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Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: 'The North Star'


Margaret returns


It took about half the season for her to show up, but Nucky’s estranged wife Margaret makes an appearance at Penn Station. To say the interaction between Nucky and Margaret is awkward is putting it nicely. In Nucky’s defense, this is almost 100% Margaret’s fault. She is secretive from the start and Nucky can barely get any information out of her as to how she is doing and what she is up to. She finally tells him she works at an office, pays her brother rent and is “trying to get on with it.”  Nucky tells Margaret “Eddie’s gone” but it seems like Margaret could care less- so much to the fact that she thinks he just left- as opposed to dying (which he did in the last episode). When Nucky responds back with "I wouldn't put something alive in a box,"  Margaret was probably turned off by Nucky even more (remember Owen? Or Mr. Slater?). Nonetheless, Margaret didn’t even want to take Nucky’s birthday gift to Teddy, but after some persuasion she does anyway.


J. Edgar Hoover is not happy with KnoxPhoto: HBO


When word gets out in Washington that Eddie has killed himself, Knox’s boss, J. Edgar Hoover, is none too happy. Eddie’s death severs the only link Knox has to infiltrate Nucky’s gang. Moreover, neither Knox or Hoover know if Eddie told Nucky anything in regards to his interrogation shortly before his death. Knowing he’s now skating on thin ice, Knox asks Hoover for one more shot at trying to take down Nucky.


Eli has some suspicions...about several things…..


Eli and Mickey go to Eddie’s place to try and find the safety deposit box key for the bank that Eddie deposited cash in for Nucky. see what they can find- or can’t find. They uncover the letter Eddie wrote, but it’s in German, so neither Eli or Mickey can read it. Eli finds the key hidden in a  bird cage and goes to the bank to retrieve the money. When the manager prevents Eli from taking the money, Eli reminds him that he was once the sheriff in the town. The manager then reminds Eli that he could go to jail again, so Eli backs off.


Later on, Knox stops by the warehouse, where Eli and Mickey react rather coldly to his presence. After putting some cash on the table for Knox, Eli gets the idea to get Knox to the bank to get the papers released. And that’s exactly what Knox does- giving the manager the impression that he’s hindering an investigation, the manager relents and gives Knox the papers.


Knox goes to Eddie’s, where he gives the papers to Eli, who notices that nothing is missing. Eli then gives Knox Eddie’s letter and asks if he can translate it. Knox gets pretty nervous and mumbles some poor translation (or did he?). Eli then uncovers a photo of Eddie’s kids and starts to get emotional. Eli is worried about his son Willie (he truly has no idea HOW worried he should be) and Knox offers him his handkerchief. When Eli looks at the initials on the handkerchief, the letters W and K are not on there. Hmmmm.


Richard returns for Tommy (?)


Richard comes back to Atlantic City to the V.A. hospital, where oddly enough, he runs smack into Julia’s dad, Paul Sagorsky, who will essentially die in a year from cirrhosis of the liver.  In an effort to offer perhaps some parting wisdom, Paul tells Richard that what he did to get Tommy back (ie: going Rambo inside Gillian’s brothel) makes him a hero. Richard tells him he can’t stay because of how he got Tommy back. Paul then recounts a disturbing story of killing a woman when he was in the service and asks for another drink.


No matter how he sliced it, Paul’s advice seemed to have worked. Richard goes to visit Tommy. As Richard, Julia and Tommy take a walk later in the evening. Julia voices her dissatisfaction with Richard for just dropping off Tommy and leaving. Not sure whether Richard will stay, but it definitely has him thinking.


Nucky looks to close the deal in Tampa and Lucky gets (even more) edgy


Nucky meets Bill McCoy (fresh off from burying a machete into Tucker’s head) in Florida when they are accosted by a bunch of rednecks wondering where Tucker is. Nucky’s had enough of this already, but before tempers ensue, Sally comes out from behind the bar with a shotgun and they back off. McCoy tells Nucky that he wants him to meet another investor he has in mind.


That night, McCoy meets with Nucky (who is joined by Meyer and Lucky) at an alligator fight (after all, it IS Florida) and he meets the prospective investor, Mr. Petrocelli. Petrocelli immediately recognizes Lucky, but plays dumb in front of Nucky. Later on, Petrocelli pulls Lucky aside. He does know him from New York. When he asks Lucky why Joe Masseria isn’t involved in this, Lucky gets scared and thinks the deal is now too risky for him. When he tries to convince Meyer to back out of the deal with him, Meyer refuses and tells him he’s on his own. Lucky leaves very angrily, but Meyer sticks to his plan.

