The Breakdown

This episode starts in Chicago, with a very overweight Jake Guzik climbing stairs to make a collection for the Capones. He obviously hasn’t put any time in at the gym, because he strains and appears to be having a heart attack. He collapses and falls down a flight of stairs.

All InOver at the FBI, Agent Knox has brought a map of the United States, dotted with the names of the leading crime bosses in the country for “show and tell”. He explains the hierarchy of criminals and their ties to one another to J. Edgar Hoover and a room full of fellow agents. Knox vows to prove there is a criminal conspiracy among the crime lords by “finding the weakest link in Thompson’s chain and breaking it.”

Nucky is still getting used to Eddie’s new role and finds himself trying to break the 11 year old habit of ordering him to do menial tasks like fetching his food and drinks. Eddie responds by telling him, “I will have Tom do it, as soon as he returns.” Eddie reminds Nucky that he has other things he’s doing for him that occupy his time like making deposits. Eddie is pleased when Nucky tells him, “You have my every confidence” and doesn’t check the offered deposit records. He directs Eddie to wear a white carnation -not red – and to withdraw $10,000 and give it to a man who will approach him at the train station. He tells him the man will identify himself as Mr. Brown.

Chalky is playing it cool with Daughter Maitland, although it’s clear he finds her attractive. Dunn tells Chalky his mamma is sick and he needs to visit her in Baltimore. Chalky tells him to go tend to his family.

All InO’Banion plays a nasty practical joke on one of his men, nearly blinding him with a rigged shotgun while they are having target practice. He orders Mueller to go to the hospital where Jake is and give him some day old daisies. Mueller wants to avoid the Capones and O’Banion doesn’t like hearing that and fires his shotgun into the air to emphasize his point.

Willie tells Eli he’s not happy at college. When Willie complains about the stuck-up kids at school, Eli reminds him “You’re a Thompson”. His father tells him he’s there to get an education and to do whatever he has to in order to get through it.

The Capones are at the hospital visiting Jake. They decide to finish his collections. Mueller arrives with the flowers. Al Capone looks at the wilted daisies Mueller brought and complains about how bad they look. Then he tries pumping Mueller for information about O’Banion’s operation. Mueller wants to get back to O’Banion but Al Capone tells him, “He can wait.”

Nucky pitches the Florida deal to Arnold Rothstein. He needs a partner for the land purchase and Rothstein is one of the few people he knows that can afford the $500,000 buy in. Rothstein is accompanied by his little buddy Meyer Lansky. Rothstein tells Nucky he’ll mull over the deal over a poker game. He tells Nucky he’d like him to join him in the game.

All InBack in Harlem Dunn is visiting Narcisse at his office to deliver money he earned from selling the heroin Narcisse provided. Narcisse is disturbed that he came to his office to do this. He reminds Dunn that he had told him he’d see him in Atlantic City, not Harlem and that Dunn failed to follow his instructions. He cuts Dunn off before he can tell him why he came and directs him to leave, then he pockets the money Dunn brought him.

Ralph Capone, posing as Mr. Brown, meets Eddie at the train station and Eddie gives him the money. When Ralph asks Eddie where he can go for a good meal, Eddie decides to take him to a nice restaurant called The Knife and Fork.

Back at college there’s another party planned and Willie is once again providing the booze. They don’t have enough liquor for the party so they decided to cut the booze. They know Henry will be there. Willie has a plan for getting back at Henry for embarrassing him in the library when he was making out with a girl at the last party.

The Capones, along with Mueller, are doing collections. At the first house Ralph sweet talks the landlady into telling him which apartment the guy they want see is at. They go upstairs and the camera pulls back so you can see the front of the building. You can hear pounding on a door from inside. Suddenly, a body comes crashing out of one of the upstairs windows and lands on the top of a car. The Capones have their own unique approach to collections.

Nucky asks Eli if he can handles things while Nucky is in Tampa. He directs Eli to take the money Rothstein is going to kick in for the deal and take it to McCoy in Florida. Chalky informs Nucky that Rothstein is asking for him at the poker game.

Willie has decided to spike a special bottle of booze just for Henry. He breaks into the chemistry lab and adds a bunch of chemicals he thinks will give Henry the runs at the party. At the party while Henry is dancing Willie pours the doctored booze into Henry’s cup. Henry gets sick a short while later, and Willie has locked all of the bathrooms. Henry becomes a spectacle at the party as he shows obvious signs of a severely upset stomach. He gets so sick later that he dies in the dormitory.

All InEddie is bonding with Ralph Capone over dinner. Ralph invites Eddie to visit him in Chicago.

Dunn meets up with Narcisse in the evening and apologizes for coming to his place of business. He expresses interest in running things in Atlantic City for Narcisse. Narcisse instigates Dunn to beat up a rough looking “Duffy” that is stationed outside a Harlem speak-easy. Dunn wastes no time in complying with that directive and tosses him over the landing and then beats the crap out of him.

The Capones still have Mueller in tow, and offer him some of the action in Cicero if he will continue to assist them cracking heads to steer votes to their crooked politician friends. They spot a bread truck that they believe has booze belonging to O’Banion and decide to take it. Al Capone does some coke while driving a car with Mueller that is following the bread truck his brother is driving out to the country. He asks Mueller if O’Banion is treating him right. Mueller tells him, “He pays me well, but he doesn’t treat me with respect.” Capone offers him a job, but Mueller says, “I have to clear it with Mr. O’Banion.” They hear someone banging from the inside of the truck. It’s O’Banion’s man who fell asleep inside the truck. The Capones give him 10 seconds to run away as they give Mueller a gun to shoot him. The gun jams and Al finishes the job with a machine gun as a stunned Mueller watches.

In the poker game Nucky wins a big hand from Rothstein with a queen high flush. One of the other players is impatient with the banter between Nucky and Rothstein. Lansky wants to intercede but Rothstein puts up with the man’s thinly veiled insults. Nucky leaves but Rothstein continues to play and continues to lose. Meyer convinces him to leave the game so “people don’t see you like this.”

All InNucky decides after seeing Rothstein’s obsession with winning at the game that he doesn’t want to do the Florida deal with him. When he tells Lansky he’ll find a new partner, Lansky asks if he can get in on the deal. Before he decides, Nucky asks him to tell him a little about himself. Lansky talks about his childhood and how he met Lucky Luciano. He informs Nucky that the two of them made more money the previous year than the president of the United States. Nucky decides to accept his offer and his money for the Florida deal. Lansky leaves the club and runs into the obnoxious player from the poker game that was insulting him and Rothstein. He beats him up in an alley.

After dinner Eddie takes Ralph Capone to a club where other Germans gather and they teach him a German song that they all sing. Later he takes Ralph back to the train station and immediately after seeing him off, Eddie is arrested by Knox.


Once again the body count in this episode was on the low side. The Capone brothers rack up 2 kills and Willie accidentally kills a classmate at college. It’s kind of gratifying to see the smug Arnold Rothstein suffer a big loss at the poker table and Nucky walk away with several hundred thousand dollars from him.

All InMeanwhile, we see the ascent of Meyer Lansky as both a major player in criminal activity as well as violence in this episode. Dunn is committed to aligning with Narcisse so we see a big target on Chalky’s back in the near future. We’re still waiting for Al Capone to take over from his boss Johnny Torrio back in Chicago, while George Meuller seems destined to join the Capone organization full time. His current boss O’Banion is another crime lord with a big target on his back as well.

While there was no sex in this episode, the other action did advance the story lines and it was fairly entertaining. We don’t see Eddie cracking under FBI pressure, but we do wonder what will happen to Willie as a result of the accidental homicide in which he was involved.