Nucky travels to Philadelphia to get the truth about the occurrence between his nephew, Willie, and the bully, Henry Gaines; Gillian Darmody is still addicted to heroin, while trying to get custody of Tommy; and another series regular says goodbye in a very sad and shocking way. These are just some of the things that took place on the Oct. 6 episode of “Boardwalk Empire,” which is titled “Erlkonig.”
Willie calls Nucky, because he knows what his father would do. He tells him that he needs help. So, Nucky prepares to go to Philadelphia, when he realizes that Eddie is nowhere to be found. What Nucky doesn’t know is that Eddie has been arrested. That story will come later in this recap.
Nucky assures Willie that whatever he says will remain between the two of them. At first, Willie is hesitant to reveal the truth. He tells Nucky that he had nothing to do with it, and Henry was a friend with a drinking problem. Willie then reveals that he got the liquor from Mickey Doyle, which means that “now, there’s a problem.” The two reach an agreement on what story to tell, even though they both know the truth.
What Nucky wasn’t told was that someone slipped Henry a potion. When Nucky confronts Willie about that part of the story that was untold, the truth comes out. It was Willie’s idea, and he felt that Henry “thought he was better” than him, “but he wasn’t.” Nucky tells his nephew that no one will know the real story, and he should recall the incident as best as he remembers it.
Nucky tells Willie that the whole thing is over now. As the boy grows older, he’ll recall the incident. Willie might feel rage, which Nucky sees as a “gift” and advises him to use it. When Willie’s roommate, Clayton, walks into the room, Nucky leaves. Clayton is trying to figure out what to do next, while Will is trying to put the whole thing to rest.
Clayton is later arrested, and Doris tells the news to Willie. As she tells him what just happened, the tears start to flow. She doesn’t understand why someone would do such a thing to a guy like Henry. As she goes to hug Willie, we see his guilt start to show.
Warren Knox and his partner have a nice little chat with Eddie. And we find out that Knox is not much for swearing when he says, “Darn it to heck.” Eddie’s background comes in, and it’s revealed that his children are all grown up. One of his sons, Lucas, has legally changed his last name. We also find out that Eddie had a mistress at one point, as well as a managerial position. He is called out for not being loyal, even though he’s held several positions in which he was supposed to be.
After a long interrogation and a threat of deportation back to Germany, Eddie sells out Nucky. He is then released to go about his way. When he arrives at the Thompson residence, Nucky tells him that he shouldn’t have to worry about his assistant being gone for unknown reasons. He also shows that he is wearing mismatched socks – another thing about which he shouldn’t have to worry. Eddie knows the information he revealed will ruin the relationship between him and Nucky, but he also knows that – even after a promotion – Nucky still treats him as just another servant. Eddie writes a letter and then jumps out of a window to his death.
In Cicero, the Capones and Nelson Van Alden are on a political rally – making sure everyone is voting for the Republican candidate. But all the workers outnumber the Capones’ gang, and Al just can’t keep his mouth shut. A fight breaks out, and Van Alden is close to putting a bullet in Al’s head. Frank, who received a pretty severe beating, sees Nelson, but he can’t stop him before the cops show up. All the workers, Nelson, and Al’s gang are on the ground now. Frank is the only one still standing, and the police open fire. Later in the episode, Al says that “every thing that crawls will pay.” He’s out for some serious blood now.
Gillian Darmody is still trying to get custody of Tommy. Even though Julia Sagorsky has full custody, it’s up to the judge to decide. Speaking of which, she tries to get the whole situation “fixed” by attempting to arouse the judge. It doesn’t work, and he tells her it would be “in her best interest to leave the chambers.”
It also doesn’t look good on her battle, if she shows up to Tommy’s school high as a kite and tries to offer the scared boy an Abba-Zaba. Julia and a few teachers show up, and Gillian is escorted off the premises.
When we first see Gillian in this episode, she’s anxiously awaiting the return of Roy Phillips. She decides to take a hit of heroin as she waits. Later, she meets with Dunn Purnsley for another fix of the stuff. She returns to her place and is lying in bed when Roy arrives. He discovers her heroin paraphernalia, but he also admits that he’s had problems in his past, too. We’re not sure if Roy’s charm will make her admit to her problem, or if this will just lead to another strange relationship.
“Boardwalk Empire” fans know to never get attached to any of the characters, but it’s hard when the show is full of a lot of likable characters. Eddie Kessler’s death was different from the previous ones, which were all done via murder by gun or knife. Eddie knew that his life could no longer get well after this, and he volunteered to end it before things got worse.
It’s a pity that Anthony Laciura was given more screen time this season – only to see it end halfway through. He was great on the show, and his performance was a real standout this year. Another actor worth mentioning is Stephen Graham, who shows that Al Capone does shed some tears. The scene where Frank is gunned down is haunting and beautifully done.
“Boardwalk Empire” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.