, he has to bend backwards to stay in Nucky's good graces. And of course, a huge part of it is that he's black. Nucky will hold that over his head for as long as it's relevant.

Gillian is always interesting. She's losing less and less of her childlike flourish every episode. Now she is fundamentally a crack whore. I have this theory, tying into the show's parallels with Wizard of Oz, that Gillian will become a repulsive hag by the end of the series, in fitting with her Wicked Witch role. Her skin is already getting bad, and with further heroin use it will only get worse. And, of course, she will continue aging. It will still take a lot of makeup work to make Gretchen Mol ugly, but they could pull it off. At the end of the season 3 episode "Sunday Best", they showed an angle on Gillian that really made her look much older and less attractive. Back to her role this episode, I really enjoyed her introduction, telling one of her sentimental stories in the courtroom. Dominic Chianese as Leander was also there, I'm always glad to see him. Another scene that made an impression was after she took the heroin, she's next shown as a blurry figure in the background. Nice touch by Tim Van Patten there.
Taps, lights out, 2200 hours. What's missing? Give up? Television.

Re: Season 4

Season 4 Episode 2 “Resignation”
Van Alden (now George Mueller) is a delivery and also collections man” for florist and gangster, Dean O’Banion. Van Alden is satisfied that he manages to make do, but who wants to settle for that? Capone needs muscle men to help keep Cicero voters “informed” at a political rally, and O’Banion will supply him some men, including Van Alden, who can think on his feet. O’Banion wants him to keep close to Al and Frank Capone. “They’re moving in the sticks (Cicero), hats off, bon voyage. If they make a peep about staying in Chicago, between bites of macaroni, then that’s something I should know.” Capone enters the rally. “Who’s feeling like a hero?” he shouts, and then starts bashing heads with a lead pipe. Van Alden is bloodied and shaken.

Richard is home with Emma, their father is dead. She had a very rough year, “orphaned in April, married in May, pregnant in August, widowed in November, and they say nothing happens in Plover.” Plover county Wisconsin assessor sent her a letter, three years back taxes past due. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. Whatever brought you home, I’m glad, but if don’t come back this time, don’t come back again, I couldn’t bear it.” Richard has another appointment, this time at the Veterans Bureau in Milwaukee. Carl Billings met Richard on a train and he contracted Richard to kill Werner, the man from the Veterans Bureau, and the men sent after Billings. The three men were going to make a fortune together. Richard spares him because he has a wife and two girls. Another gunman finishes the job instead, finding the tax assessment that Richard accidentally left behind at the scene. Now he knows where to find Richard. Later, Emma needs Richard to put down the family dog, Sampson, but he can’t. “I don’t want any more of it (killing). “ Emma takes his pistol and kills Sampson.

Chalky is proudly showing off his new nightclub, with English wallpaper and custom sconces from Paris, to his daughter’s fianc? Samuel Crawford and his parents. That evening, once again, we see salesman George Baxter, who compliments Chalky on the nightclub, and rubs his head for “good luck.” Dr. Valentin Narcisse observes the scene from the private rooms. He is in Atlantic City, with Mrs. Alma Pastor, looking for Dunn Purnsley. Dickie Pastor was his employee, and he wants to collect damages. Narcisse is soft spoken, and likes to quote bible verses. Chalky tells him to go to Newark to find Pastor, but Valentin calmly sees through the lie. Narcisse dismisses him, “I like this room. One looks down in secret and sees many things. You know what I saw? A servant pretending to be king.” What Chalky doesn’t know, is that Valentin controls all the performers and has ordered them to not work for Chalky. The musicians hand him a card from Narcisse (which he can’t read). It reads, “A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who dispatched him. (John 13).”

Narcisse and Chalky sit down with Nucky. Alma Pastor puts on an acting performance claiming she was raped. “A rapist kills and a killer lies.” Chalky refuses to pay off Narcisse’s Trinidad ass. Nucky agrees to give him 10% of the club; it’s better off settled. “Only kings understand each other.” Dickie was a loss, a very great loss. Narcisse knew Alma was lying, but he used her to serve a purpose, and now he no longer needs her. He philosophizes, “A thing mixed is a thing weakened to hide the impurities, but they are there, and with each dilution the spirit slips away.” On the ride back with Narcisse, the car stops, and Pastor’s wife is strangled with a rope and left behind on Bader’s construction site.

