Ourselves Alone
Boardwalk Empire | Season 2 | Episode 2

Ourselves Alone


Written by Howard Korder
Directed by David Petrarca

Choosing Sides

On Valentine's Day morning, Margaret reads about Nucky's arrest in the paper but keeps her cool with the house staff. Margaret insists that evening's dinner with John McGarrigle will take place regardless. When Eddie reports the state police are tearing Nucky's office apart, she borrows Katy's coat and heads for the Ritz. Once there, she feigns ignorance about her relationship to Nucky and proceeds through the office unescorted by pretending she's fatigued and pregnant.

Dinner preparations are interrupted by Owen Sleater, John McGarrigle's advance man, tasked with security for the evening. Margaret and Owen get off to the wrong foot when Owen mistakes her for one of the help. Owen explains McGarrigle's purpose—he's raising money for Sinn Fein to support the IRA effort in Ireland. Learning that Margaret has no family left there, he tells her she's lucky she won't have to choose sides.

Stuck in a cell with Chalky, Nucky runs down his list of possible turncoats, but both men assume the Commodore is pulling the strings. Nucky's lawyer bails him out and Eddie informs him the office has been ransacked. Nucky hits another wall when he fails to win over the reporters waiting outside.

Here's to Us

With his hair now dyed jet black, the Commodore meets with Eli Thompson, the four ward bosses and Patrick Ryan. To prove that he's fit to bring Nucky down, he lifts an elephant tusk that the 39-year-old ward boss Fleming finds too heavy to manage. The men gripe about Nucky and the Commodore lays out his plan: He and Jimmy will see to it Nucky's ships of liquor never make it into harbor.

The ward bosses then gather privately to discuss strategy. Although Fleming is wary of betraying Nucky, Neary is adamant that they should be supporting the Commodore. "Anybody didn't sign on, he'll be lucky to work the boards with a broom and a dustpan," he says.

With the Ritz closed off to him, Nucky sets up shop at the County Treasurer's office, to the confusion of the secretary who's rarely seen him. Nucky calls a meeting, but only the Mayor shows. Nucky returns to the Ritz when he's given the all clear, and discovers his secret compartment once containing his ledgers and money, is empty. Fleming arrives to report the others are under the Commodore's spell. Just then, Eli calls to gloat and refuses Nucky's offer to come to terms.

A Simple Misunderstanding

In New York, Jimmy attempts to convince Arnold Rothstein to buy liquor from him instead of Nucky. Rothstein turns him down, but Lucky Luciano dangles a counterproposal. Although initially suspicious, Jimmy meets him, Meyer Lansky and Benny Siegel at a card game Lansky runs downtown. Lansky and Lucky tell Jimmy Rothstein has been a fine teacher but "nobody wants to be in school forever." They're interested in the heroin trade. Jimmy pockets a windfall during the card game and watches as two thugs who work for Joe Masseria, the king of the Lower East side, threaten Lansky. Lansky tells Jimmy their interest is just a "simple misunderstanding."

Later, Jimmy is jumped by Masseria's men while walking through Tompkins Square Park. Pulling out his trench knife, Jimmy slits both their throats.

Worth the Ruckus

Still in jail, Chalky gets a visit from his wife Lenore, who brings him a copy of 'David Copperfield.' Dunn Purnsley, a black prisoner from Baltimore, asks Chalky to read from the book, which Chalky refers to as 'Tom Sawyer.' Purnsley gets increasingly insulting when he sees how the other prisoners defer to Chalky, and finally, knocks the novel out of his hands. After the three prisoners teach Purnsley some respect, one of them begins to read the Dickens novel aloud at Chalky's behest.

Keeping Clean

With Nucky absent, dinner conversation flows awkwardly between Margaret, Eddie Moran and McGarrigle, who refuses the lamb Margaret has prepared, deeming it unclean. Belatedly arriving, Nucky writes a check for McGarrigle's cause and agrees to take on Owen, who prefers to remain in the States. After dinner, Margaret helps Katy clear the table, explaining she too was once in service. Margaret notices Katy's attraction to Owen.

Alone together at last, Margaret quizzes Nucky about the severity of his situation—and surprises him with the ledgers and cash she took from the Ritz.