May 31st, 1884: Eleven-year-old Enoch Thompson competes with other boys diving for gold coins off the pier. As he comes up for air, he sees Louis "the Commodore" Kaestner, showboating for tourists, tossing coins and "opening the sea" for the summer season: "We sprinkle the sea with gold, and the sea gives it back to us a hundredfold. That is the glory of this blessed strand that we call Atlantic City" Unfortunately, Enoch isn't quick enough to catch any gold coins.
Havana, 1931. Sally Wheet and Nucky dance together at her bar, while waiting for Senator Wendell Lloyd from Pennsylvania to arrive. When he finally shows, the three of them enjoy rum cocktails. Nucky, betting on Prohibition being repealed, pumps the Senator for inside information. Senator Lloyd is reluctant to work with Nucky, due to his criminal past, reminding him that Constitutional amendments don't get overturned. Nucky sets his worries at ease as Sally introduces the married Senator to a lovely Senorita willing to show him the Havana nightlife.
In the mountains of Maryland, a hollow and silent Chalky White works on a prison chain gang. Chalky, who will only admit that "getting caught" is what landed him in jail, is a frequent target of the guards' wrath. At the end of the work day, a commotion breaks out when a prisoner snaps and kills a guard with his pickaxe. In the chaos, Chalky turns a rifle on another guard, then uses the guard's keys to unshackle his leg irons. While making a break for the woods, Chalky is tackled by Milton, a simple but dangerous prisoner, who points a gun at him. Milton promises to split money he knows is in a nearby house if Chalky will "handle all the telephones and such." With no other choice, Chalky escapes with him.
New York City. At the Conors & Gould Brokerage office, Margaret's boss, Robert Bennett III, addresses his employees. He tells them about the Mickey Mouse cartoon he saw the night before and suggests they apply its message of never giving up to their own work, finishing up by saying: "it's a grand time to make money." Then, Bennett quickly takes out a gun and shoots himself dead.
1884. Young Enoch returns home to find his six-year old brother, Eli, his mother Elenore and his nine-year old sister, Susan, who is very ill. While his sister rests, Elenore gives him a magazine, ‘Golden Days for Boys and Girls,' just as his father, Ethan, comes home early from work as a bayman. Fearful of his reaction, Elenore hides the magazine from Ethan, who expresses concern about Susan. Later, Ethan shares a meal with Enoch, and viciously hits him for not catching any gold coins in the water: "You're the son of a fisherman," Ethan growls. "And what are you trying to catch?"
While waiting for Senator Lloyd the following morning, Nucky and Sally run into Meyer Lansky, who tells them he's there with his wife. They have an awkward, yet cordial exchange, then Nucky and Sally head out to the Cuban countryside with Senator Lloyd to meet with Maxime Ronis, the head of Bacardi Rum. With Senator Lloyd as political weight, Nucky informs Ronis that he has a distribution network already in place and when Prohibition is repealed, he would be capable of distributing Bacardi Rum in the United States.
Lucky Luciano and Joe Masseria have a late-day lunch at the Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant in Coney Island. Masseria, worn, complains to Luciano about the war he is having with his rival, Salvatore Maranzano. Luciano excuses himself to the restroom as Benny Siegel and Tonino come in and shoot Masseria dead. The three men leave the restaurant -- and Masseria's bloody corpse -- behind.
1884. Enoch and the other pier boys lay in wait for tourists to arrive via the Corner Hotel's horse and wagon. A harsh sea-breeze blows the hats off the men, and the pier boys chase them down for tips. Enoch cannot find a hat and encounters New York City businessman, Pat Halligan. Taking pity on Enoch's missed opportunity for a tip, Halligan gives him two candies. After he leaves, Enoch finds Halligan's hat, along with a $50 bill hidden inside the fold. That night, while everyone sleeps, Enoch stares at the $50 bill, uncertain what to do with it. Hiding the money, he visits his Susan's bedside and gives her one of the candies, given to him from Pat Halligan.
At the Conors & Gould office, Lawrence Conors calls Margaret into his office to gain access to Bennett's files. She lies about not having the key, and after everyone leaves for the day, Margaret attempts to remove the file on "Abe Redstone." She's forced to bluff once again when an assistant finds her in Bennett's office.
That night, Luciano attends Maranzano's coronation party as the new Boss of Bosses, where Maranzano gives a speech about the future of their business. The other gangsters do not trust Luciano because of his affiliation with Masseria, but Maranzano welcomes Luciano with open arms. As a symbol of his loyalty, Luciano slices his hand, making a blood oath to Maranzano and the others. All the men in attendance follow suit, symbolizing their brotherhood and loyalty.
Following his successful meeting with Ronis, Nucky survives an assassination attempt when his bodyguard Arquimedes comes to his rescue, killing the assassin and chopping off his ear. After the chaos subsides and Nucky pays off the local authorities, he runs into Meyer Lanksy's wife. Nucky speaks to her, but she replies in Spanish; she is actually a local prostitute, not Lanksy's wife. Nucky's wheels start spinning.
