Enoch "Nucky" Thompson addresses the Temperance League, spinning a tale of a young boy who struggled to feed his family after being abandoned by their alcoholic father. The desperate boy, who turns out to be Nucky himself, killed rats so his family had something to eat. "Without women like you, men like me would be nowhere," he praises the audience.
With Prohibition just hours away, people are stocking up on alcohol; a funeral procession for "John Barleycorn" -- a giant liquor bottle in a casket - marks the end of an era. At Babette's Supper Club, Nucky dines with the sheriff (who is also his brother Eli), members of City Council and the mayor. The men toast Congress, "those beautiful, ignorant bastards," for passing the Volstead Act, and make plans to deal with the increased demand -- and prices - for alcohol. Promising to keep Atlantic City "as wet as a mermaid's twat," Nucky dismisses the threat of federal enforcement. Jimmy Darmody, newly back from the war, is introduced to the group as Paddy Ryan's new right hand.
In the main room, the crowd counts down to midnight. A trumpet plays taps... and then the party continues unabated.
Eating breakfast with his family, Jimmy tries to explain to his wife Angela why he doesn't want to return to Princeton. Or work for Ryan. Elsewhere, a batch of new federal agents is sworn in to enforce Prohibition. Nelson Van Alden, a senior agent, watches as a group of gangsters check into the Brighton Hotel: Arnold Rothstein and "Lucky" Luciano from New York; Jim Colosimo and Johnny Torrio from Chicago.
Nucky's valet, Eddie Kessler, wakes him (and his girlfriend Lucy), with news that a pregnant woman is waiting to speak to him. Margaret Schroeder, moved by his Temperance League appearance, appeals to Nucky to find her husband Hans, who's prone to drinking and gambling, some work. Nucky gives her some cash and instructs Jimmy to drive her home. Suspicious of Margaret's return in a chauffeured car and the cash he finds stashed under the mattress, Hans beats her.
With Bill McCoy, Nucky negotiates a payment of $35,000 for 500 crates of Canadian Club due to arrive. He and Jimmy meet with Mickey Doyle (née Cusick), who's running a bootleg operation from a funeral home. Doyle serves Jimmy some hooch, neglecting to mention that a key ingredient is formaldehyde. Furious, Jimmy attacks Doyle who pulls a gun on him. Nucky breaks up the fight, but Jimmy speaks his mind: He deserves more than what Nucky is entrusting him with. Nucky advises him to slow down -- and to find his own opportunities.
Van Alden's deputy Sebso has trouble keeping up with their surveillance of the out-of-town mobsters, dining with Nucky. Although annoyed by Luciano's arrogance, Nucky makes a deal with Rothstein: $60,000 for the 500 crates he is expecting. Jimmy chats up Torrio's man, Al Capone, during the wait and learns how lucrative the business can be.
Van Alden picks up Jimmy on the Boardwalk and tries to recruit him into the Bureau. Casino host Lolly Steinman reports to Nucky that a cheating Rothstein has already taken more than $90,000 from the house. After a talk with Nucky, Rothstein cashes out: $30,000 after the whiskey shipment is factored in. Hans, winning at the craps table, approaches Nucky who, realising Hans is playing with the cash he gave Margaret, beats him up and has him tossed out.
On an anonymous tip from Jimmy, Van Alden and his team raid Mickey Doyle's operation. Meanwhile, Jimmy has sought out Capone for information about the McCoy shipment and the two hijack the load while it's being driven to New York, but the heist goes awry and several of Rothstein's men end up dead.
With Jimmy having suspiciously called in "sick" for work that night, Eli and Nucky wonder if Jimmy engineered the heist (and set up Doyle), and their suspicions grow when they learn from Angela he was picked up by the Feds. Dodging calls from Rothstein, Nucky takes a walk and finds out Margaret is in the hospital recovering from a beating that resulted in a miscarriage. He visits the Commodore, who advises him to find a fall guy for the heist. The Commodore is surprised to hear it was Jimmy who masterminded it.
Nucky dresses down Jimmy for hijacking the booze, but Jimmy defends himself for having the gumption to go after what he wanted. He hands Nucky his cut of the take.
Leaving the house, Hans is picked up by the police and beaten. His body is later discovered by fishermen on the Boardwalk, and the news reports that Hans was a suspect in the roadside massacre. Capone delivers the stolen whiskey to John Torrio in Chicago. Alone in his Chicago restaurant, Colosimo is executed by a man we'll come to know as Frankie Yale. At the hospital, Nucky takes flowers to Margaret's bedside.
A large crowd gathers to watch the funeral of Big Jim Colosimo in Chicago. Newsmen hound Johnny Torrio, asking him if he was involved in the murder, but Torrio and Capone brush them off.
Nucky gets a surprise visit from Agent Van Alden, who is skeptical of Hans Schroeder's involvement in the shooting. Nucky suggests Van Alden speak with his brother Eli, who happens to serve as sheriff.
Laden with wrapped gifts, Jimmy spots a necklace in a shop window. When Tommy and Angela return home, he showers them with belated Christmas gifts, including a new "vacuum sweeper" that terrifies Tommy.
Still recuperating in the hospital, Margaret reads Henry James' 'The Ivory Tower.' In preparation for a visit from "Mr. Thompson," she ties a ribbon in her hair, only to learn it's Nucky's brother, Eli, who has come to see her. Although Margaret believes Hans was incapable of murder, Eli reminds her Hans was responsible for the death of their baby and that his private life was completely unknown to her. Not so subtly encouraging her to bear that in mind if the question comes up, Eli hands Margaret an envelope full of cash from his brother.
Agents Sebso and Van Alden report in to Supervisor Elliot with a catalog of Nucky's corruption: "There isn't a single business he doesn't get a piece of." Van Alden argues that instead of Arnold Rothstein, they should be pursuing Nucky Thompson.
Nucky informs Mickey Doyle that Chalky White will be taking over his business and leaves Mickey to stew in jail. Rothstein and Lucky Luciano summon Frankie Yale to New York and Rothstein demands to know who ordered the hit on Colosimo.
Jimmy meets Gillian, a showgirl at the Cafe Beaux-Arts nightclub and presents her with the ruby necklace he saw in the shop window. The ecstatic Gillian explains to the other girls it's like the one Jimmy's father gave her years ago, which she had to sell to provide for the young Jimmy -- her son.
When Jimmy shows up to work as per usual, Nucky coolly informs him he's no longer his driver. Furthermore, if he's going to act like a gangster, he needs to know Nucky's cut was short -- Jimmy still owes him $3000.
Al Capone brutally beats a reporter who wants to link Torrio to the Colosimo hit. Nucky finally takes a call from Rothstein who informs him he is expecting $100,000 to cover the loss of the delivery and his men; Nucky hangs up on him.
Having returned home, Margaret is surprised by a visit from Van Alden who has questions about Hans, whom he believes was just a patsy in the shooting. Flustered, Margaret searches in vain for the ribbon that was in her hair, which is now suddenly missing.
Nucky delivers money to the Commodore and the two men discuss suffrage. To prove his point that it's a bad idea, the Commodore quizzes his housemaid Louanne about politics. When she is unable to expound on the League of Nations or the Harriday Act, he dismisses her as the woman who "empties my piss pot."
Trying to raise the cash for Nucky, Jimmy calls Capone who pretends not to hear him. Lacking other options, Jimmy sneaks into his mother's dressing room and steals back the necklace.
Van Alden writes a letter to his wife, Rose, reminding her to run the faucet to prevent the pipes from freezing ... and then clutches the ribbon that was once in Margaret's hair, having stolen it from her.
Uncomfortable about the implication of the cash Eli delivered, Margaret returns it to Nucky. She impresses him not only with a quote from George Sand, "Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it," but that she knows Sand was a pen name for a French baroness. Turning to Nucky for advice on how to provide for her children, she asks, "Tell me what to do. What do you want from me?" "I want you to vote Republican," he replies.
