Whose Reign will Continue? Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 ep 5 King of Norway

By in Al Capone, boardwalk empire, Boardwalk Empire Season 5, Chalky White, Eli Thompson, Johnny Torrio, King of Norway, Lucky Luciano, Maranzano, Meyer Lansky, Mueller, Nelson Van Alden, Nucky Thompson
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With just three more episodes left to the final season of Boardwalk Empire, we have to ask ourselves what we have learned from the shows philosophical journey. From the flashbacks of Nucky’s past, all I can make out is that he was a boy with good intentions, trying to get out of the poverty that he was born into. I can also say that in present day, Nucky is fighting to establish some long term wealth and stay alive, Capone is trying to be a celebrity without the feds pinning him for anything illegal, and Lucky is trying to wipe out everyone to bring about his Italian syndicate. Even with all that determined, I can’t make out where this is all going.

In Sunday’s episode, King of Norway, I came no closer to what it was proposing. But, I must admit, there were some interesting developments.

Nucky

Nucky has yet another sit down with John Torrio, prior to meeting with Maranzano. Nucky needs someone to put Luciano on a leash and he wants to make it clear that he will not bow down to anyone and is ready to put full force if he needs to. Here comes the friendly reminder from Johnny Torrio: YOU NEED TO RETIRE. He still doesn’t get that Nucky needs to remain in business. Torrio offers to join the meeting in his retirement and Nucky is content, as long as Lucky will not be apart of the encounter.

Nucky doesn’t beat around the bush when he gets to the meeting. While they are waiting for Torrio, he asks Maranzano what he plans to do about Lucky. In other words, if you don’t know your henchman is trying to take you out, realize that everyone knows this and it is a fact. Plus, he’s trying to take out Nucky, another form of gangster, who Maranzano should take into account.  Maranzano responds with some smart comment about loyalty and that he chooses to deal with Italians exclusively, and then points out that Torrio has arrived.

Only thing is, Torrio is not in the car that’s pulled up. A couple of guys with machine guns start spraying from the side of the car. Nucky’s faithful bodyguard, Archie, pushes Nucky to the ground, as everyone else struggles to get cover, and the elongated windows that adorn the entire side of the restaurant, are shattered.

If you haven’t made the connection, Torrio is a supporter of Lucky’s syndicate, even in his retired state. Nucky immediately calls Torrio and asks why he didn’t show. Nucky then lets him know to advise his buddies that the war is on. Torrio was with Lucky and Meyer, during this conversation, who were previously being scolded for not getting a definitive confirmation on the deaths of the people at the restaurant.

Maranzano pokes his head out from behind the bar, but it is uncertain if he realizes the severity of what has happened. Your loyal Italian right-hand man, is trying to take you out sir! Do you understand that now?

Nucky also receives a call from the Barcardi Rum owner back in Cuba. Nucky had been looking for poor Sally and had the man investigate for him. None of my predictions, linking Sally’s death to the current mobster fiascos, came to light. The Bacardi guy knew exactly all the details of Sally’s death. That she had a gun and had to pull it on the army, after she was stopped during curfew, and a miscommunication caused one of the soldiers to instinctively kill her. Nucky wanted names and a form of getting revenge on these soldiers that killed Sally.

Bacardi man lets Nucky know that it doesn’t work that way in Cuba. There are no names, no concrete laws to punish the culprits, no one will do anything about this loss of life. They will just move on.

Nucky is devastated, but how does this play out in regard to his plans? I mean, what is the point of bringing along Sally for this ride, to kill her, and then not connect her death to anything else?

Capone

In Chicago, Capone is trying to push one out on the toilet, with much difficulty. (Don’t even ask why they went there.)

His constipation is a huge confusion to the guys in the suite, being that Capone is an extreme coke addict, and it is rumored that coke gives people the runs. But like most people, time on the crapper, is time to think, and Capone has come up with a complicated and well-thought out idea.

