Jeffrey Wright shows up as Dr. Valentin Narcisse, who happens to be a couple of levels above the murdered Dickie Pastor. He's got the newly widowed Alma with him, playing the role of traumatized rape victim. Nucky and Chalky know it’s bullshit, but Nucky decides Narcisse will get a 10 per cent stake in the Onyx Club. “It’s better off settled,” he tells Chalky, who wants a more permanent solution to the trouble, especially given the disdain he gets from Narcisse, all imperiousness and Bible verses. Unsurprisingly, Narcisse has no use for Alma once he got what he wanted, and sneers at her congress with Dunn Purnsley. “A thing mixed is a thing weakened,” he tells her, right before she’s literally dragged through the mud.
Another layer to Agent Knox this week! He’s an undercover agent working for acting director Hoover, J. Edgar, and not even Gaston Means is aware of it (or if he is, he doesn’t let Nucky know).
Eddie Kessler tenders his resignation, which Nucky decides to stave off -- not with his initial offer of money -- which Nucky confuses with respect, but with a promotion. And Richard Harrow is so tired of killing that he pardons a man he’s got a contract on. He can’t bring himself to kill the dying family dog, either, although that’s because he played with it as a pup. But Harrow’s real trouble is that his sister has no one else and a baby on the way, and owes money on the not-exactly-raking-it-in family farm.
And still no Margaret!
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. He loves Jeffrey Wright and all, but haven’t we seen this sort of character a hundred times before? Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at email@example.com.
Jesus! If you were missing Van Alden from last week (first of all, who are you?) you get a whole lot of him right off the top, with his face filling the frame in the opening shot. He’s delivering a bouquet to a new mother, flowers to a funeral, and a punch to the face…all with accompanying congratulations, condolences and a demand for repayment, respectively, from O’Bannion. So that’s still happening. The last delivery sees the recipient wind up on the floor on his back, nose bloodied, swearing he’ll have the money tomorrow. "Better to not vow than to vow and not pay," says Van Alden solemnly, as he yoinks whatever money the guy has on him. I actually doubt that O’Bannion would have more patience for someone not pledging to repay, but I suppose that’s not the point. At any rate, I think I’d prefer, if I were a deadbeat, to merely take my licks and not have to listen to a little lecture from Aesop here.
We’re a couple minutes in and Richard Harrow, returning to the family home, still hasn’t murdered anyone. What the balls? His sister tells him that "Samson ran off" this morning. This is a dog who is apparently too old and blind to hunt, a puppy that Richard himself played with as a puppy. While Richard and Emma talk about Samson, Richard gets himself a cup of coffee and puts in a stick of something, and I have no idea what it is. I’m not a coffee drinker, so far all I know this is something completely normal, but the camerawork sure seems to want me to take note of it.
Anyway, Emma asks Richard if he went to see their father, by which it’s immediately clear she means their father’s grave. Richard says their father was born in 1862, not 1869 as the tombstone reads. This is news to Emma, but Richard says their dad never wanted their mother to know just how much older he was. (I don’t blame him; my wife is younger than I am, and don’t think that isn’t constant cause for hilarity). Richard says his dad told him before he left for Fort Riley, since he didn’t want Richard to wait as long as he had before starting a family. "Stone’s bought and paid for. No changing it now," says Emma, looking slightly hurt that Richard — gone for however long, at this point — was more in their father’s confidence than she was.
As for their father’s death, Richard wants to know if it was quick, and Emma says he didn’t even want the minister around, having not much truck with that sort of business in the last couple of years. "So I was there, Gerald was there. He liked Jerry. You would have liked him, I think," says Emma. Richard thinks he remembers knowing him, Emma reminding him that his family runs the gravel pit out on Lake Road. Richard remembers the older one, Hubert, who Emma tells him comes around to help out.