Things back off slightly from last week's slow boil to more of a simmer as we lead up to what will be the traditional explosiveness of the last few episodes of a season. Chalky goes to Nucky to inform him of (not ask him permission for) his intention to kill Narcisse. Nucky tries to calm him down, because this is the new, quiet, Nucky, the one who pretends that he's so tightly controlled that he never lets emotions affect his business decisions. It's hard not to sympathize with Chalky — also tied up with wedding plans for the daughter who now knows about the proper-noun Daughter — especially since Nucky is much angrier with Narcisse for sitting in the whites-only section of the Onyx club than with trying to kill Chalky. In fact, Nucky's not even convinced Narcisse was behind Purnsley's attempt on Chalky's life, and he consults with Eli, but characterizes the situation as a potential problem with Chalky. He won't let Chalky go after Narcisse, but — especially after Narcisse beats the emotionally traitorous Daughter black and blue (she's physically difficult to look at) — Nucky probably won't have much say in it. Chalky's soured on Nucky, given Thompson's unwillingness to get involved; as far as Nucky's concerned, Chalky's club wiped Nucky's debt clean. Chalky disagrees.
Van Alden responds to increased pressure at home, at work and from the Capones by telling the Capones he'll kill O'Banion, a move that could ease stress on all fronts, but he's sidetracked by an attack from his old co-workers from the iron company. You know, the place he quit by ironing his colleague's face? He shoots them dead, and later O'Banion is killed by other gangsters without Van Alden having to do a thing. The gangsters don't even rob the flower shop, so Van Alden cleans out the till, takes the money home to a horny Sigrid, tells her his real name, and plows her on a bed of cash.
The boring custody battle for Tommy continues, but it looks like it could be going Gillian's way, prompting Julia to awkwardly guilt Richard into marrying her, although both seem pretty happy with the arrangement. Sadly for Gillian — who opens up more and more about her past to Roy more, including how she was raped and impregnated by the Commodore when she was twelve — Roy appears to have an ulterior motive ("It won't be long now," he explains to someone in a clandestine phone call.)
New husband Richard comes to the Albatross to see Nucky, seeking a job, just as Nucky is looking to beef up security in advance of a coming war. At least if Mickey Doyle dies, Nucky now stands to make a pretty penny, having bought a life-insurance policy on Doyle from the cash-strapped Arnold Rothstein.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. If Mickey Doyle is killed, Nucky should mount the bowler on a pike outside the Albatross. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poor Van Alden, working futilely away to repair the pipes under the sink, stripping the nut and drawing the ire of his wife, who icily informs him she needs the water "for to make the cream of wheat." Van Alden is a guy who adorably yells "blast it!" when he’s angry. It just earns him an irritated "Tsk!" from Sigrid, who goes to tend to the wailing baby, and now Van Alden jumps on her back to get her to stop the baby from crying. Although it’s a mystery to me -- as it is to Van Alden -- why she can’t use water from the bathroom faucet for to make the cream of wheat that she plans to shovel down the kid’s cake hole. The fight becomes about more than just the faucet, though, with Sigrid dissatisfied at the state of the unfinished house in general, and mocks Van Alden’s big important job with O’Banion, who gives him "a thousand dollars for to hurt the people’s head." Van Alden crosses his arms and glowers at her and asks, "What if he did?" Then there would be water in the kitchen, says Sigrid. Practical woman, she. Van Alden smacks the table and stomps out.
Over at the Onyx, Daughter’s rehearsing an upbeat number while upstairs Nucky and Chalky hash out what to do about Narcisse. Nucky’s in the "Whoa, whoa, whoa, can you prove it was Narcisse?" camp, and wonders if could have been Purnsley acting alone. Proof or not, Chalky knows it was Narcisse, but Nucky’s worried about the fallout if Chalky makes a move on him. Chalky points out that Nucky’s only cautious because he’s got nothing at stake here, and Nucky piously informs him that that’s because he minds his business. Nucky suggests he bring in Narcisse for a sit-down, but Chalky’s stuck on what Nucky means by minding his business. "It means when I’m conducting business, I mind it. It and only it. Not some piece of ass with a sugary voice, not my pride, my business."
Chalky sits down, and we can see how beat up his face is after the tussle with Purnsley. He points out that he "heard a lot of 'we' last year" when Nucky was in trouble, but now Nucky’s all about the first-person singular. "How do you like your fucking nightclub on the boardwalk?" snaps Nucky, asking if Chalky knows how many palms had to be greased and strings pulled to arrange it. Chalky says he already said thank you by saving Nucky’s life, and Nucky says this evens the score. He sits down and tries to reason with Chalky, pointing out that he’s got a family -- including a daughter who’s about to be married -- but all Chalky wants to talk about is what they’re going to do about Narcisse. Nucky wants to meet with Narcisse and feel him out before Chalky does anything. "I’ll give you a minute for that," says Chalky, before walking out. Nucky sighs. It’s sure a hassle for him to have to deal with the fallout from one business partner trying to kill the other business partner. Poor Nucky!