It has suddenly dawned on him , Nucky’s response to hearing Luciano is planning to kill him.

“History rarely repeats itself, but it does rhyme.”

Capone realizes what this quote means to him. His brother Ralph had a legal battle with the IRS and some other guy was pinpointed by them too, so this is all probably just ways the law trying to find a route to him. The person they really want.

Like a lightbulb went on upstairs, he can see them building a case against him for tax evasion. Capone wants all of the money and ledgers transported to Cicero. He wants everything moved ASAP!

Then a cockroach makes its way across his ledger books and his little money-counter goes into an anxiety ridden frenzy, until someone crushes the roach. A stir in Capone’s stomach causes him to head back to the bathroom, but one of his men calls out to him before he can return.

A call came in from an actor, hoping to meet up with him. Capone goes into one of his laughter fits because they want to make a movie about him. He just can’t help being so vain. And just like that, the panic he just experienced is gone.

Is that it for the light illuminating the real problem? Did he just put away the thought that the IRS will be coming for him next? I will bet money that it has, based on what we all know, about his future.

Chalky

Nucky is called to Doyle’s establishment The Old Rumpus with much haste. He is surprised to find Chalky sitting in a pretty suit, at his old home. The conversation between the two isn’t what you would expect, after seeing season fours finale. There is an indisputable edge in Chalky’s tone, exposing a blame that he holds over Nucky’s head. But from his words, he just seems angry at what his life has become, not that he has made a connection between Nucky and the death of his daughter.

Nucky has been well informed on Chalky’s whereabouts. Besides knowing that he was in jail, he was able to tell him that his wife and son had relocated under her maiden name. He assures Chalky that he will support him if he wants to make a new start, and even gives him money and offers the club as a hideout. However, Chalky is initially intent on finding Dr. Narcisee. (Which Nucky refuses to extend some help) If Chalky comes across the Doctor, who i’m assuming he faults for everything, he may end up finding out about Richard Harrow being the sniper that took out his daughter. Thats if, the doctor even knows this.

A cop shows up at the club, shortly after, looking for Chalky. The slimy Mickey Doyle brings him to the back where a man with a scar is working. But when the man turns, it is some other well dressed man with a scar. The cop leaves and Chalky is seen soon after, nodding his head in appreciation.

At night, Chalky creeps out and is able to locate the same whorehouse owned by Dr. Narcisse, in which Bugsy had murdered all the staff. Chalky pretends to be looking for a good lay for the night, but instead ducks into a random side door. Of course he’s hoping to bump into Narcisse head on, but instead, he is caught by surprise when he discovers that Daughter is in the room, now with her own daughter. (Since when is the name Daughter a good idea?)

Chalky has a thing for Daughter, so he might just rekindle their old flame. But, who is Daughter’s daughters father? (This is ridiculous, the writers couldn’t find a better name then Daughter?)

Let me rephrase, just in case you’re confused.

Who did Daughter hook up with to make this child? Could this child be Chalky’s? (Yes, I’m going to have to use child to differentiate between the two)

Remember, Chalky and Daughter used to sleep together on the regular. Better yet, is Narcisse this little girls father? That would be a mess.

Gillian

Back at the looney bin, we find that one of Gillian’s friends is being escorted out the usual lounge area where all the mentally disturbed guests, rock themselves, talk and babble, bang their hands and heads into walls or furniture, and watch TV. Gillian’s friend is afraid that they will take away her teeth because some guy loves her smile. I thought we were just being exposed to the delirium that Gillian has to deal with daily.

But when her friend returns, she has an incision that extends from one side of her stomach, to the next. Deep and curved, it looked like someone had cut her open with a kitchen knife. Dr. Cotton told her that he was taking the crazy out of her, from the inside.

Dr. Cotton is not the woman that borrowed Gillian’s dress, after all. The person that runs the asylum is a doctor that believed that mental illness could be cured by extracting the problem “surgically” .

