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Boardwalk Empire Season 4 Episode 3 Recap: “Acres of Diamonds”


Nucky looking to branch out into Florida


Nucky arrives in Tampa and meets with Bill McCoy, who was instrumental in helping Nucky knock off Gyp Rosetti last season. McCoy is trying to convince Nucky that he can expand his operation in Florida.Photo: HBO


After Nucky overhears an aggressive realtor saying that, although most of the land he’s peddling is swampland, most of the surrounding land is being bought up. Nucky now questions how secure this land really is. Nucky isn’t too keen about operations taking place in the middle of residential neighborhoods or other working establishments.


Overall, Nucky deems the deal too risky. So when McCoy arranges a meeting with Nucky and a local developer named Tucker, Nucky decides to pass. Prior to the meeting, Nucky meets Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette), the owner of the restaurant. Nucky thanks Sally for her hospitality and then leaves.


Later on, McCoy is not too happy with Nucky that he didn’t take Tucker’s offer. Turns out McCoy owes Tucker $200,000 after getting arrested with Tucker’s alcohol is his possession. Tucker is in deep trouble and was banking on this deal to work out. Nucky tells him he made his bed and that the deal was crappy right off the bat.  


Later, Tucker comes to McCoy’s residence clearly enraged that Nucky didn’t take the deal. He finds his way into McCoy’s, manages to grab his throat, and a tussle begins…..



Richard’s conscience crisis continues


Trying to put his past behind him, Richard buries his gun in the backyard of his sister Emma’s house. Richard seems to want to stay, as Emma even mentions to him that he can have her old room. During the conversation, Richard gives Emma the money she needs for her back taxes. When Emma tells Richard that was an old bill and that she already paid the taxes, Richard gets suspicious.


Later on, Richard is taking some things out of the shed in the backyard when Carl Billings and one of his “yes-men” pay him a visit. Billings is not happy that Richard failed to complete the assignment he agreed to do for Billings from the previous summer. When Billings’ hired muscle briefly looks away, Richard shanks him and they fall to the ground. Richard’s mask falls off in the process. Billings sees this and tells him he is better off dead. Right before he is about to kill Richard, however, Emma shoots Billings from outside the shed.


After the incident, Richard decides to leave Wisconsin. But despite the fact that he’s leaving, Emma understands. As the two embrace, Emma tells Richard that he “needs to call himself into account.” It will be interesting from this point to see which direction Richard’s character goes in.


Narcisse continues to stir the pot


Narcisse is lecturing a group of young black men in his study on “The new negro” and "Libyan race" when Arnold Rothstein stops by for a meeting.  


Narcisse gets to the point quickly: he’s interested in dealing heroin to expand to the Libyan markets. Narcisse wants 20 pounds uncut, and he will be able to test it himself to see if it’s pure. Rothstein wants eighty thousand dollars in cash and Narcisse assures him he is good for it.


Later, Narcisse stops by the Onyx Club with a new lounge singer- a singer who Chalky is clearly smitten with. As Narcisse enters the club, he sees Chalky instructing Dunn to do the work that his staff usually does. This clearly perturbs Dunn. Ever since the incident with Dickey, you can see a rift starting between the two. Chalky wasn’t happy about having to give Narcisse ten percent of the club profits because of Dunn’s error in judgment.


Later on after hours, Narcisse confronts Dunn, who pulls a switch blade on Narcisse. Narcisse insists he is there on new business and asks him to sit down. Seeing the apparent issues Dunn and Chalky are having, Narcisse starts laying some possible groundwork for Dunn to turn on Chalky. Narcisse accuses Chalky of making Dunn “do the slave labor” and that Chalky volunteered to give Dunn up in exchange for Dickey Pastor. Narcisse then shows Dunn a bag of heroin, and you can only imagine where this is going? Does he want Dunn to start dealing? Does he want him to deal in the club? Does he want to sell it to Dunn? We shall see.



Gillian, her heroin addiction, and Roy Phillips 


Ah the hot mess that is Gillian. She is still attaching herself to Roy (or maybe Roy is attaching himself to her?), continuing to help him find a place of residence. Roy seems to have a hard time making decisions, but nonetheless, he takes it upon himself to ask Gillian a favor: he needs her to act as his wife over dinner with a big wig from A&P supermarkets. Gillian agrees to go. As far as doing a favor for Roy, she plays the part and the night basically goes well- with a few exceptions. Gillian becomes rather uncomfortable when she hears the executive and his wife say they’re from Evansville, Indiana. This is most likely because Gillian’s former boy toy, Roy (you know- the same Roy she drowned after injecting him with heroin in her bathtub last season) hailed from (more on that in a minute.) It’s really sweet of Gillian to have guilt over the fact that she murdered somebody for her own personal agenda…..


