So, irony alert: Nucky Thompson hates St. Patrick's Day, with all its public drunkenness and crying. Is he a self-hating Irish, like Eli and his (loud, rude, maybe senile) Dad think? Well, maybe. Answer me this: would a self-hating Irish hire out the local little people community to dress up as leprechauns and entertain the drunken boyos? Eh?
Meanwhile, Eli gets it in his head that he wants to make a speech at the Celtic dinner. Nucky is annoyed by his little brother's me-too-ism, and everybody else pretty much laughs at him. But at the dinner, just as he's getting some good response for his anti-English invective, in-fighting between native and American-born Irish leads Nucky to stop the speech short. Oh, and then they get raided. Whaa? Let's back up...
Perhaps afraid of his feelings, perhaps seeing her as a political liability, Nucky starts cold-shouldering Margaret something fierce. And it's not a great time to be doing that, what with local bootleggers noisily unloading barrels in the alley behind her house, and the Temperance Union peer-pressuring her into blowing the whistle on them. After Nucky blows her off AGAIN, Margaret goes to see Van Alden. After getting a pious (natch) lecture from him on the ills of bootlegging, she gives up the name of local ward boss James Neri, who was supervising the barrel-unloading behind her house. So Van Alden raids the dinner, throws his giant metaphorical cock of authority, and arrests Neri. It's a terribly embarrassing day for the Irish, and for Nucky. So naturally he heads right over to Margaret's place ... and kisses her.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, Pearl is having a rough recovery from her slashing. She's only brightened up by her love for Jimmy and her even bigger love of laudanum. Torrio wants her gone by the end of the week, though, as she's no good as a hooker anymore (what, no Cronenberg-style fetish creeps in Chi-Town?), and that's BEFORE she shuffles into the main room, showing off her wicked face scar. Jimmy's super sweet to her, though. He reads her stories. She tells him her real name. There is just no way she doesn't die of an opium overdose. But wait! A complete swerve! She dies of a self-inflicted gunshot. Your recapper is devastated, but not as devastated as Jimmy, who takes the opportunity to patronize an opium den.
All this, plus the sporting press starts pointing fingers at Arnold Rothstein for fixing the World Series, and Angela -- after harshly rebuffing Gillian's offer to raise Tommy while Angela takes off to live her '20s in bohemian freedom -- swings by the photo shop for what certainly seems like the kind of illicit rendezvous we all thought Jimmy was crazy for suspecting a few weeks ago. Uh, sorry, Jimmy.
It's twilight in Atlantic City, and Margaret Schroeder's little house could use thicker curtains, because the light is all up in there. Also she can hear the bootleggers unloading barrels full of hooch like they were right in the kitchen. She looks dismayed, then sets about her morning routine. Are those ... are those pancakes she's making. Destitute my ass.
Nucky and Eli are taking the elevator down to the lobby of the Ritz, and Nucky is complaining about the upcoming St. Patrick's day. Which, yes, is rather odd since he's getting rich off of the same public drunkenness he hates in the holiday. Eli says their dad thinks this attitude is because Nucky hates being Irish. Nucky denies it and says it's more that he hates the "crying and arguing" that always happens. "Centuries of loss," Eli intones gravely. "We're a sorrowful people." Ah, so it's sorrow that's led them to dropping a shot of Jameson's into a pint of Guinness and calling it a "car bomb." Eli takes a break from rhapsodizing about Kilarney to bristle at the waiter asking Nucky (but not Eli) if he'd like any breakfast. Gee, Eli doesn't do much to hide his bald-faced envy of Nucky's position in town. He tells Nucky he was thinking about saying a few words at the Celtic Dinner tonight, boost his reelection cause. Nucky really doesn't like this idea, for one because Eli is a terrible public speaker, and also because he'll have their dad to worry about tonight, he doesn't want to have to worry about Eli too. Eli is adamant, though, about wanting to say his peace. He's even been taking public speaking lessons. He produces a book by "Dale Carnagey," the famous orator. Note the non-traditional spelling of his name -- this was before he changed it to "Carnegie" in order to co-opt the wealth and social standing of Andrew Carnegie. Eli could tell him even being born with the name doesn't always help. Anyway, Nucky grumpily acquiesces: "Daniel fucking Webster."
Across the room, Eli spots "the widow Schroeder" coming towards them. Smiling, she's brought Nucky some homemade soda bread (which is what she must've been making rather than the pancakes I originally thought). But for whatever reason -- self-conscious around Eli; too much on his mind -- Nucky is super cold to Margaret, telling her she can leave the bread with a bellhop, then says he's late for a meeting. As Margaret retreats, dejected, Eli gives Nucky a look. "Life's complicated enough," Nucky says. And I have to say ... I don't buy this. I mean yes, obviously he's only saying that when he means something completely different, but I don't think anything that happened between last week (when they danced) and this week tracks with Nucky's current attitude. If anything, it's Margaret who should be blowing off Nucky, because of the whole Lucy/cake thing. Anyway, Margaret watches him pass from afar, then dumps the bread in the trash.