Gillian has a private meeting with Dr. Cotton and tries to explain how she has finally reached sanity. She understands that she committed a murder, but has now overcome the insanity that had taken over her so long ago. But where did the insanity go? asks Dr. Cotton. It can’t just disappear, according to him. He assures her that he will find where the mental illness resides and take it out of her and then she will have nothing to worry about.

This is where i feel pity for Gillian, who I so wanted to be punished for all the trouble she caused. The concept that surgery is the key to releasing mental illness is…well, crazy! Unfortunately, it looks like she has no choice but to head to the cutting board. Unless, she finds a way to escape…hmm

Margaret

Margaret has closed the deal (25 cents for every dollar) with Mrs. Carolyn Rothstein, in the presence of Carolyn’s lawyer, and Connors and Gould. She presents them with a check from the Old Rumpus Associates. (Nucky’s checks, on behalf of his business, are so embarrassing.)

Carolyn’s lawyer wants to make sure the money is in place before they accept the check, and who could blame him, with a name like Old Rumpus, you have to be somewhat skeptical. Margaret puts to use the forceful power moves that Nucky has taught her, and refuses to take back the check. This is her final offer, take it or leave it. Carolyn decides not to be difficult, snatches the check from her lawyer, and the deal is closed.

She makes a remark about Margaret being right where she needs to be and i can’t understand her extreme jealousy over Margaret’s life.

Finally, Connors and Gould question Margaret about her gangster husband and the secret life she’s had all this time. Not in a gossipy way, they are just in awe that based on Nucky’s transaction, and the financial firm not putting up any money themselves, they would have to consider the fact that they had done business with a gangster.

Just when they think that they can thank Nucky personally, and be on their merry way. Margaret points out that they should know that no savvy gangster is going to do anything from the kindness of their heart, he would want them to open an account for him, as they did Rothstein, under an assumed name, to buy stock from the Mayflower grain corporation.

Seems that Nucky has found a better idea on how to make money off of those wheat moguls, Joe Kennedy included. If they’re about to make a ton of money when liquor becomes legal, so will he! Touché

Mueller (Van Alden) & Eli

 

Eli gets his first visit from his wife, June, in many months. To his complete surprise, she’s seven months pregnant. Even she notices the unkemptness of her husband and kindly suggests he take care of his appearance. And he makes some effort, since they are having dinner at the Mueller’s home. This gives Mueller and Eli a chance to talk much needed Capone business.

Eli must have recognized Mueller to be Van Alden, from the day Eli was picked up after his escape. Even so, Eli  doesn’t think Luciano’s finger pointing is anything to be worried about. Mueller had soiled himself thoroughly and is completely wrecked after having Capone put a gun in his mouth.

And the ladies mingled too. June is as sweet as pie, the perfect guest at anyone’s home. But Sigrid, has become a bitter woman of the house and sprinkles her unhappiness in every occasion. To the point that Muellers daughter Abigail, softly whispers in Junes ear that her real mother is dead and was a ballerina. Which is partially true, if you remember that Van Alden had hired Sigrid as a nanny after the dancer from Babettes abandoned him and the baby.

The guys clean up after dinner and on their way to the kitchen, plates in tow, Eli begins to vividly reminisce after seeing a painting in the kitchen. A painting of the King of Norway, hence the title of this long episode.  The moaning and liquor that have been flashed between hazy moments before Eli wakes up, are now seen clearly. Eli has been having sex with Sigrid in the kitchen under heavy intoxication. He drops the plates.

Sigrid is not ashamed of a thing. She asks if  Eli if he remembers that they had sex. And in between Sigrid calling June’s life a lie, and Mueller’s head spinning with betrayal, D’angelo shows up, with his FBI badge.

He calls Van Alden and Sheriff Thompson by name and they’re escorted back to Fed headquarters. Not only did D’angelo find Van Alden’s warrant, but he also found Eli’s warrant for killing FBI agent Knox. While Van Alden is still steaming at the realization that Eli has been sleeping with is wife, Eli passes him a swig of alcohol he has been carrying, and reminds him that hey have bigger problems ahead.