For eleven years, Eddie still waits on Nucky, and breakfast is overcooked. He needs help in his duties, but is too proud to accept it despite Nucky’s consideration. Eddies threatens to resign if he is not promoted. Nucky is headed to Florida. Before then, Mayor Ed Bader is having a press conference at the groundbreaking of his new church and school construction site for the Diocese. Nucky isn’t pleased that he has to go to Bader looking for his cut. When asked for his opinion on the matter, Eddie deadpans, “Mr Thompson is part of everything. He is in the sky and the sea. He is in the dreams of children everywhere. He is all that there is, forever.” Bader agrees to pay to avoid the “headaches.” Eddie has been promoted and will now collect the money for Nucky, and someone else will bring Nucky his meals.

At the liquor warehouse, Nucky meets with Van Alden’s old Treasury Dept. Supervisor, Fred Elliot, who introduces him to Warren Knox, the new head of Prohibition Enforcement in Atlantic City. From now on, the way the system works is that Know goes to Eli if there is a problem. Nucky double checks Knox’s background with Gaston Bullock Means, who confirms what Nucky already believed to be true. Once again, Knox has everyone fooled. His real name is Jim and he is an undercover operative, working for Acting Bureau of Investigation Director, J. Edgar Hoover. Elliot is in big trouble for obstruction of justice.

Re: Season 4

Episode 4.3 “Acres of Diamonds”

Nucky travels to Tampa to meet with Bill McCoy. “Nuck, Tucker is very excited to meet you.” “Most people are, until they do.” Nucky encounters Skeeter Walsh, a binder boy, taking 10% deposits on property sales, and business is booming. At a speakeasy run by Sally Wheet, August Tucker, son of Georgia moonshiners, offers Nucky a 14,000 acre land deal which he says will make Nucky millions. Nucky turns down the deal, the land is worthless, and Tucker is furious his time was wasted. “You weren’t the one who came all the way down here,” Nucky retorts. McCoy needed Nucky to agree to the deal to get out from under a $200,000 debt to Tucker for Scotch that was confiscated. “If you’d come to me as a friend, it’d be different now.” (Reminds me of the opening scene of the Godfather, “had you come to me in friendship…”) . Nucky returns to Sally’s speakeasy to speak with a sympathetic bartender. Until prohibition he was a happy, and corrupt run-of-the-mill city official. “Plenty of money, plenty of friends, plenty of everything. Then suddenly plenty wasn’t enough.” Sally sends Nucky an alligator toy to give to Teddy, who still lives with Margaret in Brooklyn. Nucky reconsiders the deal and decides to help McCoy. Too late. Tucker confronted McCoy, tried to strangle him, and ended up dead, with a machete in his skull.

Richard buries his revolver with his dog. Emma’s ex-brother-in law, Hubert McCready is now a suitor for her. Richard offers her money back taxes but she sold the Hudson car and paid them. He is suspicious of the phone call he received. While cleaning out the barn, Richard is met by Carl Billings along with a gunman. Billings in angry Richard did not finish the job he paid for, leaving a man alive. “As I recall you said it was the one thing on Earth you were good at.” Richard hasn’t spent any of the money. “This makes you honest? You don’t have any kind of code. You kill for hire. And this just makes you stupid. And how do you trust a stupid man?” Richard pulls out a knife and kills the gunman, but Billings has him at gunpoint, looking to do Richard a favor by killing him. Instead, Emma kills Billings with her shotgun. The next day, Hubert comes by to take Richard to the train station. “Send me an address, if you want me to know where you are,” she pleads.

Narcisse holds court in his office lecturing young men under the banner of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. “The new negro must be tutored in thought and culture…No man who continues to add to the material intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is left long without proper reward.” He also controls the local numbers racket amongst his many business ventures. Owney Madden introduces him to Arnold Rothstein in order to purchase 20 lbs of uncut heroin. Rothstein’s price $80,000 in cash, large bills only, causes Narcisse to be insulted. Jack Diamond will collect the money for Rothstein.

Narcisse, now “partners” with Chalky brings Daughter Maitland, a jazz improvisation and blues performer at the Cotton Club, to work at Chalky’s Onyx. He notices Chalky bossing Dunn Purnsley around. When men make themselves into brutes it is just to treat them as brutes. Narcisse approaches Purnsley to gauge his loyalty to Chalky, “who ain’t never been my friend.” Narcisse is attempting to recruit Purnsley in his heroin trade. Heroin is “freedom, power, control over men who are lesser than you, Chalky White is one of those men.”

At Temple, Willie listens to a recording of Russell Conwell’s “Acres of Diamonds” speech, “It is your duty to get rich…The men who get rich may be the most honest men in the community.... Let us remember there is not a poor person in the United States who was not made poor by his own shortcomings.” Willie is trying to impress a couple coeds by promising some bootleg booze. He goes to see Mickey Doyle, who gives him a slap in the mouth…and a case of rye whiskey. Thompson is the big hero at the college party, and he gets the girl, or starts to before they are interrupted.