1884. Enoch goes to the Corner Hotel and returns the $50 to Halligan, who is meeting with the Commodore. The Commodore bristles at Enoch's honesty, telling him "everything goes through me." He offers Enoch a gold dollar coin to sweep sand off the hotel porch. That night, Enoch gives the gold coin to his mother, while his father, sits by Susan's bedside. In his bedroom, Enoch reads ‘Golden Days for Boys and Girls' then hides it behind his pillow before going to bed.
Eli awakens from a strange, hazy sex dream to a raid on the Chicago warehouse in his charge. As the Feds frisk the bootleggers, Eli escapes through the office's rear exit.
In Brooklyn, Nucky visits with the now-retired Johnny Torrio, who mentions it was Capone who tried to take him out. "Most fellas in this business get their retirement papers straight from the Grim f*ckin' Reaper," Torrio laments. Nucky suspects Meyer Lansky is behind the attempt on his own life, given Masseria's murder in the same 24-hour period. He believes Lansky is taking orders from Salvatore Maranzano. Torrio offers to broker a sit-down between Maranzano and Nucky, though he advises him to "take the hint and retire already."
1884. Eli and Enoch stare at their sister Susan's body. Ethan shoos the boys away, but not before Enoch overhears his mother's concern that Ethan drank away the money saved to bury Susan.
Law school graduate Willie Thompson interviews with U.S. Attorney Robert Hodge. When Hodge learns that Nucky Thompson is Willie's uncle (or as Willie puts it, "his father's brother") he rejects his application. As he leaves, Willie pleads his case: "I want to put criminals in jail, the ones who divide families. I've lost my own father, heard my mother cry herself to sleep more times than I can count," he explains. "Let me do something good with my life."
In his suite at Chicago's Lexington Hotel, Al Capone is measured by a tailor while reporter Lou Greenspan interviews him for Variety. Mike D'Angelo, a man in Capone's employ, brings word of the warehouse raid. D'Angelo orders Van Alden to "find" the $20,000 the raid cost them; Eli promises the seething Van Alden he'll make good on it. On their way out of the hotel, Eli spots Jake Guzik on his way up to Capone, holding a satchel of cash.
Gillian lies in a bathtub at the New Jersey Psychiatric Hospital. Bedlam breaks out when an attendant shuts off the radio mid-broadcast, and every woman but Gillian joins in the uproar. The hospital matron, acknowledging Gillian's good behavior, promises she'll get what she's asked for if she gets what she asked of Gillian.
Nucky meets with Charles Gabler, Theodore Rollins and Joe Kennedy of the newly formed Mayflower Grain Corporation. Senator Lloyd, whom Nucky met in Havana, sends word that he's been "detained" in Washington and cannot attend, but Nucky forges ahead and reveals his exclusive North American distribution rights with Bacardi, should liquor become legal again. He proposes they pool their resources to build a distribution infrastructure, but the men are reluctant to work with a known criminal. Without Senator Lloyd's assurance that Prohibition will be repealed, the group turns down Nucky's proposal.
Joe Kennedy exits with Nucky and tells him he made similar deals with Dewars as well as Moet Champagne. When Nucky asks if he should darken someone else's door with his proposal, Kennedy explains that Nucky frightens his partners: "These are Brahmins, not brawlers." The men shake hands and Kennedy promises to ring him up the next time he's in Atlantic City.
1884. Enoch arrives late to the Corner Hotel and the Commodore berates him until he learns of Susan's passing. Sheriff Lindsay inquires about services, but Nucky explains they'll be burying Susan at home. Lindsay takes the Commodore aside and suggests he send something to the Thompsons.
With Torrio acting as broker, Nucky sits down with Maranzano to clear the air. Maranzano assures him that Masseria was his only problem and that he never targeted Nucky. Lucky Luciano, also in attendance, confirms that he hasn't spoken to Lansky in months. Later, Luciano, Benny Siegel and Lansky meet with Tonino, who updates them: Maranzano still believes Luciano and Lansky are on the outs and are in no way connected with the attempted hit on Nucky.
In Chicago, Van Alden and Eli wait in the shadows at Jake Guzik's last collection stop. They jump two of Guzik's henchmen -- successfully making up the warehouse's lost revenue.
1884. The Commodore arrives at the Thompson house and offers Ethan money to bury Susan. Ethan is reluctant to take help from the Commodore, who he believes burned him on a land deal. Wielding a shotgun, Ethan chases the Commodore off his property, then pockets the cash he left behind.
At the Chicago Federal Building, Elliot Ness tells reporters of his plans to take down Capone's organization. In an upstairs office, Frank Wilson checks in with Mike D'Angelo, who is really an undercover agent working on the Capone case.