D’angelo is going to use the warrants as leverage. Van Alden and Eli will just have to comply with his demands, which are risky investigative efforts to bring down Capone, that could expose him, if D’angelo tried. He would rather they take the fall and be murdered if discovered. If Eli and Van Alden don’t comply they will be faced with the gas chamber. Eli and Van Alden need to obtain the records that the cockroach-fearing money counter ledger handling man, has stashed away. As for getting past the money counter without being snitched on, D’angelo opens a closet door and the poor man is tied up,  dripping in something sticky, and covered in cockroaches. A gruesome sight compared to the humane and business oriented manner that he approaches the other guys.

All of these efforts are to bring down Capone, who has all of the judicial system safely tucked away in his pocket. The only way they can lock him up, is to access the system that he has no influence in, the IRS. Which we already know, but these are the measures the FBI is taking to prove tax evasion. Putting what we know historically aside, will anyone get caught trying to help the Feds take down Capone?

Young Nucky

Young Nucky is no longer a boy cleaning up the sand off the boardwalk, he’s a grown man now, and the deputy sheriff. I just want to say that Marc Pickering is a dead ringer for Steve Buscemi. They could not have found a better actor to play a young Adult Nucky Thompson, he has him down to his facial expressions, mannerisms, and they even managed to get the teeth right!

While the real Sheriff handles official business, Young Nucky tends to the lesser problems, like an old lady complaining about spirits and moans under the dock. She says that theres a body out there and it called out to her, Young Nucky finds nothing but a hog head.

He reports these uninteresting findings to the Sheriff, before meeting with him and the Commodore. The old lady is known for making large accusations and putting the Sheriff for many years on a wild goose chase. Halligan, the guy with the money tucked in his hat a few episodes ago, leaves the Commodores office. The Commodore and him are disagreeing on some terms of a previously arranged agreement. He’s worried about losing Atlantic City and supposedly, Halligan has the right friends to make his worst fears come true.

Young Nucky may be just a deputy, but he boldly makes a suggestion, with the confidence of someone with double his experience and money. Much more cocky then the Adult Nucky. He suggests hiring a large team of men to monitor the hotels, trains, and public areas, looking for outsiders of the town. Then, if they don’t like them, they would send them out.

The Commodore doesn’t say anything outright rude, which is a rarity, but he has the Sheriff send Young Nucky out. He doesn’t really like Nucky, even after all these years.

Young Nucky also has his hands full trying to arrange his marriage to Mabel. Everyone approves of their relationship, except her father, who sees him as a poor boy, that is not worthy of his daughter. In his attempt to woo his soon to be father-in-law, he takes him and Mabel out to a fancy restaurant, the Oyster House.

Mabel’s dad tells him from the beginning that he feels that Young Nucky exudes the qualities of a good young man, but that somehow he just doesn’t believe these qualities are sincere. Secondly, he doesn’t think the deputy can financially make it. Young Nucky has a turn at a lovely play on words, as he does as an adult, and her father says, he thinks Nucky is all talk.

Determined to show Mabel’s father that he can move up the ladder at work, he heads to the Sheriffs house and asks to be apart of the illegal cleanups that the Sheriff works out with the Commodore. He is sent home, with no prospect of having his wishes answered.

Just before it all closes, he is called again by the crazy old lady, claiming that moaning and noises could be heard from under the deck, yet again. This time Young Nucky finds the body of Halligan, with hands tied behind his back.

Is this leverage or is this leverage? Young Nucky can definitely claim to not keep his mouth closed for a raise in salary or position. What cards will Young Nucky play with this final discovery?

Where are we now, just 3 episodes away. What did you think about the “King of Norway” episode?

Image Source: HBO / Boardwalk Empire Facebook

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