“Boardwalk Empire” Season 4 Episode 11- The really boring episode before the storm

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I was trying to work up the enthusiasm to re-watch this episode and get the details straight. However, you didn’t miss much. Aside from the Gillian story (which I saved for last), this was a pretty dull episode. Chalkie goes to hang out in the woods, and Eli and Nucky passive-aggressively snipe at each other.

Chalkie and Daughter’s Not-So-Romantic Getaway

Chalkie and Daughter are in the middle of nowhere, being driven around by two semi-ominous men. They drive without the lights on, and pull up to a rather suspicious looking old colonial mansion.


Scary old man and his dog

Not creepy at all!    Image from imdb.com

The next morning Chalkie and Daughter are admiring the view, when the owner of the house finally appears. He’s an older man (Oscar) who used to be in Chalkie’s position for the Commodore, and he’s Chalkie’s old mentor. Despite suddenly telling us how important he is, this episode is the first we’ve ever heard of Oscar.

He’s also gone blind, which explains why he’s less into Daughter than Chalkie is. He makes fun of her name, and then orders her into the kitchen to cook for this house of all men. Apparently, they’re his sons.


Gif from UpWorthy.

He also advises Chalkie not to trust white people. . . or black people. So, just don’t trust people.

Later, Oscar gives Chalkie a hard time for his life choices. One of his sons suggests going in and shooting a bunch of people, and Oscar reasonably sees that this is a bad idea.


Gif from here.

Then, he gets senile and starts complaining about the food to Daughter, who he calls “Elise”. She clarifies who she is, and instead of getting respect for standing up for herself, she gets a new nickname: “Blue Tick”. Because her name is “Daughter”, and Oscar’s dog isn’t named “Hound”, or something like that. It’s supposed to be Oscar’s idea of a joke. It’s also supposed to be insulting, but it really just comes off as stupid.

Later on, it’s board game time! The men are using checkers to harness some ominous subtext. It’s kind of boring. Chalkie agrees since he leaves to look at the river with Daughter.

Don't drag your mistress out into the middle of nowhere!

“Seriously, honey. I’m really, really bored of the misogynistic, old man.” Image from here.

She’s also bored with this plotline. She points out that Chalkie probably wants to go get revenge. Rather than deal with his feelings, he decides to provoke her conflicting feelings about Dr. Narcisse, the man who murdered her mother and then raised her. To avoid her trauma, she suggests they run far away. She doesn’t get an answer, because Chalkie gets called away by one of the men.

Oscar chats with Nucky. The Commodore didn’t offer him a particularly good retirement plan, but he’s offering what he has to Chalkie. He also suggests that Chalkie ditch Daughter.

In bed, Daughter is feeling a bit off. This is enough for Chalkie to suggest that they leave and make a new life for themselves far away. They kiss.

However, later, Chalkie wakes up alone. Oscar is on the porch with his shotgun. He heard Daughter leave the house. Chalkie’s upset, but Oscar is “meh” about it. Of course, he’s distracted by the sound of men sneaking up on the house.
They want Daughter. Or Chalkie. Since they don’t have Daughter, and he’s not willing to give up Chalkie, things end in gun shots. Oscar gets killed, and Chalkie gets a murderous look on his face.


Gif from here.

LAURA: MMMMMM….Dianna Agron. Wait, sorry, what? Got distracted.

Hot Fuzz

Means tries to sell Nucky information. He says that someone is betraying him. Nucky’s not particularly interested, and Means isn’t doing the greatest job making his pitch. He’s also a bit drunk and increasing the price as Nucky expresses disinterest. Fortunately, for Nucky’s headache, Capitol Police come in to arrest Means for perjury.


Gif from here.

Eli meets with Knox, and he kind of spills everything. To his credit, Eli feels badly about it. Knox wants Eli to set up a meeting with Nucky, Petrocelli, Masseria, and Narcisse.

Then, it’s Family Day at the beach. Complete with a bunch of Nucky’s armed guards.

It's a picnic!

Nothing says “a fun day at the beach” like armed guards! Image from www.bbc.co.uk.

Eli’s pouting and griping at having to drive so far, and even the ever faithful and sunny June is getting tired of Eli and Nucky’s fights. It’s a bad sign when the characters on a show are as tired of a plotline as the audience.

Eli and Nucky have a heart to heart while watching everyone frolic on the beach. Nucky’s more concerned about Chalkie’s situation than Eli is. Both agree that Dr. Narcisse shouldn’t be able to boss Nucky around. Nucky’s ready to kill a bunch of people, but Eli suggests a big meeting with Masseria, Narcisse, etc. Gee! I wonder where he got that idea?

