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Boardwalk Empire Episode 9 Recap: Van Alden Halts The Invevitable


Last week in Episode 8 of Boardwalk Empire, it was a turning point for Nucky when his brother Eli was shot following a casino robbery. He may have been out to Chicago for "political business" but the underlying reason is that he wanted Jimmy back.

In Episode 9 entitled "Belle Femme" it leads to some major drama with Jimmy back in town. It always seems that chaos and calamity follows Jimmy wherever he goes.

Nucky Wants Jimmy To Do the Deed

Jimmy is back in Atlantic City and has one modest request for Nucky and that he bring Richard Harrow (the sniper) into the fold. Nucky acquiesces. Jimmy also makes it a point to tell Nucky that he "is a murderer" foremost as much as he tries to embody the body and soul of a politician. He makes him say in his words that he wants to kill the D'Allesio brothers and Lucky Luciano who have been creating havoc in AC and even "the kid."

Jimmy's Mom Has Lucky Cornered...Literally

Jimmy's mom is hanging out with Lucky and in walks Jimmy. The jig is up and Lucky has been played. Jimmy marches him out of the room to his inevitable execution. Just when we think that Lucky will get his comeuppance, in walks Van Alden and his partner. Jimmy is in deep you know what and facing murder charges. Suddenly it wouldn't feel so bad to be back out in Chi-town with Al Capone.

Van Alden Has Really Lost It

Van Alden is interrogating Jimmy and his obsession with Margaret Schroeder has reached the boiling point - to the point that he asks Jimmy if Nucky is hooking up with her. Jimmy eloquently asks, "you want to know who Nucky is f****ing?" Van Alden is your prototypical "scumbag" in this series, but don't worry about Van Alden being the villain for very long. Clearly - Van Alden is a lunatic and it's a matter of time before he'll bring himself down.

Jimmy Gets Off The Hook With Help From An Insider

Nucky visits Jimmy down in the slammer and assures him that things will be taken care of; it just won't involve the legal system. Turns out that Van Alden's partner Agent Sebso is an insider. When he's transporting the snitch to a safe haven he promptly shoots him dead and bashes himself in the head with a rock to make it look like a legit "hit." Alas, the one guy who could testify against Jimmy is taken out.

Rothstein Has Himself Some Cannon Fodder For His Scotch Smuggling Operation

The D'Alessio Brothers, Lansky, Lucky, and Micky Doyle pay Rothstein a visit at his apartment. He says there are two ways to make money off the liquor trade. One is to water down the product, which he wants no part of. And, the other is to get in on the booming scotch trade.  He wants to set up a business to import scotch and have boats with crews waiting outside the 3-mile limit so all they need to do is smuggle it on land. At this point Nucky is unwilling to work with him so he needs some outside help. They agree to sign off on their life insurance policies. Basically it's a foregone conclusion that they are nothing more than cannon fodder for Rothstein.

Nucky Stares Death in the Face Twice

Nucky visits his mentor the Commodore who is dying rapidly. He doesn't want a reformer to run for Mayor. Nucky finds another man to run. Finally, Nucky escapes an attempted hit by "the kid" when he's out with Margaret. Fortunately, both he and Margaret escape death. The same can't be said for the poor women who was in the line of fire. 

Ultimately, Van Alden is simply just halting what will inevitably happen and that's a bloodbath of mythical proportions. There are just three episodes left in Season One and lots of blood letting is going to ensue. Not to spoil things, but don't expect Arnold Rothstein to get whacked. In reality he didn't die until 1928 and Boardwalk started at the beginning of prohibition in 1920. So Rothstein has some years to live yet!

Watch Boardwalk Empire every Sunday night at 9 P.M. on HBO.

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com