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Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Episode 11 Recap: "Havre de Grace"


Chalky and Daughter seeks refuge


Fresh off escaping potential execution at the hands of Mayor Bader’s deputies, Chalky and Daughter arrive at the home of Chalky’s mentor Oscar (played brilliantly by Louis Gossett Jr.), who  


Basically, Oscar taught Chalky everything he knows. Now he sees him in dire straits and he’s not too happy about it. Oscar gives Chalky a hard time for trusting people (including Nucky, who Chalky thinks ordered the hit on him), doesn’t all approve of Chalky’s decisions or Daughter for that matter (he blasts her cooking rather emphatically). It was also revealed that Oscar had dealings with the Commodore back in the day.  


Later on, Chalky and Daughter have a realistic talk about where they are headed. Daughter wants to run and never look back. However, she also notes that Chalky’s main priority is to return to Atlantic City to seek revenge- not run away with her. Even after Chalky makes up his mind to leave with her, he wakes up in the middle of the night to see that Daughter has left without him.


Chalky goes outside to see Oscar on the porch with a shotgun. After he hears a noise and goes to check it out on the lawn, Oscar is shot and killed by one of Narcisse’s men. Chalky takes his shotgun and tries to fight off the rest of the crew, but Oscar’s nephews take care of that for him.


Chalky truly doesn’t have anywhere to go or anywhere to hide.


The end of the line for GillianPhoto: Craig Blankenhorn


Coming to the realization that she is fighting a losing game by continuing to fight for Tommy, Gillian goes to see him. She is promptly met by Richard who initially prevents her from going near him, but when she shows him she just wants to give Tommy Jimmy’s dog tags, he allows her to do so and she surrenders without an issue. She notices Richard’s wedding ring, wishes him and Julia the best of luck and leaves.


Claiming that she feels “free,” she meets up with Roy, who wants to take her to dinner and wants to share some news with her. At dinner, Roy tells her that the merger has gone through and he is going wherever they send him. Moreover, he wants Gillian to go with him. He asks her to marry him and she says yes. After four seasons of manipulating, murdering, abusing heroin and committing all kinds of unscrupulous acts too numerous to mention, it looks like Gillian has found peace with herself.


Not so fast


Roy and Gillian enter the parking garage where Roy encounters a disgruntled former co-worker who claims Roy screwed him out of a job. When the gentleman looks like he’s about to pull something out of his pocket, Roy pulls out a gun and kills him. Gillian, obviously experienced in this sort of thing, tells Roy to leave immediately.


When they return to Gillian’s house, Roy expresses extreme remorse over what he did. Gillian then tells him to let it go and that he can live with his mistake, because she has done the same thing in her life. A once distraught Roy now becomes inquisitive. He asks her what happened, and Gillian confesses to killing Roger in the bathtub.


Roy then reveals he is an undercover detective sent to do a job. That job is now done, and a hysterical Gillian is pinned down by several men ready to take her to jail.  The shootout was a setup. The whole thing was a setup. You can run, but you can never truly hide. Damn. Thanks for comin' out, Gillian.


Knox stays on Eli


More persistent than ever to take down Nucky’s gang, Knox meets again with Eli and suggests Nucky and Eli arrange everyone to meet together from New York (Masseria, Lansky, Lucky) to Tampa (Petrocelli) so he can arrest all of them at the same time. Eli tries to tell Knox that Nucky is taking orders from Narcisse, but Knox doesn’t buy it for a minute. When Eli has reservations about the ordeal, Knox is there to once again remind him that Willie could go to jail if he doesn’t comply.



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There’s a skunk in Nucky’s operation, and Nucky tries to find it


Yes, that’s what the ever slippery Gaston Means tells Nucky in a middle of the night phone call. In fact, means tells Nucky $500,000 will give him the answer. Means’ residence is then promptly raided by the FBI, who arrests him for perjury.


The next day, Eli and his family come to Nucky’s house for dinner. Nucky has a long conversation with Eli prior to dinner in regards to means’ message. Nucky asks Eli who doesn’t trust (kind of ironic). Eli mentions Bader and then suggests what Knox suggested- though Eli says it would be to decide the groups respective roles over the new operations taking place. Nucky tells Eli that it will all be his problem one day.


