In the aftermath of killing Agent Sebso -- err, of Agent Sebso's death from a heart attack -- Van Alden is planning to leave the den of temptation that is Atlantic City. Only he asks for a sign from God if he's indeed meant to stay. I'm sure this is the only time in history Lucy Danziger will be described as a gift from God, but she does show up telling Van Alden she's pregnant.
Margaret's been living at poor, pathetic Nan's house ever since moving out of Nucky's. But on a Halloween parade through the cemetery (oh, those Catholics), Margaret discovers that Nucky had a son who died at six days old. She goes to him, and he tells her the sad story of his wife and son's demise. They share a tearful "goodbye," but obviously they're back making eyes at each other by the end of the episode.
In New York, the sudden pariah Arnold Rothstein is preparing to flee to Scotland when Luciano and Lansky convince him to reach out to one last life line: Nucky Thompson. Well, this could be awkward. Torrio mediates a roadside summit, where Nucky proves surprisingly amenable to a deal (Jimmy's shocked, anyway): a million dollars, plus the D'Alessios' heads on a platter. Rothstein agrees, so while Jimmy and Capone and Harrow are busy Godfathering their way through the brothers from Philly, Nucky is skillfully placing all the blame for AC's recent wave of crime on them. The scapegoating must work, because Bader and the Republicans win the election (as does Warren G. Harding). During the celebration, Bader (per Nucky) fires Halloran and re-hires Eli as sheriff. Nice gesture from Nucky to his ill-tempered bro, right?
Well, maybe too late. See, the Commodore is on the road to recovery from the arsenic poisoning -- which gets blamed on poor Louanne, who Nucky sends on her way with some money rather than railroading her through the AC "justice" system. It's probably not the reason why the Commodore is planning a coup to re-take control of Atlantic City, but I'm sure it doesn't help. The old man plays on Jimmy's increasingly obvious resentment of Nucky to get his son on his side ... along with his other conspirator, Eli Thompson. Well THAT should set Season 2 into motion quite nicely.
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Hey, did you guys realize Agent Sebso died last week from a heart attack? So says Agent Van Alden! How did he manage to come to that conclusion -- and have others do the same -- after it really looked like he drowned the guy like a rat in the river. Anyway, Van Alden is speaking in front of a dozen or so fresh-faced bureau recruits who Supervisor Elliott has assembled to be Van Alden's possible replacements. See, Van Alden now sees Atlantic City as the ultimate corrupting agent -- Carthage to his Saint Augustine -- and he warns the replacements that AC will present to them all manner of bribery, corruption, and sin. "Bring on the dancing girls!" cracks one of the recruits, which earns him a predictable crack across the face from Crazy-Eyes Van Alden. He dismisses the men, and when they're gone, Elliott takes one more opportunity to as Van Alden to reconsider (rather than sit quietly, with his fingers crossed, happy to be almost rid of this volcano of rageful unpredictability and bible quotes). Van Alden says there's nothing left for him here.
Nucky's in his office with the usual gaggle of idiot politicians (and, okay, Chalky), telling them to buy their constituents drinks, bribe them, coerce them, whatever -- just make sure they vote Republican. O'Neill chimes in that he still thinks firing Eli was a mistake, but Nucky shoots right back that he doesn't "still" think anything, as he never raised an objection 'til now. Anyway, he continues the electioneering speech, reminding them that male AND female votes count. "Hell, Nucky," one of the yahoos offers, "you'll even get the spooks to vote." Chalky: "The fuck you just say?" Of course, the yahoo means dead people (uh, this time), which leads Bader to crack a few jokes about dead voters and "talk about your absentee ballots." Nucky's eyes flash furious, and he snaps, "I hope you're half as amusing during your concession speech!" This silences the room, and when Chalky tells Nucky they have to talk in private, the crackers disperse. Chalky says he's been approached by Fletcher and the Democrats to switch sides. He took their money, but he intends to stick with Nucky. He'd just like to be rewarded for such loyalty: ten grand, a new car, and an invite to the fancy victory party. Nucky tells him that last one's going to be a tall order. Chalky: "So's getting you 100% of the colored vote."
Margaret is now living with Nan Nan the Harding Fan, and she's helping the kids make Halloween-themed treats of some kind. She's also reciting for them a Robert Burns poem, which she tells Nan they used to recite every All Hallows Eve in the old country. Nan asks if they'll say it at the church service tonight, but Margaret says that'll be more of a religious thing, to pray for the souls of the departed. Nan: "You Catholics certainly have a flair for the dramatic." HA! Even Margaret has to chuckle a bit as she rolls her eyes. I would think, despite Nan's hospitality in this situation, Margaret still does quite a bit of eye rolling in her new living arrangement. Case in point: Nan inquires where Margaret will go next week, since after "Warren" wins the election, he's obviously going to send for her. Margaret has been mulling this over, and she has a few unglamorous options, most of which involve finding work. She's surprisingly upbeat about it all, and says she'll see what she pulls out of the "barnbrack," a traditional Irish cake wherein one bakes sixpence (for wealth), a ring (for marriage), and a piece of rag (for poverty). Whatever you pull out is what you get. I love it, it's like MASH with a cake. Nan just smiles at the silly Irish lady with her superstitions and fantasies. Then asks Margaret if she'll come visit her at the White House.