The Good Listener
Boardwalk Empire | Season 5 | Episode 2

The Good Listener

TV-MA | 55 MIN

Written by Terence Winter
Directed by Allen Coulter

Eli awakens from a strange, hazy sex dream to a raid on the Chicago warehouse in his charge. As the Feds frisk the bootleggers, Eli escapes through the office's rear exit.

In Brooklyn, Nucky visits with the now-retired Johnny Torrio, who mentions it was Capone who tried to take him out. "Most fellas in this business get their retirement papers straight from the Grim f*ckin' Reaper," Torrio laments. Nucky suspects Meyer Lansky is behind the attempt on his own life, given Masseria's murder in the same 24-hour period. He believes Lansky is taking orders from Salvatore Maranzano. Torrio offers to broker a sit-down between Maranzano and Nucky, though he advises him to "take the hint and retire already."

1884. Eli and Enoch stare at their sister Susan's body. Ethan shoos the boys away, but not before Enoch overhears his mother's concern that Ethan drank away the money saved to bury Susan.

Law school graduate Willie Thompson interviews with U.S. Attorney Robert Hodge. When Hodge learns that Nucky Thompson is Willie's uncle (or as Willie puts it, "his father's brother") he rejects his application. As he leaves, Willie pleads his case: "I want to put criminals in jail, the ones who divide families. I've lost my own father, heard my mother cry herself to sleep more times than I can count," he explains. "Let me do something good with my life."

In his suite at Chicago's Lexington Hotel, Al Capone is measured by a tailor while reporter Lou Greenspan interviews him for Variety. Mike 'DAngelo, a man in Capone's employ, brings word of the warehouse raid. 'DAngelo orders Van Alden to "find" the $20,000 the raid cost them; Eli promises the seething Van Alden he'll make good on it. On their way out of the hotel, Eli spots Jake Guzik on his way up to Capone, holding a satchel of cash.

Gillian lies in a bathtub at the New Jersey Psychiatric Hospital. Bedlam breaks out when an attendant shuts off the radio mid-broadcast, and every woman but Gillian joins in the uproar. The hospital matron, acknowledging Gillian's good behavior, promises she'll get what she's asked for if she gets what she asked of Gillian.

Nucky meets with Charles Gabler, Theodore Rollins and Joe Kennedy of the newly formed Mayflower Grain Corporation. Senator Lloyd, whom Nucky met in Havana, sends word that he's been "detained" in Washington and cannot attend, but Nucky forges ahead and reveals his exclusive North American distribution rights with Bacardi, should liquor become legal again. He proposes they pool their resources to build a distribution infrastructure, but the men are reluctant to work with a known criminal. Without Senator Lloyd's assurance that Prohibition will be repealed, the group turns down Nucky's proposal.

Joe Kennedy exits with Nucky and tells him he made similar deals with Dewars as well as Moet Champagne. When Nucky asks if he should darken someone else's door with his proposal, Kennedy explains that Nucky frightens his partners: "These are Brahmins, not brawlers." The men shake hands and Kennedy promises to ring him up the next time he's in Atlantic City.

1884. Enoch arrives late to the Corner Hotel and the Commodore berates him until he learns of Susan's passing. Sheriff Lindsay inquires about services, but Nucky explains they'll be burying Susan at home. Lindsay takes the Commodore aside and suggests he send something to the Thompsons.

With Torrio acting as broker, Nucky sits down with Maranzano to clear the air. Maranzano assures him that Masseria was his only problem and that he never targeted Nucky. Lucky Luciano, also in attendance, confirms that he hasn't spoken to Lansky in months. Later, Luciano, Benny Siegel and Lansky meet with Tonino, who updates them: Maranzano still believes Luciano and Lansky are on the outs and are in no way connected with the attempted hit on Nucky.

In Chicago, Van Alden and Eli wait in the shadows at Jake Guzik's last collection stop. They jump two of Guzik's henchmen -- successfully making up the warehouse's lost revenue.

1884. The Commodore arrives at the Thompson house and offers Ethan money to bury Susan. Ethan is reluctant to take help from the Commodore, who he believes burned him on a land deal. Wielding a shotgun, Ethan chases the Commodore off his property, then pockets the cash he left behind.

At the Chicago Federal Building, Elliot Ness tells reporters of his plans to take down Capone's organization. In an upstairs office, Frank Wilson checks in with Mike 'DAngelo, who is really an undercover agent working on the Capone case.

Nucky meets with Tonino at Sardi's to find out "who tried to spoil" his vacation in Havana. Tonino confirms that Lansky and Luciano were behind the hit; the duo plan to let Maranzano think he's king until they can take him out too. In exchange for Lansky's whereabouts, Nucky offers Tonino a job. Once Nucky leaves, a waiter points out a caricature of Billie Kent on the wall. Across the room, Arquimedes catches Tonino's eye.

Gillian follows the Matron into the hospital's attic storage, where their earlier deal is revealed: In exchange for one of Gillian's fancy gowns, the Matron provides Gillian with a sheaf of blank paper and a pen. "No crazy letters to the president now," she warns.

At an upscale whorehouse, a party hosted by Lansky is interrupted by a chorus of ladies' screams; Tonino's corpse has been dumped in the doorway. The knife in his back pins a "Greetings from Havana" postcard in place.