William Wilson
Boardwalk Empire | Season 4 | Episode 7

William Wilson

TV-MA | 57 MIN

Written by David Matthews and Terence Winter
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

While discussing their plans for Florida at the Albatross Hotel, Eli shows Nucky Agent Knox's handkerchief, questioning the monogram: "JMT." Nucky is less concerned than Eli, but decides to get Supervisor Elliot on the phone for "peace of mind." Nucky grows uneasy when he learns Elliot is no longer with the bureau.

In Washington D.C., Esther Randolph, J. Edgar Hoover and Agent Knox—whose real name is James Tolliver—question cooperating witness George Remus about Nucky's connection to Florida. Remus confirms Knox/Tolliver's theory about a nationwide criminal conspiracy, with Nucky Thompson at its head. Hoover doubts Remus knows anything and is only playing along to get free meals and a night out of jail. When Knox/Tolliver leaves the room, Randolph advises Hoover to get on board because the new Attorney General, Harlan Stone, is behind the idea of prosecuting a nationwide criminal conspiracy.

In Chicago, Johnny Torrio takes a coked up Al Capone to task for killing a cop on the street in broad daylight. Al, who wants to avenge his brother Frank's death, believes the Chicago Police are in Dean O'Banion's pocket and were behind it. Torrio orders him to stop his rampage, telling Al he doesn't need a war; he has business with O'Banion.

Joe Masseria meets with Lucky Luciano and Frankie Yale in a New York City restaurant. Luciano insists he's not in business with Nucky and Vicenzo Petrucelli; he turned down the Florida deal. Aware of this, Masseria tells Luciano to strike a new arrangement with Petrucelli, who as Frankie Yale points out, is the biggest heroin importer in the southeast. "Those trucks he send up here with the rum?" Masseria proposes, "Maybe they carry something for us, too."

While working at the Wall Street brokerage firm, Conors & Gould, Margaret, using the name "Mrs. Rohan," works a routine with her boss, Robert Bennett III, convincing men to invest in the Anaconda Realty Trust. She regretfully tells one potential investor that because she talked her husband out of the opportunity, they lost their chance at a fortune. Later, Bennett hands her a $10 commission for helping him close another deal.

Back in Chicago, Torrio meets with Hymie Weiss and Dean O'Banion, who assures Torrio the police weren't acting on his orders when they killed Frank Capone. Torrio believes him and agrees to buy a brewery he doesn't need as repayment for O'Banion's help winning them the election in Cicero. However, Torrio won't give up Greektown and the meeting ends on a sour note. Later, just as Torrio signs the deed to the brewery, it is raided by the police. A furious Torrio accuses O'Banion of setting him up as they are taken away by the cops.

Gillian continues to detox from heroin with Roy at her bedside. Roy admits he began divorce proceedings the day he met Gillian, prompting her to share a secret of her own: He's brought her happiness—something she hasn't felt in a very long time.

At the Onyx Club, Gaston Means gives Nucky a thin file on Knox, insisting there's nothing else to know. He also reveals Supervisor Elliot retired from the Bureau and moved away, leaving no forwarding address. The news does little to quell Nucky's unease.

Chalky meets with Dr. Narcisse and agrees to let him open a chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in return for extending Daughter Maitland's run at the Onyx Club. That night in bed, Daughter tells Chalky her history: she watched her mother, a prostitute, get strangled to death by a john after she burned him with a jar of lye when he got too rough. It was Narcisse who found her hiding in the closet and took her under his wing. She asks Chalky to push for a year-long engagement instead.

On Wall Street, Bennett calls Margaret in to do her Anaconda Realty routine but she fumbles her lines when she realizes the client—"Abe Redstone"—is actually Arnold Rothstein. Margaret is further surprised to learn he went through with the investment—and tipped her $100. Rothstein calls to ensure she received his gift and to request a reciprocal relationship of discretion.

At Temple University, Willie's English class discusses the Edgar Allen Poe story "William Wilson," about a young man who murders his doppelganger. Wracked with guilt over the death of Henry and the arrest of his roommate Clayton, Willie bolts in the middle of class. At a family dinner that evening, Willie announces he's dropped out of school. Eli, furious, hits Willie and tackles him to the ground when he refuses to change his mind. Nucky separates them and Willie runs out.

With Chalky otherwise engaged, Dunn Purnsley listens to the Northside community's complaints at the Shiloh Baptist Church. Narcisse, taking advantage of Chalky's absence, promises to right the situation since Chalky's ambitions are elsewhere. It's Chalky's apathy, Narcisse insists, not heroin or alcohol, that is the real scourge on the community. Dr. Narcisse promises to join Purnsley and Deacon Cuffy in restoring "the community to its full and glorious potential."

In Washington D.C., J. Edgar Hoover, Agent Knox, Attorney General Harlan Stone, and Esther Randolph attend a banquet. As Hoover is introduced as the new Acting Director of the Bureau of Investigation, he takes credit for uncovering a nationwide criminal conspiracy. Dismayed, Knox storms out of the room and ends up in a speakeasy complaining to Gaston Means about Hoover. During the course of the conversation, it is revealed that Means is working for Knox, and supplying Nucky with false information. When Gaston Means suggests that Knox stops carrying monogrammed hankies, Knox snaps: "I'm the only one standing between you and a jail cell."

Eli drunkenly returns to his home and rages at Nucky for interfering: "Nothing ever came from you. You never had a family." Nucky leaves and finds Willie waiting for him on the steps of the Albatross Hotel. He lets him stay the night on the condition they talk in the morning.

Johnny Torrio, out on bail, returns to the Hawthorne Inn. Learning from Al that the charges against Dean O'Banion were dropped within an hour, Torrio finally gives his protégé the green light to "kill that Irish f*ck."

Dunn Purnsley returns to Shiloh Baptist to stop Deacon Cuffy from telling Chalky that he's the one dealing heroin. Purnsley confronts the deacon, promising he's now on a righteous path. Asking for Cuffy's hand in prayer, Purnsley pulls him in and then stabs him to death.

Daughter tends to Narcisse in her dressing room at the Onyx Club. His shirt off, old burn scars visible on his chest, Daughter dips a rag in water and ritualistically cleanses them. From their interaction, it is clear he was the john that her mother threw lye at, and that she is under Narcisse's control. She reports that Chalky is very pleased with her. Satisfied, he sends her onstage at the Onyx, as Narcisse buttons his shirt and savors Daughter's beautiful singing.