Boardwalk Empire Season 4: The North Star

By Eleonora Iafano on Oct 14, 2013 to Boardwalk Empire

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A lot of interesting things went down in this particular episode. Where to begin? This episode may well have been titled, “Love, Land and Lust.”

After an awkward meeting with Margaret, Nucky reflects about things being literally “right under his nose and never noticing.” A lot of things took place under his nose and he was blind to them, half the time. Last season, he couldn’t see the forest for the trees where Billie and Owen/Margaret were concerned. We all know how that turned out. Margaret is reluctant to reveal anything personal about herself to Nucky; in fact, she almost seemed eager to keep what she is doing to herself. This could be a defense mechanism or it could be looked at as self-preservation. The conversation is awkward and strained, at best. The most memorable remarks that stood out in my mind were: “I wouldn’t put something live in a box.” (that cut straight to Margaret’s heart, as we all know what happened to Owen) and – “Nobody knew how to take care of you the way Mr. Kessler did.” (Margaret hit the jackpot with that one) There was no love to be felt between those two. It was a rather cold reunion. If that is a preview of what their relationship is going to be like, bundle up.

With the looming sadness about Eddie committing suicide, feelings must be set aside and business must be attended to. Eli and Mickey pay a visit to Eddie’s apartment, looking for the key to the safety deposit box. They need the money and any other papers in it, to hand over to Nucky. They find a picture of Eddie’s sons, expressing that they didn’t know anything about them. Eli finds the letter, but neither him, nor Mickey can translate, as it is written in German. First things first: the safety deposit box and how to go about getting what they need. However, there’s always one loop hole or another. Eli tries to pull a fast one at the bank but is stopped by the manager. Unimpressed, Eli leaves, determined to get access to that box, one way or another. 

We see a very interesting meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Agent Knox. Knox is convinced that he can find more proof of a national organized society of criminal operations, with Nucky Thompson involved, somehow, some way. Edgar thinks that it has been a big waste of time. Knox says he can still find out information integral to his investigation, without the Thompson brothers guessing his true identity. (this fed bothers me and I really hope he gets what is coming to him) Off he goes, pretending to be all concerned and business as usual when he pays a visit to Eli and Mickey. Funny thing is, the odd, almost off putting exchange between Knox and both Eli and Mickey had me thinking, wishing and hoping that they are on to Knox and know he is a phony. Mickey, with Eddie’s cane, says something pointedly about “trouble with rats.” Eli plays cool. I really hope the way the scene played out is that the two of them saw right through Knox and were making him sweat. This is where that rat, Warren Knox, will come in handy, being a Federal Agent and all. Hence, why Eli says to give him his badge. This little ‘prohee’ is in their employ, may as well have him do a few extra things to save them some time, right?

Julia’s father, Paul, is dying of cirrhosis of the liver. He finds out this news while visiting a doctor for a checkup. As he is leaving and the news of his diagnosis sinks in, he sees Richard and runs after him, only to trip and fall, temporarily knocking himself out. A little while later, Richard and Paul are seen in a bar, having drinks. More like Paul is drinking and doing most of the talking and Richard is sitting there, listening. Richard reveals he killed all the men in the Artemis Club that night. It doesn’t matter to Paul, because as far as he’s concerned, he got Tommy out of there alive and he is a hero for it. He’ll be dead in a years’ time but Richard will be alive. I more or less read into that statement like this: “I want you to take care of my daughter and the boy.”

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Back at the Onyx Club, we see the sultry Miss Maitland speaking with Chalky. Although, the way she was speaking to him, it was for his ears only, deliberately toying with his emotions. She likes the chase and picks up on the fact that while he is all tough and business like, deep down, Chalky is still a man. A man with needs. “Don’t you ever get bored?” Maitland asks him. “If I do, I keep it to myself,” Chalky responds. “But that doesn’t stop you from feeling it…?” taunts Maitland. She is temptation, pure and simple. It’s only a matter of time before Chalky gives in to it.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, Nucky meets with Bill and they discuss meeting another partner, a silent partner, “Mr. Pierce.” Nucky brings two of his own investors into the game, Meyer and Charlie. After visiting the local watering hole/alligator fighting ring, “Mr. Pierce” turns out to be an Italian businessman named Mr. Petrocelli, who has both the finances and the contacts to make the Florida land deal a success. Charlie seems uneasy upon the initial meet and greet. We can understand why – it turns out that Mr. Petrocelli just happens to know Joe Masseria – which puts Charlie in a very awkward position. After a brief exchange in Italian, Petrocelli says he’s happy to see Charlie down there and maybe next time to bring Joe with him, so they can all make money. No matter, Charlie becomes preoccupied with how angry Joe will be and that Mr. Petrocelli just happens to be Joe Masseria’s cousin. (awkward, times two) Meyer, being a businessman, tries to persuade Charlie to look at it from a dollars and cents point of view but this does not comfort Charlie. Meyer decides to go forward with his portion of the deal and Charlie backs out, stating that Meyer can “dig his own grave.”

