steve buscemi boardwalk empire 320 'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Nights in BallygranSo, irony alert on “Boardwalk Empire”: Nucky Thompson hates St. Patrick’s Day, with all its public drunkenness and crying. Is he a self-hating Irish, like Eli and his (loud, rude, maybe senile) Dad think? Well, maybe. Answer me this: would a self-hating Irish hire out the local little people community to dress up as leprechauns and entertain the drunken boyos? Eh?

Meanwhile, Eli gets it in his head that he wants to make a speech at the Celtic dinner. Nucky is annoyed by his little brother’s me-too-ism, and everybody else pretty much laughs at him. But at the dinner, just as he’s getting some good response for his anti-English invective, in-fighting between native and American-born Irish leads Nucky to stop the speech short. Oh, and then they get raided. Whaa? Let’s back up…

Perhaps afraid of his feelings, perhaps seeing her as a political liability, Nucky starts cold-shouldering Margaret something fierce. And it’s not a great time to be doing that, what with local bootleggers noisily unloading barrels in the alley behind her house, and the Temperance Union peer-pressuring her into blowing the whistle on them. After Nucky blows her off AGAIN, Margaret goes to see Van Alden. After getting a pious (natch) lecture from him on the ills of bootlegging, she gives up the name of local ward boss James Neri, who was supervising the barrel-unloading behind her house. So Van Alden raids the dinner, throws his giant metaphorical cock of authority, and arrests Neri. It’s a terribly embarrassing day for the Irish, and for Nucky. So naturally he heads right over to Margaret’s place … and kisses her.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Pearl is having a rough recovery from her slashing. She’s only brightened up by her love for Jimmy and her even bigger love of laudanum. Torrio wants her gone by the end of the week, though, as she’s no good as a hooker anymore (what, no Cronenberg-style fetish creeps in Chi-Town?), and that’s BEFORE she shuffles into the main room, showing off her wicked face scar. Jimmy’s super sweet to her, though. He reads her stories. She tells him her real name. There is just no way she doesn’t die of an opium overdose. But wait! A complete swerve! She dies of a self-inflicted gunshot. Your recapper is devastated, but not as devastated as Jimmy, who takes the opportunity to patronize an opium den.

All this, plus the sporting press starts pointing fingers at Arnold Rothstein for fixing the World Series, and Angela — after harshly rebuffing Gillian’s offer to raise Tommy while Angela takes off to live her ’20s in bohemian freedom — swings by the photo shop for what certainly seems like the kind of illicit rendezvous we all thought Jimmy was crazy for suspecting a few weeks ago. Uh, sorry, Jimmy.

Photo credit: HBO

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