'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Fighting Irish

steve-buscemi-boardwalk-empire-320.jpgNucky travels to Ireland with Owen, supposedly to bury his father but actually to deliver weapons to McGarrigle in exchange for Irish whiskey. Alas, McGarrigle up and decides to negotiate a truce with the English that would render Nucky's contribution useless. But things aren't so different across the pond than they are in Atlantic City, and you can always count on someone to want war more than peace. As such, McGarrigle's inglorious end is arranged and Nucky is told he'll be dealing with other IRA bosses from here on out. For his part, Nucky is more concerned that Owen was in on the plot than anything else and tells him yet again, "I don't like secrets." Strike two, Slater.

Back in AC, Jimmy -- drunk with power -- finks on Manny so that Waxey Gordon will make that pesky $5,000 debt go away. Clearly this plan is faulty from the start, and it ends with Manny laying a cleaver into the would-be assassin's head -- that's after he's shot in the shoulder, mind you -- then lifting a Matchbook from Atlantic City off of the poor bastard. With yet another hit commissioned by Jimmy gone awry, it's clear the new King of the Boardwalk is in way over his head. Post-botch job, Jimmy attends the live broadcast of the Dempsey-Carpentier fight and receives a note: "Watching you closely." In fact, it's from a bunch of slutty mob groupies, but Jimmy would be dumb schmuck (to use a bit of Manny's parlance) if he didn't see the greater implications.

In also-rans, Emily develops polio, which Margaret takes as a sign of divine retribution for her sins. Dunn Purnsley returns, still bruised but as feisty as ever, and allies himself with Chalky to plant the seeds of discontent that will lead to the black workers' strike. And Esther Randolph's people easily discern that the coffin Nucky carried to Ireland didn't hold his dead father. They call in Halloran and drill him as far back as Hans Schroeder, which yields no fruit at present but clearly makes the point that Esther means business and the walls are closing in on Atlantic City's underworld.

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