November 19th, 2012
04:15 PM ET
[Editor's Note: This post contains spoilers for the November 18 episode of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."]
Sunday's “A Man, A Plan…” kept up with the “Goosebumps”-inspired storytelling we've seen this season, which is keen on giving a little bit here and there before hitting the audience square in the mouth in the last few minutes.
And the last few minutes of this episode might have been the most explosive we’ve seen this entire season. But before we get to the shocking finale, let’s talk about what led us to that point.
Just last week Nucky was literally out of his mind, but this time around he was ready for war. That was good to see, because so was everyone else.
First, there was Nucky himself. He got a call from Gaston Means that Jess Smith could narc them out at any point. But for a fee of $40,000, the former would solve the problem.
Nucky wasn’t done there. After basically agreeing to have Smith killed, there was Joe Masseria to worry about. Nucky sent Owen and Agent Sawicki up to New York to kill Masseria, who was supposed to be easy pickings in a Turkish bath house.
Meanwhile, before he was sent to New York, Owen met with Margaret to tell her that they should still run away together, but that she should go first and he would follow to make sure Nucky couldn’t pick up on it.
In Tabor Heights, Gyp Rossetti was trying to understand how his most recent shipment came up short. In the best way to get killed by Gyp, Tonino’s cousin Franco tried to educate our show’s mad villain about waves crashing into each other and ocean currents. Long story short, this fact was brought up several times, and you started to wonder when Gyp would finally let poor Franco have it for insulting his intelligence.
Let’s just say I’ll never look at people with their heads buried in the sand with the same joy I typically would around spring break time.
Over in Cicero, Van Alden’s Norwegian Aquavit side hustle was booming - or so he thought. After a successful sale to a restaurant owner, Van Alden returned only to be nabbed by Al Capone’s men for selling on his turf.
Later, Van Alden and Capone met - albeit with a fork shoved in the former’s face - but our favorite Prohee-turned-bootlegger was able to convince the Chicago gangster to spare his life. Well, he did have to tell Capone everything he knew about Dean O’Banion’s operation to do so. You can’t see it, but this is me hoping/wishing/praying Van Alden ends up working for Capone full-time.
Speaking of making moves, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky quietly got the ball rolling on the action for the episode. Lucky and Meyer approached Arnold Rothstein about selling heroin, and when he rejected their offer they took it to Masseria. In the process, they revealed to Masseria that Nucky planned to have him killed.
As I mentioned, the theme of having folks killed was a big one last night. In one of the more surprising moves, Means was able to convince Harry Daugherty to let him take care of Smith (even though he already told Nucky that he would, and at the same rate, too), but when he went in for the kill Smith was already waiting with a gun.
Yet in Smith’s poor mental state he made Means’ job easy and turned the gun on himself. Again, Stephen Root was on point as always.
Before we got to the big bang (or box) at the end of last night’s episode, there were a few smaller stories that may or may not play out to be that big till next season. First, there was Chalky White meeting with Nucky in hopes to open a new, black-owned replacement to Babette’s. Nucky declined, but something tells me he will be calling Chalky back sooner rather than later. At least I hope so, since this season has been lacking in the Michael Kenneth Williams department.
Then there was Margaret’s old hospital storyline. Yeah, it came and went and we won’t miss it. They closed down her pet project. Womp womp.
Did I mention Richard Harrow? I thought when he found a love interest in Julia Sargosky that Richard was winning, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I like Jack Huston’s character more when he’s killing. He’s in love now, but with Nucky running out of resources, you get the feeling he might get a recruiting letter for Mr. Thompson’s army.
Richard’s joining would be a good thing, seeing as Nucky’s best soldier met his demise last night.
We saw Owen arrive at the Turkish bath house to assassinate Masseria with Agent Sawicki, but we never saw him leave.
Later, Nucky was in bed when a package arrived at the Ritz. Nucky, Eddie and Margaret were all in the lobby to look in horror at the contents of this giant crate: Owen’s corpse. Naturally, Margaret went crazy and inadvertently revealed her affair with Owen.
Complicating matters was a flashback from earlier that day where Margaret told Owen she was pregnant with his child. And with that, this recapper was left stunned.
OK, so Owen’s death might not draw the ire of fans like Jimmy Darmody’s did, but boy was I shocked and a bit sad. You guys?
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