Gillian is pretending to be the wife of Roy Phillips, a Piggly Wiggly grocery store executive, for a business dinner at the Onyx. After dinner, she is caught off guard by a friend of her late young friend, Roger McAllister from Evansville, Indiana (Episode 3.6 "Ging Gang Goolie"). D?j? vu all over again, her dinner guests were also from Evansville.

Re: Season 4

Episode 4.4 “All In”

Nucky considers a move to Florida and leaving Atlantic City to Eli. At the Onyx, Nucky tries to sell Rothstein and Meyer Lansky on the Florida operation, 14,000 acres at $70/acre. Rum from the Bahamas and Cuba will be the new “Gold Rush.” Nucky needs a partner with a level head and $500,000. “Who to believe the Nucky, who told me only weeks ago that he was satisified with what he had, or the Nucky who stands before me now?” “Circumstances change Arnold, people change,” Nucky answers.

Rothstein wants to deliberate his decision over a game of high stakes poker. “I find you don’t really know a man until you play cards with him.” “I suppose an intermediate position is better than none at all,” Rothstein muses about Nucky’s style of playing at the poker table. Nucky wants to keep his wagers conservative, but Rothstein believes in betting big in a “game of skill.” “I would play against me like you mean it.” Rothstein takes out an additional $200,000 marker and surprisingly loses big in poker against Nucky and a boorish player making frequent anti-Semitic remarks. The insults irritate Lansky but Rothstein let them doesn’t bother him. “It’s all an aspect of the contest.”

Nucky decides Rothstein is not the right partner, and walks away from the table the big winner. Rothstein continues playing nearly to dawn, starting to lose his proud composure, when Lansky advises him to walk away. Lansky begs Nucky not to advance Rothstein any more money, even though Nucky has extended Rothstein up to $1,000,000 in credit. Nucky tells Lansky the Florida deal is off the table, “I can’t rely on a man so blinded by his obsession with winning.” Lansky offers to take Rothstein’s place in the deal. “Mr. Rothstein is not my boss. We share business dealings …” Lansky shares with Nucky his story of his Russian roots, and when, as a school kid, he first met Charlie “Lucky” Luciano. Today, they are now responsible business partners, making more money than the President of the United States. Lansky beats up the anti-Semite gambler in the alley.

Knox briefs J.Edgar Hoover and fellow FBI agents on Nucky’s operation and how it fits in with a national crime syndicate. Waxey Gordon in Philly, King Solomon in Boston, John Torrio in Chicago, Arnold Rothstein and Joe Masseria in NY, all tied together. He proposes to break the weakest link in Nucky’s chain. Eddie has a package, $10,000, for Ralph “Mr. Brown” Capone on the 5:20 Broadway Limited at the train station. The two go to the Knife and Fork for dinner and later for drinks at a German bar. Eddie is widowed with two grown sons in Germany, a dental surgeon and one who is the assistant to the local Burgermeister (mayor). “A chef?” Capone assumes. After a long night of carousing, the next morning, Eddie drops off Ralph Capone at the train station. Eddie is then arrested by “Agent Knox” and another FBI agent.

Al and Frank Capone are going to personally make Jake Guzik’s collections, as he lies in a hospital bed recovering from a heart attack. Van Alden delivers day old daisies courtesy of Dean O’ Banion. They bring along Van Alden. Jerry Flentje, one of their collections, is tossed out of a second story apartment window, onto the roof of a car. Van Alden is still making bootleg Akavit on the side. That evening, they boost one of O’Banion’s truckloads of booze from one of his speakeasies. Unbeknownst to them, one of O’Banion’s men is in the back of the hijacked truck, and Capone kills him with a machine gun after Van Alden’s gun misfires. Capone offers Van Alden a job “working the elections,” busting heads, and as a reward they’ll allow Van Alden to sell his liquor in Cicero. “Cicero is where the action is gonna be,” Frank Capone brags.

Dunn Purnsley tells Chalky he has to tend to a sick mother in Baltimore. Instead, Purnsley goes to Narcisse at his Universal Negro Improvement Association office to give him the proceeds from a heroin sale. Narcisse is angry, wanting to keep up the illusion in his office anyway, that he is a respectable man. He dismisses Purnsley as having made a wasted trip, while pocketing the envelope with the money. That evening the two go for a stroll. “Industriousness is a rarely acknowledged virtue of the negro so I accept and acknowledge” Purnsley’s apology for the earlier visit. “Your Mr. White, his time is past and his place uncertain.” Narcisse describes the Onyx and Chalky’s control of the Northside as “a plantation run by Nordics who throw you scraps enough to keep you from starving but not enough to make your belly full.” Purnsley beats up a man at Narcisse’s prompting.

