‘Boardwalk Empire’ S3 / E10 – ‘A Man, A Plan …’

“I’ll leave one morning. Tell her something that sounds convincing and she’ll never see me again.”


A good thing hardly lasts on the ‘Boardwalk,’ a notion that holds true with episode 10, ‘A Man, A Plan …’. A fitting title, one that every character in the show can attest to. Rarely do plans work accordingly in the bootlegging world – in reality as well, for that matter. Some work out better than expected, like Mr. Means’ quick payday, but others fall woefully short – I don’t think that requires an explanation. Richard continues to fall for Ms. Sagorski, Nelson Van Alden owes Capon a favor, Mr. Means dodges a bullet, Gyp deals with an insubordinate while Margaret and Owen’s plans meet an abrupt end.

It’s been clear since season 1 – Richard Harrow’s desires transcend that of endless wealth and power, what he wants is a family. Jimmy understood that and so do we. His relationship with Julia and Tommy represents all he’s ever wanted, a picturesque family – like the one he’s kept scrap booked for so long. But how long can he continue to butt heads with Mr. Sagorski? It looks like a pretty common, dysfunctional father/son-in-law relationship, but like so many plans on the ‘Boardwalk, nothing works out like it’s supposed to. Although things appear to be going Richard’s way I wouldn’t be surprised if something or someone (Gillian) drastically alters his course.

  • How long will this fantasy last?
  • Do you think Richard will go on to work of Nucky?
  • Will Gillian intervene in Richard’s family life?

There’s a new gangster roaming the streets of Chicago and news of his business is traveling fast. Nelson Van Alden has found reliable clientele in the Norwegian factions, seemingly unaware of his trespassing on enemy territory. His movements don’t go unnoticed, Al Capone is anything but understanding when it comes to those disrupting his affairs and he’s got Van Alden right in his crosshairs. A fork to the face and a deal has been made – Van Alden is now indebted to both O’Banion and Capone. With Eli traveling to Chicago to rally Torrio’s men, we’ll see if Mr. Meuller can stay hidden for much longer.

  • Who will Van Alden remain loyal to? O’Banion? Capone? Neither?
  • Do you see Van Alden making a return to Atlantic City?
  • How long can he keep his true identity a secret?

The arrest of George Reemus has sent shockwaves through the corrupt bureaucracy in Washington. With the imminent inditement of Jess Smith, Harry Daugherty’s old friend and partner, Gaston Means see’s an opportunity to better his financial situation – making separate arrangements with both Nucky and Harry to ‘put down’ poor Jess. A routine assassination is flipped on it’s head when Jess surprises Mr. Means – emerging from the shadows with a weapon of his own. After realizing that his oldest friend plotted to have him killed, Jess puts a bullet in his own head. It’s evident that Mr. Means is looking out for himself, but who will he side with in the end? That is, who has the most to offer?

  • With Smith dead, is Harry Daugherty in the clear?
  • Will Nucky’s good political fortunes continue?
  • Who do you see Mr. Means siding with in the end?

“It could have been rogue waves.”

Please, for the love of God, just shut up. Keep your mouth closed. When will people learn to stop talking to Gyp Rosetti? Since episode 1 of this season we’ve seen how Gyp deals with demeaning side remarks. In episode 10, just as before, we get another taste. After loosing a portion of his shipments to the sea, a big-mouth underling intervenes and tries to shed light on the situation. Of course, Rosetti sees this as an insult and responds the only way he knows how. After burying the man up to his neck as the tide rolls in, Gyp is seemingly convinced by the fisherman’s cousin to show mercy. Gyp obliges by bashing the helpless man’s brains in with a shovel – “Because I respect you…” Like heads on spikes, Gyp uses fear and intimidation to run his campaign.

While Rosetti handles business in Tabor Heights, Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano approach Joe Masseria in New York with an offer to get involved in the heroin trade. Despite Masseria’s skepticism behind heroin and his new Jewish partner, he concedes at the cost of information on Nucky Thompson… Nucky is on his own in his fight against Gyp and Joe but what he lacks in resources he makes up for with information – implementing his spies as fake-business decoys. We’ll see if Nucky’s man, McCoy turns up anything of use.

  • Do you see mutiny rising in Rosetti’s ranks?
  • What will Rothstein think of Meyer and Charlie’s dealings with Joe Masseria?
  • Will Nucky’s spies add to the escalating pile of bodies this season?

Our protagonist is fighting desperately to put the pieces of his life back together, starting with Margaret. To do that he needs to quickly and efficiently dispose of Joe Masseria – who better than Owen to deal with such a delicate situation. But Owen has plans of his own. In due time he plans to leave the  liquor business with Margaret at his side,  somewhere out west, with the Indians perhaps. But like so many, plans have changed. We see Owen for the last time packaged and beaten, hand delivered to Nucky at the hands of Joe Masseria. Margaret’s hysterical response to Owen’s broken body is a sobering realization for Nucky – the two had fallen for one another, right behind his back. Now Margaret, like Nucky, is alone, left to raise Owen’s child. I think a nice glass of spoiled milk will solve Margaret’s problem but that remains to be seen.

  • Do you think Margaret will try to self-inflict a miscarriage?
  • Do you see Chalky White raising an army for Nucky?
  • How do you think Nucky will overcome these huge obstacles?

Owen Slater was one of my favorite characters on the ‘Boardwalk.’ I haven’t been this bummed after an episode since Jimmy’s last stand. But like Jimmy’s death, Owen’s demise was inevitable, not only as a testament to the harsh realities of bootlegging but as a reminder to all on the ‘Boardwalk’ that you can’t simply walk away – “it doesn’t work like that.” Who will be the next to fall? Find out next Sunday, 11/15 and join the conversation.

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