Hospital. Margaret watches as the doctors prepare to give Emily an agonizing spinal tap. Margaret wants to go in, but the doctor reminds her that polio is highly contagious. She protests, "I don't care what happens to me!" He says, "Care about what happens to the people you come in contact with." (As good a thesis statement for this series as any I've heard so far.) So Margaret must stand just beyond the glass, powerless and horrified as her daughter screams and writhes through horrible pain. The doctor tells her, "It's better if you don't look," but she can't not look.
Esther and Lathrop smoke and chat post-coitus. She laughs, "Your toenails are like talons." (Been there, girl.) He silver lines, "So you're saying I'm like an eagle," and she shoots right back, "They're rather unpleasant birds if you know anything about their habits." Speaking of dirty birds, she pulls out Van Alden's file on Nucky -- you know, to keep the mood going. She lights up a cigarette and notes that she thinks it's odd that Nucky came a palm away from being murdered and was able to be nonchalant about it a day or so later. Lathrop acknowledges that Nucky is "dirty up to his elbows" and is ready to leave it at that. He doesn't see the point in bringing in Van Alden's ostensibly paranoid indictments (which they are, but also not that far from the truth).
Esther's not concerned with dead-on accuracy as much as where to arrange the pieces on the chess board of her investigation. Van Alden is one of those, though she does throw in an amazing line about keeping "him away from small children and nursing mothers." If only she knew! Lathrop says condescendingly, "Good girl," and snatches her cigarette. She reminds him, "I'm your boss, Clifford," as she drops her sheet and walks naked to the bathroom. Dominance, thy name is Esther. Trying to reassert his authority in the relationship, Lathrop tells her, "I went to a funeral today." He eventually unfurls the greater point: Nucky did not go to Ireland to bury his father, since his father was buried Stateside that very afternoon. Esther is irritated that Lathrop waited this long to come out with this knowledge but quickly realizes Lathrop didn't want to blow one wad before the other. She orders him to call in Eli for questioning but is reminded that Eli is a hostile witness as best. So they'll go to the next best person: Halloran. She mutters to herself, "Belfast... God only knows what he's doing over there."
Well, God and the nearest neighbors. Cut to Ireland, where Nucky is shooting a grandfather clock to smithereens while a group of old countrymen watch with jaws a-gaping. I will not even begin to comment on the symbolism you could draw from this moment -- mainly because my head would explode. One of the old timers asks of the Tommy (a.k.a. Thompson) gun, "You invented it?" Nucky says, "No, just a happy coincidence." McGarrigle arrives and announces that the English have offered a truce. Owen seems more irritated about this than anyone, though there are plenty of dissenters to McGarrigle's compromise. A meaningful look passes between one of the IRA members and Owen as McGarrigle vows to "make peace, if it's wise." As McGarrigle leaves, one his of fellow freedom fighters -- Fitzgerald -- informs Nucky that McGarrigle lost a son during the fight recently, then invites him for a drink.