Willie Thompson is unhappy at Temple. At a party, Willie plays a practical joke on Henry, one of his bullies, giving him their own mixture milk of magnesia mixed in with his booze, causing him embarrassing and humiliating diarrhea. Willie’s nemesis dies overnight.

Re: Season 4

Ep 4.5 Erlkonig
Ten witnesses testified that Willie brought the alcohol and the District Attorney is considering a charge of manslaughter. The coroner has determined that Henry Gaines died from poisoning. Willie calls Uncle Nucky for help. “The liquor came from me. I didn’t know and now there’s a problem.” Nucky is going to talk to the District Attorney, to see if he’s just fishing or if he’s going to press charges. Instead, he meets with his assistant, Eugene Mulhearne, much to Nucky’s irritation. “Your boss and Waxey Gordon had a conversation this morning, at my request, and it was agreed that this occurrence, terrible as it was, isn’t anybody’s fault.” Henry Gaines’ father is a major contributor to the Pennsylvania Republican party, and doesn’t want to hear about life’s random misfortunes. “Someone’s got to answer for this. We just don’t have any choice.” Nucky went to State Normal in Trenton (now the College of New Jersey) with aspirations of being a teacher, that is, until the Commodore needed him. Later, Nucky and Eli meet with the District Attorney, Lawrence Eisley. Nucky coached Eli well…”the first thing I want to say is Henry Gaines was a pal of mine.” Back at Willie’s dorm, Nucky passes on some wisdom. “The only thing you can count on is blood. The blood that’s in your veins and that which is in mine. The rage you feel is a gift. Use it, but don’t let anyone see it. Know that I’m watching over you. Show me the person you intend to be.” Willie’s roommate, Clayton Davies, is offered up as the sacrificial lamb and is arrested and charged.

Eddie is being interrogated by Agent Knox and maintains his innocence. They are holding him all day without charges. The pistol they found up his sleeve was for “protection against Apaches.” Knox says “You’re a good soldier. The more I see of you, the more I like, but let me ask this, would [Nucky] do the same for you?” “The world is going on without you. Nucky Thompson is going on without you.” Knox tries to make Eddie feel abandoned, not knowing that Nucky is tied up in Philadelphia with Willie. That doesn’t work, so Knox punches Eddie in the stomach and declares, “I’m going to own every last bit of you.” Knox is able to get some background information on Eddie from Germany.

It turns out Eddie was an assistant manager at a department store, had an affair and a mistress, and embezzled from his company before leaving for America. His sons Konrad and Lucas are grown men, both changed their name out of shame. Knox threatens deportation, “Six days from now you’ll be in the custody of the Hanover police, and you and your boys can get acquainted all over again. Think how glad they’ll be to see you.” Knox asks Eddie about Goethe’s tale of the Elf King, Der Erlkonig. The son tried to warn his father that he was in danger, but the father didn’t believe him, and he died.

Knox wants information from Eddie as a demonstration of loyalty. Eddie informs them it was Ralph Capone who he delivered the money to at Nucky’s request. That evening Eddie returns. Nucky can’t even dress himself without Eddie; his socks are mismatched. Eddie rearranges Nucky’s sock drawer, writes a note in German, and jumps out the window and kills himself.

Men are parading around, campaigning democrat Bill Pflaum for Cicero. “A straight town is a healthy town. Healthy for your family. Healthy for you.” Frank Capone picks up Van Alden and takes him to Al’s office. It’s election day and also April Fools. “Those suckers, they’re going to find out the jokes on them.” You done bad things… to the guy you work for. You got a little wild streak. Franks tells him, “Go out there pick out the best 20 men you can find. Take them over to the main gate at Western Electric. Help the voters make up their minds.” Al gives Van Alden some cocaine to “perk things up.” Van Alden has to make sure people vote for Klenha or not at all. His men are ready to bust heads, but Van Alden tries to maintain order, until someone takes a swing at him. A fight begins but the men quickly run behind their factory gate. Later, more men join them behind the gate. Al and Frank and their men are now outnumbered. The gate reopens and a huge melee breaks out. Van Alden, dazed from a beating, draws out his gun. The crowd sees the gun and starts to disperse. Van Alden staggers with his gun pointed at Al Capone who is on the ground struggling to stand again. Frank Capone see this and starts to go for his gun, but instead, like Sonny Corleone, he is repeatedly gunned down by several men. At the morgue Van Alden tells Capone, “The word is they were Chicago detectives, a special squad. They said someone called and told them the Cicero police couldn’t be trusted.” Frank was always the cool, levelheaded one of the family, keeping Al in check. Now, he’s gone, and Al is out for blood, “Every f-g thing that crawls is gonna pay.”

