He Will Be Your Valentin

Dr. Valentin Narcisse, that is! His satisfying story and others from last night's Boardwalk Empire.

  • Previously

    Nucky (Steve Buscemi) ended the rumble with New York with a suitcase of that sweet drug cashish; Gillian (Gretchen Mol) got high and made new friends (Ron Livingston); Purnsley (Erik LaRay Harvey) had the worst one-night stand ever; Agent Knox (Brian Geraghty) was kind of a sociopath; Harrow (Jack Huston) went home to see his sister.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between

    You Can Go Home Again…Once

    It's clear pretty quickly why Harrow hasn't gone home for a while; Emma (Katherine Waterston) (…yes, she's Sam's kid) is all Mrs. Correctypants about who raised their old dog, Samson, and the correct year of their father's birth. It's also clear why Emma's not in the most awesome mood: their father died, her husband died, she's quite pregnant, and she's stashed a notice of back taxes owed into a book she's lending to her brother -- while claiming she doesn't want to know how he's lived, although she must know exactly "how" he's "lived" or she wouldn't be passive-aggressively detailing this chore to him. Oh, and she's stuck with stagey dialogue like, "If you don't come back this time, don't come back at all."

  • That Quote
    "Orphaned in April, married in May. Pregnant in August, widowed in November. And they say nothing happens in Plover."
    - leave some plot for everyone else, Emma Harrow -
  • Hell No!

    The Resentful Kessler Breakfast Special

    The menu: overcooked eggs, splashed coffee, and a heaping mound of (making a) hash (of packing Nucky's bags for his trip to Florida). Nucky tries to let Kessler (Anthony Laciura) know it's okay that he's not entirely up to speed again yet after getting shot all to hell; Kessler finds that not comforting but insulting.

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    This is histamine-addled Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), and he approves this message. And little else.

  • Meeting Time

    Fuck You, Pay Me

    Who called the meeting? Nucky Thompson.

    What's it about? Mayor Edward Bader (Kevin O'Rourke) isn't kicking up to Nucky on his new construction project.

    How'd it go? After Kessler gives a weird speech about how Nucky is all and is in all, Bader asks what Nucky wants. "What do you want, Ed? That's the more interesting question." Not really: 1) we know what Ed wants (all the money to himself), 2) it's not interesting even if we didn't know (this is the Boardwalk Empire version of the Sopranos riverfront esplanade -- a MacGuffin to create conflict), and 3) we get it, Kessler's pissed.

  • That Happened

    In Which Harrow's Respect For Family Saves A Life

    Harrow got a grand a head to kill this dude and two other dudes. When he finds out this dude has two daughters, Harrow spares him, but not before the guy busts out a meta comment on the show's pacing...

  • That Quote
    "Put the bullet in, that's what Carl's paying you for, isn't it?"
    - this guy -
  • Meeting Time

    Knox So Fast

    Who called the meeting? Nucky Thompson.

    What's it about? Crooked Treasury poobah Frederick Elliott (Peter McRobbie) introduces Sawicki's replacement, the simultaneously dweeby and ice-cold Agent Knox, to his contacts in the Thompson organization.

    How'd it go? The face on Elliott pretty much says it all. Knox is overly earnest, makes a bad joke, and is sternly informed that he'll deal with Eli (Shea Whigham) and Eli only from then on.

  • Symbolism

    Any Davenport In A Storm

    The Symbol: The new davenport Sigrid (Christiane Seidel) bought on credit, along with a whole bunch of other furniture Van Alden thinks they don't need.

    The Scene: Sigrid begs Van Alden to let her make their house a home.

    The Meaning: Van Alden owes people in every area of his life, and he doesn't like it. Nor does he want to get comfortable/put down roots. Or something. No one cares, and it's more fun if you imagine that he's pulling that face in reaction to Sigrid's accent rocketing all over the room.

  • Character Study

    Thou Shalt Not Talk Shit To Chalky In His Own Club

    Not even if you tracked down Mrs. Dickie (Jo Armeniox).

