A Man, A Plan Recap: Boardwalk Empire
There were four highly memorable scenes in the 10th episode of Boardwalk Empire Season 3, “A Man, A Plan…” They were all sort of business as usual, but only three of them ended up with a bloody corpse on our TV screen.
You would think that a Prohibition agent gone bad would know enough not to moonlight on the turf of the man he is indebted to and Van Alden does, but apparently, he thinks that just keeping his sales among the Norwegians will be okay or he’s forgotten that what’s not O’Banion’s turf is someone else’s. In any case, he’s wandered 5 blocks into Al Capone’s territory and King Alphonse has gotten wind of his activities. When Van Alden is brought to him, Capone remembers him from the meeting with O’Banion in The Pony. Van Alden wants to dispel any notion Capone may have that O’Banion knew about his activities. Then he begins to quote the Book of Job and pleads with Capone to understand that he is just a guy trying to support his family. Capone sticks a fork in his cheek and demands information on O’Banion’s entire operation.
Gaston Means has managed to finagle $40,000 out of both Nucky Thompson and Harry Daugherty in return for dispatching Jess Smith, who has been on the verge of a nervous breakdown and poses a threat to both of them. Means enters Smith’s hotel room with a drawn gun in his hand, and approaches the bed when Jess Smith storms out of the bathroom, with a drawn gun as well, and declares: “You’re holding a gun.” The ever amiable Means doesn’t miss a beat and agrees that he is indeed holding a gun, but why is it unsheathed, you may well ask… Jess thinks that Harry Daugherty has hired Means to kill him and tries to recap the scene he thinks took place. He can’t get out the words Daugherty never uttered anyway. Gaston Means starts to approach Jess who composes himself enough to train his pistol on Means.
“Would you like me to put the weapon away?” Means says, “I’ll just – uh – raise my hands, I guess.”
“Have you ever killed anyone,” the highly agitated Jess asks.
“Well now, Jess, I’ll share a confidence,” Means explains, “I never actually have brought have down the curtain. That is a hanging offense after all.”
“I’ll show you how easy it is,” Jess says, and cocks his pistol but before Gaston Means can say a syllable, Jess turns the gun around and shoots himself in the head. Means can’t believe his good fortune. He’s managed to earn $80,000 and the intended victim did his work for him. He picks up his weapon and leaves.
It’s not the first time that things have turned out badly for someone who only meant to help Gyp Rosetti. Tonino’s cousin Franco tries to explain how some of Gyp’s cargo could have gone overboard. Gyp seems annoyed at first that Cousin Franco has more knowledge on the topic of the ocean than Tonino does. Gyp laughs it off, and maybe he would have even forgotten about it. But later at a meeting with Nucky’s man, Bill McCoy, Tonino brings it up again and McCoy laughs off the notion of rogue waves. The next time we see Franco, he’s on the beach buried up to his neck after obviously being beaten unmercifully. All Gyp’s men watch as Tonino begs Gyp not to let his cousin die that way. Gyp obliges by letting him die another way. He picks up a shovel and beats Franco to death with it while everyone just stands there without moving a muscle. “You owe me.” Gyp tells a sickened Tonino.
Having decided to run off together, Owen tells Margaret that they must use caution and abscond separately or their gooses will be cooked together. But first Owen has a job to do for Nucky that Margaret is blissfully unaware of. He is going to the Turkish bath in New York to take out Joe Masseria. Nucky’s brother Eli volunteers to go with Owen as backup, but Nucky is sending Eli and Mickey Doyle on other missions. Owen doesn’t think he needs anyone to go with him except Agent Sawicki who is the one who supplied the intel on Masseria’s habits. But after Arnold Rothstein refuses to back their heroin operation, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky manage to get the specifics of Owen’s mission and get Masseria’s backing with that information. Owen walks into a trap, but we never see how he was taken out. His body is put into a wooden crate and delivered to the Ritz Carlton at 4 in the morning. As Eddie Kessler pries the lid off the crate, Margaret comes out of her bedroom to find out what the ruckus is. Nucky tells her to get back in her room but Kessler gets the lid off. A shocked Nucky tells him to close it up but it’s too late. Margaret sobs with shock and grief and runs to the crate. As her dazed husband looks on trying to make sense of the whole thing, she tenderly caresses Owen’s bloody face and hair. Nucky pulls her away from the crate and she beats on his chest, sobbing hysterically. Later, as Nucky tells Margaret to open the door and let him in, as she sits in shock, she recalls her last conversation with Owen. We see the continuation of the conversation, where she tells Owen that she needs assurance from him that he is being truthful with her and that he will not turn out to be like Nucky. She informs him that she is pregnant and Owen tells her that he wants it to be a boy.
There is even violence in the touching beginnings of a genuine love affair between Richard Harrow and Julia Sagorsky. Julia’s father has objections to their relationship and he is drunk, insulting and violent. But it is nothing that Harrow can’t handle. He won’t stand for Paul Sagorsky’s rotten behavior. As much as we all want Harrow to find happiness, will Julia end up having to choose between Richard and her father? Julia and Harrow spend the night under the boardwalk on the beach, but in the morning, you can see trouble washing up on shore in the form of more whiskey bottles that undoubtedly belong to Gyp Rosetti.