Episode: Boardwalk Empire 1.05 – “Nights in Ballygran”
Original Air Date: October 17, 2010
Screencaps from Shadow of Reflection.
The episode opens with Margaret getting a rather interesting wake-up image as illegal liquor is unloaded at the garage across the street from her home. She chooses to ignore it, for the moment, and proceeds to go on with her life.
Meanwhile, Nucky and Eli are discussing the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Eli wants to make a speech at the Celtic dinner in order to secure votes for his upcoming election. Nucky reluctantly agrees. Margaret Schroeder comes over to talk with Nucky, who not so subtly dismisses her.
Jimmy is taking care of Pearl while she recovers from the knife attack and Pearl tells him she loves him. Pearl asks for laudanum in her orange juice and it seems like she’s addicted to it. Jimmy doesn’t like it but he’s devoted to her.
Margaret, fresh from Nucky’s rebuff, goes to the Women’s Temperance League and relays to them that she’s seen barrels of beer being unloaded into the garage behind her house. She offers to attempt to set up a meeting between Nucky and the head of the league about a plan of action to eliminate illegal alcohol in Atlantic City. When they meet with him, Margaret realizes that Nucky only cares about what helps him.
Johnny Torrio tells Jimmy that Pearl has to get out of the cathouse by Friday but Jimmy doesn’t relay the message to her.
That evening, Margaret is awoken by workers unloading another truck of beer into the garage behind her house. She goes over to the garage and confronts the head of the workers, asking if Mr. Thompson has spoken to him, which he obviously hadn’t. The following morning, Margaret goes to Nucky’s hotel to speak with him but he refuses to see anyone, including Margaret. She goes home and destroys the silk chemise she’d taken from the store in hopes to catch Nucky’s attention.
The next we see, Mrs. Schroeder goes to see Agent Van Alden to tell him of the illegal alcohol being unloaded behind her house. She tells him that she’s seen the garage full of beer barrels and gives him the address and name of the garage. Margaret wants Van Alden to shut down the garage but he tells her that there are 117 locations where he knows of illegal alcohol being stored and/or sold. He doesn’t have the authority or the manpower to shut down even a small portion of those locations or stop the boats that deliver illegal beer and liquor into Atlantic City. Margaret tells Van Alden that Ward Boss Neary owns the garage and he works for Nucky. With that statement, Margaret has Van Alden’s attention.
At the Celtic dinner, Nucky has his hands full dealing with his father as well as Eli, who comes in late. Eli insists that he still wants to deliver his speech and Nucky grudgingly introduces him. Eli starts his speech nervously but he builds steam as he incites a verbal riot when he invokes the hatred of the English by his fellow Irishmen. Nucky comes to the rescue with Irish jokes to distract the upset diners. The beer is given out but it’s not green, as was tradition, because the Prohibition agents found the stash of green beer, on the tip of Margaret Schroeder.
Back in Chicago, Jimmy is still taking care of Pearl and telling her a story from when he was growing up. Pearl loses herself in the story, imagining that Jimmy’s mother and her suitor lived happily ever after. She pushes for Jimmy to kiss her and he does, briefly, before going to wash orange juice off of his new shirt, leaving Pearl alone with his gun. Pearl shoots herself, unable to bear her disfigurement.
Agent Van Alden raids the Celtic dinner for illegal alcohol that’s being consumed. Van Alden hand-delivers a warrant for the arrest of James Neary for the storage and transportation of illegal liquor. Nucky watches, helpless to stop a federal agent, but glares at Van Alden the entire time. On his way out, Nucky sees Margaret Schroeder singing with the Women’s Temperance League and he realizes who’s turned in Neary to the feds.
Mourning Pearl’s death, Jimmy goes to the opium den she had tried to get him to go to. In Atlantic City, Angie goes to see the photographer who’d photographed her while Jimmy was gone to war. Van Alden supervises the destruction of the green beer meant for the Celtic dinner.
Late at night, Margaret Schroeder is awoken by a loud knocking on her door. It’s Nucky, come to see her, finally, and they kiss frantically. The tension they’d felt since their first meeting is finally confronted as the episode closes.