Now we are getting to the juiciness of this gangster tale. Boardwalk Empire’s “The Good listener,” begins with a sleeping (or possibly passed out) Eli coming to his senses in a bootlegging operation in Chicago. These past few years away from his wife seem filled with alcohol and prostitutes to fill his voids. Last season Eli had to escape Atlantic City for killing a federal agent. Capone was kind enough to Nucky to keep him in hiding in Chicago. Eli looks as miserable as he ever was. And now, the feds are turning his bootlegging spot upside down as he wakes up in a hidden upstairs apartment. He is no longer working for his brother. His new boss is, Al Capone, and Capone is not someone you should be making errors with, even if it isn’t your fault.
Before we delve into the major crap that Eli has woken up to, let’s discuss a few other members of Boardwalk.
Eli’s son is back in the picture and as a college graduate. Last season spent a lot of time detailing Will’s attempt at getting the attention of a girl in school by bringing in some of his Uncle Nucky’s liquor into school. I complained a lot about this storyline because, although it brought Nucky in to save Eli’s son, it took time away from the characters I really would have rather been hearing about. Will is applying to be a prosecutor. But with a name like Thompson, his Uncle’s reputation turns up in his interview. Nucky, at this point, is a celebrity criminal and Eli is a fugitive of the law.
Will is smart enough to say that he couldn’t choose who he was related to as if he has no relationship with his Uncle. Hopefully, that will get him the job. But, when he has dinner with Nucky discussing his plans as a prosecutor, Will doesn’t tell his Uncle that his possibility of becoming an attorney may be affected by his Uncle’s reputation.
I initially thought Will was becoming a prosecutor on Nucky’s orders. It would do him so much good to have his nephew on the law’s side. Apparently, Will has chosen the career on his own. But, he used to be one of Nucky’s bootlegging employees before it all went to shit. I wonder if there is anything illegal behind Will’s choice.
Gillian and a few friends are soaking in a serene spa as the radio plays. Wasn’t she sent to jail for killing an innocent man who resembled her son? I almost lost my mind wondering how she went from being sentenced for murder to soaking her worries away. Till the lady beside her began to twitch when the attendant wanted to change the radio. Then all the women in their tubs began to scream and wail their arms around. Oh, now I get it, they sent Gillian to an asylum!
Dr. Cotton, the head of the facility, arrives and tells all the ladies that she would like them to behave and they need to be good girls or whatever. Gillian is very eager to show that she is a good girl and there is this intense, erotic vibe going on between the two women. Dr. Cotton slowly undoes the tub covering, and Gillian sensually rises completely naked from the tub. Then Gillian asks If she can have what she asked for and Dr. Cotton replies if she can have what she asked for.
[sigh] I thought, here come the multiple lesbian sex scenes. Dr. Cotton leads Gillian to some underground area, and as Gillian complements her figure, Cotton begins to undress. Gillian, however, begins mulling around some trunks and pulls out the outfit she wore on New Years. This dress was what all the eye contact was about. But, of course, they purposely led our minds to think that there was more to what was going on. In exchange for a dress, Dr. Cotton gives Gillian paper and a pen, to write a letter. But to whom? Jimmy and Richard are dead. She has no idea where Tommy is. Unless Gillian is planning on writing to the very agent that put her where she is now. That would be interesting.
As I guessed, Nucky’s childhood will be running parallel to the end of the show. This time we see as Young Nuck’ys parents are crying over his sister’s bed since she passed away quietly in the night. Nucky goes to work for the Commodore on the boardwalk, and besides telling him that he’s late, he mentions his sister’s passing. In an attempt to win over Nucky’s father, who he knows hates him, he joins Nucky home to pay his respects. Ethan Thompson had sold some of his lands to the Commodore and is still sore about it. The Commodore gives Ethan cash to bury his daughter, and before Nucky can head back to the boardwalk with the Commodore, Ethan whips out a shotgun to scare the Commodore off his property.
They bury the girl in the backyard, and when Nucky reminds his father that the Commodore gave them money to bury her, Ethan tells him that the dead can’t do anything with money.
And that folks, is another life lesson. What the lesson is that Nucky learned from this situation, I cannot say. Maybe, he hates his father for not burying his sister properly or having any real reverence towards the dead. But, it’s also possible that Nucky as an adult feels the same way his father does about death and how it should be dealt with.
Back to the problems Eli wakes up to, he makes his way to Capone’s headquarters. If you remember the way Nucky’s suite in Atlantic City looked in its prime, you can imagine how Al Capone’s current headquarters is flourishing: with about 20 or so henchman hanging around a massive hotel suite, while his suits are tailored, and his money is counted. He even gets interviewed by a magazine journalist in his criminal headquarter.