Jimmy takes his $3000 payment to Nucky at the casino -- and Nucky casually loses the entire amount at the craps table.
Finally giving in to his complaints about her lack of gratitude for their Atlantic City sojourn, cutlery salesman George Baxter's girl orders him to pull over in the woods on the ride back to Baltimore. The two are startled to see a man -- a survivor of the shooting -- stumble out of the woods toward them.
Simon, the survivor of the shooting, is rushed to a hospital in Pennsylvania, barely alive. Annoyed that Jimmy left a witness, Nucky instructs his brother to help "nature take its course." Eli tries to smother Simon under the guise of interrogating him behind a screen, but is interrupted by the arrival of Agent Van Alden.
Delivering a shipment of whiskey to Chalky White so he can work his magic and turn 500 bottles into 3000, Nucky is confounded by Chalky's use of the term "motherf**ker." The two haggle over Chalky's split, finally settling on 35% for Chalky.
Margaret weighs her options with her neighbor Edith about how to support her family. When her daughter asks about the miscarried baby, Margaret tells Emily the stork must have gotten lost. Ward Boss Neary surprises everyone when he comes knocking with a job offer for Margaret at Belle Femme in the Ritz.
Although Van Alden claims he has jurisdiction over the case, Eli prevents him from asking Simon any questions. At a doctor's office in New York, Lucky Luciano gets treated for gonorrhea. When the doctor makes a note on his chart about Lucky's inability to maintain an erection, Luciano loses his temper and tears out the record.
Nucky's girlfriend, Lucy, offers to bear him a child, but Nucky stalls. Elsewhere in the hotel, Margaret reports to work at the Belle Femme dress shop. She learns from a disdainful Madame Jeunet that her predecessor was let go at Nucky's request so that Margaret could have the job.
Van Alden arrives back at the hospital waving a "writ of certiorari" giving him jurisdiction over the surviving witness. He and Agent Sebso leave with Simon before Deputy Halloran can do anything to stop them. Van Alden and Sebso drive away with the intention of delivering Simon to New York where they can get a statement.
Jimmy plays with Tommy on the Boardwalk and is surprised when his son heads directly for the Dittrich photo studio. Inside, he sees how at home Tommy is in the place and with its proprietors, Robert and Mary Dittrich.
Still hours from New York, Van Alden and Sebso stop at a dentist's office to try and keep Simon alive. The dentist administers cocaine which revives Simon enough to curse at Van Alden in Yiddish. Van Alden retaliates by squeezing Simons' open wound and demanding information, and eventually, Simon reveals he heard one of the masked gun men call another one "Jimmy." By the time Eli's men arrive to reclaim him, it's too late -- Simon is dead.
Aware of Jimmy's involvement in the shooting, Rothstein instructs Lucky to kill him.
Gillian has her fortune read: There's a dark man in her future. When Nucky arrives to meet with her, she reminds him of a promise he once made to keep Jimmy out of trouble. "I'm not God," he informs her. "Now you tell me," she replies.
Mickey Doyle convenes with the D'Alessio brothers, who have bailed him out of jail and want repayment of their loan.
Going through a photo album at home, Jimmy notices Angela's gaze and bare-shouldered pose in one of the pictures - and that the photographer was Robert Dittrich.
Margaret waits on Lucy at Belle Femme. Lucy is more than comfortable flaunting her superior position as she tries on lingerie: "He's a soft touch for the charity cases," she says about Nucky.
Van Alden calls Supervisor Elliot with an update: James Darmody was involved in the shooting. Elliot compliments him on his good work and orders him to go home and see his wife while Elliot consults with the U.S. Attorney about next steps.
Eli and Nucky break the news to Jimmy: He was fingered by Simon and now the Feds are after him. Nucky expresses his disappointment in the way things have turned out for Jimmy. "I used to think you'd own the world one day," he tells him, before instructing him to leave Atlantic City.
Jimmy and Angela fight as Jimmy packs his things to leave. When Angela presses Jimmy for details about where he'll go, he accuses her of sleeping with Dittrich. Angela tries to defend herself - she and Jimmy barely knew each other when he left for the war, and she had no knowledge if he was even alive.
Searching for his driver, Kendall, Chalky sees that he has been strung up and hanged. "Liquor kills" is scratched into the door of his car. Nucky and Eli pay their respects to Chalky and ask him to keep news of the hanging quiet: It's an election year so "the last thing we need is a race war." Nucky and Eli offer up a story that Kendall was shot by a cuckolded husband and Eli shoots his corpse so the tale will hold up. In return, Chalky demands a 50% share of the bootlegging take.
As rain pours down over Atlantic City, Angela drags out the dying Christmas tree and cleans up the needles with the vacuum. Nucky notices he has tracked muddy prints into the lobby of the Ritz. Jimmy rides the train to Chicago.
Al Capone enters the Four Deuces whorehouse in Chicago and finds Jimmy asleep with Pearl, a young prostitute. Capone shoots Jimmy's pillow for a laugh.
In Atlantic City, Nucky rehearses feigning surprise for his upcoming birthday party, and is startled by the appearance of Eddie, who wants to plan for the arrival of two guests, Senator Edge and Mayor Hague of Jersey City. Nucky, who hopes to have money earmarked to pave the roads to Atlantic City, instructs Eddie to treat the two politicians like royalty.
Margaret reads the paper to her kids and tells them the story of the mysterious Anna Anderson who claims to be the missing Romanov princess Anastasia.
Pearl tends to Jimmy's bleeding ear. She mentions that she wants to head west - like the girl in the Sinclair Lewis book he is reading - and pursue an acting career.
Nucky rides Eli to solve the lynching of Chalky's driver Kendall. Because Chalky controls the black vote, Nucky wants to keep him happy, but Eli counters that Chalky only prospers because of Nucky. "One hand washes the other," lectures Nucky.
Lucky Luciano goes to Angela's looking for Jimmy but finds Gillian there babysitting Tommy. Gillian refuses to reveal Jimmy's whereabouts and shuts the door on Luciano. Intrigued by her sass (and mistaking her for Jimmy's wife) he follows her and watches her perform at the Beaux-Arts theatre.
Eli and Deputy Halloran raid a KKK meeting and haul off Grand Cyclops Joseph Earl Dinler to question him about Kendall's lynching. Inspecting the party preparations at Babette's, Nucky has a fit when he spots lipstick on one of the wine glasses.
Jimmy and Capone inform Chicago speakeasy owner Nick Anastos that Johnny Torrio is now his supplier, not Sheridan. As Capone beats up Anastos, Jimmy indicates that Capone could be gentler in his persuasion. Later at Torrio's whorehouse The Four Deuces, Jimmy advises, "You don't invade a country all at once. You take it over one piece at a time." The two then meet with Sheridan, who is unhappy he's speaking with Torrio's underlings. Sheridan and his thug Liam take note of Pearl when she gives Jimmy a peck on the cheek. Capone demands 50 percent of the take for Torrio and Sheridan grudgingly agrees. Or does he?
Chalky goes to see Dinler and recounts how his father was once the best carpenter in Elgin, Texas -- until he was lynched by white men who lured him to a secluded area with the promise of work. Chalky unwraps a satchel of his father's tools as part of his interrogation. He emerges convinced that the Klan was not involved: Dinler never wavered from his story ... even while Chalky was cutting off his finger.
Nucky, the Commodore and his politician guests celebrate Nucky's birthday at Babette's. On the topic of suffrage, Lucy is unable to hold her own, furthering the men's argument that the vote will be wasted on women.
Capone and Jimmy get fitted for new suits, and the two exchange war stories about their respective scars.
Margaret arrives at Babette's to deliver an outfit for Lucy. Nucky spots Margaret and introduces her to Senator Edge and Mayor Hague. She banters with them about her right to vote and the men are impressed. Pleased, Nucky takes her for a turn on the dance floor. When a scantily-clad Lucy pops out of a birthday cake for him, his eyes remain on Margaret.
