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'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Nucky giving up gangster biz?

By Alan Eyerly

9:00 AM EST, November 18, 2013

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“Havre de Grace,” Episode 47 of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” is French for Haven of Grace. But this Maryland town isn’t much of a haven for Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), who’s on the lam with his mistress, Daughter Maitland (Margot Bingham).

Nearly slain by drug kingpin Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright), Chalky takes refuge at the home of his elderly mentor, Oscar Boneau (Louis Gossett, Jr.). Oscar urges Chalky to stay there permanently.

Chalky might adapt to this bucolic setting, but Daughter is decidedly out of place. She belongs on stage, pursuing her career as a jazz singer. And when Chalky wakes in the middle of the night, Daughter is gone.

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Before the night is over, Oscar is also gone – gunned down by mysterious assailants. Seems Chalky is headed for a kill-or-be-killed showdown with Narcisse.

In Atlantic City, troubled Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) faces a huge decision after receiving a low-ball offer for her mansion.

“There isn’t a house like this within 50 miles,” she says to her attorney, Leander Whitlock (Dominic Chianese). Gillian needs to maximize her profit so she can raise grandson Tommy – providing she wins a child custody battle – and support herself for the rest of her life.

“You need to be realistic,” Whitlock argues, alluding to the mansion’s shady past as a bordello and site of a bloody gun battle. “I urge you to take the offer.”

Another huge decision for Gillian is whether to continue fighting for Tommy in court or let him stay with Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) and his new bride Julia (Wrenn Schmidt). A visit with Tommy convinces Gillian to walk away.

“I’m free. I’m finally free,” she tells boyfriend Roy Phillips (Ron Livingston), admitting Tommy is better off with Richard and Julia.

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Gillian’s relief turns into elation when Roy suddenly proposes marriage. But her dreams of a new life are clouded when Roy is threatened by a man and appears to shoot him dead.

“You can’t call the police,” Gillian insists. “Just let it go.”

To assure Roy that “you can make yourself live with anything,” Gillian admits to drowning an innocent man. To conceal the crime, she pretended it was her son Jimmy’s body and that he died of a heroin overdose.

As soon as Gillian confesses to first-degree murder, Roy reveals his true identity. He’s a Pinkerton detective working undercover.

“I was hired to do a job,” Roy says as Gillian is dragged away kicking and screaming. “And now that job is done.”

Elsewhere in Atlantic City, gangster Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) receives a late-night call from Gaston Means (Stephen Root), a corrupt special investigator with the Department of Justice.

“There’s a skunk in your cellar,” Gaston warns. “Would you like to know his name?”

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Before Gaston can say much more, he’s arrested on perjury charges.

“On our side, who don’t you trust?” Nucky asks his brother Eli (Shea Whigham).

It’s actually Eli who can’t be trusted, because he’s secretly cooperating with the feds to keep his son Willie (Ben Rosenfield) from going to prison.

Eli tells Prohibition Agent Warren Knox (Brian Geraghty) about Nucky’s criminal partners in New Jersey, New York and Florida. Warren wants the gangsters brought together and arrested simultaneously.

“I need them all in a room,” Warren insists.

Eli convinces Nucky to go ahead with the meeting so they can “get the rules in place” and end hostilities over heroin imports.

As for Nucky, he convinces himself to abandon the gangster life and put Eli in charge. Nucky makes it official when phoning Tampa speakeasy owner Sally Wheet.

“I want out,” he says emphatically.

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