Boardwalk Empire recap: The Winners and Losers of episode ‘A Man, A Plan’

By 11.18.12

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Nucky Thompson has his back against the wall. Can he fight his way out? Find out as we enter the last three episodes of this season of Boardwalk Empire.

LOSER: Van Alden’s salesmanship

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Thanks to his wife Ingrid’s interest in homebrewing alcohol and her overwhelming Norwegianness, Van Alden finds himself in the bootlegging business. He quickly finds out that selling Norwegian swill is a lot easier than door-to-door iron sales. Up until the part where the Norwegian restaurant owner tips off two unidentified men about the illegal alcohol coming into his place, landing Van Alden under custody.

Turns out the guys aren’t feds but are associates of Al Capone. Al’s not happy that Van Alden was selling booze in his territory, no matter the situation. But he spares his life in an effort to learn more about the gangster O’Banion’s competing operation.

WINNER: Nucky Thompson’s concussion

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Remember how Nucky could barely remember his own name a week ago? Yeah, that’s totally gone in this episode. In fact, Nucky seems sharper than he’s been all season as he maneuvers with Gaston Means and puts plans in motion to take down Gyp Rosetti. Someone should show Boardwalk Empire‘s concussion research to the NFL. They’d solve a lot of their future legal problems in a heartbeat.

Nucky has a plan to kill Gyp’s boss, Joe Masseria. He dispatches Owen to get after it and, hopefully, start the campaign to bring the Gyp Rosetti situation to an end.

LOSER: Suffocation induced apologies

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Richard has another encounter with new girlfriend Julia Sagorsky’s drunken father when he’s annoyed to see Richard in their house. The situation escalates, leading Richard to choke him out after being called a “sideshow freak.” Richard takes the drunk dad down, shows him his facial injuries in a Jokeresque fashion and demands an apology. He receives one for himself but can’t get the dad to give one to Julia. That’s good fathering there. Make them earn it.

LOSER: Everything Margaret Thompson touches

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Owen Sleater’s girlfriend, Katy, is sniffing around Owen’s love affair with Margaret Thompson. Owen promises Katy that he’ll marry her soon. But at the same time, he’s discussing a plan of escape with Margaret. Which side is Owen on? Probably not Katy’s. Poor sexy Katy.

At the hospital, we also find out that her women’s sexual health efforts have been for naught as the church who owns the hospital is cutting off the service. Will Margaret’s reign of terror on all that is good ever stop?

WINNER: The working half of Richard’s mouth

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Richard talks over his romantic history with Julia on the beach by an open fire. He thought he had someone when he came back but she married his cousin. Julia also had an older guy with kids. Now they have each other and celebrate with an awkward makeout scene where all we see is the masked side of Richard’s face. But still! Happiness for Richard is happiness for us all!

LOSER: Jess Smith

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Everyone’s plotting to kill Jess Smith since his knowledge could potentially take down Harry Daugherty, Gaston Means, and Nucky. But when Daugherty and Nucky both hire Means to kill Jess Smith — after a heartfelt exchange with Daugherty in which he tells Jess that they’ll both retire and go back home.

And then Jess kills himself in front of Gaston, making for a much easier death than Gaston had hoped for. This Gaston Means…stays winning.

LOSER: Chalky White

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We’re all winners for having a Chalky White scene but, unfortunately, Chalky himself doesn’t fair as well. Chalky wants Nucky to fund a night club with black performers for white audiences on the boardwalk. Nucky resists, saying “This isn’t Harlem” (Chalky’s reply that “it ain’t Japan neither” is both accurate and not a particularly worthwhile argument). You’ll get your time, Chalky. It just won’t be today.

WINNER: Unconventional murder

A shipment of Gyp Rosetti’s booze washes up on shore where any local asshole can steal some for themselves. Naturally, Gyp is displeased. But when one crew member pipes up because his dad was a sailor, Gyp plans on letting him drown under high tide before ultimately deciding to beat him to death with a shovel. Gyp Rosetti…truly a king of violent GIFs.

LOSER: Reconciliation

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Nucky tells Margaret that he wants to make things work. Margaret is reluctant. Then, the dead and bloodied body of Owen Sleater shows up and, shockingly, it doesn’t seem to be Nucky’s doing. But I bet Margaret will blame him anyway. That is so Margaret.

We then cut back to the earlier scene of Margaret and Owen talking. Margaret revealed to him that she is pregnant with Owen’s child. So…that’s awkward.

I was wondering where this episode was going up until that last ten minute stretch. Between the Gyp murders and Owen Sleater meeting his end, the show closed strong to set up the season’s final two episodes.

Pour some Guinness out for Owen Sleater. Mostly because we’ll now probably have many scenes that feature Margaret “coming to grips with things.” Ugh.

TAGSBoardwalk EmpireBoardwalk Empire recapsHBOTV recapsWinners and losers

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