While Al Capone shows his soft side, Nucky continues to downward spiral into a brutal gangster in Boardwalk Empire episode Four.

Boardwalk Empire, Season 3, Episode 4, “Blue Bell Boy”—Since the series began, we have yet to see burgeoning gangster Al Capone (Stephen Graham) at his finest. But in episode four, we get to see the lighter side of Al and his intolerance for bullies.

With trouble continuing to brew in Chicago between Capone and O’Banion’s crew, Al is coming into his own. Capone has risen from smart-mouthed troublemaker/jokester to a serious businessman (albeit a criminal one). Once again we see Capone’s Achilles heel: his deaf son. So when Capone’s son gets bullied at school, he tries to toughen him up by teaching him how to fight despite his wife’s advice to let “boys be boys.” But when the boy starts crying instead, Al picks him up and comforts him.

Meanwhile the booze biz is still a rocky road for Nucky and his crew. After setting the Sheriff on fire, Gyp now controls the road through Tabor Heights forcing Nucky to take the rocky back roads to New York. But despite specific instructions to reroute, Mickey decides to give orders to proceed through Tabor Heights. (Is this guy insane?) Eli steps up to the plate and decides to travel ahead to assess the situation and learns what everyone else watching also knew, that an ambush from Gyp’s men was in place. Despite his efforts to warn the oncoming booze barge about the ambush, they continue anyway and are met with gunfire. The question is: why would Mickey do this? My guess is that his life is now an episode away from being over and that Rothstein will start to get pissed off soon that he’s not getting his shipments.

But that’s not the least of Nucky’s worries. Still trying to find Rowland Smith, one of the thieves that stole booze from Mickey Doyle’s warehouse, Nucky makes it his mission to track down where he’s stashing his booze. Nucky and Owen find Rowland and the booze in the basement of his home but discover that Roland is only 15.

While at Rowland’s, the feds bus in. While they take all the alcohol, Nucky, Owen and Rowland hide in the basement for the rest of the night. During this time, Roland plays on his youth and tries to negotiate a job with Nucky in order to save his life. Owen buys it, and it appears that Nucky, too, is moved by the boy’s plea. But shockingly,

Nucky shoots Rowland in the back of the head. A shocked Owen blurts out, “I thought you were going to let him go,” to which Nucky replied, “Now why would you think that?”

While all of this delicious crime is going on, Lucky Luciano and Margaret have different problems.  It seems that Luciano’s lucrative new heroin business is getting muscled in by Joe Masseria who is not only trying to kill Luciano’s crew, but informs him that he wants a thirty per cent take. The amount shocks Luciano who was only prepared to offer five per cent. What’s a gangster to do?

Margaret begins work on her women’s health program at the hospital and meets a different kind of obstacle, a nun. It seems that the words “vagina,” “menstruation,” and even “pregnancy” are scandalous words to say aloud. Margaret, with her newfound sassy nature, responds to the nun by offering her a box of Kotex. Her newfound confidence has Margaret elated. But upon after learning that Carrie Duncan’s plane has crashed, Margaret becomes devastated. Is this an allegory for Margaret’s future? We shall see.


Boardwalk Empire airs on Sunday’s at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Canada.



—Toni-Marie Ippolito

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