In the wake of Eddie Kessler's death, Nucky and Eli each struggled with the direction of their lives this week on Boardwalk Empire.
"The North Star" also featured the return of Richard to Atlantic City as he checked in on the life he left behind after last season's shootout.
Other than Eddie, Margaret probably has been most privy to the private side of Nucky and his vulnerabilities. With Eddie gone, Nucky reached out to her while in New York, hoping to find some shred of the connection they once shared. Even after hearing of Nucky's recent loss, she remained guarded and unwilling to grant him any feeling of their former connection.
The fact Nucky ordered that cinnamon roll, which Margaret noted his usual distaste for, showed how Nucky wasn't himself and was searching for something. Any feeling of sympathy Margaret may have begun to feel for him, though, was short-lived after his absent minded comment about Teddy's present stirred up the memory of Owen Sleater's death.
Nucky: I wouldn't put something alive in a box. | permalink
Nucky later discussed how uncertain he was feeling while sharing some local spirits with Sally at her bar. He asked her what it said about his character that all he could think about was what Eddie had been up to that forced him to take his own life and if he should be worried. Well... Nucky should be worried, but he would probably find assurance in knowing that even when shaken, his intuition was as reliable as ever. He wasn't given much time to dwell on it, as Sally cut his pity party short with a couple hard rights to his face. I couldn't help but laugh at her choice of words as she and Nucky began to have sex.
Sally: Let's go Sparky, I'll give you something to cry about.
Hopefully she meant her love making ability would move him to tears and not that it would give him some scorching rash. He seemed pretty clear headed the next day, however, as he announced to Meyer and Bill that Sally would be keeping an eye on his affairs in Tampa. Nucky seems to think Florida could provide a fresh start for him. He seemed to be thinking as much when Meyer offered his condolences for Eddie and Nucky replied how that "all happened somewhere else."
Sadly for fans of Lucky Luciano, any future scenes with him and Meyer will have to take place somewhere else, as the two long time friends and partners parted ways. The introduction of Vincenzo Petrucelli threatened to bring down the wrath of Joe Masseria on Luciano because of their familial ties. Nucky may have been so intent on building something new that rushing into business with Petrucelli might prove dangerous. Especially if Masseria does in fact still hold a grudge against him, like Lucky alluded to. There are also the friends of Tucker who showed up looking for answers that have yet to be dealt with. So a lot of uncertainty still remained as Nucky headed home.
Richard wasn't looking over his shoulder for any associates of Gyp Rosetti as he returned to Atlantic City, but instead was worried about whether or not Julia and Paul Sagorsky would welcome him back after all the blood he shed. In sharing his story from the Philippines, Paul said enough to assure Richard he was okay with what he did. Julia wasn't as quick to forgive him, but she also mentioned how she isn't too keen on trying to raise Tommy on her own. Things will certainly get more interesting there, as the custody ruling approaches. How far will Richard go to ensure Tommy doesn't end up with Gillian?
Eli spent much of the episode worrying about his own children and how his path in life may rob them of their father. He couldn't sleep because he was thinking about Willie at school, and later he voiced his concern about Eddie's birds and their fragile existence. These feelings all came about after he realized Eddie had two sons that he left behind.
Knox breathed a sigh of relief, no doubt, when he learned Eddie's death was a suicide, but he may have slipped up when he handed Eli his handkerchief. The embroidered initials we saw were JTM. In the 19th and early 20th century, the rules of embroidery typically had the middle initial represent the last name. So it remains a mystery as to who J.T. is, but Eli surely recognized the disparity between the item's owner and the man who handed it to him.
Chalky tried to spend some time with his son this week, but got nothing but criticism from his wife for doing so. After seeing the tension and disconnect that still exists between the married couple, it shouldn't have been a surprise to see Chalky and Daughter Maitland's affair begin. The interesting twist was how Narcisse's hold over the singer may be chemical in nature, in addition to her contractual obligation. As she began her performance, she mentioned to the piano player how she was "comin' down hard." Chalky had sent for her after the show, but noted how she ran out of the club like she stole something.
My guess is she ran out of there to cop more drugs. Either way, the stage is being set for an epic showdown between Chalky and the not so good doctor.
It was good to see Margaret, but she was smart not to divulge too much information, especially if Joe Masseria in New York looks to hurt Nucky at some point. Richard has some catching up to do, but his return was also nice to see. Adding some levity to an emotion filled episode was the always jocular Mickey Doyle. With so many story lines pulling characters in different directions, which ones are holding your interest and are there any you could do without?