Nucky meets with Tonino at Sardi's to find out "who tried to spoil" his vacation in Havana. Tonino confirms that Lansky and Luciano were behind the hit; the duo plan to let Maranzano think he's king until they can take him out too. In exchange for Lansky's whereabouts, Nucky offers Tonino a job. Once Nucky leaves, a waiter points out a caricature of Billie Kent on the wall. Across the room, Arquimedes catches Tonino's eye.
Gillian follows the Matron into the hospital's attic storage, where their earlier deal is revealed: In exchange for one of Gillian's fancy gowns, the Matron provides Gillian with a sheaf of blank paper and a pen. "No crazy letters to the president now," she warns.
At an upscale whorehouse, a party hosted by Lansky is interrupted by a chorus of ladies' screams; Tonino's corpse has been dumped in the doorway. The knife in his back pins a "Greetings from Havana" postcard in place.
Chalky White and Milton, the man he escaped the chain gang with, break into a house Milton claims has a safe full of cash. While snooping, they're confronted by a teenage girl named Fern. Milton pulls a gun on her and orders Chalky to look for others when the girl's mother comes down the stairs.
1884. Enoch works as a bellboy at the Corner Hotel, serving drinks and tending to guests. Among them is a young man named Beckert, who asks Nucky to deliver a bouquet each day for his girlfriend.
Nucky meets with Mickey Doyle at the Old Rumpus, the burlesque club that replaced the Onyx. He orders Mickey to round up his workers at the warehouse for protection. Nucky takes a call from Sally in Cuba, and she assures him that Bacardi's Maxim Ronis is fine, but eager for a bigger payout. Nucky tells her that Senator Lloyd has "flown the coop," but he has a "big fish coming down from Boston" looking to get into the liquor business.
Margaret is questioned by Conors & Gould's in-house attorney about her late boss's business with "Abe Redstone," a known alias of Arnold Rothstein. Despite Rothstein having been dead since 1928, the attorney explains, his account has been "very much alive." Aware that Bennett was playing the market with Rothstein's money and losing, Rothstein's widow, Carolyn, plans to take legal action. The attorney points out that Margaret signed the withdrawal slips.
Fern and her mother, Marie, sit on the couch opposite Milton, who refuses to believe there is no money. Milton recalls delivering ice for a party at the house years ago and insists there is a safe. He forces the women to take him and Chalky to the cellar to look for it, but when the safe can't be located, Fern tells Milton their father moved all their money to a safety deposit box in town.
Lucky Luciano and Benny Siegel meet with Dr. Narcisse; Maranzano would like to continue Narcisse's deal with Masseria for "protection." When Narcisse declines, Luciano is quick to remind him that a man could lose everything very quickly in these uncertain times.
Nucky meets with Joe Kennedy at an Italian restaurant in Atlantic City. He's surprised to learn that Kennedy doesn't drink. "It's hard enough doing business as an Irish Catholic," Kennedy explains. "I try my best to thwart the notion that we're all drunkards." Nucky exchanges his wine for a glass of seltzer.
After tying up Marie and Fern, Milton gives in to his exhaustion and dozes in a chair. Marie tries to reason with Chalky, but he refuses to leave in broad daylight. Hoping to humanize themselves, Fern asks Chalky about his daughter. "There's forgiveness for everyone," she tells him. "That's what Jesus said." A knock at the door brings a delivery from Montgomery Ward -- Fern's spring formal dress, Marie explains. When Milton makes Fern try the gown on in front of him, a frantic Marie tells Milton the safe is actually upstairs.
Margaret meets with Carolyn Rothstein at her apartment. Though Margaret feigns naiveté, Carolyn knows Margaret lives in one of Rothstein's buildings and accuses her of being one of his many mistresses. Margaret explains that she only had a business relationship with Rothstein, and had no control over Bennett's actions. However, Carolyn has little use for Margaret's excuses; Arnold left her destitute. Carolyn knows Margaret is still married to Nucky -- and she wants what's hers.
1884. Enoch is tasked with driving a pony cart to the beach for a family with a daughter his age. The girl asks Enoch if, as a bellboy, he has to do whatever anyone tells him. When he says yes, she asks if he would kiss the pony if she paid him 10 cents. Hoping to impress her, Enoch does, but is left humiliated when the girl doesn't react.
Chalky tries in vain to break a small safe in Marie's bedroom while Milton insists it isn't the one he remembers. Exasperated, Milton presses his gun to Fern's head and forces Marie to unlock the safe she claimed not to know the combination for. She hands him a stack of Liberty bonds - not the fortune Milton was expecting. As Milton cocks the trigger, Chalky swings the hammer into the back of his head, but Milton doesn't go down and strangles Fern instead. With no other choice, Chalky kills Milton, sinking the hammer's claw into his throat. Fern turns the gun on him and Marie orders him from their home.