Meanwhile, back at Sally’s, the thunder and lightning are making the lights flicker on and off. Sally pours him a few shots of some very strong liquor. After downing them, Nucky sits there, waxing poetic about Eddie, about coming down to Florida, about making money and why can’t he just stop already. He is talking out loud and Sally looks like she’s had enough. She gets his attention, alright, by punching him square in the face. He falls right off his stool and onto the floor, both startled and angry. “I just hate a goddamned whiner,” is Sally’s response to him. She tells him she’s going to knock him down again and he punches her right in the face – although he is quick to apologize, she charges at him like an enraged bull. Well, we all know where this was going to lead: hot and humid weather, two adults, both a bit tipsy, perhaps a bit lonely and in need of some sexual healing, give in to the heat of the night.

Julia, Tommy and Richard are on the boardwalk, with Tommy glancing up at the stars. Julia has a very frank talk with Richard, about Tommy, his future, the court decision, Gillian and her future. She wants to keep Tommy in her life but it will be tricky, because the law would most likely favor a married woman, as opposed to a single woman. In fact, she comes straight to the point: “I don’t want to do this alone.” (sounded like a marriage proposal to me, just saying’) Julia and Tommy begin walking down the boardwalk and Tommy stops and turns around. “Are you coming?” he asks Richard. Julia continues to walk ahead, and with a smile on her face, says, “He’s coming.”

boardwalk13_52__1381578965_109.78.14.125Eli and Knox return back to Eddie’s apartment building. Knox went to the bank and retrieved the contents of the safety deposit box. Turns out the money was all there. Now, what I find very interesting is how Eli really plays it up, almost as if he is deliberately throwing Knox off by getting all emotional about having kids and asking Knox to translate the letter that Eddie wrote. Knox spots some stuff about the letter being a happy one, which it was about Eddie becoming a grandfather. Eli states that when you have children, “You always worry.” He begins to cry and Knox hands him a handkerchief – and Eli is quick to note the initials are different. Who is playing who?

We see Chalky sitting in his office, brooding. Maitland comes to see him and he lets her know that he is angry. She deliberately changed her song on the stage the night before and the way she sang that song, well, obviously it got Chalky bothered, and in more than one way. He makes rude comments about Dr. Narcisse and she retorts back that there are other singers and she’ll leave. Chalky gets all puffy and walks with a swagger, his tone and expression meaning business. Instead of shrinking in fear, she rises up to his challenge: “I saw you watching me…”

And we all know where that remark led to: a loss of self-control and sexually charged tension between Chalky and Maitland. Before Maitland came into Chalky’s life, we saw how his domestic life was: his daughter in engaged, his son off to college and his wife, Lenore, believes in being prim and proper. Chalky seems to just go along, not raising a fuss. He seems “bored.” Except when he was with Maitland in his office, he certainly didn’t keep it to himself! Like Adam, who gave into temptation with Eve, we all know that Chalky and Maitland’s tryst will have some consequences down the road.

Until then, here’s a preview for next week’s episode.

  • Didn’t like this episode as much as the previous one. I think it was probably a mistake to slow things back down after last week’s cracker, just as the season was gaining momentum. In saying that though, BE has always been a slow burner, and the end of the season will probably be explosive!

  • VL Vanderveer

    This episode seemed to wrap up a few things while unraveling others. I hate that Eddie’s death was basically skipped over. I get it – unwanted publicity for Nucky, he committed suicide, things were bad – but Nucky was barely affected. Eddie had been with him for years and years, since World War I (as Nucky once said to Eddie in protecting from that anti-German BS), and now Nucky is going, Oh he’s gone okay. Come on, Nuck!! Get emotional! Show that you care!! I loved that Sally hit him and she just may be the “gangster moll” he’s looking for. Patricia Arquette is great so if Sally stays around, you won’t find me upset.

    I do hope that Agent Knox is found out to be a hoax. I’d love to see that kid get thrown out by Nucky and crew or Hoover. Maybe it would be even better coming from Hoover. Knox seems like a younger Van Alden with his determination to prove Nucky is the center of evil, er, alcohol distribution across the country. I get that he’s the protagonist, but come on! Enough of him being the center of the world! It’s like Rothstein and the boys have said before: New York is a place that matters – as are Chicago and Philadelphia – not AC.

    I was glad that Willie wasn’t in this episode; that kid is so annoying. I don’t want him coming back next week, but oh well. If Remus is being questioned by Hoover, THAT should be very interesting. I do wish Remus had been expanded upon more, as he’s a fascinating man.

  • David Pergolini

    2 episodes in a row without Dr. Narcisse? Pretty upsetting.

    This was still a very good character revealing episode, and from the looks of the next episode preview, things are going to start heating up.

  • Eleonora Iafano

    Apologies: thanks to autocorrect, it says “trust” where it should say “tryst.”










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