Friendless Child Recap: Boardwalk Empire
Whole lotta revisionist history going on in Episode 7 of Season 5 of Boardwalk Empire (“Friendless Child – 10/19/2014), and to be perfectly frank, we weren’t impressed, as we get “this close” to the answer to whether Nucky Thompson will pay for his “original sin” or find redemption. Seriously, how many people really care about the whole redemption issue when you know Luciano and Lansky lived for decades after 1931? All the same, let us get on with the recap with as few “that never happened” notes as we can manage.
While the Luciano/Lansky forces move to take over all the action on the Eastern seaboard, Nucky Johnson meets with Salvatore Maranzano who would rather give Luciano enough rope to hang himself than take action. With 19 men dead between them and a million in lost revenue, Nucky is not into the chess game strategy. Mickey Doyle brings more bad news that $100 grand just went up in smoked in fire-bombed trucks. Maranzano agrees to send Nucky more men and cut Luciano’s throat if he shows a hair. On his way out, Maranzano calls Joe Harper “picciotto”, “a lower-level mafioso, but it usually indicates a younger, inexperienced soldato” (wikipedia) Mickey chastises Joe for not taking a tip offered by Maranzano and gives Joe a gun since it’s “all hands on deck”. But Nucky takes it off him, saying he is not part of this. Nucky sends Mickey, Archie (Arquimedes) and Sean to New York to kidnap Benny Siegel.
When Luciano and Lansky learn of the kidnapping, they kidnap Nucky’s nephew, Willie Thompson, who has just met with his father, who is such a mess he is attracting flies. Eli sees his son snatched and races off to Atlantic City. An exchange of prisoners is arranged but Luciano reneges after Siegel is released. In the tense confrontation, Mickey Doyle and Arquimedes are unceremoniously dispatched. Nucky is forced to get on his knees and give up everything he has to save his nephew, but Luciano keeps Willie anyway until Nucky gets Maranzano murdered by a crew headed up by Eli.
Luciano and Lansky meet with Johnny Torrio to thank him for his help and let him know they don’t need him anymore. Luciano shows Atlantic City was no big deal to him anyway and wants to give it to Pinky Rabinowitz.
A defeated Nucky sits in his office while Joe Harper tries to make himself useful. He is informed that Mickey and Archie are not coming back and he will have to ask the new owner for a job if he wants to work in the club. Joe still wants to find a way to work for Nucky who throws about $1,000 at him and we go through the “I don’t want to take it” routine once again. Nucky calls him a stupid hick and tells him to “get the f*ck away from me.” Upset, Joe takes it and leaves.
Gillian’s “Nellie Bly” letter that arrived in Episode 3 just happens to be lying next to the phone and Nucky opens it and reads it, seeing an image of Gillian as a young girl saying the words the letter ends with “Please help me.” The text of the letter is in the Supporting Cast post.
Nucky looks to be coming into some money in the next episode since a call came in from Margaret while Benny Siegel was being held captive. She informed him that he was successful in shorting out 50,000 shares of Mayflower Grain. He told her to short out another 50,000 and get herself a small position. Margaret would have loved to go into her coy games to show how clever she is: “I can make my own decisions”. But her timing was bad (not as bad as Mickey’s, though).
The flashback segments of “Friendless Child” exposed more of Gillian’s early story. Nucky wanted to send her back to the Trenton orphanage she ran away from. His wife, Mabel, was very angry that he didn’t want to take Gillian in or otherwise find her a situation. Sheriff Lindsay has had enough of the situation he’s been in for years and dumps it on his young Deputy Sheriff. First assignment: return a young girl who looks no older than 8 to her mother with an envelope of money and tell the mother, no further compensation will be forthcoming and no inquiries will be brooked, but not before the Commodore shows his contempt for Nucky.