Nelson Van Alden, who is still going by the name George Mueller, will most likely be spending some more time with the Capones; William Thompson pulls a prank that goes too far; and Eddie Kessler gets arrested. Those are just some of the events that took place during the Sept. 29 episode of “Boardwalk Empire” titled “All In.”
When Capone’s collection man, Jake Guzik falls ill from a “bad ticker” and a little tumble down the stairs, Al and Frank decide to finish the rounds. And they seem to be having an absolute blast with it. Joining them is Van Alden, who was originally sent by O’Banion to deliver some flowers and to wish Jake the best. Van Alden refused O’Banion’s offer, originally, but O’Banion wouldn’t take “No” for an answer and fired a shotgun blast into the air to make his point.
Van Alden seems to be in robotic servant mode, when it comes to making sure O’Banion’s orders are carried out. Whenever Van Alden tries to tell the Capones he has to get back to O’Banion or how his boss might disapprove of something, he always starts with “Mr. O’Banion.” Even when he tries to tell the Capones that the day-old daisies – which look to be weathered – were meant to show respect, he starts his sentence with “Mr. O’Banion.”
But the Capones try to make Van Alden a little looser with the last stops of Jake’s route and by doing a few other things. One of the best-shot scenes of the season shows the Capones and Van Alden enter a place looking for the man from whom Jake tried to get money in the episode’s beginning. The camera stays outside, and the viewer acts like a fly hovering outside of the building. We see the window of the room in which the Capones are talking to the man, and then the man gets thrown out of the window and lands on top of a car.
Al and his brothers aren’t done yet. They steal a car that Van Alden believes is O’Banion’s and decide to take it for a joy ride. Someone starts banging on from the back. It turns out that one of O’Banion’s men accidentally fell asleep. He recognizes Van Alden, and the Capones tell the employee that he has until the count of 10 to get lost. Van Alden is handed a gun and told to shoot at the man. He fires the gun a couple of times before it jams, and Al unloads his Tommy gun to make sure the man is dead.
Nucky has returned to Atlantic City for an unknown amount of time. While here, he discusses with Eli about the Tampa deal, and how he might be moving out of the area. After an offer to run the operations, Eli tries to tell Nucky that he has family here, and he snaps back with “You have family here.” Nucky assures that Eli is family, but he has distanced himself from Margaret and the children. So, a change may be coming soon for Nucky.
Eddie is ordered to wear a white carnation (“not red”), when he goes to meet with Ralph Capone. It’s supposed to be a quick cash drop off, but the two men wind up spending the whole day together. They get dinner at a nice restaurant called the Knife and Fork, and the two go out for a few drinks on the town. But the good times come to an end, as Ralph gets on his train, and Eddie ends up getting arrested by Agent Knox. He says that he hasn’t done anything wrong, but Knox knows of Eddie’s involvement with Nucky and considers him the “weakest link” of the whole operation.
Earlier in the show, Knox was explaining the operations of Nucky’s business and how there are overlords in every major American city. There’s Waxey Gordon in Philadelphia; Joe Masseria and Arnold Rothstein in New York; Johnny Torrio in Chicago; and “King” Charles Solomon in Boston. Each of these men has ties to Nucky and to each other. Knox believes that he has enough evidence to take Nucky down, and he has to start with the weakest link – which he believes to be Eddie.
Nucky shows Rothstein the land deal in Tampa and tries to get him to be a partner. But Rothstein becomes a bit too arrogant, especially when the men are playing a round of poker.
“I find you don’t really know a man until you play cards with him,” Rothstein says.
When Rothstein and Nucky are the last two men on the table, Rothstein goes all in with what he has plus a $200,000 marker. Nucky reveals that he has a flush, and the completely stunned Rothstein folds. Nucky withdraws the land deal, but Meyer Lansky comes in and offers to be his partner. When Meyer reveals his story about how he and Lucky Luciano met, became friends, and made more money than the president of the United States, Nucky demands half of a million dollars in 48 hours. The two shake on it, and their partnership begins.
Willie Thompson and his roommate come up with a way to get back at Henry. They create a potion that is supposed to give him explosive diarrhea. At a party, Willie slips in quite a bit of it into Henry’s drink, and it works; Henry embarrasses himself at the party. But the next day is a different story, when Henry winds up dead in the bathroom from what looks to be dehydration. So much for the chat with his father earlier, in which Eli tells Willie to “be happy” that he’s getting an education. Eli expressed his unhappiness earlier, and this is just going to add on to it.
Dunn lies to Chalky by saying that he has to go to Baltimore to visit his sick mother. In reality, he pays Dr. Valentin Narcisse a visit to give him the heroin money. Narcisse is not too happy that Dunn is visiting him in the office of the Universal Negro Improvement Society and orders him to leave at once. After Dunn leaves, Narcisse puts the money in his coat pocket. The two meet up shortly after the incident, and Narcisse expresses his disdain toward Chalky and how everything he has received came from a white man. Narcisse says the only way that this will stop is if there are Libyans who are “prepared to instruct him in the uplift of race.” Dunn has become the outcast of Chalky’s crowd, but he proves his loyalty to Narcisse – after beating up a random street bum outside of a brownstone.
Speaking of Chalky, he seems to have his eyes set on Daughter Maitland. Is this going to grow into a new relationship, or is this part of Dr. Narcisse’s devious plan?
Jeffrey Wright continues to give a chilling performance as the sneaky Dr. Narcisse, and Stephen Graham showed a real wild side in his performance as Al Capone. The rest of the actors were fine, but it was those two who really stood out this episode.
Lessons learned from tonight’s episode:
Don’t mix a potion unless you know how to properly make it. You could get someone killed.
Don’t heckle Arnold Rothstein at the poker table. Meyer Lansky will kill you.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Share your thoughts below.
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