In his office at the Old Rumpus, Nucky propositions Kennedy about partnering with him in the Bacardi deal. Kennedy, having noticed the absence of family in Nucky's life, presses Nucky about his motivation: "You tell me what you really want, and I'll tell you if we have a deal." Backed into a corner, Nucky only admits that he "wants to leave something behind." A satisfied Kennedy pours Nucky a drink and goes off to pursue a burlesque dancer.
1884. At the Corner Hotel, Enoch stands outside of Beckert's room with fresh flowers. Sheriff Lindsay and the Commodore are inside, and when the Sheriff opens the door, Enoch spots Beckert's girlfriend splayed out on the divan with her throat slit.
Benny Siegel and Red Levine pay a visit to one of Narcisse's whorehouses in Harlem, on the pretense of checking out the "merchandise." Once inside, Levine kills the pimp; he and Siegel then gun down the prostitutes as a clear message to Narcisse.
Mickey Doyle heads to a hobo camp to gather men to work at the warehouse. A 16-year-old boy begs Mickey to hire him, winning him over when he offers to give Mickey half of his pay.
1884. At the Corner Hotel, Sheriff Lindsay promises that Beckert's been "taken care of," but asks Enoch to keep it between them, as it would be bad for business. "You can't stop every bad thing," Lindsay laments. Once alone, Enoch opens an envelope left for him at the hotel's front desk. Inside is a postcard of a boy and girl in a pony cart on the beach. On the back it reads, "We are here for a few weeks every summer. Mabel Jeffries. P.S. I would have let you kiss me."
In his office at the Old Rumpus, Nucky awakens from an alcohol-induced slumber and spots a woman in silhouette across from him. "Mabel?" Nucky asks. "I'm afraid not," says Margaret, as Nucky drifts back to sleep.
At the Corner Hotel, the Commodore calls Enoch into his office where he reveals his plans to improve Atlantic City -- including extending the boardwalk and laying down trolley tracks. No longer in need of him during the low season, the Commodore dismisses the boy from his service. The indifferent Commodore instructs Enoch to leave his bellboy uniform at the front desk when he goes.
Extremely hung over, Nucky finally wakes and learns that his flight to Cuba has been canceled due to heavy rain. Nucky checks that the kids are fine and then asks Margaret why she's come. She explains the situation with Carolyn Rothstein, and the widow's plan to sue them both if Nucky doesn't pay restitution.
At Chicago's Lexington Hotel, Al Capone proudly screens a newsreel about "Public Enemy #1": himself. Lucky Luciano, fresh off the train from New York, begs off a second viewing to take a shower and a nap. On his way out, Luciano recognizes Van Alden, asking him if they know each other - former Prohee Van Alden is quick to deny that they do.
Locked out of their house while their parents have sex, Enoch takes Eli out for a cornball. While they sit on the beach, Enoch tells his brother about a bigger, wealthier world -- a world he wants access to. To prove his point, Enoch swipes a key from the deserted Corner Hotel and takes Eli upstairs to revel in the luxury. Their foray doesn't last long; Eli interrupts Enoch while he's soaking in a bath -- they've been caught.
From his office, Nucky calls Sally to let her know he's been "rained" in. He promises to wire the "good faith money" for Maxim Ronis and asks her to deliver it on his behalf. Made aware of the unstable political situation in Cuba, Nucky advises Sally to use her judgment. After they hang up, Nucky is surprised to find Joe Kennedy waiting for him -- and flirting with Margaret. Kennedy explains that he's decided not to partner with him on Bacardi, seeing as how "Scotch and rum don't really mix." He offers to bring Margaret back to New York in his private train car, but sensing Nucky's jealousy, Margaret chooses to stay behind.
Luciano presents Capone with a "taste of home" -- a lead sculpture of the Empire State Building, before propositioning him about the network of Italian gangsters that he and Lansky are building. Mid-pitch, Luciano stops and tells Capone he recognizes the "cigar store Indian" as the Prohee that pinched him and Jimmy Darmody back in 1921. Capone orders Mike D'Angelo to round up Mueller.
Nucky and Margaret have lunch at Chef Vola's, where their conversation volleys between flirtation and gentle jabs. When Margaret questions whether or not they're having a fight, Nucky assures her that they've had all the fights they're ever going to have, and takes her hand.
Van Alden invents a past for himself but is ordered to his knees by Capone, who shoves a gun in his mouth. Van Alden begs for one more chance to explain himself, and proceeds to remind Capone of their long history. What matters is not whether he's a Fed or a bigamist or a murderer, but Luciano's disrespect of Capone; the outsider is telling Capone what to do. Agreeing, Capone puts his gun away and tells Luciano that he can either rule by fear or by love -- something to keep in mind should he ever be in charge.