Moreover, when Gillian excuses herself to “powder her nose,” the executive’s wife goes with her. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Gillian needs a fix- and she’s not happy she won’t be able to do so with another female now joining her in the bathroom.  


Gillian and Roy are seen after at a diner when a young man approaches Gillian. Yep, it’s Roy’s friend, who recognized her from when she first met Roy on the boardwalk. Gillians acts like she’s never seen him before and gets agitated. Roy gets hard with him and tells him to beat it. To calm her nerves, Gillian goes to the restroom and finally shoots herself with that heroin she’s been longing for since dinner.  


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Will Thompson is getting all kinds of urges


Nucky’s nephew (and Eli’s son) Will is over at Temple listening to a lecture and overhears a girl he has a class with discussing how she and her friend have plans to party, but they’re still trying to score some liquor. The guy who is hitting on the girl is your typical toolbag bully who wants nothing to do with him. When Will steps in and says he can get some, he puts a plan in motion and the girls become very receptive to him.


Will and his friend proceed to drive down to Mickey Doyle’s warehouse. When Will asks Mickey for a hookup on some booze, Mickey laughs in his face and tells him to get lost. On the way out, Will grabs a case of liquor and is caught by one of the security guards. Mickey apprehends Will and smacks him around. When he tells Will he’s going to call his father, Will begs him not to. Mickey lets up and tells him it will stay between them. Then Mickey takes it a step further and lets Will take the liquor.


While at the party, the bully continues making advances on the girl Will has his eye on. Will tells him to back off and he runs off with the girl and goes somewhere private. As the two “get busy,” the bully, still not happy with Will, manages to bring the entire party to where Will and his lady friend are. When the bully points out how “excited” Will is to everybody, Will becomes humiliated, and runs out.


Nucky returns to Sally Wheet’s and reconsiders Tucker’s offer


Nucky returns to Sally’s and appears to be in a reflective/dejected mood. Mostly because it's his stepson Teddy’s birthday and he is torn whether to send him a gift or not (Margaret and the family have not been seen yet this year).Photo: HBO


Nucky also asks Sally to essentially give him the goods on Tucker and how he got to be such a big deal around Tampa. Sally tells him anybody can around the area if they have money and connections.


The next day, Nucky prepares to leave for Atlantic City when he receives a box. He opens it, and it’s a gift for Teddy- from Sally.


Nucky then decides to call Bill and tells him that he’s had a change of heart and that he’s decided to take part in the land deal, but Tucker has to answer to him. Bill is ok with this, but he seems a bit nervous and anxious.


The camera then pans to Bill’s room and it’s a bloody mess. Turns out that Bill clearly got the best of that fight with Tucker- as Tucker is lying dead on the ground with a machete through his head.


Other notables:


-Nucky is still trying to adjust without Margaret and the kids. It almost seems like he’s going through the motions. He’s clearly lost some of his bite after the events of last season. Nucky needs a reason to get out of his funk. Not sure what that is, but I think you’ll see it in the next few episodes.


-You know the issue between Will and Mickey will come to the surface eventually. Either way, Eli is going to find out or Will might continue to try and score liquor off Mickey.


-Did anyone else think Sally and Nucky will get together?  She’s not like these other charity cases Nucky takes in.


-Dunn is awful quick to turn on Chalky after saying he’s never been his friend. Other than the jail beatdown, the two never had any other issues. In fact, Dunn helped Chalky last year when Nucky was in a jam. Is Dunn playing along to get in with Narcisse? Or is he really peeved at Chalky?

Final thoughts:


It’s not like it’s been boring, but this season of Boardwalk Empire seems to be moving at a different pace than the others. While there’s certainly been a fair amount of action that’s been spliced in, some have said the first few episodes were kind of slow. But something is brewing beneath these “still” waters, and expect things to pick up over the next few episodes.


There’s plenty of subplots developing: You thought Nucky will probably be spending some time in Florida after agreeing to join Tucker (and possibly spend more time with Sally?), but now that Tucker is dead, Nucky can easily leverage full control of the operation by blackmailing Bill- and don’t think for a minute he won’t.  There’s also Will and his increasing interest in his father and Nucky’s business, Gillian is always interesting, Narcisse is ready to do some major damage over at the Onyx Club, Richard could return to Atlantic City, and although he wasn’t in this week’s episode, Al Capone is just beginning to take over Chicago.


Yes, the wheels are in motion for what’s probably going to be a bumpy ride.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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Photo: HBO