Gillian is trying to reach Roy Phillips. She’s in a “period of transition.” Once again she’s in court in a custody battle for her grandson, Tommy. She propositions the judge, and asks her to leave immediately. Later she goes to the barber shop looking for Dunn Purnsley, looking for a heroin fix. She tries to pick up Tommy from school but she is turned away by Julia Sagorsky. Roy Phillips is willing to accept her and all her baggage all the same.

Re: Season 4

Ep. 4.6 "The North Star"

The loss of Eddie pervades the entire episode.

Eli and Mickey go through Eddie's belongings. They find Eddie's letter and Mickey has a not so literal translation. "Dear everybody. I stole the money and jumped out the window. I am bad. Also, $1.09 for stationery." Eli goes to the bank to get access to Eddie's safe deposit box, and is turned away.

In Washington, J. Edgar Hoover discusses Eddie's suicide with Knox. It is Knox' theory that Nucky is the "lynchpin of a nationwide criminal conspiracy." Hoover feels the operation is now compromised, months of work, hundreds maybe thousands of man hours in a "noble cause." "At least do me the courtesy of pretending you were ever on board with this," Knox tells him. (History tells us that Hoover didn't believe there was organized crime until the Apalachin Meeting of 1957) The Bureau needs to be putting its resources toward real agitators, anarchists (Cyril Briggs, Marcus Garvey, Emma Goldman)

Knox goes to the Mickey's warehouse. Mickey and Eli see it as their monthly shakedown and give Knox some money. He notices their operation is shut down. "Death in the family," Mickey tells him. Was it sudden? "Just the last few feet," Mickey deadpans. They use Knox to get into Eddie's safe deposit box, as he flashes his badge intimidating the bank president. Eli is surprised to find all the money was there, so he is very curious why Eddie killed himself. Knox translates Eddie's final letter to his son. Eli gets sentimental, starts to cry about this own son, and Knox hands him a handkerchief with the initials J.M.T. (James M. Tolliver, Knox' real name). Remember, Hoover did warn "Knox" what would happen if his cover was blown.

Nucky goes his "whole life with things right under his nose." He is having breakfast at Pennsylvania Station in NYC on his way to Tampa to close the deal with Bill McCoy. Margaret has a very brief, cold meeting with him at the station. She lives with her brother, and has a job as an office worker, but won't say more than that. Nucky tries to tell her about Eddie. She interrupts, "I don't mean to be callous... You can't turn up and tell me things like this...the things that go on in your business as if it's normal." Gee, thanks for stopping by Margaret. Your little five minute scene, and first appearance in six episodes this season added...... nothing to the story. I guess that gratuitous throw-in cameo could finally wrap up your storyline, but unfortunately I doubt it will.

At Sally's speakeasy in Tampa, locals grill Bill McCoy over the disappearance of Augie Tucker. Sally pulls out her shotgun, and they leave. That evening, once again, a drunken Nucky drowns his sorrows with his bartender, Sally. Eddie was his North Star, and now Nucky seems adrift, and no longer comfortable at home in Atlantic City. He rambles, "I wonder if I did nothing. Nothing at all, I wouldn't be happier, But I can't stop. I tried. I get wound up. 14,000 acres. What am I doing? ...The first time I was down here, it was for money. Just money. But there was something. I don't know. Something in the air..." (that's your cue, Phil Collins :D ) She tells Nucky she hates whiners and belts him on the chin, knocking him out on his scrawny ass, down to the floor. He stands up and she belts him again. The two get physical, wrestling around, and then they start to make out and more. "Let's go Sparky, I'll give you something to cry about" Sally's going to watch over Nucky's part of the land investment. Lansky raises a toast to offer condolences about Eddie. "That all happened somewhere else."

Lansky and Luciano arrive at the speak. McCoy's new business contact is a man named Vincent Pierce (Vincenzo Petrucelli). He's offering 14,000 acres and the freedom to ship their product as they please from Cuba. Nucky tells him, 'As long as your concerns don't become my concerns." (right out of the Godfather, Don Corleone to Solozzo, "good luck to you -- as best as your interests don't conflict with my interests" ). Petrucelli knows Luciano is connected with Boss Joe Masseria in NY, and says he'll call his cousin, Masseria. Luciano knows the deal could get him in trouble with Boss Joe, for doing business behind his back, especially with Nucky Thompson, so Luciano wants to back out of the deal. Luciano thinks the only way out is to kill Petrucelli. Lansky insists on going through with the deal on his own.

