Episode Title: "Spaghetti & Coffee"
Writer: Howard Korder
Director: Alik Sakharov
Previously on "Boardwalk Empire":
Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) picks up Eli (Shea Whigham) up after he's released from prison. Mickey tells Eli that Nucky is a hard man to reach and he'll be working for him now. Over at Chalky White's, Maybelle's boyfriend, Samuel stops by to ask for her hand in marriage. Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) asks the aspiring doctor to give him a check-up on the spot. When he's done, Chalky gives Samuel his approval.
Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) goes to visit the woman who miscarried in front of her at the hospital. When she asks about the woman's husband, she tells Margaret it's none of her business. Margaret then goes to the doctor who told her about the trouble with the prenatal care at the hospital. He too, brushes her off. Frustrated, Margaret leaves but then returns a moment later, determined to find out what she can do to help.
In New York, after spending some time with Billie Kent, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) attempts to leave a payoff for a special investigator from the Department of Justice. However, he's concerned with the man's method of collection – an empty fishbowl outside his room.
Chalky tells Maybelle about Samuel's visit but she says she doesn't want to marry him. When Chalky insists, Maybelle insinuates that she'd rather be with someone more interesting, like her father.
After dismissing Doyle's new work assignment, Eli returns home and finds his oldest son has become the man of the house. Eli suggests he quit his job and go back to school. But now almost a grown man, the boy heads to work, showing little interest in Eli and his two-year-old birthday present, a model plane. Feeling dejected, Eli shows up late to Mickey's operation and begins working for him.
While out with Samuel at a speakeasy, Maybelle encourages the young man to loosen up, but he says he doesn't drink. When Samuel upsets a man at the club, the man cuts Samuel's cheek. Dunn Purnsley beats the man badly, as Maybelle screams. Chalky then emerges and asks if she finds him "interesting" now. Meanwhile, an injured Samuel defies Chalky to tend to the man who injured him.
Doyle's shipment to Rothstein arrives at the Tabor Heights gas station, which is closed. Gyp Rosetti (Cannavale) shows up with the local cops and says he is the owner of the station. Owen pulls a gun and Rosetti pulls his, in turn. He then pours out all the gas from the pump. Owen tries to reach Nucky at Billie's but he tells her not to answer the phone. Owen (Charlie Cox) tells Doyle that Rothstein won't get his shipment and the convoy heads back to Atlantic City.
After last week's excellent premiere, in which we caught up with just about everybody 'round the boardwalk, this second episode of "Boardwalk Empire" season 3 was a slower paced follow-up. Without appearances from fan favorites. Richard Harrow, Gillian Darmody and Nelson "George Mueller" Van Alden, we were able to catch up with another popular Atlantic City resident, Chalky White and perhaps a new fav, Gyp Rosetti.
The oft-spoken aspiring doctor, Samuel had the unenviable task of asking temperamental gangster, Chalky for his daughter's hand in marriage. After having Samuel take his pulse and recommend he eat more leafy greens, Chalky gave the boy his blessing. Problem is, Chalky's daughter Maybelle wants someone more like her father, someone "interesting." Insistent that she marry Samuel and make a better life for herself, Chalky made sure to show her just how "interesting" he really is, when Dunn Purnsley beat the crap out of the man right in front of her.
It was great to see Chalky again, as he is indeed one of "Boardwalk's" more "interesting" personalities. Unfortunately, with so many other characters in the mix, Chalky is often sidelined. And when he does return to the fold, it's usually for these sort of isolated vignettes in which we are reminded what a badass he is. Hopefully, his character gets tied back into the larger story as the season moves forward.
Another man who is quickly making a reputation for himself is newcomer, Gyp Rosetti. This week, we saw what happens when you waste Rosetti's time as he held up Mickey Doyle's shipment to Rothstein, forcing the convoy to return to AC. Rosetti's a tough read, as last week we saw him beat a man to death over a misunderstanding over lubricating oil while he resigns himself to coffee with his spaghetti when he's denied wine at a diner. Also, merely sending Mickey and Owen back to AC without some sort of "message" doesn't seem like his style.
This week we also spent a good amount of time with "Planned Parenthood" advocate, Margaret. We've seen her take up pet causes before, but Margaret's determination to see changes at the hospital where she watched a woman miscarry before her eyes is one of her more admirable pursuits. Though she's mostly come to accept her place in Nucky's world, she's still clinging to her morals while those she comes in contact with may have written her off by association.
As for Nucky, his relationships with women other than Margaret tend to feel pointless. This affair with Billie Kent is no different. Nucky is indifferent and unemotive, as usual, more caught up in his own world, wishing things would just run on their own, rather than the other person. Maybe it's because Nucky told Billie to be honest about what she wants, knowing it's not really him but his connections she's after.
"Spaghetti & Coffee" was a definite comedown from last week's great opener, feeling more like an episode from last season with its slower pace. However, we did get to spend some quality time with Chalky and Margaret and hey, Eli's back in the game. That alone should shake things up, real soon.