Boardwalk Empire Recap: ‘Broadway Limited’

ALT TEXTA dying fat man is being rolled down a hospital hallway, a shotgun wound in his stomach. This is, of course, the same fat man who stumbled out of the woods at the end of last week’s episode — a.k.a. the man that Jimmy and Al Capone thought they killed when they originally hijacked the booze in the series’ first episode. And so, how the heck did this man survive for days in the woods with a gaping hole in his stomach? “He’s fat,” Eli says.

Oh Eli. It’s obvious why your brother Nucky is in charge of the operation. You can’t really do anything right, can you? After botching the discussion to convince Margaret her husband was a rat in last week’s episode, you underscore your stupidity again. This time, he clumsily tries to suffocate the dying fat man on his gurney with a pillow — and fails miserably. I mean, I guess I’ve never tried to suffocate anyone, but come on. The dude was barely conscious.

Meanwhile, Nucky’s cutting a new deal on booze with a new gangster since Mickey Doyle’s hooch was compromised last week. The man? Total badass Chalky White (Michael K. Williams). As the two mull over the price and split, we instantly tell that Mr. White is no pushover. Despite facing the adversity of being a black man in 1920, White manages to take his split up to 35%, nearly double what Nucky original proposal of 20%.

Cut to a brief, but heartbreaking, scene in Margaret’s house. As they sit around the dinner table, her daughter asks questions, underscoring the sadness of the entire situation. “When’s the baby coming, Mama?”

“The stork got lost,” she replies.

But, things look up for Margaret when a knock comes on the door. It’s one of Nucky’s guys and he’s there to offer Margaret a job. Now, we can’t help but assume at this point that Nucky is interested in Margaret. Yeah, I’m sure Nucky likes to take care of his community, but after the late night interaction last week where Margaret showed some power in their relationship, plus this job offer, we’re seeing their relationship grow and develop into something. But we’re not quite sure what that something is yet.

And speaking of Nucky and his relationships, he’s getting busy with his always-naked girlfriend Lucy. But, despite Lucy showing her love for Nucky below the belt (if you know what I mean), we can tell there’s something up between the two. She’s a babe, no doubt, but I wonder if maybe Nucky is thinking about another woman — specifically Margaret — as Lucy does the deed. (And honestly, who better to play the “I’m getting a BJ from a woman but don’t give a f***” act better than Steve Buscemi?)

Now, cut back to the hospital. FBI Agent Van Alden has now shown up, and he and his feds steal the body to do some questioning. While driving down the road, they quickly realize that this dying fat man will not make it much longer so they stop at the next medical establishment they find — a dentist.

The fat man wakes up and tells Agent Van Alden to go screw himself. So, Van Alden does the logical thing and sticks his hand in the fat man’s open shotgun wound to get some answers — and it works. Before he croaks, he squeaks out “Jimmy.”

Next we see Margaret in her new job helping one of her first customers — Nucky’s girl Lucy. She’s dressing her, and we can tell that Lucy may not be as stupid as she seemed earlier in the episode. It appears that she’s sensing a potential fallout between her and Nucky and that Margaret may be the reason. Quickly, she establishes her dominance over Margaret. After Lucy makes her undress her, she poses in the mirror, forcing Margaret to admire Lucy’s perfect and flawless body. On top of that, Lucy calls Margaret a “charity case.” Clearly, she’s trying to make Margaret feel like she’s nothing more to Nucky than a broken home.

Meanwhile, word’s got back to Nucky (and Arnold Rothstein, who’s pissed that his cousin is dead) that the feds know about Jimmy, so he has no other choice. He must make Jimmy leave.

There’s something more to Jimmy and Nucky’s relationship as well. Earlier in the episode, Nucky met with Jimmy’s mother, and for the first time in the series, it seemed like someone else other than Nucky held the power in their scene. In an odd way, Nucky succumbed to Jimmy’s mother’s words and advice. She also makes a reference to Nucky, saying that he “promised to protect Jimmy.” Perhaps there was once a romantic relationship? And maybe, this is why Nucky acts like a father-figure for Jimmy.

Because that’s the exact type of response Nucky gives to Jimmy — fatherly. He knows if Jimmy stays, he’ll go to jail, so he sends him on his way. Nucky’s not mad. He’s not angry. He’s just disappointed.

Meanwhile, Jimmy takes out his anger on his wife — we learn that he suspects she cheated on him during the war — and heads to Chicago. During his tirade, Jimmy experiences a flashback of the war. It’s a bit heartbreaking, because Jimmy, although his intentions were good, has destroyed his entire life and family.

Now we cut back to the deal that Nucky made earlier in the episode with Chalky White. Something’s gone wrong. On the boat, “Liquor Kills” is inscribed and one of White’s men have been lynched by, we assume, Mickey Doyle. Nucky and White exchange some words and the split gets changed to 50/50.

We end on Nucky walking in his hotel. He gets in the elevator, stares out across the room, and sees the dirty footprints he left behind. Quickly, it seems, that after two major incidents with jobs, Jimmy’s problems, and his different women problems, the monster that is prohibition is too big for even Nucky Thompson to control.