The Ivory Tower
Boardwalk Empire | Season 1 | Episode 2

The Ivory Tower


Written by Terence Winter
Directed by Tim Van Patten

A large crowd gathers to watch the funeral of Big Jim Colosimo in Chicago. Newsmen hound Johnny Torrio, asking him if he was involved in the murder, but Torrio and Capone brush them off.

Nucky gets a surprise visit from Agent Van Alden, who is skeptical of Hans Schroeder's involvement in the shooting. Nucky suggests Van Alden speak with his brother Eli, who happens to serve as sheriff.

Laden with wrapped gifts, Jimmy spots a necklace in a shop window. When Tommy and Angela return home, he showers them with belated Christmas gifts, including a new "vacuum sweeper" that terrifies Tommy.

Still recuperating in the hospital, Margaret reads Henry James' 'The Ivory Tower.' In preparation for a visit from "Mr. Thompson," she ties a ribbon in her hair, only to learn it's Nucky's brother, Eli, who has come to see her. Although Margaret believes Hans was incapable of murder, Eli reminds her Hans was responsible for the death of their baby and that his private life was completely unknown to her. Not so subtly encouraging her to bear that in mind if the question comes up, Eli hands Margaret an envelope full of cash from his brother.

Agents Sebso and Van Alden report in to Supervisor Elliot with a catalog of Nucky's corruption: "There isn't a single business he doesn't get a piece of." Van Alden argues that instead of Arnold Rothstein, they should be pursuing Nucky Thompson.

Nucky informs Mickey Doyle that Chalky White will be taking over his business and leaves Mickey to stew in jail. Rothstein and Lucky Luciano summon Frankie Yale to New York and Rothstein demands to know who ordered the hit on Colosimo.

Jimmy meets Gillian, a showgirl at the Cafe Beaux-Arts nightclub and presents her with the ruby necklace he saw in the shop window. The ecstatic Gillian explains to the other girls it's like the one Jimmy's father gave her years ago, which she had to sell to provide for the young Jimmy -- her son.

When Jimmy shows up to work as per usual, Nucky coolly informs him he's no longer his driver. Furthermore, if he's going to act like a gangster, he needs to know Nucky's cut was short -- Jimmy still owes him $3000.

Al Capone brutally beats a reporter who wants to link Torrio to the Colosimo hit. Nucky finally takes a call from Rothstein who informs him he is expecting $100,000 to cover the loss of the delivery and his men; Nucky hangs up on him.

Having returned home, Margaret is surprised by a visit from Van Alden who has questions about Hans, whom he believes was just a patsy in the shooting. Flustered, Margaret searches in vain for the ribbon that was in her hair, which is now suddenly missing.

Nucky delivers money to the Commodore and the two men discuss suffrage. To prove his point that it's a bad idea, the Commodore quizzes his housemaid Louanne about politics. When she is unable to expound on the League of Nations or the Harriday Act, he dismisses her as the woman who "empties my piss pot."

Trying to raise the cash for Nucky, Jimmy calls Capone who pretends not to hear him. Lacking other options, Jimmy sneaks into his mother's dressing room and steals back the necklace.

Van Alden writes a letter to his wife, Rose, reminding her to run the faucet to prevent the pipes from freezing ... and then clutches the ribbon that was once in Margaret's hair, having stolen it from her.

Uncomfortable about the implication of the cash Eli delivered, Margaret returns it to Nucky. She impresses him not only with a quote from George Sand, "Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it," but that she knows Sand was a pen name for a French baroness. Turning to Nucky for advice on how to provide for her children, she asks, "Tell me what to do. What do you want from me?" "I want you to vote Republican," he replies.

Jimmy takes his $3000 payment to Nucky at the casino -- and Nucky casually loses the entire amount at the craps table.

Finally giving in to his complaints about her lack of gratitude for their Atlantic City sojourn, cutlery salesman George Baxter's girl orders him to pull over in the woods on the ride back to Baltimore. The two are startled to see a man -- a survivor of the shooting -- stumble out of the woods toward them.