The Good Listener (Warning, Spoilers)
Nucky is now on the hunt for the person or person’s that ordered the failed Havana hit. He’s also looking for partners who can buy in with him on the Bacardi Rum deal, however, the former is a lot easier than the latter. We also catch up with the remaining cast members who didn’t make last week’s season premier, and Eli is first up. It looks like the intervening six years haven’t been good to Eli, who wakes up blurry from a drunken sleep, just in time to see the FBI raiding the liquor warehouse he’s supposed to be looking after. Unfortunately, the warehouse belongs to an unsympathetic Al Capone, with Van Alden being Eli’s immediate boss. Capone won’t listen to any excuses and demands Van Alden gets the $20 thousand back that the FBI confiscated.
Van Alden and Eli need to pull a job to make up the money, and in a nice touch of irony, the pair simply rob a speakeasy owned by Capone. We learn it belongs to Capone after the robbery gets a bit messy and Van Alden and Eli shoot and injure two hoods who were uncooperative. “You’re dead you son of a bitch; that’s Al Capone’s money!” one of the wounded men shout, just before Eli turns back and shoots them both in the head. Eli looks rough and even a disgusted Van Alden complains, telling him “you smell of urine.” Was this act of violence Eli ridding himself of pent-up rage? When Van Aldan returns to Capone, who’s busy admiring a huge pile of money in front of him, with the $20 thousand and adds it to the heap, their accomplishment in getting the money barely even gets noticed.
Gillian is no longer in prison, although, when first we see her it looks as if she’s a free woman. She isn’t. Gillian is now in a loony bin, where a severe-looking woman, who turns out to be the warden, wants something from her. Like most other folk (and don’t bother trying to deny it), I expected the warden to be a sex-starved lesbian rapist, but her only interest in Gillian is with Gillian’s expensive dress collection that’s in storage in the “booby hatch” basement. Gillian wanted writing material from the warden but who she plans on writing to is unclear. Tommy? Maybe.
Like last week’s episode, this week returns to Nucky’s childhood and the death of his sick sister, but unlike last week, it felt a lot less like padding. We also catch up with Willie Thomson, as he looks for a job at the DA’s office. During the interview, when it’s noticed he’s from Atlantic City and shares the same surname as Nucky, Willie is asked if he’s related. Unable to lie about it, Willie tells the DA he’s Nucky’s nephew. The DA then dismisses him but Willie gives a rousing speech, that actually gets him the job. Later, when Willie meets with Uncle Nucky and tells him about his new position, Nucky asks Willie if his name came up. “No, of course not” Willie tells Nucky, “I wouldn’t be ashamed if it did.” Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Nucky has a number of meetings, and his first is in New York with the retired Johnny Torrio. Nucky is trying to find out if Maranzano put Lansky up to killing him. Nucky also asks if he thinks it was Capone who moved on Torrio six years previously. It’s clear that Torrio does know and it’s also clear he wants nothing more to do with it. He does however, arrange a sit-down with Maranzano, where he offers to be the go-between. At the meeting Luciano and Maranzano deny any knowledge of the hit, with Maranzano further assuring him “you have nothing to fear from me.” “Who said I was afraid?” replies Nuck. Leaving, Nucky asks Torrio if he should believe Maranzano, with Torrio telling him “believe whatever it is that gets you of this mess.”
Still in New York, Nuck meets with the group of men who make up the Mayflower Grain Corporation. They’re impatiently waiting on Senator Lloyd, but Lloyd ends up a no-show, meaning the meeting shouldn’t take place. Nucky talks the men into listening to his Bacardi Rum importation proposition, but with only one man interested enough to even hear him out, Nucky doesn’t stand a chance. It turns out the lone interested man is none other than Joe Kennedy Snr. It would be interesting if Kennedy played a part in some or all of the six remaining episodes.
While Nucky was at the meeting with Maranzano, he saw a face from the past, Gyp Rosetti’s buddy from season three. Later, Nucky and Tonino meet up at a busy club, and after telling Nuck everything he knows about the hit in Havana and more importantly, what Lansky and Luciano are up to, Tonino hints that he’d like to work for Nucky. Instead, Tonino ends up with one of his ears missing, and a knife sticking out of his back, that’s pinning a “Greetings from Havana” postcard to his corpse. This was an overdue payment for the death of Billie Kent.
Next Week’s Details
Episode #51: What Jesus Said
Debut: SUNDAY, SEPT. 21 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: Sept. 21 (11:30 p.m., 1:00 a.m.), 22 (12:15 a.m.), 23 (11:00 p.m.) 24 (8:00 p.m.), 25 (10:00 p.m.) and 27 (1:45 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Sept. 22 (9:00 p.m.), 24 (10:00 p.m.) and 28 (12:15 p.m.)
Chalky heads in a new direction after assessing his latest partnership. In New York, Margaret finds herself in a quandary as a result of her association with Arnold Rothstein. Nucky hosts a prospective “big fish” partner from Boston. Luciano and Siegel meet with Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) in Harlem, promising business as usual, but encounter resistance. In 1884, young Nucky is privy to the passion of a hotel guest, and flirts with a young girl.
Written by Cristine Chambers and Howard Korder; directed by Ed Bianchi.