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Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Episode 9: 'Marriage and Hunting'

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George Mueller is no more

 

Mueller (aka Nelson Van Alden) is not in the best of moods. His wife is giving him a hard time because no water is available in the kitchen. She has a pretty good idea what Al Capone is about and doesn’t really like George associating with him.

 

After delivering flowers with O’Banion’s initials to Al, Al gets real suspicious about the whole concept of George altogether. When Al puts a gun to George’s face, George says he will kill O’Banion for $1,000. Al is ok with that and sends him on his way.Photo: HBO

 

However, a funny thing happened on the way to O’Banion’s: George gets ambushed by Phil and his co-workers. As you recall, George branded Phil with an iron last season and Phil has come for his revenge. When two of the three men start beating on George, George begs them to stop doing it. When they don’t comply, Mueller promptly whips out his gun and executes all three men in cold blood.

 

George returns home, where he’s given more crap from his wife as well as Al, who stops by to tell him if O’Banion isn’t executed that night, Mueller is as good as dead.

 

Later that night, O’Banion stops George in the nursery and asks Mueller (he did this once before) to recount what happened the night that Stu died. Mueller is well aware of what happened because he was there, but plays dumb as O’Banion puts a gun to his chin. This was the final straw for George, who tells O’Banion who he really his and offers a synopsis of the last four years in a span of 15 seconds. O’Banion really doesn’t know what to make of what George says and awkwardly leaves to go to the front of the store, where there are three men waiting for O’Banion.

 

Next thing you know, O’Banion is shot to death while George is in the back of the shop. Knowing he can’t take credit for the O’Banion shooting, George goes out to the front, takes $1,000 cash from the register, and goes home to his wife. He throws the cash on the bed, tells her who he really is, and proceeds to have sex with her. And with that, George Mueller is no more.

 

Chalky asks Nucky for help in knocking off Narcisse

 

Chalky informs Nucky of what transpired with Dunn. While Chalky swears what happened was orchestrated by Narcisse, Nucky doesn’t know for sure and tells Chalky that planning a war on Narcisse isn’t the wisest thing to do. Chalky reminds Nucky of what he did for him the year before and Nucky notes that helping him get the Onyx Club (a club which Chalky couldn’t even attend if he didn’t own it) made them even. Nucky asks Chalky to stay put and let him investigate the situation before he does anything.

 

Meanwhile, Chalky is trying to get more involved with his daughter’s upcoming wedding- despite the fact that his wife is wondering where he got the shiner on his face. Chalky’s daughter defends him, saying he got it moving lumber in the back yard. Despite the actions of Chalky’s daughter, it doesn’t look like Chalky’s wife buys any of it.

 

Gillian is clean and is still fighting for Tommy; Richard visits Nucky

 

A rejuvenated Gillian opens up to Roy (although not completely) about Jimmy. Nobody will ever completely know what happened with Jimmy, and before she goes any further, Gillian bends the story the best way she can. This is the most Gillian will open up to anybody at this stage.

 

Meanwhile, the trial for custody of Tommy continues. While the judge claims that custody is more appropriate in the company of a blood relative, the trial will resume. Since the not-married Julia and her dying father (which she found out about through Richard) don’t make enough money to support Tommy even if they were to win custody, Julia proposes to Richard that the two marry. Richard agrees and they go to the courthouse. Afterwards, Richard approaches Nucky and asks him for a job.

 

 

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Rothstein is losing his grip

 

Rothstein comes to Nucky and inquires about killing Mickey Doyle because his life insurance policy will get Rothstein quite a bit of money (I didn’t really get how or why Rothstein would be associated with a life insurance policy for Mickey, but whatever). The stock market and a bad investment deal (remember when Rothstein encountered Margaret?) have set him back and his bank account is dwindling, so Rothstein needs some quick cash. Nucky doesn’t kill Mickey, but he buys the policy off Rothstein. Interesting.Photo: HBO

 

Narcisse shows his true colors and Chalky takes action

 

Daughter tells Narcisse that Dunn never arrived and she couldn’t make Chalky stay anyway. An emotional Narcisse responds by beating Daughter to a pulp.

