Episode 12: A Return to Normalcy

Ah, the season finale. After the previous episode, I couldn’t wait to see what this one had in store. The writers left us with feelings of shock and surprise, as Margaret leaves Nucky, Van Alden murders Sebso, and we discover that the Commodore is Jimmy’s father. But as this piece’s title suggests, the plot in this episode is simply a gradual return to normalcy.

We begin with the Atlantic City election matters. Nucky and his men have had a tough time countering the Democrats’ accusations of corruption and crime. Even Chalky is on the fence, since opposing mayoral candidate Fletcher has approached him for the black vote. Nucky must pay Chalky $10,000 and offer an invitation to the victory party in order to bring him back to the Republican side.

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Nucky is not the only desperate one though. Rothstein, about it be indicted for fixing the World Series, will seemingly do anything to clear his name. He reaches out to Torrio for a connection to his archenemy. Nucky is the only one who can properly quash the indictment. Though the two have been a “war” for quite some time now, Torrio arranges their meeting and the two make some peace. In exchange for Rothstein’s clearance, Nucky is paid a million dollars and given the location of the remaining D’Alessio brothers. Only time will tell if these two gangster lords can truly put their past behind them.

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But the power is now completely in Nucky’s hands. Calling a press conference, he reveals that the D’Alessio brothers were responsible for the massacre in the woods and the death of Hans Schroeder. Even though we know this information is false, it satisfies the public and quells the previous accusations of internal corruption and responsibility for the murders. This was a smart move by Nucky, and just in time. He is re-elected and Bader wins as mayor. All has unfolded according to plan, setting the stage for a return to normalcy. In this case, “normalcy” is Nucky’s complete control over Atlantic City’s operations.

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The Commodore, Jimmy and Eli discuss Atlantic City’s future.

But not all would agree with him. We now observe the Commodore in recovery after the poison was discovered in his body. The blame was placed on his maid rather than Gillian, but I am still not sure how true this is. Regardless, the Commodore is determined to establish a new and close relationship with Jimmy and begins by informing him of his past with Nucky. Nucky worked for the Commodore and the two were caught election-rigging years ago. Nuck convinced the Commodore to take the blame and go to jail while he kept the city up and running until the Commodore’s release. But by the time this happened, Nucky had taken full control with no plans to give his power back. Now, the Commodore has planned to enlist the help of both Jimmy and Eli to take him down and re-establish the balance of power. This is their return to normalcy. This will certainly be difficult to do and will most likely cause Nucky a big headache in the seasons to come. In the meantime, he revels in his election victory, and President Harding’s victory as well. Contributing to his bliss is Margaret, who returns to congratulate him and share a forgiving toast. We find that Nucky has come to need Margaret in order to feel “normal.” He is able to confide in her, trust her, and also have a good time with her free of stress. He opens up and tells her about his deceased son and wife, and reveals that he is at his happiest when he spends time with her and her children. As change looms on the horizon, I can only hope that this normalcy is meant to last for both of them.

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