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How Nucky got his groove back


As he’s done most of the season, Nucky is doing a lot of reflecting. Eddie’s death has made him resort to even deeper stages of contemplation. After the crocodile fight, Nucky is drinking with Sally and seems pretty wasted. One minute he’s asking Sally to give him the goods about Petrocelli, then the next minute he’s thinking about Eddie (and possibly Margaret?). Being the understanding woman she is, Sally proceeds to throw Nucky a right hook, which knocks him on the ground. Nucky is now drunk, bloody, and even more confused. Sally says she doesn’t like whiners and hits Nucky again. Nucky then abandons his “no woman hitting” policy and gives her a shot right back. Seemingly both pretty livid at each other, the fight ends how all fist fights usually end: with the guy and girl having sex next to a toilet in the bathroom.


A bruised Nucky returns to Sally’s the next morning to wrap up the deal with Meyer and Lucky. When Meyer tells Nucky that Lucky bailed, Nucky is a little reluctant, but Meyer assures Nucky he has the money. Sally will oversee Nucky’s part of the operation while he is in Atlantic City, Bill gets a finder’s fee, and everybody’s happy, including Nucky, who will hopefully get out of his funk and become a bad ass again.Photo: HBO


Chalky falls off the wagon


The season started so promising for Chalky. His relationship with Nucky was better than ever and The Onyx Club was ready to do some serious business. Then came the Dunn/Cora fiasco and the emergence of Narcisse. All of this has made Chalky really, really angry. As a result, he’s taking his frustrations out on his family as well as Daughter- who has been slyly playing Chalky like a fiddle ever since her arrival.


All it took was for Chalky to disapprove of the songs in Daughter’s set list and that was it. Daughter comes into Chalky’s office a day late (because she feels like it) and Chalky (as only Chalky knows how) rips her a new one (with Narcisse and her setlist his primary bones of contention). The two proceed to go back and forth, jaw to jaw. Then, Chalky finally gives into the sexual tension that’s been lingering between the two and he REALLY lets her have it (And I think you know what I mean by that).


Final thoughts:


-Margaret is so far out of the picture now that bringing her back permanently would be pointless. There’s been too much character development this year. We don’t need to throw ANOTHER character in the mix. The whole scene between her and Nucky was forced.


-Did anyone else think that Eli and Mickey we’re originally raiding Willie’s room for booze when they went to Eddie’s place?


-Not usually one to show his emotions, it seems out of character for Eli to break down like he did. Especially in front of somebody like Knox- whom he’s pretty leery of. There was quite a bit of awkwardness in that scene on both Eli and Knox’s part. Can’t figure it out, but if he wasn’t before, Eli is onto something now. You could feel the tension between the two men in the room during that scene.


-Nucky and Sally. It was only a matter of time….


-Chalky and Daughter. See above.


(SPOILER ALERT)- In real life, Joe Masseria is murdered in 1931- allegedly by Lucky Luciano. Although speculation remains as to whether Luciano had anything to do with this, Masseria is obviously starting to cramp Lucky’s style. Only thing is, Masseria dies years after this episode is taking place. However,  if Luciano did knock off Masseria, you're starting to see possible motives as to why this might happen.


-This is the second straight episode without Narcisse, but he’s still a thorn in Chalky’s side. At one point Chalky refers to him as a a "N— with a dictionary."  Despite the “lingering presence of Narcisse, the writers really should have used him with the same regularity that they did with Gyp Rosetti last season. The more you saw him, the more you wanted him shot dead. Don’t worry though- this could change next week when Narcisse returns.


-It’s wise for Nucky to just give Bill a finder’s fee and nothing else in regards to the Florida deal. The guy is a bumbling train wreck.


With Boardwalk Empire arriving at the halfway point of season four. I thought this episode would have been a little better. People have been complaining all year that the episodes are too slow. While I disagree at times because you need to develop the subplots and I can’t argue about that this week. It was slow AND depressing. Eddie’s death seemingly permeated into every scene. There needs to be less character development, more captivating storylines, and it all has to tie in. I feel by now I’m watching four different television shows.


Last season, you wondered how Nucky and the crew we’re going to avoid slaughter at the hands of Rosetti and his men, what was going to happen to Gillian and her brothel, what Rosetti was going to do next, etc. I don’t really know how Al Capone’s rise to power or Richard possibly wanting custody of Tommy relates to anything Nucky is currently involved with, and Gillian’s storyline is pretty much played out. The most interesting plot is agent Knox and whether he gets his for what he did to Eddie. What will transpire between Rothstein and Meyer (and now Lucky and Masseria) is intriguing, but even the whole Chalky/Dunn/Narcisse triangle needs more screen time. I seriously don’t know where anything else is headed at this stage because not all of the stories seem to bring everything together. Hopefully, the back half of these episodes won’t introduce any new storylines and the excitement level will go up a notch.




Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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