 

While hosting his future in-laws at his house, Chalky gets a call from a doctor in regards to Daughter. Chalky drops everything and leaves to attend to her. According to the doctor, this isn’t the first time Narcisse has beaten her. An enraged Chalky goes to the Onxy Club, where Narcisse has defiantly sat down at Nucky’s table.

 

A nervous Nucky tells him he’d better leave, but Narcisse refuses. He even takes it a step further and tells Nucky that Chalky’s days are numbered and his reign is about to end. Nucky wonders where Narcisse is going with this, before Chalky storms into the club and goes after Narcisse. Nucky holds him back and tells him if he starts a war, he’s on his own. Chalky throws down a table and leaves the club in a fit of rage.

 

Afterwards, Chalky is at Daughter’s, where she begs him not to kill Narcisse. Moments later, Chalky’s daughter stops by Daughter’s place and her worst fears about her father are confirmed.

 

Nucky has pretty much had it and contemplates a move

It’s been a crazy day for Nucky. It could be the whole Narcisse/Chalky feud, Rothstein, or Willie, but it’s pretty obvious Nucky is getting sick of it all. He puts a call into the always coy Sally, where he drops hints that he might want to come down and see her. Whether it’s permanent or not is anyone’s guess, but Sally takes it into consideration and then hangs up- as she clutches her shotgun while she lies in bed.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

 

-This episode was an excellent showcase for Michael Shannon’s Mueller (Van Alden) and arguably one of his best performances of the entire series. For a while, it seemed that the writers really didn’t know what to do with his part. All the elements that made Nelson Van Alden the compelling, psychotic yet captivating character were on display here. One minute he’s a calm and meek pacifist, the next minute he has a violent streak where he’ll kill at the drop of a hat. Van Alden’s confession to O’Banion moments before his death may have been the final shedding of the George Mueller persona he’s adopted for the last several years. Let’s hope we see more of this in the final three episodes. Not necessarily the killing….you know what I mean.

 

-Eli’s lone scene had him talking with Nucky in regards to whether they should take action against Narcisse. He also tries to probe Nucky for more information, but Nucky has nothing else to provide. Looks like Eli is going through with Knox’s orders.

 

-Once completely on top of his game, you’re now seeing the gradual demise of Arnold Rothstein. The difference in his character over the first few seasons to now is quite a change. Things will not get any better for him.

 

-Richard seems like a good fit being part of Nucky’s gang. I guess ushering him into the fold makes sense.

 

-Just when you think Gillian finds a decent guy, Roy starts to show his shady side. If she loses Tommy in the custody hearing and Roy is up to no good, that’s all kinds of crazy that nobody wants a part of.

 

-Chalky finally comes to the realization that he is risking losing his club, family and marriage to Daughter. If Daughter wasn’t beaten by Narcisse, Chalky probably continued trying to make amends. However, he’s in too deep now. Despite being one of Boardwalk’s most popular characters, don’t think Chalky can’t be killed off.

 

-By all accounts, Nucky and Chalky are indeed even, but I’m getting the feeling that Chalky still won’t let Nucky forget in the long run how he failed to assist him in his attempts to take down Narcisse- if there is a long run for Chalky. For some reason, I can’t help but think Chalky’s daughter is going to have a part in the endgame between Narcisse and Chalky. She already knows what her father is up to as far as Daughter is concerned. Will she tell her mother?

 

-As each week passes, you see how irrational Narcisse gets when his plans don’t turn out the way he wants. We previously learned that he killed Daughter’s mother, and it turns out he’s beaten Daughter before. This was also apparent when he had no problems taking a seat at the segregated club and essentially warned Nucky that Chalky’s reign is coming to an end.

 

This was easily the best episode of Boardwalk Empire this season. With only three episodes left, the stakes will most certainly be raised. Could Nucky actually leave Atlantic City and join Sally in Florida? Or will he wind up in jail? Will Eli stick it to his brother? Will Julia and Richard get to keep Tommy? Will Chalky or/and Narcisse get killed off?

 

We’ll find out soon.

 

 

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

 

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Photo: HBO