Sheridan's men arrive at the Four Deuces in search of Pearl. Liam gets the madam to identify her, and he takes her upstairs. Post-coitus, he slashes her face to send Torrio a message, while the men downstairs start shooting to enable Liam's escape.
Nucky, Edge and Hague retire to the backroom of Babette's. Senator Edge advises Nucky not to press the new governor, "You can't expect to have everything," but Nucky is insistent about getting funding for his paved roads. He asks Hague to give him a price to guarantee the road money, and Hague says he'll run the numbers. Nucky's hackles are raised again when Edge asks Eddie for a Pimm's cup and Eddie is unable to deliver.
Margaret walks down the Boardwalk and spots the newspaper - the "princess", Anastasia, is a fraud. Nucky hears from Eli how Chalky cut off Dinler's finger, and begrudgingly signs off on Edge's hotel bill: $1800.
Jimmy tries to visit Pearl, but Regina, the madame, tells him she's resting. Capone reassures Jimmy about the scarring: "It happened to me and I'm still beautiful."
Having botched their attempt to kill Chalky and still looking to collect the money they're due, the D'Alessios meet again with Mickey Doyle. This time, he gives them a tip about a $3000 collection Nucky gets each week from one of his Ward Bosses.
Crates of Pimm's are delivered to Senator Edge, with a note from Nucky, "I do expect to have everything."
Gillian, aware Luciano has been following her, confronts him outside of the Beaux-Arts. After a passionate kiss, the two arrange to meet after the last show. As Margaret prepares to leave Belle Femme for the night, she spots Nucky and Lucy heading out for the evening. Impulsively, she steals a camisole, which she slips into her bag before leaving.
Margaret rises to discover beer barrels are being unloaded into the garage behind her house. While her children sleep, she goes into the kitchen to bake Irish soda bread.
Nucky walks with Eli through the Ritz, grousing about the upcoming pre-St. Paddy's Day Celtic Dinner and its annual display of drunkenness. Eli is annoyed that the hotel waitstaff ignores him, something Nucky shrugs off: "I'm a big tipper." Eli surprises Nucky with his plans to address the diners for electioneering purposes; he's been studying Dale Carnagey* to prepare. When Margaret arrives bearing her gift of soda bread, Nucky cuts her off instead of accepting it. "My life is complicated enough," Nucky tells his brother. As the two men saunter off, Margaret tosses the bread into the garbage rather than leave it with the bellhop as Nucky suggested.
In a boxing arena locker room, a group of Little People complain about the humiliation of dressing as leprechauns for the Celtic Dinner, just one of the many degrading holiday acts they get booked for. Peace is restored when Carl Heeley offers to talk to Nucky about a raise: $10 for each man instead of the agreed upon $5. He and Nucky settle on $7 a man, with an extra $12 for Carl.
Jimmy squeezes orange juice while Pearl, her face wrapped in bloody gauze, sits nearby. Skittish around loud noises, she gets Jimmy to spike the juice with laudanum.
Nucky convenes with his men at the Ritz, counting up his take from local liquor sales. Business is good: All his bosses want to increase their orders. When Nucky announces that Eli plans to deliver a speech at the Celtic Dinner, the men chuckle and make fun of him.
Margaret attends a Temperance League meeting and hears about a mother who inadvertently poisoned her little girl while attempting to make bathtub gin. Prompted by Mrs. McGarry to stop the alcohol at its source, Margaret mentions the beer delivery near her home. She surprises everyone by suggesting they ask Nucky to intervene.
Arnold Rothstein meets with his lawyer, Bill Fallon, to discuss a newspaper article hinting he was involved in the World Series fix. His lawyer counsels him to treat the accusation like horse sh*t - let it dry, then brush it off. Rothstein notes it's been months since the series and the sh*t still hasn't dried.
Margaret and Mrs. McGarry visit Nucky in his office, and Margaret pointedly asks him if he enjoyed the soda bread. "Very much," he lies. When Margaret explains she is appalled by the beer being unloaded by her home, Nucky pointedly counters that the alcohol at his birthday party must have been a shock to her. He promises to have Eli shut the garage down.
Johnny Torrio pays a visit to Jimmy and tells him that since she's no longer earning, Pearl needs to leave the Four Deuces. "If she was a filly, they'd shoot her," says Torrio, catching a glimpse of her face. Jimmy offers to cover her earnings, only to learn Pearl brought in $100 a day.
Margaret is again awakened by the sound of beer barrels being unloaded. Speaking with Ward Boss Neary, she is surprised to hear that Nucky issued no orders to shut down the garage. Dressed in her finest, Margaret heads to the Ritz, but is refused an audience with Nucky. Furious, she tears up the lingerie she stole from Belle Femme. Later that day, Margaret approaches Agent Van Alden about the beer delivery, but Van Alden informs her he lacks the manpower to enforce the law. Unhappy about being lectured again, Margaret reveals the identity of the man responsible for the illegal beer: James Neary, a man who works for Nucky.
Capone tries to talk Jimmy into getting revenge for Pearl, even if they don't have Torrio's blessing to do so. "You start worrying what other people want, you'll go batty," he advises. The horribly scarred Pearl, high on laudanum and dressed for business, comes downstairs and startles the crowd at the Four Deuces. "Who's gonna love me now?" she asks Jimmy as he escorts her back to her room.
As Angela prepares to meet a friend, Gillian makes her an offer: "Have your youthful adventures and I'll raise Tommy." When Angela dismisses the idea, Gillian explains that given Angela's bohemian nature, she assumed she'd be open to an alternative option.
Nucky's elderly father Ethan has trouble keeping his voice down during a performance of "Carrickfergus" at the Celtic Dinner. Eli takes the podium, and his speech, meant to exploit anti-English sentiment, only triggers an argument between immigrant and American-born Irish. Regaining the floor, Nucky restores calm and brings out the "leprechauns".
Still craving laudanum, Pearl suggests going to Chinatown to smoke a bowl, but Jimmy soothes her with a childhood memory about one Fourth of July when he went sailing with Gillian and her beau. The story brings Pearl to tears. When Jimmy goes to the bathroom to wash juice off his new suit, Pearl shoots herself with Jimmy's gun.
Eli, sullen and drunk, complains that things come so easily for Nucky. As the party continues, federal agents arrive to shut it down - and Van Alden decks an Irish attorney who tries to protest. Wielding a warrant, he arrests Neary for violating the Volstead Act, a charge supported by witness testimony. Men hurry to file out of the hall, while photographers and Temperance Leaguers wait outside. A "leprechaun" is trampled in the rush. Nucky spots Margaret in the crowd and the two exchange glances. Still upset, Eli tries to take a swing at his brother, but wildly misses. At home, his wife tends to him as he vomits.
Angela strolls along the Boardwalk and enters the Dittrich photo studio. Gillian peers in a mirror, checking for signs of aging. In Chicago, Jimmy visits an opium den. Van Alden supervises the destruction of barrels of green beer. Margaret is once again awakened - this time to the sound of Nucky knocking. He tells her he has no interest in the games she seems to be playing - then he kisses her, passionately.
Ward Boss O'Neill is finishing up the last of his collections when two of the D'Alessio brothers assault him on the Boardwalk and make off with the money.
Lucy cuddles with Nucky, pretending she's a tiger. To "mark her territory", she digs her nails into his chest and scratches, drawing blood and Nucky's ire.
Margaret goes to Mrs. McGarry for advice: A man who "runs things" has made her an offer - but it comes with no promise of marriage. Mrs. McGarry tells her women will only be free when suffrage is ratified, but until then, Margaret must do what she sees fit to provide for her family. She gives Margaret a pamphlet about birth control -- "Family Limitation."
Post-coital, Lucky is all praise for Gillian: "You're the first broad in years put any lead in my pencil." A call from Rothstein interrupts their pillow talk. Not only does he know Lucky is with Gillian Darmody -- he informs him Gillian is Jimmy's mother, not his wife.
