Boardwalk Empire

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Warren G. Harding: An American Compromise
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

This week's episode opens with Eli Thompson, one of the more tiresome characters on television today, sitting at the metaphorically (and physically) large desk of his brother Nucky and obsessively making sure everything in its place. Nucky's out of town -- in Chicago, in fact, for the Republican National Convention. Deputy Halloran is serving in place of Eddie Kessler, and he notes that there isn't anybody waiting for an audience. Eli is perturbed, noting that the lobby is packed when Nucky is in town. Once again, Eli is transparently envious of his brother and equally dismissive of what Nucky actually does to obtain (and more importantly keep) his power. To Eli, it's all "glad-handing and back-slapping." Ward Boss O'Neill then walks in -- he's the one who got mugged for his honorarium a few weeks back -- and stops in his tracks when he sees Eli, with a simple, "Oh." Eli's all, "What 'Oh'? I can do whatever Nucky can do, wah wah wah, my arc is incredibly obvious and repetitive!" O'Neill says his daughter is being fitted for leg braces tomorrow, and he wanted to take the day and be with her. Neri usually fills in on these occasions, but his indictment has taken him off the collections trail. Eli, with as much authority as he can muster, tells him to take the day, then gets rankled when O'Neill asks if he's sure. Of course he's sure! And incredibly defensive!

The Thompson family's better half, meanwhile, is checking into his hotel in Chicago. He argues (and bribes) his way into the Presidential suite, elbowing past one General Wood, who is only one of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination. As will be argued later in this episode, "looking the part," be it the part of President of the United States or occupant of the Presidential suite, is more than half the battle. Nucky's throwing his weight around both because it works and because somebody in his position would throw his weight around. Nobody told Eli about any of this.

Nucky moves on to the dining room, where he and Eddie await Senator Edge. A little bit of expository dialogue reveals that Edge is hoping (expecting?) to receive the nomination as Vice-President, despite the fact that nobody quite knows who will get nominated at the top of the ticket. Nucky is all smiles with Edge, addressing him as "Mister Vice-President" and such. Edge wants to send Nucky to a reception thrown by Harry Daugherty -- he's Warren Harding's campaign manager. Nobody cares about Harding, Nucky says -- Edge agrees, but Daugherty has a reputation as a major player and someone valuable to know. Daugherty was, unsurprisingly, a real-life guy, and the man whom historians have credited with masterminding Harding's run to the White House. Sound familiar? Anyway, Edge is riding high. "We're gonna take this thing, Nucky," he says. "And when we do, the sky's the limit." Nucky, once again, says he doesn't care about skies, just roads. Edge doesn't bite, just once again thanks Nucky for meeting with Daugherty. "You know me," Nucky smiles. "I'll see 'em all."

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Boardwalk Empire

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