It was an exciting couple of days for Nucky in this week’s episode, “Hold me in Paradise.”
The hour delivered the action promised by weeks of rising tension. While there were some positive moves for Nucky, there are definite signs of trouble for him and for all those connected to him. The episode was a great step in the series and made me excited for what's to come.
Watching Nucky work in both the world of business and of politics (which most of the time are the same) has always been quietly impressive. His backroom deals and schmoozing are usually the focus of many episodes, but they have seemed kind of dull recently.
However, it was satisfying to see him work the Republican National Convention and finally confront Senator Edge with the information he gained from Haig. He blindsided Edge, leaving him out in the cold for the Vice Presidential nomination because no one screws over Nucky Thompson. It’s an appropriate response from someone who’s gotten a little nervous about the future of his business, especially with things falling apart in Atlantic City.Leaving Eli in charge while he works in Chicago seemed like it wouldn’t have too many complications; although, the sibling rivalry between the brothers is getting a bit more palpable.
Eli takes over the casino pick up and disrupts the robbery already in progress. A quick shot to the gut leaves Eli writing in agony on the floor. Under fire, Nucky responds to the crisis by calling Margaret. It’s unclear why he would turn to someone he swore (to Eli, no less) he would never involve in his business, but he explains that he needs someone he can trust.
However, it seems like he’s just causing more trouble for himself in the weeks to come. From Chicago, Nucky makes a smart move by inviting Jimmy back to Atlantic City. He can see how his former driver has really grown under the tutelage of Torrio and Capone, though he doesn’t seem happy about it.
But there are more pressing concerns for Nucky: “Someone’s got it in their head that I’m weak.” He knows he will need someone willing to do some pretty despicable things, actions worse than beating a man to death and tossing him out to sea. With a little negotiation, he has Jimmy thinking about returning to home.
Margaret was definitely more positive about her relationship with Nucky at the start of the episode. While showing off her new jewelry and enjoying the fruits of her, ahem, labor, Margaret seems genuinely happy. This moment is interrupted by an increasingly unhinged Lucy, who still won’t accept that she’s yesterday’s news. The exchange ends with Margaret slapping her and giving her these parting words, “The next time won’t be nearly as pleasant.”
This widow only seems mousey. She gets quite the confidence boost when Nucky trusts her to hide the very important ledger in his office, but is his trust misplaced? After hours of struggling with the decision, Margaret finally opens the book and is shocked by the sheer volume of figures, all pointing to Nucky’s illegal activities. But, she can’t be surprised, right? What’s new about this information?
We also got some insight into the tense home life of Van Alden. His wife cannot give him children, which distresses her so much that she can’t sit through a meal without breaking down. There’s an expensive operation that could help her and she begs her husband to help her.
However, when faced with the decision to take the easy money he’s been collecting from Jimmy’s letters or not, Van Alden makes the right(eous) decision to return the money to Angie, the intended recipient, and tells his wife that’s it is just god’s will that they remain childless. It’s such a chilling response to the agony of someone who should mean so much more to her husband.
Some burning questions this week: Will Jimmy return to Atlantic City? Seems like it from the promos. By the end of this episode, he was already gathering information on Luciano to help with his new job as Nucky’s watch dog. This will prove to be disruptive for Angie’s bohemian plans.
Also, when’s the big showdown between Rothstein and Nucky? This one has been set up from the very start of the series. The hit on Nucky’s casino will provide the brothers from Philadelphia with the money they need to start working for Rothstein. How much longer before Nucky connects them to Luciano and then to Rothstein?