Boardwalk Empire: “The Devil You Know”

By Eleonora Iafano on Oct 17, 2014 to Boardwalk Empire

BWE_OneMoreNuckyThis episode showed the demise of two men and if you were rooting for either one of those sorry chaps then this was a tough episode to watch. I guess with only two episodes left, someone had to bite the bullet. Literally. Also if you don’t want to know any more than that then don’t read ahead!

Van Alden and Eli are in a really bad state: cornered by D’Angelo (who is posing as a member of Capone’s gang) and desperate to get the goods on Capone, they venture to the hotel. Their plan is not well thought out and in trying to swindle the ledgers from Capone; they head straight into a trap. The good news is that Capone comes back with two Hollywood types to wine and dine. The bad news is that once Capone is made aware of what transpired, his anger hits the roof. Ralph Capone wants these guys “taken care of” and so does his brother, Al. Unfortunately for Eli and Van Alden, they are expendable chess pieces in the game, to be used and discarded at the slightest whim. Van Alden has a moment where he’s yelling and shaking up Al but the moment ends too soon. D’Angelo is not about to let his own cover be blown, so he kills Van Alden. In a fortuitous move, Ralph hands over the accounting ledgers to D’Angelo, stating that Al would feel a lot better if they were out of sight. Just what D’Angelo (and the FBI) needed to take Capone down. What will become of Eli remains to be seen.

BWE_ChalkyWhiteEndChalky, on the other hand, is not particularly impressed with being inside a brothel and wants to settle a score with Narcisse. Chalky was a wanted man with US Marshalls tracking his every move and his family moved to St. Louis, living under his wife’s maiden name. A man with no family and no home makes for a desperate situation. Imagine his shock when he sees Daughter Maitland there, and with a child, no less. A little girl who appears to be about 6 years old and doesn’t know who her father is. I knew the moment Chalky walked into that brothel that his time was limited; conversing with Narcisse, Chalky finds out many things. The liquor and drug world has changed: Luciano has moved in on Narcisse’s territory; something that Narcisse is fraught with tension over. Daughter Maitland is struggling as a single mother and as a cleaning maid. We find out that she actually produced a record but cannot get booked into any club, due to Narcisse’s influence. Chalky is far from stupid; he understands that without a crew to back him up, having no money to fund his personal revenge and knowing that Althea is his little girl with Daughter Maitland puts him in a precarious position. He wants Daughter and Althea to get as far away from Narcisse as possible and makes a deal with the devil. This deal is non-negotiable and we know that Chalky sealed his fate, all to make sure that his former mistress and child get out from the influence of Narcisse. Once he handed his gun over to Narcisse, Chalk was a dead man. When Chalky steps outside and sees Narcisse walking off into the distance, leaving a few of his men there, we all know what’s about to happen next. Chalky knew and stood there, as the thugs in Narcisse’s crew all drew their guns on him. Strangely enough, it was as if Chalky was tired of running and understood that this was the way it was meant to be. He closes his eyes and hears the strains of Daughter’s voice, singing ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ before he meets his demise. I’m sure fans were not happy with that moment, either. One thing for sure: I want to see Chalky’s death avenged.BWE_VanAldenEnd

Nucky, our beleaguered hero, is seen in a drunken stupor for most of the episode. Taking off from the protection of his hotel room, he wanders off to a bar and proceeds to get really drunk. He can carry a line, alright, and was able to impress a few “ladies” who were at the establishment that he was seen drinking at. Nucky can also throw a mean right hook, to fan’s surprise and delight. The fellow bar patron who had told Nucky and company to shut up found out the hard way that Nucky Thompson is a tough, scrappy guy.

He’s had to be. Flashbacks into his past reveal that he did win the hand of Mabel and that they got married. It’s also revealed to fans that he is expecting a child with her. He’s also seen on the boardwalk, making his rounds and collecting fees from shopkeepers. It’s here that we first find out of the mysterious little thief who is stealing things from local businesses and making off with the stolen goods, only to disappear from thin air. One afternoon, while Eli is talking with his brother about his intended, June, Nucky catches a glimpse of the thief and chases him. Eli aids in the chase and both men find out that it’s not a teenage boy they were after, but a young teenage girl. Her name: “Gillian.”

I wonder (well, I mean we all know the backstory about Gillian and the Commodore) what will happen next episode and if they’ll show Gillian being brought to the Commodore. There’s a moment on the boardwalk when Nucky is making his rounds where he sees something: a lady is bringing her young daughter to the Commodore’s hotel. The woman looks anxious and fearful; the look on Nucky’s face is one of confusion and curiosity. He’s watching this scene and probably wondering exactly what is transpiring, but the moment is cut short when he has business to tend to. I didn’t like that scene one bit. Given the fact that a few episodes ago, we saw the Commodore poring over some blueprints. Before he called the young Nucky into his office, his desk was covered with pictures of young girls. Distasteful and sick, if you ask me.

Getting back to present day, Nucky is drunk, attempting to put the moves on two women in the back of the bar when he gets knocked unconscious by one of them. During his drunk jabbering on, he goes on to say about opportunity, when it arrives you have to take it. Hmm. I wonder if Nucky is reminiscing about the past; about opportunities that he took when they were presented; about the work he did for the Commodore (legal and not so legal) and about the time when he brought a teenage girl, Gillian, to the Commodore. Guilt can be a terrible thing to experience and perhaps Nucky is feeling guilty for the many things that he has done over the years to get ahead. A final glimpse of Nucky back at the club also showcases Mickey Doyle, with a crew of men and a lot of guns.

Trouble is brewing. Tension has reached beyond the boiling point. Something is about to go down. Time will tell who is caught in the crossfire and who lives to tell the tale.

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