Sally picks up the money and brings it to Ronis' home. Upon learning Mrs. Ronis will be traveling, Sally questions Ronis before handing over the payment. He assures her the money will be used to pay for the protection of his sugar cane fields; he's not going anywhere.
After Lindsay squares things away with the Corner Hotel, he brings Enoch and Eli home to join his family for dinner. Enoch is so overwhelmed by the abundant meal and the Lindsay family's affection for each other that he bursts into tears at the table.
Nucky and Margaret stroll along the boardwalk, where Nucky admits he may have had his fill of life in Atlantic City. They flirt some more, and Margaret, tipsy from lunch, kisses him. Confirming he has no plans to kill Carolyn Rothstein, Margaret asks how he plans to deal with her. Nucky explains that Carolyn will take 25 cents on the dollar, the firm will stay afloat, and that Margaret will manage the negotiation, not him. He reminds the skeptical Margaret she's already proved herself capable.
Once Luciano leaves the suite, Capone spits and insults him. His cronies join in on the shit-talking until Capone calls out one of the men, Cenzo, for calling Luciano a "jerk." Capone defends Luciano as Cenzo's terror grows, but then plays it off as a joke. After the suite empties, Capone bludgeons Cenzo with the lead Empire State Building statue. He then calls Nucky to warn him about Luciano.
On her way back to Havana, Sally is stopped at a military roadblock, where she's informed of a newly-imposed curfew. She tries to bribe the captain of the soldiers, but is forced out of her car and relieved of her gun. When the captain learns she's been in Miramar doing business with Ronis, he tells her she's what's wrong with Cuba, and prevents her from getting back in her car. In the struggle, Sally grabs one of the soldier's guns, but is shot dead before she can get away.
Sheriff Lindsay brings Enoch and Eli home, and Enoch asks him if he can put their father in jail, or deal with him as he did Beckert, for beating their mother. Lindsay warns Enoch against such foolishness, but promises to handle Ethan if he complains about where the boys were. Lindsay shakes Enoch's hand and calls him "Deputy Sheriff Thompson."
Atlantic City, 1897. A local eccentric, Mae Zeller, directs Deputy Sherriff Enoch Thompson under the pier to investigate what she believes to be a dead body. Upon further inspection, Enoch discovers the corpse is actually that of a dead hog.
Following his conversation with Nucky about Lucky Luciano, Al Capone takes Nucky's odd response as an omen and decides his men need to be more vigilant in their operation. To avoid further trouble with the Feds, Capone orders Mike D'Angelo and his men to move everything to Cicero immediately.
Nucky is called to the Old Rumpus by Mickey Doyle. When he arrives, Nucky's stunned to see Chalky White seated in his office. Chalky reveals he's after Dr. Narcisse, but Nucky is reluctant to help. He insists Chalky seek out his family instead; they've moved to St. Louis and live under his wife's maiden name. Upon learning that Chalky is still a wanted man, Nucky offers him protection and a place to stay until he gets back from New York City.
A hung-over Eli wakes to pounding on his rooming house door; he's slept past the time he was supposed to pick up June at the train station. As he invites his wife in, Eli is shocked to discover that June is seven months pregnant. Seizing a chance to "start over," Eli begs for her and the remaining kids to move out to Chicago -- even if it means that Nucky will stop sending the family an allowance.
Nucky meets with Johnny Torrio to discuss Capone's warning, but Torrio is dismissive of his former protégé's claim. He reminds Nucky of their positive sit-down with Maranzano, but Nucky is certain Luciano is acting on his own. Despite his misgivings, Torrio agrees to join Nucky at his meeting with Maranzano, promising to help him get to the bottom of everything.
1897. Sheriff Lindsay and Enoch meet with the Commodore who asks them to "get rid of" Pat Halligan, who's putting the squeeze on him from New York. Enoch suggests an aboveboard idea to keep Halligan and his cronies out of Atlantic City, but the Commodore dismisses him from the office to discuss another "solution" with Lindsay and Leander Whitlock.
Eli and June have a tense dinner at Van Alden's kit house, where Sigrid treats June coldly and takes every opportunity to belittle her husband. Following their meal, Eli insists that he and Van Alden clear the dishes, but when Abigail puts on a George Van Dusen record, Eli is overcome. Realizing that he slept with Sigrid while very drunk, he drops an armload of dishes. "You remember now?" Sigrid asks him, before revealing to June, "Your man and me, we fuck. When husband is at work making the collections." Before the situation escalates, Mike D'Angelo and another Fed arrive wielding badges, and order "Nelson" and "Sheriff Thompson" to come with them.
At Conors & Gould, Margaret hands over a check to Carolyn Rothstein. After Carolyn and her attorney leave, Conors asks Margaret when he'll have the privilege of thanking her husband personally. Margaret assures him that Nucky does nothing from the goodness of his heart but Conors can begin by opening an account for Nucky under an assumed name -- for the purpose of shorting Mayflower Grain Corporation stock.