A punchable face

From this guy! Image from here.

Nucky then brings up the idea of someone betraying him. Eli tries to deflect, though he’s definitely sounding more and more fishy. Nucky hints that Eli may end up responsible for everything.

Over dinner, the Thompsons are having a good time making fun of Mayor Bader. Then, they make fun of Eli for being a hypochondriac, which leads to June revealing the visit from the “insurance salesman”. Eli loses his temper, and gets snippy with poor June. A close up on Nucky’s face shows that he is far less naïve than June.

Nucky reassures Willie that Eli is just super sensitive. Then, he tries to pump him for information on the “insurance saleman.” June interrupts to let Nucky know that she and girls conformed to traditional gender roles and cleaned everything up.

As they say goodbye, June lets Nucky know that Eli is drinking heavily. This leads to Nucky instructing Eli to set up the big meeting. But only after he quotes the poem Eli wrote about a girl when he was 13. It’s kind of adorable.


Gif from here.

Nucky finishes his evening with a call to Sally. It’s late, but he’s decided that he “wants out”.

He’s Just Not That Into You (I know!  I keep making this same joke!  But it’s really, really apt this time!)

Leander is advising Gillian to accept a rather cheap offer on the house. Her lawyer in the custody case is also in on the discussions. In his opinion, the case could go on for years, and Tommy could ping-pong between them and the foster care system. Gillian starts to feel a bit woozy.


Gif from here.

Gillian looks at a bunch of toy soldiers. Tommy comes up, and she speaks with him. When she tries to hug him, Harrow comes up and warns her off. While it’s tense, she gives Tommy his father’s dog tags and wishes Harrow and Julia well. It’s actually quite moving to see Gillian behaving like a non-selfish person.


Gif from here.

At Berger’s rooms, she explains that she’s finally feeling free. And, no, she’s not doing drugs again!

Later, on their big date, Gillian fills him in on the news. She’s accepting the offer on the house giving up the custody fight. Berger is supportive, but distant. Gillian notices. He deflects and says his business deal is all wrapped up. The doofy guy they had dinner with a while ago was trying to hold things up, but it got sorted out. And he’s leaving.

Sad and angry face.   Image from here.

Sad and angry face.
Image from here.

Gillian’s very sad, until Berger asks her to marry him!


Gif from here.

In the parking garage, Gillian and Berger are happy, when they’re confronted by the same doofy guy who was ruining the deal. He lost his job as a result of things, and he wants revenge. As he advances, Berger pulls out a gun and shoots him.

How to solve all your problems! Image from here.

He’s pretty shaken up, but Gillian gets him into the car and rushes him away.

Back at her mansion, Gillian comforts Berger. He’s feeling guilty and worried about murdering the guy. As the more experienced murderer, Gillian takes charge and explains that he’s likely to get away with it. She also confesses her murder of the random guy who looked like Jimmy. Oopsie.


Gif from here.

Turns out Berger actually works for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He and Leander and the doofy guy all teamed up to catch Gillian for this murder. Now, she’s under arrest.

Gillian doesn’t understand at first, so he has to explain it again. Berger indicates that it wasn’t all pretend when he says, “You really are a courageous woman.” Unfortunately, this lets it sink in, and Gillian lunges for him, then tries to run away. She doesn’t go down without a fight.

Gretchen Mol’s acting in this episode was amazing! Roy Livingstone also did quite well. It was great to see the character development, and Mol did an amazing job veering from emotion to emotion. She really was the best thing about a lackluster episode.

Rating- D (Aside from the Gillian plotline, this episode was really boring. Nucky and Eli have already passive-aggressively fought, and the writers really need to stop retreading this territory. Moreover, the introduction of Oscar felt really clumsy and ham-fisted. Writers, you introduce a character in the second to last episode of season 4; you try to convince us that there is a deep and meaningful relationship between Oscar and Chalkie, despite not having heard of this guy in the past four seasons; and you expect us to give a shit when he dies? Really? Be happy I didn’t fail this episode!)
Gratuitous Violence- C (Nothing too dramatic. Oscar’s death was fairly bloody for a nighttime scene.)
Gratuitous Nudity- D (I think, we get to see Chalkie’s chest, but I can’t be sure. I was too bored to pay attention.)
Character Growth by the Leads– C (While Gillian actually managed a few steps forward, Nucky and Eli are exactly as they have been since the first episode. Come on, guys! You’re ruining the group’s average!)

“Boardwalk Empire” airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.