O'Neill sits with Eli and Nucky trying to figure out who stole Nucky's weekly collection. Certain Luciano has shown up back in Atlantic City for a reason, Nucky instructs Eli to bring Lucky in. Eddie interrupts with news that Jersey City mayor Frank Hague is still waiting to meet with Nucky about the roads.
Jimmy plays "five-finger-filet" with his trench knife at the Four Deuces, but Capone refuses to join in. Torrio informs the two he wants out of Chicago's Greektown - he doesn't need the aggravation. When Capone protests, Torrio reminds him: "You drive my car." Jimmy suggests that retreating will send Sheridan the wrong message and proposes they meet with Sheridan's crew to "come to an understanding."
Supervisor Elliot surprises Van Alden with an unannounced visit. He isn't impressed with Van Alden's report, which is full of unsubstantiated theories, including that Nucky was behind the death of Hans Schroeder. Elliot also questions why Van Alden had Margaret Schroeder's immigration file pulled.
Margaret lies in bed with Nucky and worries about what her neighbors will say if she accepts his offer to move her out. Nucky assures her she'll have new neighbors soon, so it won't matter. When she asks about his scratches, Nucky claims they're from a hunting accident. "Who was hunting whom?" she inquires, before excusing herself. In the bathroom, she follows the "Family Limitation" pamphlet's instructions on the post-coital use of Lysol for birth control.
Jimmy visits the Capone home and meets the family. "A guinea for a mother, a mick for a wife, and a dumbbell for a son," complains Capone, frustrated by his son's inattentiveness. Jimmy notices Sonny is oblivious to the chaos of the kitchen, and realises that he is deaf, not stupid.
At Belle Femme, Lucy is unhappy with the selection of lingerie she's been presented. Requesting something vampy, she orders Margaret to model it for her. When Margaret disrobes, Lucy criticises her child-bearing body, insisting it's she who has what Nucky wants ... even when his penitent side comes out. Margaret retorts with a story of her own and a lesson: "Maybe your cunny isn't quite the draw you think it is." Leaving the dressing area, she tells Isabelle that she quits.
Eddie drives Margaret and her children to their spacious new house and sees that she's settled in. As he leaves Eddie assures Margaret that Nucky is a "very nice man."
Nucky and Eli interrogate Lucky about O'Neill's mugging, but he claims not to know anything. Nucky, unhappy with Lucky's disrespectful reference to Gillian, warns the young gangster to treat the show girl with respect.
Jimmy mails a wad of cash to Angela, but turns down an offer of company from Kitty, a whore at the Four Deuces. She hands him his copy of 'Free Air,' which Pearl left behind in her room. Inside he finds a label Pearl doodled on, a caricature of her and Jimmy kissing.
Van Alden goes to Margaret's old house and learns from a neighbor that the Schroeders were picked up in a Rolls and moved out. Edith is full of praise for Hans but calls Margaret a whore.
Torrio, Capone and Jimmy are frisked by Sheridan's team before they hand over their things to the coatcheck girl. During the meeting, Jimmy is unsatisfied with Sheridan's apology for what happened to Pearl, commenting that Liam should be there to apologise as well. The two sides finally come to terms, but not before Sheridan spots and confiscates the trench knife in Jimmy's boot. At meeting's end, Torrio heads to the bathroom while Jimmy and Capone retrieve their coats... from Kitty. Drawing guns she has provided, Jimmy and Capone dispatch Sheridan and their crew, and Jimmy reclaims his knife.
Nucky sits in Margaret's new bedroom waiting for her to emerge from the bathroom. After Margaret offers her thanks, Nucky invites her to a performance by Houdini's brother Hardeen, with whom they'll have dinner afterward.
Torrio, celebrating his victory, is full of praise for Jimmy and his strategy. Capone joins in, undermining Jimmy with stories of cowardice under the guise of good-natured ribbing. Peeved, Jimmy announces that Capone lied about his service during the war.
Meeting with Frank Hague at last, Nucky mentions he plans to get Senator Edge into the White House. Remaining vague about the road money, Hague continues to help himself to more of Nucky's bounty and wheedles an invitation to spend the night carousing.
Capone shows up with some steaks for Jimmy to diffuse their tension and apologises for running off his mouth. Getting choked up, he admits his son is deaf and wonders if it's punishment for something he did. Jimmy reminds him that medicine is coming up with new cures every day.
Nucky and Hague sit in a whorehouse listening to a naked prostitute serenade them on a ukulele. Hague warns Nucky not to rely on Edge for the road money - the senator has conflicting interests elsewhere.
Dressed up for her night out, Margaret discusses her evening's plans with babysitter Mrs. Charlton, who tells her she sits for many of the other girls. Eddie calls to tell Margaret that Nucky needs to cancel, just as her new neighbor Annabelle comes to introduce herself and her daughter, Ruby. Annabelle asks if the babysitter can watch Ruby as well, since "the concubines" always help each other out. Margaret realises she has been moved to "Mistress Row."
Nucky tells the naked prostitute that he tries to be good, but she persuades him it's too late for that. At home, Margaret sits in the dark waiting for the phone to ring.
Van Alden sifts through Margaret's immigration folder, lingering on the details: Margaret Rohan suffered a miscarriage entering the country. Removing a photo of her at 16, he caresses it and props it up. Van Alden takes a belt and begins to flagellate his heavily-scarred back while continuing to stare at the picture.
Capone gets a tip from a cop on the North Side: Liam, the thug Sheridan enlisted to slash Pearl, is a regular at a local restaurant.
Nucky's father, Ethan Thompson fixes himself breakfast in his squalid, cat-filled home. Tripping, he falls and breaks his leg. Hours later, Nucky arrives to find Eli, Halloran and Dr. Surran affixing a splint to Ethan's leg so they can take him to the hospital. Eli is concerned about Nucky's relationship with Margaret, but Nucky assures him she knows nothing about Hans' death. Since Nucky wants to send Ethan to an old folk's home, Eli offers to take him in. Unlike his brother who is feeling nostalgic, Nucky dismisses the house as a "sh*thole" and decides to give it to Ward Boss Fleming to fix up.
At an Army hospital, Jimmy sees a doctor about a recurring ache in his leg from a war injury. The doctor suspects that a screw in his femur could be troubling a nerve which prompts a joke from Jimmy, "So I've got a screw loose?" Concerned, the doctor suggests he submit to a "personal inventory" test that all returning soldiers are being asked to take. Jimmy notices another patient nearby -- half his face is missing.
A man claiming to be "Michael Lewis" approaches Chalky with an offer to pay $10,000 in cash for 1000 cases of his liquor, suggesting Chalky cut out the middleman. Chalky, suspecting it's a trap engineered by Nucky, turns down the offer.
Fleming chats animatedly with Nucky about his family and now-healthy new baby when Lucy storms into the meeting proclaiming her love, "I feel empty without you inside of me!" She gets Nucky to promise he'll take her to the movies: 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.' After she leaves, Nucky offers Fleming Ethan's house with no strings attached.
Annabelle joins Margaret for tea and confides she has stashed away $4000, lifted in small amounts from Harry, to ensure her future security. Margaret mentions Nucky still seems hung up on his wife, but Annabelle advises to let him keep his secrets: If Margaret lets Nucky bare his soul, she will become a reminder of his weaknesses.
Lucky - joined by Meyer Lansky (the "Michael Lewis" who approached Chalky) - visits the D'Alessio brothers and Mickey Doyle. Lucky points out taking $3000 from Nucky will hardly be enough to get them into the bootlegging business. He suggests they aim bigger and go after the money at Lolly Steinman's casino - $150,000 - to be split 50-50 with Rothstein.
Van Alden is called in to meet with Billy Winslow (the decoy Jimmy and Capone used during the liquor hijacking) who is now charged with armed robbery for a different offense. In exchange for leniency, Winslow offers details of the hijacking and names "Al" and Jimmy Darmody as the ringleaders.
