“Bone for Tuna” starts off with a scene of desperation and disillusion. Nucky is shown trying to call his mistress, Billie Kent. After several tries and no luck, Nucky hangs up. As the dream continues, Nucky sees a young boy in front of him. “Hungry, Slugger?” Nucky asks. In his hand appears a frying pan of sizzling bacon. The phone rings, and a gunshot is heard. Nucky looks over to see the pan gone from his hand, and a gun is in its place. The boy is on the floor with a bullet hole on his cheek, the same location where Nucky shot Jimmy. A phone call from Margaret awakens Nucky from his strange nightmare.
Nucky is trying desperately to avoid making an appearance at his church for his upcoming St. Gregory award ceremony. Margaret and the bishop want him to attend, but he says that he’s too busy. He also does not like the idea of the ceremony, calling it a “shakedown.”
Arriving at Tabor Heights, Nucky has a meeting with the very upset Gyp Rosetti. Gyp is upset that he’s not getting any liquor. The two come to an agreement that Gyp will receive one more month’s worth of liquor and a trip to Atlantic City. After that, they go their separate ways. When the meeting is over, Nucky advises Gyp not to take things so personally. That advice will most likely not be taken by the easily angered Rosetti.
In the evening, while waiting for Gyp at a dinner, Nucky has a flashback to a celebration held for Jimmy when he came back from the war. Gyp arrives and interrupts Nucky’s moment of “reminiscing about the old days.” The two toast and bid “bon fortuna” (good luck) to each other. After the dinner, Nucky drops Gyp off at Gillian’s brothel. She’s excited to see Gyp, but she exchanges an awkward look with Nucky.
Margaret convinces Nucky that he has to be at the ceremony. After constant bickering, he follows through. At the award ceremony, Nucky sees the same child from his dream. This time, the child is in place of an altar boy. The vision, obviously that of a young Jimmy, is hard to shake.
After the ceremony, Margaret is able to find a way to get her prenatal education program off to a start. She runs into Dr. Landau and introduces him to the bishop. She talks about the idea and makes it seem like Landau was the one who thought of it. The bishop loves the idea, and tells the doctor that it’s a great idea. It looks like Margaret got her way with the program and also got her way with Nucky coming to the ceremony.
In the episode’s opening scene, Nucky talks to the telephone operator after more failed attempts to reach Billie. He’s worried about her. The operator tells him, “The only thing you have to worry about is when you run out of company, sir.” Nucky spends a good portion of the episode trying to get a hold of Billie. As his marriage with Margaret starts to fade, it looks like Nucky’s love life with his mistress might be falling apart as well. There’s still no answer to who keeps calling her apartment, or who that man at the nightclub was in the previous episode.
Richard Harrow receives word that Mickey Doyle is the one who killed Manny Horvitz. Mickey is spreading the rumor himself. At Mickey’s place, Richard waits for him in the dark. He snatches him and takes him to Nucky. As he explains to Nucky that Mickey is confessing to killing Manny, Mickey comes out and says he was blowing smoke. He just wanted to get some attention. Richard knows he is telling the truth and makes it known to Nucky. He then confesses to killing Manny and lets Mickey go. When asked why, all Richard says is “Angela Darmody.” Richard knows that Nucky killed Jimmy, but he won’t go after him or his family. Richard mentions how Jimmy was a fighter, and luck didn’t go his way this time around. Nucky’s family has also always respected Richard, and he knows that they mean no harm to him.
During this scene, Nucky asks how many people Richard has killed, and if he ever thinks about any of them. 63 is the answer, and Nucky knows the answer to the second question. This scene, along with the other events in the episode, show that Nucky is having trouble with the aftermath of killing Jimmy. It might have been the right thing to do, but there are some serious, emotional effects.
Nelson van Alden, known under his fake name, George Mueller, is still having a difficult time with his new job. His sales aren’t going so well, and his coworkers continue to treat him like garbage. They convince him to join them at a speakeasy after work, which gets raided by police. The officer who confronts Nelson recognizes him as his “neighbor,” and offers a monetary bribe over being arrested.
Gyp gets ready to leave Atlantic City. As his gang pulls up to a gas station to refuel, a sheriff arrives and chats about how he heard Gyp was leaving. When asked by whom, the officer tells him it was one of Nucky’s men. Gyp douses the sheriff in gasoline and lights him on fire. He’s changed his mind and has decided to stay in town.
With no word from Billie, Nucky continues to worry. He ends up going to her apartment and falling asleep on the couch. When he wakes up the next day, he hears the same sizzling, frying pan sound from his dream. He walks into the kitchen and sees that Billie has returned. The fear of being alone has subsided for the time being, as the episode closes with his arms wrapped around her, while she cooks breakfast.
I might have been a bit anxious about the writers bringing the aftermath of killing Jimmy into the series. I was hoping they wouldn’t just briefly mention it and then throw it under the bus. This episode was appropriate in taking its time to go over the feelings Nucky had about killing Jimmy. I’m also glad the writers won’t have Richard going after Nucky. That would seem to be too much for one season.
After last week’s slow burning episode, “Bone for Tuna” seemed to pick things up. I’m still thinking that Gyp and Gillian will become a pair later in the season, whether it’s intimate, to go after Nucky, or both. This season is strong so far.
“Boardwalk Empire” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
David also writes as the Chico Events Examiner and the Chico Movie Examiner.
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