In a delicious monument to irony, Nucky Thompson, the top bootlegger in Atlantic County, finds himself arrested by federal agents for buying a bottle of booze.
That’s right, a bottle.
But the arrest – which culminates in a puny $5 fine – sets in motion a series of back-stabbing schemes that will make your heard swirl. Nucky, it seems is no longer in the back-slapping good graces of Attorney General Harry Daughtery, who has set Nucky up for the arrest.
We know this because of an earlier scene in which Nucky huddles with Daugherty and Gaston Means, the middleman in Daugherty’s protection racket for organized crime.
Nucky sees the writing on the wall; He believes Daugherty is going to indict him to set him up as a fall guy in the bootlegging war, because the higher-ups in government want the people to know the Volstead Act (Prohibition) is working. But Nucky’s bound and bet not to let that happen.
“Indict bootlegger (George) Remus instead,” he tells Daughtery, but we know that’s not in Daugherty’s plan. When Nucky appears in night court for the arrest of that one bottle of booze, he finds, much to his surprise, that his nemesis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Esther Randolph, is the night prosecutor.
Never one to let an opportunity slide by, Nucky invites Esther to breakfast after his 5 a.m. court hearing. Initially she snubs him, but in the end, curiosity gets the better of her.
Over coffee and breakfast, Nucky tells Esther: “We do have a common enemy,”
He’s speaking of Attorney General Harry Daughtery. Esther at first rebukes him, but Nucky reminds her that Daugherty had set her up as the fall guy in Nucky’s prosecution for murder and bootlegging in Atlantic City last year.
And then, in another dig, Nucky reminds her that Daugherty banished her to the graveyard shift. Nucky offers her a tempting offer: “I can offer you George Remus…. the biggest bootlegger in Atlantic County.” And on an even larger silver platter, Nucky says he can offer her Daugherty himself, the biggest fish of all.
Esther neither snubs nor endorses the offer. Look out folks, this is sure to be the start of a major plot development. Meanwhile there are fires at home – literally.
Someone has set fire to Nucky and Margaret’s greenhouse in the middle of the night. Margaret’s son Teddy, who calmly says: “There’s a fire.” The bodyguards Nucky had stationed there quickly extinguish the blaze, but it unnerves Margaret a bit.
Nonetheless, the next day she dismisses the bodyguards because she feels like she’s under siege. Big mistake. The next day, Margaret’s neighbor Mrs. Predock comes calling.
Seems she found lighter fluid and matches – and Teddy – lurking in her garage. Margaret finds Teddy’s explanation – that the “gypsy” man did it – ludicrous. She’s thinking the worst, and spanks her son with three whacks to his derriere, and then sends him off to bed. (Sharing a bed with his sister, Teddy tells his shiveringly-scared sister about the “gypsy” man and shows her the pocket knife he has stashed in case they need protection.
Seems he’s learning gangster ways young. But we’re left to wonder – did Teddy, in fact, see a man? Could it be he heard the name Gyp, as in Gyp Rosetti, another of Nucky’s enemies? And how do we explain the next night, when Margaret hears noises coming from the greenhouse? She loads her shotgun and heads straight to the back yard, only to find Owen Sleater there.
Seems even though Margaret had shooed off the bodyguards, Owen stayed behind to make sure Margaret and the kids are safe. Is it any wonder that Margaret and Owen give in to their long-simmer sexual tension and make love in the greenhouse?
They had slept together once, but Margaret instantly had regretted it and said it would never happen again. Uh huh…. And then there’s Steven Harrow, the physically and emotionally scarred war veteran who wanders into an American Legion hall and bar one night. You’ll remember he was best friends with Jimmy Darmody, Nucky’s surrogate son, who was murdered last season by Nucky himself.
Harrow witnesses a brutal fight between two drunken veterans (what could they possibly have to fight about?). The older guy gets the worst of it, and his daughter arrives to take him home. Seems this is a regular occurrence in that household.
After she leaves, Harrow notices the man left behind his jacket and a war medal. Harrow goes to the man’s home and returns the items to his daughter. They exchange a sad irony: The daughter says the medal belonged to her brother who died in the war. Her father can’t accept his death.
When she asks Harrow if he has any siblings, he lies – he says he has a sister and they are close. He has a sister all right, but she can’t bear the sight of his war wounds.
They are anything but close. Meanwhile, Gillian is striking a new high on the Creep-O-Meter. You’ll remember that she had an incestuous relationship with her son, Jimmy Darmody. She does not want to accept the fact that he’s dead – until it comes down to money.
When the brothel she’s running in cahoots with Lucky Luciano desperately needs money, we think that Gillian is finally succumbing to reality and packs away all of Jimmy’s photos which adorn her house. It appears she is finally going to have Jimmy declared legally dead, and get her hands on the money due him.
But wait – this is Gillian we’re talking about (played by the wonderful Gretchen Mol), so there’s sure to be a twist. Mol plays Gillian as a drippingly sweet, soft-spoken lady on the outside, but with a heart so cold it could chill any shipment of bootleg in a flash. Gillian takes a nighttime stroll on the Boardwalk and runs into a group of young men.
One of them eerily resembles Jimmy (played last season by the popular lead character Michael Pitt). Gillian uses her feminine charms to seduce him, taking him to her bed that very night. She asks him his name. “My name is Roger McAllister,” he says simply. “I think I’ll call you Jimmy,” she replies.
Not too hard to guess where this story line is heading. I can’t wait to see how she pulls this one off. Oh, by the way, the name of this episode is “Ging Gang Goolie.” Don’t sweat trying to figure it out. According to our friend, Wikipedia, it’s simply “a gibberish (boy) scouting song,” popular during the 1st World Scout Jamboree.
It pertains to a Boy Scout breakfast in which the pompous Attorney General Daugherty, is spouting platitudes for honesty and courage.
Yeah, I’d call that a bunch of gibberish.