Paul Sagorsky has a doctor's appointment. He shows signs of erythema, even though he says for the past eight months he no longer drinks before dinner. Sagorsky's terminal; he has one year to live, with cirrhosis of the liver. While there at the hospital, he spots Richard and chases after him, and falls down the steps in pursuit. Over drinks, they discuss the night Richard left Tommy at their door. Rather than condemning Richard for the massacre, Sagorsky praises him. "You got Tommy out of that house, that makes you a hero," Sagorsky tells him. Richard stopped counting how many men he has killed. Sagorsky shares his own horror story of regret from when he was in the army in the Philippines when he killed a 13 year old girl under orders straight from the top. "I am who I am. Who else could I be?" Later, Richard appears at the Sagorsky's door and Tommy greets him, telling him how to find the North Star in the ladle shaped for soup, in the Black Bear, so he can never get lost. There is a hearing next month, and to protect Richard, they can't tell the judge what really happened the night Richard killed all the mobsters at Gillian's (Episode 3.12 "Margate Sands"). Julia doesn't want to raise Tommy by herself, but doesn't know if she can trust Richard.

Over dinner, Chalky and his wife discuss their son's interest in being a club piano player. At the Onyx, Daughter Maitland is trying out a new act on Chalky. He disapproves of her song, W.C. Handy's "The St. Louis Blues" "You think you Ma Rainey." He doesn't like her new number, telling people, "life ain't worth living, building fairy castles like all the white folks do." He dismisses Narcisse as "nothing but a n-r with a dictionary." Predictably, Chalky has his way with Daughter in his office. My suspicion is she turns out to be a deliberate plant by Narcisse in order to extort more money from Chalky. (Am I the only one that notices that Narcisse is short for Narcissism ? The name fits). The irony isnt lost how Chalky derided Dunn for his "15 minutes of jelly," which cost Chalky 10% of his club to Narcisse. Chalky's indiscretion may cost him a lot more than that.

Re: Season 4

Episode 4.7 “William Wilson”
Willie is in literature class listening to the death of Edgar Allen Poe’s character, William Wilson. The murder of Wilson’s doppelganger is also his own suicide. The doppelganger (twin) theme runs through the episode.

Willie tells Eli that he has dropped out of college. Eli is furious and kicks him out of the house. Eli gets drunk, asserting his authority over his own family, and tells off Nucky. Willie runs off to Nucky’s hotel, and Nucky agrees to let him spend the night. “I need men around me who can keep their wits.”

It’s Cherry Blossom season in Washington. Warren Knox (James Tolliver), J. Edgar Hoover, and Esther Randolph are interrogating a “cooperating witness,” George Remus, about Nucky Thompson. Remus’ habit of referring to himself in the third person annoys Hoover to the point of being threatened with Leavenworth federal penitentiary. Remus has already had Harry Daugherty indicted. Hoover is afraid to pursue the investigation into organized crime, in the event he fails spectacularly. Esther Randolph advises him that he should investigate because the new Attorney General, Harlan Stone is supportive of the plan. At a reception with Treasury secretary Andrew Mellon present, Harlan Stone announces that President Coolidge has appointed J. Edgar Hoover, whose integrity, zeal, and sense of morality knows no bounds, as director of the FBI. Hoover boldly claims that thanks to “extensive investigative work on his part,” he has come to the recent “realization that a nationwide criminal conspiracy was at work…bootleggers from NY to Chicago, from Philadelphia to Atlantic City have formed a network of organized crime that he will dismantle.” His law school colleague, Tolliver storms out of the room after Hoover took credit for his work.

Nucky is trying to contact Frederick Elliot, assistant supervisor with the Treasury Department, but is told he no longer works there. That’s because, unbeknownst to Nucky, Elliot is being prosecuted by Hoover (Episode 4.2 “Resignation”) Nucky questions Gaston Bullock Means looking for any and all background on Knox. The JMT handkerchief Knox handed Eli has Nucky very suspicious. Means claims to know only of Knox’ cover story with the Treasury Department, and is setting Nucky up. Tolliver is the only one keeping Means from jail.