    Name Valentin Narcisse.
    Age 40s.
    Occupation Owney Madden attaché; Bible scholar; state-ranked condescender.
    Goal To leverage Mrs. Dickie for part ownership of the club, lecture Chalky (Michael K. Williams) on race relations, and big-foot the New Jersey underworld contingent.
    Sample Dialog "You know what I saw? A servant, pretending to be a king."
  • That Happened

    Newspapers: Handy!

    If only we'd learned of Dougherty's (Christopher McDonald) ouster with a twirling newspaper.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Nucky vs. Kessler

    Kessler serves Nucky his eggs and coffee -- without a hitch this time -- and a letter of resignation. The wounded (literally and figuratively) Kessler is over it with Nucky not taking him seriously; he wants respect. Nucky doesn't know if he's quitting or asking for a promotion. "This will be for you to decide."

    Nucky, no fool, promotes him.

    Winner: The viewer, because Kessler is awesome.

  • Passages

    R.I.P. Samson

    A painfully long debate over what to shoot the dying dog with is actually Emma's way of revealing that she saw Harrow hiding his pistol, and she probably knows how he makes his living. But when it comes time to end the hound's misery, Harrow can't do it, and hands his pistol over to Emma: "I don't want any more of it."

    So, R.I.P. Harrow's income too, I guess, because what's he supposed to do instead -- kids' parties?

  • Hell No!

    If You're Not Careful, They're Gonna Stick Like That

    A faithful family pet is dying; Harrow is having a crisis of self; and the moment is ruined when Harrow looks over his shoulder at his sister and pulls a Jerry Lewis.

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    Pflaum cares about working families. Pflaum loves the melting pot of Cicero, IL. Pflaum is less fond of the melees that break out at his election rallies thanks to Al Capone, and probably cannot count on Van Alden's vote, as Van Alden gets his skull cracked for him and is going to bleed all over the davenport he's barely started paying for when he gets home later.

    Pflaum: an only slightly less viable candidate than Anthony Weiner.

  • Meeting Time

    Only Kings Understand Each Other

    Who called the meeting? Dr. Narcisse and Mrs. Dickie.

    What's it about? Dr. Narcisse has called a strike amongst the Onyx Club's talent; he won't uncall it until he gets a piece of the club, and he's also using Mrs. Dickie's bullshit story about how Purnsley raped her as blackmail.

    How'd it go? Great for Dr. Narcisse; not great for Nucky, who soon sees that he has no choice and has to cough up 10 percent; and terribly for Chalky, who's in the middle of a historic rant telling Dr. Narcisse to get his Bible-quoting "John and Timothy ass" off the premises when Nucky undercuts him to settle it with a percentage.

  • Snapshot
    All Screens: HBO

    All Screens: HBO

    Amen, Chalky

    Two more beats and Dr. Narcisse would have burst into flames.

  • Character Study

    No Lawyers

    In which Knox is revealed as a triple agent.

    Name J. Edgar Hoover (Eric Ladin).
    Age Around 30.
    Occupation Acting director of the Bureau of Investigation; trans dabbler.
    Goal Get Elliott to implicate Nucky Thompson in various and sundry nefarious doings; hit the sample sale at Barneys, as a reward for successfully embedding Knox in the Thompson bootlegging empire (or so he thinks).
    Sample Reaction To His Presence In A Meeting "Who are you? Who is this child?"
  • Passages

    R.I.P. Mrs. Dickie

    I don't know which makes me happier: that Dr. Narcisse knew all along that your story of violation at the hands of the evil Purnsley was horseshit, but saw his opportunity to get a piece of the A.C. action and took it at your expense; or that "your expense" was death. I think it's the latter.

    I also don't know if Dr. Narcisse was just testing you by suggesting that Purnsley be lynched as punishment for "defiling" you; maybe you would have lived if you'd kiboshed the idea as too severe. But you didn't, because you suck, and now you're dead and I'm glad.

  • Wrap It Up

    Kessler gets his promotion; someone calls the Harrow residence from the tax assessor's office to "straighten out" the tax bill, but the guy Harrow spared earlier is splattered all over the wall; Mrs. Dickie is discovered in her muddy grave; Gillian is giving the world's longest tour of the local attractions to the guy from Office Space; and Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) is still AWOL.

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