Boardwalk Empire

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Previously: Eli got shot up during an Atlantic City casino robbery. Currently: he's positively identifying photos of the D'Alessio brothers as his attackers, including that little kid who helped rob O'Neill on the boardwalk. Deputy Halloran reads Nucky the brothers' criminal history. O'Neill is still smarting because "the little bastard called me fat." Eli looks at him like, "Yeah, you really had it rough." Nucky asks everyone to leave so he can speak to Eli privately. Not about the D'Alessios, though, but about this guy Fletcher, a reformer who's running for mayor. He apparently wrote some kind of op-ed trying to score points off of Eli being in an illegal casino so late in the first place. Eli's response is to "fuck 'em," but Nucky reminds him it's an election year. Eli doesn't seem too worried -- he'll get out there and "press the flesh." Nucky wonders how he'll do that while he's supposed to be resting his spleen. Eli wonders how one rests one's spleen anyway. Interesting how Eli seems to view getting elected to public office as no big thing, since his brother has so significantly paved that road before him. Not that Eli would ever give Nucky such credit.

Margaret and Nan are on the boardwalk, looking out at all the beach-goers, and Nan is still waxing poetic about Warren G. Harding. Margaret tries to inject a little humor, noting that Houdini's brother is named "Hardeen," and when she first heard about Harding, she thought it was Hardeen running for President. Nan barely gives that a cursory laugh, not out of bitchiness but out of an inability to stop thinking for one second about her precious Warren. She talks about her "sacrifice" for America by staying away, despite the fact that Warren clearly loves her and their child.

They pop into Madame Jeunet's shop, a place which I have been calling any number of silly French names -- I was going to go with "Frere Jacques" this week -- but since the title of this week's episode is the name of the shop, I suppose I should just play it straight. So Margaret and Nan enter the Belle Femme, and Madame Jeunet makes a big fuss over "Marguerite" because she's important now. Margaret's come to pick out some clothes for Nan, and Jeunet summons "Mariska," the new shopgirl who's pretty much like Margaret, if Margaret were a hunched-over, busty, Eastern European sort. Madame Jeunet might hate her more than she hated Margaret at first. Jeunet plays the "poor me" card because she can't afford anyone higher on the ethnic ladder than "Polish," leading Margaret to ask if business is slow. Not exactly, and here's where Jeunet gets to the point: the honorarium she pays to the city -- to Nucky specifically, has doubled, seemingly for everyone. For all Nucky's "election year" talk this season, it seems like an odd time for a rent hike, but okay. She says she can't afford to pay the increased fee all on her own, and she plays the "sisters are doing it for themselves" card, hoping that'll sell Margaret. Margaret, though, suggests she speak to her alderman. Jeunet has a better idea: intercede with Nucky on her behalf. "Tell him he's handsome, tell him how happy he makes you," she advises. "You have power you do not suspect." You know, Madame Jeunet may seem like an insincere gargoyle, but you get the sense that this is a woman who has learned to navigate the world of men. And now women, as she gently coaxes Margaret, saying if there's no Belle Femme, where will she get all the clothes that make her look so pretty? Well played, Mademoiselle.

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Boardwalk Empire

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