The episode takes liberties with the timeline, because Cherry Blossom season is in March-April, whereas It’s May 21st in Chicago, and a policeman is reading the Chicago American newspaper about “Leopold and Loeb Grilled in Child Murder.” Capone walks up to him in broad daylight and shoots him in the head. John Torrio doesn’t want a war with the police. Capone wants Torrio to move on O’Banion knowing he set up the murder of Frank Capone. Torrio doesn’t want his business with O’Banion impeded. O’Banion swears to Torrio that he had nothing to do with cops that killed Frank Capone. Torrio takes an unwanted liquor brewery, Siebens, off O’Banion’s hands for $500,000 as payback for O’Banion’s help with the election. Torrio hands over the money, and O’Banion decides he doesn’t need to count it. Obviously, he wanted a quick transaction as the place is immediately raided; both are arrested. An $100,000 bond is posted for Torrio. Torrio changes his mind and orders Capone to kill O’Banion.

Margaret Rohan works at Connors and Gould, helping her boss, Mr. Bennett to sell junk stock to investors, by playing the foolish woman who talked her husband out of a “lucrative” investment with Anaconda Realty. Her standard line, “It’s a woman’s place to tend to the home; it’s a man’s to tend to the future,” has helped close a few deals. Arnold Rothstein goes to her office, calling himself Abe Redstone (same initials, A.R.). Once again she is called into Bennett’s office to play her part, and Rothstein recognizes her, but allows her to play out her ruse. “I have the distinct feeling we’ve met before…I have it. Gloves. You attended to me at Best & Co., finer mens’ accessories.” She’s too nervous to finish her act but Rothstein agrees to put $150,000 in to Anaconda stock, and gives a personal $100 tip to Margaret. Rothstein calls her, and wants to have a reciprocal arrangement with each keeping the others true identity a secret.

Frankie Yale and Joe Masseria send for Lucky Luciano. Masseria’s cousin, Vincenzo Petrucelli, is the biggest imported of heroin in the southeast. Masseria wants Luciano to go back to Petrucelli to arrange for heroin shipments to NY.

Roy helps Gillian go cold turkey. He complains that although Hewson from A&P is making the merger very difficult, he has happily put her ahead of his business. He began divorce proceedings the day after he met Gillian.

Chalky wants Narcisse to allow Daughter Maitland to stay for another month. The price, Narcisse wants to expand his Universal Negro Improvement Association to the northside of Atlantic City. Deacon Cuffy is upset that more young men of his congregation are dying from heroin overdoses, and he confronts Purnsley, looking for answers from Chalky. Chalky has missed three meetings because he is elsewhere “up there on that boardwalk indisposing himself with the white folk.” Narcisse introduces himself as their savior, offering to breathe new life into the community because their “true scourge is apathy on the part of their leader, Mr. White.” He tries to undermine Chalky with the community saying he’s “a man whose true purpose has been clouded by misguided ambition.” Deacon Cuffy knows Purnsley is behind the heroin sales, and wants to tell Chalky, but instead Purnsley kills him with a quick knife to the stomach.

Daughter tells Chalky the story of how she met Narcisse. Her mother was a prostitute and she witnessed her murder, while hiding in her mother’s closet while her mother conducted her business. All the prostitutes kept a jar of lye under their bed in case their customer got too rough. Her mother did use that jar, and her customer then choked her to death. What she didn’t tell Chalky was that customer was Narcisse, who “put his wings around her ever since.” As suspected, Daughter is playing Chalky under the direction of Narcisse. The episode ends with Daughter singing Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me.”

Two-faced doppelgangers; -
Daughter Maitland
Roy Phillips? (The expression about too good to be true fits)

Re: Season 4

Ep. 4.8. “The Old Ship of Zion”
At Mickey’s warehouse, the first shipment of rum from Tampa arrives in boxes of oranges. Sally Wheet accompanies the shipment. She turns down Nucky’s invitation for dinner. At the Onyx, she flirts with Mickey, offering to go on a rendezvous together, to make Nucky jealous and it works. Nucky clubs Mickey in the head with Eddie’s cane. Sally spends the night with Nucky, and the next day he gives her $1,500 for safeguarding the shipment.

Nucky tells Willie, “I want you to give some thought into how to turn this into an opportunity.” Will wants to learn how things happen in the city. “I just want you to give me a chance to show you that I can be the person that you want me to be.” Back at home, Willie follows Nucky's advice and apologizes to Eli and asks for forgiveness and permission to stay.

Ed Bader is looking for election support from Nucky and Chalky with the African Americans. Nucky sends Willie to work at Ed Bader’s office, and to keep his eyes and ears open. Nucky goes to Chalky to check up on things. “Anything you need to tell me? It’s your side of town and I don’t interfere, but I hear things and I have to ask. I need to know your house is in order.” He advises Chalky to make a donation and “Don’t let your life get out of hand.”

