Boardwalk Empire ‘Acres of Diamonds’ Recap – Episode 4.03

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The Breakdown

The episode opens with Nucky meeting with Bill McCoy in Tampa, Florida to consider a business deal down there.  McCoy is something of a poet as he tells Nucky, “Welcome to Tampa, land of money, cunny, and where it’s always sunny.”

 McCoy explains that he lost three ships, and they weren’t the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria – they were full of scotch and he spent eight months in jail. They arrange to meet later to discuss a possible land purchase and bootlegging arrangement with another guy named Tucker.

Richard seems to have lost his blood lust and buries his pistol at the family farm.

Acres of DiamondsDr. Narcisse has set up what appears to be the precursor to the NAACP as he lectures a group of well dressed black men and tells them “The new Negro must be tutored in thought and culture.”   He ends the lecture and meets with Rothstein and Madden.  Madden vouches for Narcisse and Rothstein agrees to sell him 20 pounds of heroin for $80,000, which Narcisse intends to sell to Libyan markets.  Rothstein and Narcisse shake hands as Rothstein leaves the room. Once Rothstein is out of the room, Narcisse takes a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes off Rothstein’s kooties from his hands.

He has Madden stay and informs him he wants to book one of his featured Cotton Club stars, Daughter Maitland, into the Onyx Club.  Madden agrees and asks Narcisse to have Dickie drop by with a replacement. Narcisse informs him Dickie won’t be returning.

Emma, with a bun in the oven, has a suitor, Hugh, eager to help her, but she has Richard there to do things like clear out the barn.  It’s obvious Hugh is smitten with her.  Richard wants to pay the delinquent tax bill but Emma says she’s already taken care of that.

A chance meeting with a real estate salesman at the hotel causes Nucky to have misgivings about going ahead with the land deal with McCoy and Tucker.

Willie Thompson offers to provide the booze for a party at school.

Gillian goes with Phillips to look at houses and he asks her to pose as his wife at a dinner meeting with the head of A&P and his wife, who is contemplating a merger with his employer, Piggly Wiggly.

Chalky continues to boss Dunn Purnsley around as Narcisse introduces Daughter Maitland – SHA-WANG!  Chalky likes the way she looks.  Narcisse notices how Chalky treats Purnsley.

Willie goes to the warehouse and tries to steal a case of booze but is caught.  Doyle smacks him and is about to call his father, when Willie tells him his dad will kill him and Doyle relents and decides to let the kid have the liquor.  He cautions him to keep it between the two of them.

Acres of DiamondsRichard gets a visit from Billings and one of his men while he’s in the barn gathering old toys for Emma’s expectant baby.  Billings is upset that Richard didn’t kill Liebling.  Richard pulls out a knife and kills Billing’s man.  Billings is about to shoot Richard, but Emma appears and kills him with a shotgun before he can fire his pistol.

Nucky meets Sally at her bar as he shows up for the meeting with Tucker and McCoy. Sally seems interested in Nucky but Tucker tells her to leave.  Nucky informs Tucker he’s going to pass on the deal.  Nucky tells Tucker and McCoy that the area is going to be developed and there wouldn’t be enough privacy to do their liquor business safely.

Tucker is upset the deal isn’t going forward.

At the college party, the girl with Henry doesn’t like his forwardness and leaves him to hook up with Willie.  She leads him upstairs to the library and they start making out.

McCoy confesses to Nucky the reason the land deal is so important to him is because he owes Tucker $200,000 for the booze that was on the three ships he lost.  Nucky tells him if he had just come to him as a friend and asked for the money he would have helped him, but he doesn’t want to do the deal.

A friend of Roger, the kid that Gillian killed to use as the body for her dead son, runs into her and Phillips at a restaurant later in the evening.  He starts to ask about his missing friend but Gillian pretends she doesn’t know him, or what he’s talking about.  Phillips stands up and tells the kid to leave.  Gillian then excuses herself to go to the ladies room where she shoots up some heroin before returning to the table.

Henry busts up Willie’s make-out session by bringing a bunch of kids into the library, turning the lights on, and teasing Willie.  Willie knocks him to the ground, and Henry points out Willie still has a boner.  Willie runs out in embarrassment.

Nucky returns to Sally’s for a drink and some lively banter with her.  He mentions he has a son that is about to turn 10, but not living with him.  Sally tells Nucky that “with enough money and the right connections, you can do pretty much anything down here.”

Acres of DiamondsNarcisse has an impromptu meeting with Purnsley.  Narcisse tells him Chalky offered to give him up for the murder of Dickey. Purnsley indicates that Chalky was never his friend.  Narcisse shows him a packet of heroin and lets him know he’d like to set up an arrangement with Purnsley that does not include Chalky.

Tucker pounds on McCoy’s door, intent on settling their dispute from the lost booze and Nucky backing out of the deal.  He comes into the room and grabs McCoy by the throat and slams the door shut.

Hugh is at the farm with the truck.  He’s going to take Richard to the train station.  He tells Richard with him just visiting, Emma would do better living in town with his family.

Emma asks Richard to send her an address if he wants her to know where he is, and then they hug goodbye.

Nucky is getting ready to leave Tampa, and the bellhop that comes to his door to get his bags is carrying a package for him.  It’s a small stuffed alligator that he was admiring at Sally’s bar.  She sent it to him to give to his son for the boy’s birthday.

Nucky changes his mind and decides to go ahead with the Tampa deal.  On his way out, he calls McCoy to tell him.  We’re surprised to hear a subdued McCoy answer his phone.  As the scene shifts to his room we understand why – slumped against the wall is Tucker, with McCoy’s machete planted firmly in his skull.

Analysis

 As far as your average Boardwalk Empire goes, this one had a very low body count.  Richard keeps his batting average up by killing Billings’ man with a knife, and Emma gets on the scoreboard with her shotgun murder of Billings.  Homicide – the game the whole family can play!  Then there’s a quiet spell until the end of the episode, when we get a murder we didn’t see coming. We expect Tucker to kill McCoy, but instead McCoy uses his pineapple slicing skills on Tucker’s head.

Acres of DiamondsA new love interest is introduced as Nucky meets Sally at her Tampa bar.  She’s a little older than most of his bimbo type girlfriends of late, but she seems to be able to keep up with Nucky in the chat department.  She also knows her way around Tampa and has already influenced his decision to do some business down there.

What is to become of Richard?  He’s off to catch a train somewhere, but right now we don’t know what his destination is, or why he’s going there.  We just hope he dug up his pistol before he left.

It’s nice that Emma has someone interested in her.  Hugh seems like a nice guy that would take good care of her now that Richard’s leaving.

Chalky’s days seem numbered.  Narcisse is plotting his demise as he provides Purnsley with his own revenue stream pushing heroin.

The relationship between Gillian and Phillips is blossoming as she helps him with his business, but with her drug problems we don’t see a happy ending there.

This episode seems like Boardwalk “light” to me.  It only had a few killings, and other than Willie’s stiff willie, no real sex.  While a few new characters were introduced, the storyline left out half of the current cast.  Still, it was entertaining and we can’t wait to see what mischief Nucky gets into in Florida, what havoc Narcisse wreaks in Atlantic City, and what Al Capone does in Chicago.

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About the Author

Stu Cassell
was a stand-up comic and joke writer for Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. Former weekly columnist for HIghlands Today. Free lance writer, author of Comic's Bedpan: A Lobotomy Patient's Guide To Joke Writing, Performing, and Selling - available CHEAP at amazon.com (shameless plug). Reformed chocoholic.
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