War is coming to Atlantic City, and “Two Imposters” takes us to the brink. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, then look out for spoilers, because I’m about to give you the skinny…
Owen Slater’s corpse was a warning shot across the bow, and Gyp Rosetti’s forces follow quickly. Nucky and the ever loyal Eddie barely have time to get Mrs. Thompson and the children out of the hotel, and shuttle the “box of Owen” down a service elevator before the hammer comes down. Nucky and Eddie hide in the nursery and thanks to a cool head, quick reflexes, and good aim, Nucky makes short work of Rosetti’s three goons. The run-in has its consequences though…after jacking a car and taking off, Nucky realizes that Eddie has been shot and is fading fast. He tries dropping Eddie at the hospital, but Gyp has his bases covered, and two flunkies quickly beset Nucky and Eddie at the hospital, forcing Nucky to drive away again with Eddie slouching, pale and bloody, in the seat beside him.
Gyp is strutting, despite the fact that he hasn’t got Nucky “on a slab” yet. He peruses Nucky’s office, tries out the desk, rummages through his things. He even flips through Nucky’s copy of Ragged Dick, a gift from his mother he had saved since childhood. Ragged Dick, ironically, is about a boy of the streets who rises to respectability by doing good works and being rewarded. Naturally, Gyp is disgusted and pronounces that he cannot do business in the hotel.
We also drop in on Lucky, meeting with a new associate I’ll just call the Mute From Buffalo. The MFB is interested in Lucky and Meyer’s new dope trade, and after sampling the product, agrees to pay 15,000 dollars for five pounds.
Richard is arriving home after his tryst with the lovely Julia, and fishes his key out of his pocket, still covered in sand. He is still moving a bit like a man in a dream, but he wakes up pretty damn quick when he walks in to his room to discover Gillian calmly going through his things. She doesn’t even act very guilty, and patronizingly tells him that regardless of his feelings, he shouldn’t count on things that can, as she coolly puts it, “never come to pass.” Then, as she passes him, she quietly notes, “You smell of the sea.” It’s hard to tell what bothers her more…that he imagines Tommy as his own son, or that he’s finally happy.
Nucky has fled to Chalky, one ally he hopes he can still count on, and one of the few men he knows has the resources to help him. Dunn pulls a gun on him when he first arrives, but then escorts him in to see Chalky, holding court with his men. Their initial meeting can be summarized with this pithy exchange:
“Word come round you dead.”
“Not yet…how many guns you have?”
“Enough…for me and mine.”
Chalky and Nucky have always had a delicate alliance, one based not on friendship, but need. Nucky’s never needed Chalky more than in this moment, though, and Chalky agrees to help Eddie and hide Nucky “for the nonce,” reminding Nucky that “this ain’t no favor.”
Gyp, looking for a new base of operations in Atlantic City, settles on Gilian’s establishment. After all, it’s roomy, well-furnished, and comes fully stocked with prostitutes for the abusin’! While Gyp reassures Gillian in his overpowering and creepy way that everything will stay the same, I think we all know that Gyp is not a status quo kind of fellow. Gillian plays along, but as she walks away it’s obvious she is less than thrilled, to put it mildly. Richard, meanwhile, takes note of all these changes.