While the two wait to take the personal inventory test, disfigured soldier Richard Harrow strikes up a conversation with Jimmy and tells the story of the German sniper mask he carries: It took three days for the sniper to drop his guard, but once he did, Harrow killed him with a shot beneath his eye. He confides he's anxious about one of the test questions, whether you've ever made love to a girl. When their names are called, Jimmy gets Harrow to lie to the nurse, telling her they already left.
Angela enjoys a romantic evening ... with Mary Dittrich. She worries about what Nucky knows about their relationship, seeing as Nucky is her only source of income. Mary promises a gallery owner friend from New York will assess Angela's artwork so she can start her painting career.
Nucky takes Margaret and her children to Ethan's house, now being renovated by Fleming. Nucky is impressed with the improvement, and picking up a fireplace poker, recalls how his father once burned him with it. "Leave the past where it is," interrupts Margaret, heeding Annabelle's advice.
Jimmy brings Harrow back to the Four Deuces. Spotting Jimmy's Colt revolver, he talks about his own extensive collection of firearms. When he enquires what Jimmy uses his for, Jimmy makes him guess: "To kill people," Harrow replies. Jimmy instructs Odette, a prostitute, to show Harrow "how grateful the nation is."
At Chalky's honky-tonk, Harry Price chats up Nucky about an investment scheme in Boston that promises a 50 percent return in 45 days. Harry has re-invested his fortune three times already, but Nucky is skeptical. Chalky approaches to discuss "Michael Lewis," but Nucky denies knowing who he is. Annabelle takes Harry out onto the dance floor, while Margaret tries to engage Nucky in small talk. He mentions a baseball glove that was stolen from him as a boy, but refuses to finish the story since Margaret shut him down earlier.
Louanne prepares medicine for the Commodore, who is so ill that the dog finishes his dinner. Before vomiting, the Commodore complains about Nucky, whom he believes is becoming too much of a big shot since he stopped delivering the Commodore's weekly payoff money himself.
After dinner with Nucky and her family, Margaret apologises for not letting him confide in her about the fireplace poker injury. Nucky tells her the end of his baseball mitt story: Ethan forced him to retrieve the glove, and the bigger kids beat him unconscious.
Jimmy confronts Liam at the North Side restaurant and terrifies him with a war story about an injured German soldier who was trapped in barbed wire but refused to let Jimmy finish him off. Being alive was worse than dead, Jimmy muses before leaving. As Liam relaxes, a shot hits him under the eye, killing him instantly. In an upstairs window across the street, Harrow packs up his rifle.
Lucy sits alone in a movie theater watching 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.'
Nucky takes Margaret's son Teddy to see the finished house, but his mood sours when the two run into Eli and Ethan on their own tour. "You're not worth a goddamn," Ethan sneers. Commanding Teddy to wait outside, Nucky empties a can of turpentine, then sets the house on fire. As Fleming arrives in a panic, Nucky hands him a roll of cash and some advice: "Find a better place to live."
With Nucky in Chicago for the Republican Convention, Eli fills in, certain he can do the job just as well. Only one man shows up: Ward Boss O'Neill, who needs a day off, but worries that there won't be anyone to sub in for him since Neary's arrest. Eli grants him leave and promises to make arrangements with the other men to handle his collections.
In Chicago, Nucky greases a hotel manager's palm to upgrade himself to the Presidential Suite and bump presumed-Republican candidate General Leonard Wood down to the Ambassador Suite. Senator Edge, in town looking for the vice presidential nomination in the upcoming 1920 election, meets up with Nucky and asks him to stop in at a party being hosted by Harry Daugherty, campaign manager for Warren Harding.
Margaret is enjoying tea in the Ritz lobby with Annabelle when Madame Jeunet approaches asking for help: Lucy insists on purchasing items on Nucky's credit. Arriving at their table, a drunk Lucy accuses Annabelle of being a false friend. Margaret tries to control Lucy, but ends up slapping her.
Gillian, aware that Angela has bills past due, suggests she consider some type of work, like sales or stenography. Angela is uninterested, and confides she's hoping that an art dealer in New York will represent her paintings. At the post office, Van Alden intercepts a letter from Jimmy to Angela stuffed with money. Van Alden scans its contents and drops it into a drawer filled with similar letters.
Rothstein meets with his lawyer again to practice his testimony about the World Series fix. "Not only was I not in on the deal, I furthermore did not bet one red cent on the Series..." he recites.
Nucky attends Daugherty's party and hears the campaign manager out about his candidate, Warren Harding. "The field has no first-raters and Harding's the best of the second-raters," Nucky agrees. Taking notice of a woman and her baby who are refused entrance to the party, Nucky chats with her later in the lobby and discovers she's Nan Britton, a "friend" of Harding's. When Nucky compliments Nan's baby, she asks if he has any of his own. He reveals he had a son who died.
Rose Van Alden weeps through breakfast with her husband; she's infertile. Rose tries to discuss a surgical solution, one that proved successful for a friend, but Van Alden refuses to hear it and is upset she is discussing private matters outside of their home. Van Alden points out that they can hardly afford the $275 procedure, but promises to consider it to get his wife to stop sobbing.
Eli joins the ward bosses for a screening of a porn film. The men arrange to cover O'Neill's beat - Eli will handle the pick-up at Lolly Steinman's casino.
Nucky sits down with Torrio at the Four Deuces. Torrio, who is full of praise for Jimmy, introduces Nucky to Judge Graves of Ohio who can tell him more about Harding's campaign manager Harry Daugherty. Graves acknowledges that Harding is just a puppet, but he approves of Daugherty, a man who knows how to take care of friends. Jimmy comes downstairs to toss a disrespectful john out, and spots Nucky. Noticing his new suit, Nucky suggests Jimmy consider sending money to his family rather than spend it all on himself. Jimmy is confused - he's been sending money home every week.
Eli arrives at the casino for the pickup and is shot in the stomach by one of the D'Alessio brothers, who have already held up the place. Nucky, who gets news of the heist while at dinner with Edge, phones Margaret and asks her to safeguard a ledger in his office at the Ritz. He instructs her to move her kids to the hotel as well until his return the next day.
Nucky waits for Jimmy at the Four Deuces. When he finally shows, Nucky asks Jimmy to come back to Atlantic City. "We're at war, kid," he says. Jimmy reminds Nucky that he was hardly hospitable during their meeting earlier and there's still the matter of Van Alden. Nucky counters with an offer of five percent of any liquor arriving by boat, 10 percent of what comes on wheels, and a promise to take care of Van Alden. Jimmy says he'll think it over but Nucky cautions Jimmy not to overestimate himself; the Italians who run Chicago will stop him from getting too far.
Margaret retrieves the ledger but resists the urge to open it. The phone rings while she's in Nucky's office, but there's no one on the other line. As he prepares to leave Chicago, Nucky notifies Daugherty that he'll swing New Jersey's votes for Harding - in exchange for blocking Senator Edge from the vice president spot. To further sweeten the deal, Nucky arranges to bring Nan to Atlantic City to keep her out of the way until the election. As his final order of business, Nucky confronts Edge with the information that he knows the Senator already promised the road money he wanted to Frank Hague. "The only chance you have of entering the White House is on a guided f***ing tour," he informs him.
Jimmy calls Gillian and gets a report from her about Luciano. Meeting up with Torrio's crew later, he is unable to join the Italians as they laugh it up playing cards in their native tongue.
Van Alden receives a letter from Rose with a pamphlet about the surgery she is interested in. Reaching in the drawer full of Jimmy's letters to Angela, he starts piling up the cash. Rose begins to cry when she gets his reply: Van Alden has refused the surgery and advises her to "trust in God's plan." In Atlantic City, Angela is surprised to receive an envelope stuffed with money.