Dunn goes to elderly Miss Monroe’s house, which is full of his junkie customers and where Narcisse’s heroin is cut, mixed with cornstarch and talc, and readied for sale. At Deacon Lemuel Cuffy’s funeral service, a woman sings “The Old Ship of Zion” Members of the congregation are looking over at Chalky. Narcisse is amongst the crowd, consoling those in mourning. Deacon Markham presides over the service and points at Chalky, “Well, might we ask why his leave be so swift and violent? This good and peaceable man.”

Chalky goes to see Dunn at the barbershop. “People jawing about that deacon, eyeing me all hincty.” Chalky brings Dunn and some other men along to Miss Monroe’s house, and busts up the operation. Dunn quickly guns down one of the men named Moses to make sure Chalky doesn’t find out who was really in charge. Chalky finds the announcement of Narcisse’s Ominira “A Tragic Inquiry in One Act” in Moses’ pocket.

In the play, the play seems to be an allegory of how Daughter first met Narcisse. A wanton woman holds her baby, and passes the infant over to Africanus in order to “redeem herself and be freed.” “Oh precious one, think mercifully of your mother, she who gave you life, but could not hold on to life itself.” With this, the woman kills herself with a knife to her stomach. “Daughter, I name you Ominira and freedom is indeed what you shall bring. Live and lead us forward. Lead your people home.” As Narcisse begins to philosophize, Chalky causes a commotion outside. He shows Narcisse the bundles of money from Miss Monroe’s. “Doctor, I come to show you something. Well, this one called Harlem By Torchlight.” Chalky sets the money on fire.

Narcisse goes to Daughter Maitland. “Mr. White will come to you this evening? Will you keep him here? There will be another visitor.” At her apartment, Chalky tells her, “When you sing. That sound. Like you tying up a secret.” He wants her to sing “The Old Ship of Zion.” It saddens him; he hasn’t seen his family since the song was sung at his father’s gravesite. Purnsley arrives, “speaking gospel” that Narcisse was indeed running the heroin and offers to take Chalky to see him to kill Narcisse. “Told you, when he first showed his face, he looking to grab. And he boiling from this afternoon.” Chalky sees through the deception and the two men begin a violent struggle. Chalky manages to drive a sharp piece of wood through Purnsley’s cheek before Purnsley gains the advantage and begins to strangle Chalky. Chalky is near death when suddenly Daughter plunges a kitchen knife into Purnsley’s back, and he collapses and dies instead. She helps to revive Chalky, singing more of the “Old Ship of Zion.”

FBI agents joke about how Rothstein brushed aside a $500,000 loss at the racetrack. Knox/Tolliver still wants to find evidence of a nationwide conspiracy. He visits Clayton in jail bringing Chesterfield cigarettes looking for information on Willie Thompson. Later Knox and another agent visit Eli, and they reveal they are with the FBI. It turns out [Eddie Kessle]r was part of a violent criminal organization that runs Atlantic City. He tells him the whole story of Willie’s incident at Temple, and how Uncle Enoch came to his rescue. “Always worried about your boy. Isn’t that what you said? You were right to be.” “Eddie Kessler had nothing to lose. That’s not you. Make the smart call.” “Bring us your brother along with the criminals he conspires with… and your son stays a free man.” (Remember, this is how the feds got Tony Soprano at the end of the series)

I was drifting away on life's pitiless sea,
And the angry waves threatened my ruin to be,
When away at my side, there I dimly descried,
A stately old vessel, and loudly I cried--
"Ship, a-hoy! Ship, a-hoy!"
And loudly I cried: "Ship a-hoy!"

'Twas the "old ship of Zion," thus sailing along,
All aboard her seemed joyous, I heard their sweet song;
And the Captain's kind ear, ever ready to hear,
Caught my wail of distress, as I cried out in fear--
"Ship, a-hoy! Ship, a-hoy!"
As I cried out in fear: "Ship, a-hoy!"

The good Captain commanded a boat to be low'red,
And with tender compassion, He took me on board;
And I'm happy to-day, all my sins washed away
In the blood of my Saviour; and now I can say--
"Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!"
From my soul I can say: "Bless the Lord!"

O soul, sinking down 'neath sin's merciless wave,
The strong arm of our Captian is mighty to save;
Then trust Him today, no longer delay,
Board the old ship of Zion, and shout on your way:
"Jesus saves! Jesus saves!"
Shout and sing on your way: "Jesus saves!"
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