Things got off to a Rocky start this week, as Chalky downed some raw eggs after breaking into a family's home with Milton.
Margaret and Narcisse were each on the receiving end of shakedowns and Nucky entertained a potential new partner on Boardwalk Empire Season 5 Episode 3.
It was good to have Chalky back, but to have him spend an entire episode in that house with Milton was regrettable. Milton did surprise me with how observant he was to notice the lack of any male presence in the home, but far too much screen time was given to a character who would eventually meet his end after being featured in only two episodes.
The conversations between Fern and Chalky were the best part of that story arc.
Fern: There's forgiveness for everyone. That's what Jesus said.
Chalky: Baby girl, Jesus was wrong.
It was clear to Fern and her mother Marie that Chalky was far more rational than Milton. So then why did Marie keep holding out the truth about the safe and its combination? The contents of the safe were all that her husband left her, but wouldn't losing Fern have been far worse?
Her behavior just added to my frustration regarding the whole scenario.
Chalky ended up saving Fern and her mother, but Fern didn't let him off the hook. It was clear from the first time she asked him about his daughter that it was a sore subject. Her final question gave us a good look at where Chalky's head was at, now many years since losing her.
Fern: Does she know what you are.
Chalky: She knew what I was.
Caroline Rothstein knew exactly the kind of man her husband was. Since he was killed by unknown assailants (probably on orders from Charlie and Meyer) even the sight of milk, A.R.'s favorite drink, was enough to turn her stomach. For all she put up with, she was owed something more than the ring that she got at Nucky's party.
I had thought Rothstein's file would lead Margaret back to Nucky, but not in the way we saw play out this week. Caroline is coming for her money and Margaret is going to need Nucky's help. Nucky ended the episode with a smile as he saw her sitting there in his office. Nucky lacking a real family seemed to be the reason Joe Kennedy was hesitant to partner with him.
Joe waxed on and on about his family, how he was handing down lessons learned from his father. He wanted to know that the man he was going to partner with had as much to lose as he did and not just monetarily speaking. Joe saw himself as a more legitimate businessman than Nucky. One who didn't have any blood on his hands.
Nucky: What are you trying to prove? That you've got a better excuse than me, for being a crook?
Joe Kennedy: We can play with words but I've never broken a law in my life.
Nucky: I'd call that a technicality.
Joe Kennedy: I'd call that good business.
Nucky: If that helps you sleep.
Regardless of their pasts, I got the feeling Joe knew Nucky would be a good partner, but he needed peace of mind to take that next step. He gave Nucky one last chance to be honest with him, to tell him what he really wanted. Nucky's answer fell short of what Joe was looking for I think.
Joe claimed to be a family man and was very concerned about not being labeled just another drunk Irish Catholic. Yet as he bid Nucky good night, he mentioned going to see the dancer Kitty. Joe hung his hat on his virtue when it came to business, but once that was behind him he quickly moved on to satiate his vices. Nucky never claimed to be anything but all business, but a part of him still knew something was missing. Part of him still wants that family.
The flashback to his days working at the hotel as a boy seemed to convey that. In one part he was bringing fresh flowers to a man and his mistress. The woman ended up dead and the man was dealt with. In the other part of those flashbacks, Nucky met a young girl named Mabel. Their flirtation was innocent, youthful. A stark contrast to the man who paid him for the flowers. The young girl Mabel would one day be Nucky's first wife.
This next step in Nucky's career could be his biggest and possibly his last. It has been interesting to see how in this crucial time of his life, when he is working so hard to secure his future, he has so often revisited his past.
Many people from his past are revisiting him as well. Chalky will most likely link back up with Nucky soon, Margaret reached out and I'm guessing the letter he got from Miss Nellie Bly was from Gillian. Nucky also still has a score to settle with the boys in New York. Surely killing Tonino did not square them up in Nucky's mind. The issue of course is that Nucky has no beef with Maranzano, just Lanksy and his crew at this point.
Charlie and Benny approached Narcisse on behalf of Maranzano to try and broker a deal like the one Joe the Boss had. Narcisse was a cool and confident as ever as was Charlie when he issued his not so subtle threat.
Narcisse: I'm sorry you came up this far for nothing.
Charlie: What I love about the city, everything's so close.
What will be interesting will be to see if Charlie and Meyer sit down with Narcisse in the wake of the shooting at the brothel to try and broker another deal. One where Narcisse would cut them in, if they do away with Maranzao.
My favorite familiar face though was Mickey Doyle. Against all odds he has made it through to the final season. A character who should be dead five times over, he never fails to deliver some laughs.
Who from Nucky's past will we see next?