While eating dinner, Eli’s family and Nucky start sharing jokes at the table when Eli’s wife talks about a particular insurance salesman (a salesman who fits Knox’s description). Eli blows his top and screams at his wife. Nucky is observing all of this and gets rather suspicious. After dinner, Nucky asks Willy about what the salesman looked like, but then gets interrupted by Eli’s wife, who tells Nucky that Eli has been drinking heavily.


Before the family leaves, Nucky talks with Eli. A lot of symbolism goes back and forth between the two (Nucky mentions a poem he once stole from Eli when they were kids and claims he was jealous of Eli for writing that poem). Nucky then tells Eli to go ahead and arrange the meeting. The family then leaves, with Nucky and Willie giving each other some serious eye contact.


Once inside, Nucky calls Sally down in Tampa and tells her he wants out.


With those words, the stage is set for what is most likely an eventful and violent season finale for Boardwalk Empire.

Final thoughts


-While he may act calm, cool and collected, Nucky is starting to realize the walls are closing in on him and he’s just about had it with everything. How could he not? After all, Eddie’s dead, his estranged wife will barely speak to him, he doesn’t see his step kids, he gets that phone call from Gaston, he’s been dealing with Narcisse and Chalky’s nonsense, the mayor turned on him, Meyer and the New York crew were packing heroin in their shipments from Florida behind his back, and while he doesn’t know what’s bugging Eli, he knows something isn’t right with him. As Eli said, the crew barely made it out alive last season. Although Nucky survived and took down Gyp Rosetti and his gang, his operation has never been the same.


-I keep waiting for Eli to tell Nucky what Knox is up to, but from the looks of it, it seems Eli is going through with Knox’s requests and will try to take Nucky down again. Despite his anger towards Nucky, it doesn’t seem like Eli really wants to do this. He’s drinking heavily and obviously isn’t playing with a full deck. However, Willie’s freedom is at stake.


-Gillian….ah Gillian. After becoming resigned to the fact that she was going to lose Tommy, she seemed at peace with it and ready to move on and start a new life with Roy. But despite her actions over the last four seasons that should’ve either gotten her killed or at least institutionalized, it was hard not to feel some sympathy for Gillian when Roy did what he did. He got to know her very well, helped her get clean, proposed to her, supposedly “saved her life” in the parking garage, and then did the job he was hired to do. That ENTIRE time, he’s been with her just to get that confession. I have to be honest, I had no idea what Roy’s deal was until he was on the steps asking questions to Gillian as she confessed to killing Roger. This was a long time coming for Gillian, but you know what they say about karma. To say she got hers in one fell swoop was an understatement. Easily the most powerful scene in the episode if not the entire season up to this point.


-Chalky is one of my favorite characters on Boardwalk, but Nucky and Eli are right: He completely and utterly made his bed this season. You can’t blame him for Dunn’s actions, but Chalky basically caused a rift in his relationship with Nucky, ditched his entire family and got caught up with all that drama with Narcisse over what? A woman (Daughter). A woman who left him high and dry after basically agreeing with Narcisse to help knock him off (although she technically saved Chalky from Dunn). Then he tried to kill Narcisse because Narcisse beat Daughter senseless and also tried to kill him in the process, he almost gets killed by two deputies while he’s being transferred, and now his mentor gets shot dead at the hand’s of Narcisse’s men while trying to protect him.


In the process, he’s lost the entire Northside Nucky entrusted to him, and he’s out to get Nucky because he doesn’t realize Mayor Bader’s men (as well as Bader) were on the take- courtesy of Narcisse. I don’t know how or of Chalky gets out of this, but there’s irreparable damage here on many fronts that will most likely never be fixed.


Will Nucky get out? Will Chalky live? Will Eli live? Will Narcisse finally get his? What about Knox? Will Nucky find out what really happened with Eddie? Will the gang officially get together for a setup of epic proportions?


We’ll find out on Sunday.





Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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Gillian photos: Craig Blankenhorn