Nucky returns to Chicago by train, accompanied by Nan Britton and her baby. En route, Nan reads a poem that Harding wrote her, "I love your poise of perfect thighs. When they hold me in paradise." While still on the train, Nucky gets word that Harding has won the nomination.
Nucky visits his brother and lets him know he asked Jimmy to come back too. "It's a new world," concedes Eli. At the Ritz, Margaret opens Nucky's ledger and begins reading.
Recuperating at home, Eli scans the mug shots of the D'Alessio brothers that Halloran has brought him and Ward Boss O'Neill to look at. In private with his brother, Nucky also expresses concern about what's being reported in the papers -- they're alleging corruption in the sheriff's office -- bad news during the election season.
Nan Britton tells Margaret that she fell in love with Warren Harding at first sight. "But America needs him and so I have to sacrifice," Nan says wistfully. When the two stop in at the Belle Femme dress shop, Madame Jeunet appeals to Margaret to approach Nucky on her behalf, since she can't afford the increase in payoff money that Nucky is demanding. Although Margaret protests that she can't intervene, Jeunet reminds her, "You have power you do not suspect."
Not having received Jimmy's telegram with his arrival information, Nucky is surprised by his appearance in his office. Before officially accepting Nucky's offer, Jimmy gives two more conditions: his conversations with Nucky remain private, and Harrow joins him. Nucky agrees and instructs Jimmy to take care of the D'Alessios. Jimmy presses Nucky to state his murderous intentions out loud, but Nucky avoids the actual words. "Politician to the last, eh?" notes Jimmy.
Rothstein, Lucky and Lansky welcome Mickey Doyle and two of the D'Alessio brothers to New York. Rothstein proposes they import the best liquor from Europe and charge a premium price, but because the alcohol will come in through the port of Atlantic City, Nucky will need to go. To complete the deal, Rothstein has Doyle and the D'Alessios sign large life insurance policies he's taken out on them to assure they won't chisel him.
Margaret puts her kids to bed and broaches the topic of Madame Jeunet's financial woes with Nucky, trying to reason with him. Nucky resists her arguments and tells her the topic is unsuitable for discussion before leaving in a huff.
Robert Dittrich assesses Angela's paintings and compares her work to Mary Cassatt, raising Angela's hopes that his art dealer friend will give her a professional evaluation. When Mary opens a bottle of wine, she exchanges a kiss with Angela, and then Robert tries to draw Angela in, explaining, "Everyone in Paris is doing it." The moment is interrupted by Jimmy's sudden return; Mary and Robert leave. Angela is surprised to find Jimmy back - she never received a telegram either. Although she tries to resist, Angela eventually succumbs to Jimmy's sexual advances.
Van Alden receives a call from Western Union - Eddie inquired about the missing telegram, but Jimmy's cables were all passed on to Agent Sebso. Confronting his deputy, Van Alden questions his loyalty and competence. Sebso explains he was trying to protect their careers: the Supervisor already thinks they're obsessed with the Schroeder murder.
At breakfast with his family, Jimmy catches Angela off guard by asking for another baby. When he gets a call from his mother, he heads over to see her. Lucky Luciano luxuriates in bed while Gillian goes to fix coffee, but he's stunned when it's delivered by Jimmy. Lucky, led off by Jimmy at gun point, tries to bargain: He'll call off the D'Alessios and cut Nucky in on the deal with Rothstein. Van Alden traps Jimmy in the hallway and arrests him, cutting Lucky loose.
With Mayor Bacharach unhappy about the opposition's campaigning, Nucky instructs Halloran to fine shops that are displaying posters for Fletcher. Halloran convinces Nucky to appoint him acting sheriff, and drops hints that he's ready to take the spot permanently now that Eli's reputation has been tarnished.
Van Alden interrogates Jimmy about his whereabouts during the heist - but seems more interested in Margaret's relationship with Nucky. Jimmy insists that he was at the movies, and knows nothing about Hans Schroeder's death. His confidence flags when Sebso leads him to a cell and he encounters Billy Winslow.
In bed with Margaret, Nucky discusses the upcoming election. He praises the way she held her own against Edge at his birthday party and asks her to help the Republicans get the women's vote. Margaret seizes her chance and brings up Madame Jeunet again, this time passing off her concern as vanity: "She knows how to make me look pretty." Nucky acquiesces.
Nucky visits Jimmy in jail and gives Sebso a friendly pat on the shoulder. Jimmy reveals that the D'Alessios are backed by Rothstein and Lucky, and gets bad news from Nucky in return -- there is no bail for five counts of murder. Desperate, Jimmy suggests turning to his father, an idea that surprises Nucky. He tells Jimmy that the legal system is not his ticket to freedom.
Van Alden impresses Supervisor Elliot with news of Darmody's arrest. Sebso apologises again for the telegram mix-up and advises Van Alden to move Winslow to Manhattan to keep him safe from Nucky.
Nucky calls on the Commodore, who is still ailing. The Commodore is full of complaints: his health, his sick dog, the six years he spent in jail instead of Nucky. When Nucky informs him that Bacharach is a weak candidate, the Commodore advises Nucky to replace him -- and Eli too -- to give people the change they want.
Richard Harrow dreams of walking on the beach with Odette, the whore from the Four Deuces -- but wakes up in the Schroeder home to find a horrified Emily screaming at his unmasked face, rattling a household already on edge. Margaret tries to soothe her frightened daughter.
Sebso recounts the series of events that led to Billy Winslow's death: Sebso uncuffed him so that Winslow could urinate. Supervisor Elliot is sympathetic and exonerates Sebso. He directs his wrath at Van Alden for botching the case and gives him a final warning.
Jimmy surprises Angela by expressing an appreciation for her art: "Two weeks in the trenches and you forget there's anything beautiful in the civilised world." He helps her mix some paints and the two share an intimate moment.
Margaret and Nucky discuss the possibility of the 19th Amendment being ratified by Tennessee, granting women the right to vote. Margaret also broaches the subject of Harrow: He scares the children. Nucky insists that Harrow is necessary to provide protection and rejects Margaret's suggestion that she and the children go away for a while.
Rothstein meets with the D'Alessio brothers and Doyle and berates them for bungling Nucky's assassination. When the brothers ask how they can make it up to him, Rothstein tells them that "Nothing says I'm sorry like money."
In Chicago, Torrio sits down with Jake Guzik about expanding into new territory. Capone, who has already tried Torrio's patience, offers his boss a novelty cigarette that explodes in his face. Furious, Torrio chews Capone out for his immaturity, then makes plans to reconvene with Guzik at his son's bar mitzvah.
Nucky tells Jimmy to instruct Harrow to keep his mask on in the house so as not to scare the children. The two are caught off guard by a visit from Mickey Doyle who apologises to Nucky and explains his connection to the D'Alessios - and that he had no knowledge of the attempted shooting. Crossing sides, Doyle reveals that the brothers were behind the lynching of Chalky's driver, the assault on O'Neill and the casino heist. Furthermore, it was Lansky who approached Chalky. Nucky decides that Chalky should lure Lansky in, just as Eddie interrupts with news that the amendment was ratified.
Harrow comes upon Margaret reading 'The Wizard of Oz' to her children. He turns to leave but she invites him to stay, and he listens as she reads a passage and shows an illustration of the Tin Woodsman. "That's me," he notes, tapping his mask, instantly winning over the children.
Margaret indulges in champagne with Nucky to celebrate women winning the right to vote. Nucky pitches the Republican ticket to her and asks her to speak on behalf of Bader for mayor at the League of Women's Voter meeting. Unsure, Margaret grills Nucky about Bader's qualifications, and is not entirely satisfied with his answer that though Bader is seemingly unqualified, Nucky will be the guiding hand of government.
Tommy Darmody runs ahead to the Dittrich Photo Studio while walking on the Boardwalk with his parents. Spotting a photo of the Dittrichs, he points and says it's "Mommy's kissing friend." Jimmy tears into the studio and beats up Robert Dittrich, first inside, and then outside of the building while everyone looks on in horror.
