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'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: "What Jesus Said"


Chalky and Milton need some cash


Fresh off his prison break, Nucky and Milton break into a home searching for food and cash when they accidentally encounter a mother and daughter. The mother can’t get her story straight. First, her husband’s coming home, then the money they have is at their bank, then it’s upstairs in a safe. After Milton finally becomes fed up and puts a gun to the daughter’s head. Chalky buries a hammer in Milton’s head. The way Milton was getting with the girl hit a little too close to home for Chalky, who is clearly still grieving over the loss of his daughter. The girl retrieves Milton’s gun and the mother instructs Chalky to take the money they have and to get out of their house.


Nuck gets a letter, and his legacy is called into question


While Nucky is opening his mail, he receives a letter whose forwarding address is from Miss Nellie Bly, a female tabloid journalist who died in 1922. So the question is, who is it from? Gillian? Nucky’s step kids?Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO


Meanwhile, Nucky has other business matters he’s dealing with. After talking with Sally and informing her there is no trace of the Senator, he meets Joe Kennedy for dinner in hopes of securing his business partnership for Bacardi. Winning over Kennedy is a true test in itself. In addition to his apprehension about being associated with Nucky, he asks Nucky why he’s doing what he’s doing. Not one who is usually at a loss for words, Kennedy’s questions get Nucky agitated. Nucky states that he wants to leave something behind. Kennedy chews on that, as he goes off to get better acquainted with one of the dancers in Nucky’s club.





The flashbacks this week involved Nucky encountering a young man supposedly in love. He tells Nucky to deliver flowers to his room everyday and he will pay him for it. As the door to the room closes, Nucky catches a glimpse of a naked young woman.


During this time, a young Nucky asked by the Commodore to drive a pony cart for some people on vacation. While on the beach with the pony cart, he encounters a young girl named Mabel Jeffries, who captivates Nucky and recites a Bible passage that Nucky doesn’t quite get. Their interaction is brief, but she leaves an impression on Nucky.  Obviously, Nucky did the same with her, because he receives a letter in the mail from her, telling him that her family is in Atlantic City for a few weeks every summer, and that she would have let him kiss her. Originally, I thought this young girl could have been Gillian. But for those of you who don’t know, Mabel would become Nucky’s first wife, who passed away in 1913.


Before leaving the beach, Nucky encounters the man from the hotel. Nucky mentions that he had brought the flowers to the room again, but no one answered. “Be sure she gets them” says the man. Nucky again returns to the room, and finds the sheriff presiding over the woman’s dead, bloody body.


Dr. Narcisse declines Lucky and Benny Siegel’s offer for protection/ Nucky has an intuition


Lucky Luciano, Benny Siegel and Meyer Lansky are really looking to shake things up in New York. So when Lucky and Benny approach Dr. Narcisse and emphasize that they would like their previous partnership to continue with Salvatore Maranzano, Dr. Narcisse declines. He also turns down protection for any “problems” that might happen to occur in town. Next thing you know, Lucky and Benny stop by Narcisse’s brothel and proceed to shoot everybody there in cold blood.


Meanwhile, Nucky has a suspicion that Lucky’s crew will be gunning for him, too. In an effort to prepare for a possible attack, Nucky gets Mickey Doyle (really the only “ally” Nucky has left) to round up some help for a possible attack.



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Margaret is in trouble


The superior’s of the late Mr. Bennett are now aware that Abe Redstone was an alias the late Arnold Rothstein used while he was alive. Her supervisors also know that Mr. Bennett took $110,000 out of his account, and Margaret’s name was signed on the release forms.


As it turns out, Mrs. Rothstein is suing the firm. When Margaret visits Mrs. Rothstein in an attempt to calm matters, Mrs. Rothstein says she knew about the apartment her husband leased her, and originally thought Margaret was his mistress. When Margaret told her of their arrangement, Mrs. Rothstein informs her she is either going to get the money from the firm or from Margaret. When Margaret claims she doesn’t have anything, Mrs. Rothstein reveals that she knows who Margaret really is, and having her identity associated with her estranged husband in the paper would not be in her best interests.


As a result, Margaret has no place to go for help except for Nucky, and she winds up on his sofa- as Nucky awakens from a dream. At first, he mistakes her for Mabel, but then seems happy to see her when she turns the light on and reveals herself.


Final Thoughts:


The title is in reference to the religious anecdotes spread throughout the episode. Frankly, I thought this week was kind of a bore. Was there any reason to have Chalky break into some house? Unless they set up that storyline as a reason for him to knock off Milton? I realize that storylines need to be orchestrated for things to move forward, but how much more forward can we go? There’s just five more episodes left of Boardwalk Empire, and the previews looked pretty good for next week. Let’s hope this was just a filler episode and things really start to pick up from here.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO