Al Capone showed off his soft side, and Nucky became more aggressive in the latest episode of “Boardwalk Empire.”
Capone comes home to discover his deaf son is staying home from school for the day. His wife says he’s sick, but Al notices the purple bruise on his right cheek. It turns out some new bully smacked him around. Al tries to teach his son to fight, but the kid can’t seem to be as tough as his old man and starts crying. Al comforts his boy and even sings him a song at the end of the episode. Even though his son can’t hear him, it’s sweet to see this side of Capone.
When Al receives his collections from a large man named Jake, he complains about the man’s personal hygiene. Later in the episode, Jake gets beaten up by Joe Miller, one of O’Banion’s men. Al seeks the man down and beats him, possibly to death. Throwing some money on Joe’s body, Al tells the people of the bar to “pay for his funeral.” Even though Al complained about Jake’s hygiene, it looks like he’s willing to stick up for any of his men, even if that does include killing or nearly killing someone.
Nucky walks into the warehouse to inform everyone that their contact at Tabor Heights is dead. He knows it was Gyp Rosetti who killed the sheriff, even though it’s being ruled an “accident.” Nucky informs everyone that the Jersey back roads are the only way alcohol will be delivered to Arnold Rothstein. However, it’s winter time, the roads are icy, and the gas station is the only one until New York. Mickey doesn’t like the idea and decides to have the employees take the Tabor Heights route. Mickey stays behind.
Nucky is also looking for Roland Smith, one of the men who robbed the warehouse. He and Owen go over to his house when he’s not home. They break in and find a lot of liquor. Roland walks in the door, and Nucky takes him hostage. It turns out some of the liquor is from Waxy Gordon. When federal agents arrive at Roland’s house, the three men hide in the basement for a long period of time.
The three men finally emerge, and Roland tries to convince Nucky that he wants to go work for him. Nucky seems OK with the idea, and Owen does, too. Suddenly, Nucky shoots Roland in the back of the head.
“I thought you were going to let him go,” shouts Owen.
“Now, why would you think that?” Nucky replies.
Eli is hiding in Tabor Heights, watching Gyp and the cops make a deal. Somehow, he is able to drive away without anyone seeing him. He sees the cars approaching and tries to stop them, shouting, “It’s an ambush.” Taking Nucky’s advice of not stopping for anyone, the group keeps on going, even though they can see that it’s Eli. Gyp and the gang kill all the men and steal the cars and alcohol.
Joe Masseria pays a visit to Lucky Luciano. Joe is looking to get 30% of Lucky’s heroin operation. An outrageous number, Lucky tries to offer 5%. Unimpressed, Joe tells Lucky that he better watch his back because Rothstein and Lansky will betray him.
Margaret gets her women’s health program underway, and there seems to be a bit of an issue with some of the wording, according to one of the nuns. “Vagina,” “pregnancy,” and “menstruation” are considered inappropriate in her eyes. Margaret and the doctor offer her a box of Kotex, a new product, and laugh over the woman’s puritan manner.
Margaret has a run-in with Mrs. Shearer, the woman who miscarried in the hospital. It looks like she is doing OK, until her husband walks out of a store. Mr. Shearer seems to merely be using the woman to push out babies. At the episode’s end, Margaret is in bed by herself, reading the newspaper. She sees that female aviator Carrie Duncan crashed her plane. This brief moment might change Margaret’s feminist stance.
It may sound hard to say that Al Capone is a likable character, given his gangster background in real life and on “Boardwalk Empire.” But the way the writers portrayed him here was fascinating. I think Stephen Graham should get a nomination of some kind for his acting. He’s been great so far this season, especially in this fantastic episode.
Earlier in the season, Eli asked Mickey Doyle, “How the f**k are you still alive?” I found myself questioning that once again after tonight’s episode. Let’s hope Mickey’s run on the show comes to an end soon.
“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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