Van Alden pays a visit to Margaret and takes notice of her improved surroundings. He shows her a photo of her 16-year-old self and describes her as a girl filled with hope and yearning, then criticises her for consorting with Nucky, the man responsible for Hans' death. "I see into your soul, Margaret. At night when I look at this picture," he explains. Startled, Margaret orders him to leave and to surrender the photo. Van Alden leaves - with her picture - and warns her of the fires of hell that await.
In attendance at the Guzik boy's bar mitzvah, Capone strikes up a conversation with a fellow attendee who explains the Jewish philosophy of transitioning into manhood. The man points out that Capone should switch to a yarmulke rather than "the cap of a boy".
Nucky briefs Chalky on their plan for Lansky and the D'Alessio's, telling Chalky to feign acceptance of whatever deal they present.
Margaret has trouble calming herself at the League of Women's Voter lunch she is attending with Nucky. Assuming it's just pre-speech nerves, Nucky tries to inspire confidence: "After a while, you could get up there and sell snake oil." Margaret sings Bader's praises, but feels uncomfortable afterwards.
Capone, wearing a fedora instead of his usual cap, goes to the Four Deuces to apologise to Torrio. He asks to work at the brewery and offers to help fix the distribution side of things: Inspired by the bar mitzvah, he tells Torrio "I'm ready to be responsible for my actions."
Chalky meets with Lansky as well as Lucien and Matteo D'Alessio, full of complaints about Nucky's business practices. Lansky tells Chalky he'll need 500 cases a month of the real stuff, while Matteo wagers Chalky will be able to keep himself in new Packards with the money he'll make. Realising they were responsible for the lynching of his driver, Chalky draws his guns and asks, "How you know I drive a Packard?"
Angela apologises to Mary for Jimmy's brutal beating of Robert. Mary plants the idea of the two of them running off to Paris with Tommy, and leaving their men behind.
Home from the League meeting, Margaret sits with Harrow and expresses regret for her initial unfriendliness toward him. Harrow admits he has trouble with his face too - he looks in the mirror and can't remember who he was before.
Van Alden goes to a speakeasy and orders a drink. Noticing Lucy, he goes over to her table and joins her. The two end up at Van Alden's and they have sex.
Nucky and Jimmy arrive at Chalky's to find Lansky and the two D'Alessio brothers tied up. Lansky tries to negotiate, but Jimmy is offended by Lucien and shoots him dead. Matteo's defiant mention of Chalky's driver only spurs Chalky to strangle him. Nucky lets Lansky go, instructing him to tell Rothstein what he just witnessed.
Nucky returns home late and explains to Margaret he was working on election strategy. Getting up, she stares at her own reflection.
At home with Angela, Jimmy remarks on how distracted she is. When the phone rings, Jimmy asks the caller: "What am I supposed to do about it?" He tells Angela it was Gillian: His father is dying.
Eating noodles at a chop suey house, Agent Van Alden quizzes Sebso about Billy Winslow's death, clearly unsatisfied with the answers he's getting.
Hardeen continues to entertain the ward bosses and their wives in Nucky's suite. When he transports Margaret's peridot bracelet onto Annabelle's arm, the magician explains that duplicity is most successful when people want to be deceived. Harry announces to all that he has been ruined by Charles Ponzi, causing Annabelle to storm out.
The Commodore lays in bed beside his deceased dog. Visiting his dying father at his mother's behest, Jimmy has a bite of a biscuit. The meeting is tense: Jimmy is annoyed with the amount of grief his father is expressing for the dead dog and criticizes him for pursuing Gillian when he was 54 and she was just 13. When Jimmy accuses the Commodore of not knowing him at all, his father counters: "I know you backwards and forwards. You want everything you can lay your hands on." He gives Jimmy a lesson in Atlantic City history and then states that the wrong man is running the city. Jimmy excuses himself and vomits in the bathroom.
Rothstein checks in with his attorney Bill Fallon about the White Sox scandal. Fallon suggests that Rothstein face things head on and testify before the grand jury in Chicago -- but consider first who he can call in for a favor.
Angela and Mary make plans to sail to Paris with Tommy. Robert hops in on his crutches, still recovering from Jimmy's thrashing. After Angela leaves, he asks Mary what they were conspiring about.
Sebso calls Nucky from the lobby of the Ritz to share his concerns about Van Alden's unwavering suspicion. To help, Nucky gives him a tip about an illegal distillery outside of town.
Annabelle goes to Nucky for money -- Harry has run off with the $3600 she had saved.
Aware of how Annabelle accumulated her stash, Nucky is less than sympathetic and offers her $300. The two share a memory of earlier times together and Margaret walks in to hear Annabelle's proposition. She brusquely informs Nucky she already gave Annabelle $50, and that the League of Women Voters has endorsed Bader.
Jimmy reports back to his mother about his visit to the Commodore, expressing surprise at their apparent friendship. She explains they got back in touch when Jimmy enlisted. Jimmy brings up the age difference between his parents and that she had to raise him alone. Gillian assures him Nucky looked after them as it was Nucky who procured her for the Commodore. Jimmy dismisses Nucky as a pimp, but Gillian has fonder memories of Nucky as a young man, married and ambitious.
Van Alden and Sebso drive through the woods looking for the distillery and stumble upon congregants witnessing a baptism. Exchanging greetings with the deacon in charge, Van Alden is impressed by his religious conviction. Turning his attention to Sebso, Van Alden tells his deputy that as a Jew, he is doomed to damnation. The two leave as the baptisms begin.
Gillian is joined by the doctor at the Commodore's. Inquiring as to his condition and symptoms, the doctor asks to run some tests. Jimmy surprises Gillian with his arrival and offers to spend the night so she can get some rest.
Still smarting from the day's events, Margaret is unhappy about attending a Daughters of the American Revolution dinner with Nucky. Nucky suggests she stay behind, but Margaret retorts, "I'll do what's required of me." As they argue, Margaret remarks that she's sick of their whole "arrangement"; Nucky goes to the bathroom and reveals that he knows she's been using Lysol to prevent pregnancy. As the fight escalates, Margaret tells Nucky she knows he made her a widow. Nucky smashes the Lysol, "You won't be needing that anymore," and storms out.
Harrow checks in with Jimmy at the Commodore's house. He updates him about the D'Alessio clan, and offers to murder their extended family to draw them out. Harrow leaves so Jimmy can talk to the doctor -- who brings news that the Commodore is being poisoned with arsenic.
Angela packs up her things and tries to convince Tommy the trip will be fun, even if Jimmy and Gillian aren't coming. She leaves a letter on the bed for Jimmy.
Nucky confers with Eli about his fight with Margaret. Nucky admits that he didn't deny Margaret's accusation about Hansâ€™ murder, setting off Eli. Eli argues that Margaret is now a liability, and that like everyone else in town, "the Irish chippy" only cares about what Nucky can give her. Enraged, Nucky mentions Hardeen to Eli â€“ if he weren't Houdini's brother, "nobody would give a f*ck."
Jimmy visits his mother and quizzes her about the Commodore -- how much money he has and who would inherit. Jimmy explains that eating the biscuit the other day made him sick â€¦ and then pulls out a can of arsenic which he found in the house.
When Nucky meets with his ward bosses, his mood is still sour. He criticizes one for a mistake, "lack of attention to details is what's killing us." He then surprises everyone, including Halloran, by letting them know that Eli has resigned and Halloran will run for sheriff on Election Day.
Harrow calls Nucky with news: Margaret and her family have left the apartment. Nucky arrives to find the space empty, and Margaret has left her bracelet behind.
Angela and Tommy arrive at the Dittrichs' to find it already vacated. The landlord, who has been stiffed his rent, has no information about their whereabouts, but remembers Mary always spoke of Paris.