At the psychiatric hospital, Gillian is shocked when fellow patient Charlotte returns from one of Dr. Cotton's procedures nearly catatonic. Charlotte opens her robe to reveal a crudely stitched wound across her abdomen, where her "sickness" was removed.
1897. Enoch has dinner at an expensive restaurant with Mabel Jeffries and her father Daniel, in hope of proving himself worthy. After tasking Mabel with an errand, Daniel assures Enoch that while he has no plans to keep the two from marrying, he admires none of Enoch's good qualities. Daniel thinks he simply has a nose for figuring out what people want to hear.
After it becomes clear that Torrio is a no-show, Nucky and Maranzano start their meeting without him. Maranzano remains confident that Luciano is no real threat and has no plans to take him out. Suddenly, Arquimedes tackles Nucky to the floor; a sedan has rolled up outside and two men spray the restaurant with bullets. When the gunfire ends, Nucky and Maranzano find themselves alive, but shaken.
1897. Following dinner, Enoch heads to Sheriff Lindsay's home and offers his help with the jobs for the Commodore that "have their own rules." However, Lindsay has no interest in getting Enoch involved, and sends him home. The following morning, Mae Zeller once again drags Enoch under the pier, where he's horrified to discover the corpse of Pat Halligan.
Disturbed by Charlotte's fate, Gillian meets with Dr. Cotton to tell him that she's made a full recovery and wants to work towards being released. However, Dr. Cotton doesn't believe insanity simply disappears. "Malaria, syphilis, tuberculosis, these linger in the tissues," the doctor explains. "They are in the body forever, unless they're rooted out." He promises to find the insanity lingering in Gillian.
Mike D'Angelo and Frank Wilson brief Van Alden and Eli on their respective murder charges, advising them to cooperate or "see how things look from inside the gas chamber." As every judge in Cook County is in Capone's pocket, they are building a case for tax evasion since Capone can't buy off the IRS. D'Angelo gives Van Alden and Eli the key to the count room and the safe combination, then tasks them with getting the ledger books. "You both wore badges," D'Angelo reminds them. "Here's your chance to earn them."
Torrio meets with Luciano and Lansky, where it's revealed that he's offered them counsel. Their meeting is interrupted when Nucky calls with a message for Torrio and the "two pissants" he's conspiring with: He will not rest until he sees the three of them in their graves. Following his call to Torrio, Nucky finally gets ahold of Maxim Ronis, who informs him of Sally's murder. Nucky demands the names of the soldiers responsible, but Ronis tells him there aren't any, and no one will be called to account.
Chalky arrives at a Harlem brownstone, telling the man at the door he's "come to see about a girl." Once out of sight, Chalky slips into an office, gun drawn, expecting to find Narcisse. To his surprise, he finds Daughter Maitland -- and her 7-year-old daughter -- instead.
At Narcisse’s Harlem whorehouse, Daughter Maitland begs Chalky to leave while he still can. Though she assures Chalky her daughter is not Narcisse’s, she refuses to offer up the name of the father, claiming Althea is “just mine.” One of Narcisse’s men comes by and Daughter locks the door. He informs her that the Doctor will come to see her shortly. Despite her pleas, Chalky insists on waiting with her until Narcisse arrives.
Mickey Doyle sends Joe Harper up to Nucky’s office at the Old Rumpus with sandwiches. Arquimedes goes to inform him, but Nucky is nowhere to be found.
Atlantic City, 1897. Enoch wakes to find the bed empty next to him, and Mabel in the kitchen making strawberry pie. She asks about Enoch’s speech, the one he was forced to give honoring his lifelong rival, Jim Neary, as he campaigns to become the next alderman of the Fourth Ward. Despite his lack of progress with the Commodore, Nucky promises Mabel that he’ll make his way.
At a dive bar in Atlantic City, a drunk Nucky flirts with a rough-and-tumble woman, Dinah Linehan, and drinks away his sorrows over Sally.
Van Alden and Eli apprehensively head to Capone’s suite at the Lexington Hotel to steal the ledger books under the guise of making a drop. They talk their way in past the bodyguard, but when Eli tries the door of the count room, they discover Ralph Capone having sex with a hotel maid. When Ralph dumps out the “drop off,” he finds slips of newspaper cut to size instead of cash. He sends for Mike D’Angelo.
Chalky and Daughter continue to wait for the Doctor, and Daughter begs Chalky to let her take Althea out, but he refuses, knowing Daughter is a valuable bargaining chip. When Althea wakes up, Chalky learns from her that Daughter hasn’t been singing - she’s been keeping house for a white man in Memphis.
1897. While Deputy Enoch collects “protection” money from a local shopkeeper, he spots Leander Whitlock introducing a young girl to the Commodore at Corner Hotel. The shopkeeper tells Enoch that a red-headed boy has been stealing from his shop, and pointedly suggests that the protection he pays for is useless.
