All of Nucky's tinkering and string-pulling eventually pays off when women get the right to vote. Naturally, the one woman who matters to him hesitates to tell her friends to vote for Bader, his man in the upcoming mayoral election. Damn women and their independent minds. Speaking of which, Margaret suggests ever-so-calmly to Nucky that Harrow, he of the hole in the head, is scaring the bejesus out of her children. Not to mention serving as an especially pointed symbol of the wages of war, given Nucky's near miss at the recent boardwalk shoot-out. Nucky tells her Harrow is there for her protection, so, being Margaret, she makes a calculated bow to Nucky's will. And it serves as a reminder that she's not always right when Harrow (having remembered to put his Phantom of the Boardwalk mask back on) proves quite charming with the children. She apologizes for her treatment of him, and he tells her he understands her anxiety because even he has to look at himself in the mirror on occasion.
All the while, Van Alden's obsessive little world continues to crumble around him in the aftermath of stool pigeon Billy's murder. He desperately turns to Margaret. He lectures her about how she has failed her old self -- that lovely, hopeful young thing from Ireland -- by consorting with Nucky, then outright tells her that Nucky killed her abusive husband. She sees the leering in his eyes, though, and tells him to take a hike, so he threatens her with the very fires of damnation. As is his power as a low-level Federal agent. Then he hits up a speakeasy, gets absolutely three-sheets wasted, and bangs Lucy, face down, and is of course utterly dejected for the lapse afterward. But with their mutual and abject lack of self-worth, not to mention opposite-yet-equal sexual desperation, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
But back to Margaret, who that night carries on a fantastically evenly matched debate with Nucky. He attempts to convince her that his job is not all about election rigging, favor swapping, and power brokering, but more in fact about "overseeing." Uh-huh. Drunk on a few sips of bootleg champagne and her first chance to vote, Margaret wants to believe that candidates should be qualified rather than connected, skillful rather than slick. She ultimately decides to humor the Nucklehead and delivers an expert speech in support of Nucky's candidate, only to be disheartened when she sees Nucky laughing and schmoozing like always in the moment after. That night when Nucky comes home late, saying he had "business" downtown (more on that below), Margaret takes a good long look at herself in the mirror and doesn't like what she sees one bit.
In B-plots, Jimmy and Angela seem on the mend after some Ghost-style sexy times with oil paints. That is, until Lil' Tommy spills that "Mommy's kissing friend" is one of the Dittrichs. Jimmy assumes he's referring to Robert and does the natural thing: beats the piss out of the man on the boardwalk in front a large crowd. Angela visits Mary the next day to apologize and is invited to bring Tommy to escape with them for a little ménage-a-Paris action. Over in Chicago, Al attends a bar mitzvah and decides it's his turn to be a man, too!
Wrapping things up, Nucky gets the skinny in on Rothstein's operation from that beloved rat fink Mickey Doyle. Nucky then enlists Chalky to bamboozle the D'Alessios and Meyer Lansky. And by "bamboozle," I clearly mean kidnap, transport to a secluded warehouse and brutalize, including but not limited to when Chalky chokes a bitch out as a bit of personal retribution for his driver's untimely death some weeks back. Only Lansky continues on ingloriously, serving as a walking, talking from Nucky to Rothstein that reads something like, "Dear Arnie, Step the fuck off. XOXO, Nucky and the AC Gang."
Discuss this episode in our forums, then see why our vloggers think this show is like Gangster Babies, below!
Want to immediately access TWoP content no matter where you are online? Download the free TWoP toolbar for your web browser. Already have a customized toolbar? Then just add our free toolbar app to get updated on our content as soon it's published.
Previously: Do not piss off Chalky White, Arnold Rothstein. Do not stare too long at Richard Harrow's half face, everybody. Do not show your whole faces near Atlantic City, D'Alessio brothers. Do not strike up a three-way with a gangster's wife, weird photographer swingers. Do not show us any more sexual scenes of Van Alden (please!), writers. Do not underestimate your woman's growing desires and cunning, Nucky. And for the love of God, do not shoot at Nucky, people. There'll be Hell to pay for that one.
We open with an idyllic beach scene. Ol' Dick Harrow frolics in the surf with a beautiful young lady and, more importantly, his entire face. He looks at her lovingly, his handsome mug glimmering in the sun. She scampers away. When she comes running back, she stops short and begins to shriek. Cut to the mangle-faced Harrow we've come to know and recoil at. We get a proper view of the face that makes children cry out in terror -- as Little Emily Schroeder is doing at the moment. There's a gaping hole where his left eye used to be and a sickening scar swirling down his cheek. Startled from his dreams, Harrow apologizes for several seconds before reaching enough consciousness to cover his face. He slips on his mask just as Margaret and Nucky run down the stairs. "We're on edge here as it is," chastises Nucky. Harrow apologizes, explaining that he can't sleep comfortably in his mask. Nucky and Margaret take Emily, still wailing, upstairs as we zoom in on Harrow, who continues apologizing to no one in particular and is utterly broken that he has become the de facto town monster. And in this town! To his misfortune, the monsters in A.C. are not as obvious as he, but far more insidious. With their dandy suits and their whole faces, they glad hand, they crusade for the law, they bloviate about morality. You have to look extra-hard to recognize true evil on the boardwalk... especially as it begins to engulf us all.
Elsewhere, one of evil's minions is making excuses. Agent Sebso, he who smashes rocks into his skull for the betterment of a story, rotes his story about Billy the Rat needing to take a piss on the drive to Manhattan. He lies that he uncuffed Billy so he wouldn't have to touch his junk, allowing Billy to attack him. Van Alden grows ever more frustrated and more vocal that his obsessive crusade has been debunked by something as petty as modesty. Well we can't all self-flagellate to achieve such singular focus as yours, Nelson. Elliot gives Van Alden a final warning to pipe down. Sebso acknowledges he did wrong and ices the cake with some crocodile tears, saying that killing Billy will haunt him for the rest of his days. He is exonerated by virtue of self-defense then ingloriously dismissed to take a week's leave.