Eli shares responsibility for the bootlegging location he has with “Mueller” better known as Agent Van Alden. They are both under the jurisdiction of Mike D’Angelo, one of Capone’s men who is busy organizing and managing his property and money. D’Angelo tells Capone that $20,000 has been lost to the feds because they raided the place. Capone says Mueller and Eli better find $20,000 from somewhere, or they will be up a creek without a paddle. But, he says it in his most comical of voices, since he’s always in a good mood now, since he is loaded and calling the shots.
D’Angelo scolds Mueller and tells him he has 24 hrs to find $20,000. Mueller scolds Eli, and after all that, Eli is as relaxed and cool as a cucumber. He doesn’t seem to care about much since he moved to Chicago. Mueller emphasizes that Eli even smells horrible like urine. Just when you think that nonchalant Eli is asking to be murdered, he eyes Jake Guzik entering the Capone building with his usual leather bag filled with money.
In seasons past, Guzik was robbed and Capone has upped his security ever since. Mueller and Eli show up to one of Jake’s stops and end up killing his safety and taking their money. They didn’t plan to kill the guys, they shot them in the legs, but Eli returns to finish them off when he hears them running their mouths about how they were going to enact revenge.
Mueller and Eli show up to Capone’s headquarters with $20,000 in cash, and there were no questions asked.
Meanwhile, Eliot Ness is proclaiming an ongoing war against Capone and his mob during an interview. That’s when we see that D’Angelo is busy at a desk in the federal building as a federal agent in Ness’s headquarters. It is unclear whether he is on Capone’s side and working as an inside man or if he’s working against Capone by infiltrating his team. Only time will tell or did I miss something?
Last but not least, Nucky is working hard to take strides towards going legal once prohibition is banned. He sets up a meeting with his shaky senator and group of businessman in the wheat business. The Senator doesn’t show for reasons that may be related to the fact that the politicians are quite snooty and look down on Nucky as a criminal. Nucky tries to strike a partnership with their wheat org and his sole rights to the Bacardi Rum empire to ensure a significant profit, once liquor is legal again. These men have no intentions of doing any business with him no matter how much experience he has with liquor.
Except, a young man named Kennedy. Nucky realizes that Kennedy is profiting from LEGAL business and doesn’t have to worry about someone trying to take him out. Which brings us back to last episode’s issue, who is seeking to kill Nucky?
Nucky has decided that it must have been Meyer since he lied back in Cuba. He visits a retired Johnny Torrio, who is quite happy being apart from the gangster lifestyle he once had. Torrio took the attempted hit on him as a hint and retired. He suggested Nucky do the same. But we all know, Nucky can’t walk away without having a steady supply of money. I feel money fuels him more than his ego. Torrio arranges a meeting between Nucky and Maranzano, the new boss since Masseria’s death, to see where Meyer stands.
Maranzano claims that Meyer is not associated with his organization and Lucky, faithfully at his side, says he hasn’t seen him in years. Nucky doesn’t know what to make of the whole deal till he sees Tonino, Gyp Rossetti’s old henchman working for Maranzano. Tonino would be his confirmation on whether he should trust Maranzano.
Tonino knows a lot more than he should. Lucky is back at his headquarters nervously planning with Meyer and Bugsy Siegel (FINALLY!) Yes, Meyer and Luck put a hit out on Nucky. But why? It seems that Lucky is trying to catapult himself to the front lines by already planning to take out Maranzano AND Nucky. I don’t see why Nucky is considered a threat since he is planning on going legal anyway, but Lucky probably wants to have AC under his belt in addition to New York.
Tonino has a meeting with Nucky, where he tells him Lucky and Meyer’s plan. Before Nucky leaves, he assures Tonino employment in exchange for knowledge on Meyer’s whereabouts. The waiter casually mentions that the caricature of the actress above Tonino’s head was talented, as Nucky is seen leaving. Tonino must have had nothing but sand and rocks in his head because he didn’t notice that the girl in the picture is Nucky’s ex-girlfriend that was killed in a bomb explosion he initiated on Gyp Rosetti’s orders. Next thing you know, there is a commotion in front of Meyer and Lucky’s establishment, when a black Cadillac drops a body at their steps. Tonino’s neck is cut through and through and there’s a knife in his back with a post card from Cuba that says “Greetings from Havana”
There’s nothing like a clear message to Meyer Lansky and company to close this exciting episode.
Here’s a teaser on whats coming up anybody has any good predictions?
What did you guys think about the “The Good Listener”?
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image source: HBO