An even drunker Nucky continues to flirt with Dinah, now joined by her friend Irene, and mentions he can get the women into the Ritz Carlton. Tired of listening to Nucky, a bar fly orders him to shut up. A brawl ensues and Nucky knocks the man unconscious.
At the Lexington Hotel, Mike D’Angelo interrogates Eli and Van Alden, and Ralph Capone asks Mike to take care of the pair “neat and quick.” But on their way out, Al Capone returns with the two actors he’s been entertaining. After a briefing from Ralph, Al calls Van Alden and Eli into his office -- he doesn’t buy their story. When Capone puts his gun to Van Alden’s head, Van Alden wrestles him to his desk and reveals his true identity. Van Alden’s tirade ends when he’s shot in the head by Mike D’Angelo, who fears his cover is about to be blown. Capone orders Mike to put Eli “face down in a cornfield” and Ralph hands Mike the ledger books for safe keeping.
After “saving” Dinah and Irene, Nucky meets the women in an alley behind the bar to get his “reward.” As Nucky cozies up to Irene, Dinah knocks him out cold with a sap. When Nucky comes to, he sees Joe Harper looming above him and offers the boy money to bring him home. Joe refuses payment, reminding Nucky that he works for him already.
1897. Enoch patrols the boardwalk accompanied by Eli, who begs his brother to put in a good word for him with the Commodore. Enoch spots the red-headed thief that the shopkeeper complained about, and chases the boy under the pier but fails to catch him. Instead, he finds a crate partially buried in the sand, containing the boy’s stolen possessions. The following day, Enoch and Eli wait under the boardwalk for the boy to return, and are shocked to learn that their thief is a girl named Gillian.
After Narcisse arrives, Chalky orders Daughter to explain her presence. She puts on a 78 of her singing -- which she paid for herself -- and claims that no one in the business will play it, nor hire her, and she believes Narcisse is behind the freeze-out. She begs him to let her go so that she can provide for Althea, but Narcisse appears unmoved. Instead, he tells Chalky of his meeting with Luciano and suggests Chalky work for him within the new regime. Chalky agrees to the deal, on the condition that Narcisse set Daughter up with a gig and let her go.
Nucky continues to offer money to Joe for getting him back to the Old Rumpus, but the young man remains steadfast in his refusal -- he’s only looking to get himself ahead, and did what any decent person would do. He then takes Nucky out into the main room, where Mickey Doyle -- unable to locate Nucky -- did a “Paul Revere” and rounded up the troops.
As Narcisse heads off with his driver, Chalky is walled off by a line of bodyguards, readying their guns. Chalky calls out, “All a dream to begin with -- ain’t nobody ever been free.” He closes his eyes as the men raise their guns and fire.
U.S. Attorney Robert Hodge delivers a radio address from New York City, informing the public that they are at war against an "army of hoodlums," and that these criminals will be brought to justice. As the bodies continue to pile up on both sides, Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Nucky are careful to watch their backs.
With their men assembled at the Old Rumpus, Nucky confronts Maranzano about their losing situation: Nineteen men dead between them, a million dollars in lost revenue and no end in sight. Nucky demands action, but Maranzano supports a more passive approach, believing that Luciano, an impetuous rookie, will eventually make a mistake. After Maranzano leaves, Nucky orders Mickey Doyle to take Arquimedes and Sean to New York - Nucky can be "impetuous" himself.
1897, Atlantic City. Deputy Sheriff Enoch forces Gillian to hand over her stolen goods, including her treasured copy of Nellie Bly's "Around the World in 72 Days." Enoch offers to help Gillian instead of jailing her for vagrancy and larceny, but she's reluctant to divulge anything about her circumstances beyond a Trenton address, which Enoch correctly guesses is an orphanage.
Benny Siegel visits with his mistress, Talia Bindleman. On his way out, he's stopped on the stairs by Talia's unwitting husband, Morris, looking for an autograph. Sean and Arquimedes burst into the building with their guns drawn and Benny makes his way back into the Bindleman apartment using Morris as a shield. He shoots and kills Sean but loses in a struggle against Arquimedes who drags him down the stairs with a knife to his throat.
1897. After a meal and a bath at the Thompson home, Gillian is dressed by Mabel and presented to Enoch. Gillian wishes to make amends for what she stole; Mabel has offered to let her work in their home and expects she would be useful at the school as well. When Enoch insists on taking Gillian back to the orphanage anyway, Mabel takes him aside -- Gillian has painted a horrific picture of life in the orphanage. Echoing the long-ago sentiment of Sheriff Lindsay, Enoch tells her, "You can't stop every bad thing," which only angers Mabel. "Then why stop any of it?" she asks.