Sebso tells Van Alden he has requested a transfer to the Detroit office and tries to bury the hatchet with him. Van Alden remains unconvinced, insisting "temptation knows no rank," and remarks on Sebso's expensive new shoes. Sebso promises to do whatever it takes to convince Van Alden of his integrity. The two return back to the baptisms by the river, and Van Alden offers him up to the deacon. Alarmed, Sebso initially refuses to go into the water but finally does so. Van Alden dunks Sebso repeatedly, ultimately drowning him. Brandishing his gun and badge, he leaves the body behind with the stunned congregation.
Angela returns to her apartment with Tommy. Her letter is gone, but Jimmy is there. Jimmy embraces Tommy but says nothing to Angela.
Nucky walks the boardwalk and enters the palm reader's storefront.
Agent Van Alden addresses a room full of prohibition agents and warns them that whoever replaces him in Atlantic City will be "bribed, coerced and tempted on a daily basis." When one agent jokes that they should bring on the dancing girls, Van Alden slaps him, claiming that Sebso died in the line of duty (from a heart attack); the humor is inappropriate. Van Alden refuses Supervisor Elliot's suggestion he reconsider his resignation.
With Fletcher leading the race for mayor and accusations of corruption filling the papers, Nucky meets with his ward bosses to strategize about the upcoming elections. The men assure him they will get the women, men and even the dead out voting. Chalky informs Nucky that Fletcher approached him to rally the black votes, but he'll stick with Nucky in exchange for a new car, $10,000 â€¦ and an invitation to the victory party.
Margaret entertains her kids and Nan Britton at Nan's cottage. Nan reminds her that once Harding wins the election, she'll be off to D.C. and asks Margaret what her own plans will be. Margaret, in the middle of baking a barmbrack cake with a ring, a coin and a rag inside, says she'll let the brack decide. Each object symbolizes the future: a wedding, wealth or poverty.
Sheriff Halloran and the doctor confront Louanne with the evidence of the Commodore's poisoning while Nucky, Jimmy, Gillian and the Commodore look on. Louanne initially attributes the toxin to an accidental mix-up and then admits, "If I used a shotgun, I'da had to clean the mess up myself." Nucky intervenes before she can be arrested â€“ sympathetic, he hands her a wad of bills and instructs her to leave Atlantic City and change her name. Louanne gives Nucky her Bible in thanks and leaves, while the Commodore rages at Nucky for his gesture.
Rothstein packs up for Chicago and tells Lansky and Lucky that he has booked passage for Scotland should he be indicted. Lucky and Lansky urge him to reach out to Torrio for a connection to Nucky, the only man with enough political clout to help Rothstein dodge an indictment.
Angela lets Jimmy know that Tommy is afraid of him â€“ not for the beating on the Boardwalk â€“ but because he's heard Jimmy scream out at night when he's having nightmares. "I'm afraid you're going to hurt us," she admits. Moved, Jimmy quits giving her the cold shoulder and admits that the war changed him, and he used to dream of the feel of her hair against his face while he was in the trenches. When he asks Angela if she was in love with Mary, she replies, "I was lonely." The two agree to try and make a fresh start.
Margaret and the children walk through a church graveyard with Nan and the baby for an All Hallows Eve service. Spotting a headstone for Enoch Thompson Jr. and Mabel Thompson, Margaret stops short.
Torrio arranges a meeting with Nucky but won't reveal any details about the business he wants to discuss. Dressing for a Halloween dinner party, Nucky puts on a mask just as Margaret walks in. Margaret describes him as a dapper villain; Nucky counters that her disguises include devoted wife and crusading suffragette. She brings up his lost baby and tells him she's not there to play games, but rather to learn who Enoch Thompson really is. Nucky lets it all out: His son was born seven years ago when he was just elected treasurer. Busy with work and terrified by the fragile newborn, he neglected his wife and child. Returning home one night, he realized the baby was dead, but his wife was caring for him all the same. His wife committed suicide weeks after the burial. Touched by the story, Margaret asks how is it then that Nucky does what he does. "We all have to decide for ourselves how much sin we can live with," he replies.
Van Alden tells Rose he feels unfulfilled at work and has resigned his position. They will be moving to Schenectady where he will work with his uncle in his feed business. When Rose protests, he declares it will take a sign from God to change his mind.
Angela receives a postcard from Paris: "Forgive me, but don't forget me."
Nucky feels ambushed by Torrio when he realizes his meeting is with Rothstein. Torrio advises Nucky to let go of the past and hear Rothstein out. Despite Jimmy's misgivings, Nucky agrees to have the White Sox indictment quashed in exchange for a million dollars in cash and the location of the remaining D'Alessio brothers. Nucky instructs Eddie to call an emergency press conference.
With all the media gathered, Nucky announces that the men behind the massacre in the woods have been identified â€“ Hans Schroeder, abetted by the D'Alessios. As Nucky speaks, Harrow, Jimmy and Capone track down and kill the remaining brothers.
The following morning, Election Day, Nucky strolls the Boardwalk, and is hailed as a hero by all. He exchanges a look with Margaret, who is on line with Nan, but the two say nothing to each other.
Jimmy returns home to find that Angela has cut her hair short.
Nucky and his men celebrate the returns that night. Eddie whispers to Nucky that Rothstein has escaped indictment. Although Eli is still smarting about being passed over, Nucky assures his brother that blood is thicker than water. "Why'd it have to be my blood?" retorts Eli.
When news of Bader's win is announced, the new mayor replaces Halloran with Eli as sheriff, to the surprise of both men. Drunk, Jimmy mouths off to Nucky, "You'll use anybody. Man, woman, 13-year-old girl." Jimmy tells Nucky he knows now that it was just guilt that propelled Nucky to look out for him, not love. "Stop acting like you give a sh*t," advises Jimmy.
Margaret, Nan and the children enjoy the barmbrack cake. Nan is overjoyed to find the ring in her slice, and does not answer Margaret when she questions whether Harding will really send for her. Margaret finds the rag in her slice, and dismisses its meaning to her children as a silly superstition.
Van Alden packs up his office only to be surprised by Lucy. She announces that he made her pregnant.
Jimmy meets with the Commodore and finds his mother fussing over him. The Commodore rails on about Nucky: He not only let Louanne go, he's the reason he went to prison. The two were caught election-rigging, but only one would take a fall, in an arrangement made with Woodrow Wilson. The Commodore spent five years in jail, only to find Nucky in control of the city when he returned. Jimmy and the Commodore agree that Nucky is a master of manipulation: He makes you think you've got a good deal so you'll do his bidding. The Commodore enlists Jimmy to help him -- and Eli -- take back the city.
At Babette's, Nucky spots Annabelle with her newest sugar daddy -- Baxter, the cutlery salesman. Nucky also sees Margaret and the two end up toasting with champagne. Margaret tells him that the children miss their "Uncle Nucky." The news comes over the radio that Harding has won the election and has called for healing and a "return to normalcy." As Eddie Cantor sings, Chalky sits with his date at the bar.
Jimmy, Eli and the Commodore plan their next moves as Gillian watches over them. Nucky's men count Rothstein's delivery of cash. Later that evening, Jimmy walks along the beach while Nucky and Margaret stroll the Boardwalk.
America in 1920. The Great War is over, Wall Street is about to boom and everything is for sale, even the World Series. It is a time of change when women are getting the vote, broadcast radio is introduced, and young people rule the world.
On the beach in southern New Jersey sits Atlantic City, a spectacular resort known as "The World's Playground," a place where rules don't apply. Massive hotels line its famous Boardwalk, along with nightclubs, amusement piers and entertainment to rival Broadway. For a few dollars, a working man can get away and live like a king -- legally or illegally.
The undisputed ruler of Atlantic City is the town's Treasurer, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, (Steve Buscemi) a political fixer and backroom dealer who is equal parts politician and gangster and equally comfortable in either role. Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, the town is a hub of activity for rum-runners, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and less than a day's drive from Chicago. And Nucky Thompson takes full advantage.
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