Macall B. Polay/HBO
A lot has changed since last season of Boardwalk Empire, particularly, who's sitting on top of the East Coast rum-running pyramid. A certain brother of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is about to learn that all too well, now that he's a free man. As for Nucky himself, well, he's Nucky, which means he's got his own problems, including a wife (Kelly MacDonald) who wants to save every unfortunate in Atlantic City using Nucky's cash.
WHAT WE LEARNED
When You're Nucky Thompson, It Never Ends: It's a new episode, which means that Gyp Rosetti (a terrifying Bobby Cannavale) is restless again. There's nobody around to kill at the moment, so Rosetti gets to thinking instead, specifically about the one lonely road stretching between Atlantic City and the Big Apple. Such wheel-turning cannot bode well for our "philanthropist," Nucky, and his booze operation. Meanwhile, Nucky meets Gaston Means (the always masterful Stephen Root), an ex-murder suspect who is now an investigator for the feds under Attorney General Harry Daugherty (Christopher McDonald). Means has his own way of doin' thangs, particularly in the field of protection collections on Daugherty's behalf, and it weirds Nucky out. And of course there are those small, lingering matters in Nucky's life, such as who bumped off Manny Horvitz (William Forsythe)--still a mystery to Nucky at this hour--and Mags dragging Nucky to every awards ceremony east of Toledo.
Eli's back: Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) picks up Nucky's brother Eli, who has been released from prison, and informs him that he's Eli's new boss. Eli's in denial, but at least he gets to see his family. Eli's oldest son has been supporting that large brood by working in a lumber yard, but Eli insists that the kid go back to school now that Daddy's home. Eli's first job under Doyle: babysitting a booze convoy to New York City for client Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg). When the convoy runs out of fuel on the only route to the Big Apple—surprise—Gyp appears, and he's clearly the new owner of this strip.
Nucky's the Only One Getting Nookie...For Now: Margaret is still upset about local women and their lack of decent prenatal care, but luckily there's Nucky's right-hand guy Owen Slater (Charlie Cox) to make goo-goo eyes at her and provide a little distraction. At the moment, Margaret is more interested in the poor souls at the hospital, but everybody needs a little TLC, gurl. Nucky's shagging Billie Kent (Maggie Steedle), meanwhile, an arrangement he'd like to make more permanent. Trouble is, that might upset Billie's other fellas, and there are quite a few of them.
Chalky's Getting A Doctor For a Son-in-Law—Maybe: Chalky White's (Michael Kenneth Williams) daughter Maybelle (Christina Jackson) has been seeing a beau named Samuel Crawford (Ty Michael Robinson), who wants to join the White family. Chalky's cool with it—after all, Samuel is an aspiring doctor who comes with free medical advice. But Maybelle seems to think she wants a badder boy, or, in her words, a more "interesting" fellow, like her father. Turns out that the good doctor is tougher than he looks, as he demonstrates after getting attacked at Chalky's club. Maybe Atlantic City needs a new mob doctor?
"Let me ask you something, Mickey. Why the f--k are you still alive?" —Eli Thompson
"How would you judge a man you could buy within five minutes of meeting him?" —Gaston Means
"Happy Two Birthdays Ago." —Eli Thompson
"Don't drink everything without me." —Billie Kent
"I got a gun. He got a gun. He got a gun. Everybody got guns! —Gyp Rosetti