Luciano and Lansky meet with Johnny Torrio, who hasn't seen "hide nor hair" of Maranzano. Benny calls from Atlantic City, telling them he's been kidnapped, but Luciano thinks he's caught up with a mistress and hangs up the phone. Nucky calls back and demands a meeting if they want to see Benny alive, but Luciano doesn't take the bait, telling Nucky he'll meet him at his funeral first.
Following an unexpected phone call from his father, Willie Thompson meets a disheveled Eli in the street after work. Willie offers to sort things out, but Eli won't take the help. He claims to be on a different mission: "I told myself, if he's doing OK, it was worth it. And here you are, right side of the street." Eli walks away as a car rolls up alongside Willie, who is forced inside. Although Eli shouts for help, his ravings are ignored.
1897. That night, Gillian reads Nellie Bly's book to Enoch, but when she realizes he isn't listening she begs him not to take her back to the orphanage. "They tell you you're born in sin; your whole life is a sin," she says through her tears. Before Enoch can respond, Sheriff Lindsay arrives and calls him away on business.
Lucky, Lansky and Pinky Rabinowitz quiz the tied-up Willie for information. Lucky explains that he has no personal beef with the younger Thompson, but whatever Nucky does to Benny will reflect on him. Nucky calls Luciano; Eli has shown up at the Old Rumpus and they know about Willie. However, Lucky refuses to hash things out over the phone, nor confirm whether Willie is dead or alive. Going forward, discussions will take place face to face.
1897. While waiting outside of the Commodore's mansion, Sheriff Lindsay tells Enoch how he met the Commodore. "I did one thing for him, and then another. And then I put on a badge. Look what he's built for himself now," he says with disgust. When Enoch inquires about the task at hand, Lindsay hands him his badge: "I believe I'm done." Leander Whitlock brings Enoch to the Commodore's chambers, reminding him that his "discretion is paramount." Inside is a young girl who did not "prove useful" to the Commodore and Enoch is to bring her home and inform her mother that "no further compensation will be forthcoming."
Luciano, Nucky, and their men stand-off on a deserted road outside of Atlantic City. Each side presents its hostage and as Benny crosses to Luciano's side, he punches Willie and forces him back into Luciano's capture. With his nephew's life on the line, Nucky agrees to hand over his entire empire, including Cuba and the Old Rumpus. Mickey Doyle pipes up, hoping to charm Luciano into allowing him to keep his job, but Lucky tells Mickey to "shut the fuck up for once" and shoots him in the throat. Lansky orders Nucky to get on his knees, and a submissive Nucky tells Luciano that he underestimated him. Nucky bargains for his life -- and Willie's, asking for 24 hours to kill Maranzano. Lucky agrees, telling him, "You deliver, we deliver." The following morning, men posing as IRS agents walk into Maranzano's office and Eli kills him. Willie is dumped outside of the District Attorney's office shaken, but alive.
At the Old Rumpus, Nucky turns down Joe Harper's offer to clean up his office. When he learns the club is under new management, Joe tells Nucky there are things he can do for him, but Nucky won't hear it. He hands the boy a thousand dollars and advises him to get an honest job and "get the fuck away" from him.
1897. Enoch returns home where he finds Mabel rolling out dough and giving him the cold shoulder; something Enoch said prompted Gillian to run away while Mabel slept. She's angered further when Enoch asks if Gillian stole anything, insisting she's a thief and not simply "someone who needed help," as Mabel claims. She storms off, tired of Enoch's excuses, and slams their bedroom door in his face.
In his office, Nucky opens the letter he received from "Nellie Bly." It's Gillian, calling on "Sheriff Enoch" to come to her aid, as he once did long ago.
Series finale. After a shakeup, Nucky looks to relocate to Manhattan from Atlantic City. Margaret impresses Nucky and a grain-company stockholder; Luciano tends to unfinished business while establishing a mob commission; Capone grapples with tax-evasion charges; Nucky visits Gillian at the hospital. In 1897, Nucky copes with a family crisis while making a deal with the Commodore that will settle his future.
Atlantic City, 1931: As the country struggles to cope with the Great Depression and the end of Prohibition looms, Nucky Thompson looks to legitimize himself through alliances with liquor producers, while rivals Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky seek to consolidate their power in the wake of Arnold Rothstein’s death and eliminate all competition – by any means necessary.
Equal parts corrupt politician and gangster (and equally comfortable in either role), Nucky Thompson is in the right place at the right time to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the passing of Prohibition. The shrewd and charming Treasurer of Atlantic City is beloved by its people, a consummate glad-hander and back-room dealer who also maintains strict control of the illegal activities running rampant in "The World's Playground."
A survivor of the Great War and an expert marksman, Richard Harrow wears a mask to cover the injury that took half his face. Fellow veteran Jimmy Darmody bonded with the sensitive and self-conscious Harrow when they met in an army hospital in Chicago. Harrow returned to Atlantic City with Jimmy and has been helping