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The Emerald City (Boardwalk Empire)

"The Emerald City" is the tenth episode of the first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire, which aired on HBO November 21, 2010.[1] The episode was written by co-executive producer Lawrence Konner and directed by Simon Cellan Jones. The title is based on the fictional Emerald City from the Oz Books.

"The Emerald City"
Boardwalk Empire episode
Boardwalk Empire S01E10 avi0296.jpg
Jimmy watches Angela paint
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 10
Directed by Simon Cellan Jones
Written by Lawrence Konner
Original air date November 21, 2010 (2010-11-21)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Belle Femme"
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"Paris Green"
List of Boardwalk Empire episodes

Nucky asks Margaret to toe the party line; Angela witnesses Jimmy's violent side; Capone faces a crossroads; Van Alden grapples with his emotions.



Following the assassination attempt on Nucky that concluded the previous episode, Richard Harrow is now staying at the Schroeder apartment; his scarred face and tin mask frighten the children. Agent Sebso's lie about Winslow's attempted escape is swallowed wholesale by Van Alden's boss, who gives Sebso vacation time and warns Van Alden that further mistakes will ruin his career. Jimmy has been released from prison for lack of evidence; he returns home and works at reconnecting with Angela. Nucky tries to allay Margaret's apprehensions about living under guard, promising her that he has the situation well in hand.

In New York, Rothstein meets with Nucky's former employee, Mickey Doyle, and the D'Alessio brothers. Rothstein, a calculating gambler who values the power of accurate information, rebukes the group for not doing enough research on Nucky's butler, Eddie, and for shooting an innocent civilian during the attack. When they ask how they can make it up to him, Rothstein replies, "Nothing says 'I'm sorry' like money".

At a meeting in Chicago, Johnny Torrio becomes furious with Al for interrupting a business meeting with a juvenile prank. Later in the episode, Al follows Torrio to the bar mitzvah of an associate's son. In the synagogue, one of the congregants chats with Al about the ceremony's significance and the responsibilities that come with manhood. Al is deeply moved by the ceremony and apologizes to Torrio, promising to act like an adult and take on more responsibility. Torrio tasks him with fixing the distribution problems at a brewery in their territory.

As the Darmodys pass the photography shop on the boardwalk on a family outing, Tommy points to a picture of Robert Dittrich and his wife Mary and calls one of them Angela's "kissing friend", referring to Mary. Misunderstanding, Jimmy storms inside and beats up Robert, prompting a tearful Angela to promise Mary she will leave Jimmy and move with Tommy and her to Paris.

Margaret celebrates the passage of women's suffrage, but Nucky immediately pressures her to help rally new female voters in support of Republican mayoral candidate Edward Bader. She finally gives in and makes a rousing speech in favor of Bader, but sours when she sees Nucky gladhanding with other powerful men. Margaret also invites Richard to sit while she reads the children The Road to Oz, and later admits that she was a bit frightened herself at his disfigurement. Richard replies that because he himself has not moved past judging by appearances, he can hardly expect the same of others. He also notes to her that he sometimes forgets the changes he has undergone, and is reminded only when he looks into a mirror.

Meanwhile, Van Alden grows despondent over his latest setback in making a case against Nucky. He makes another visit to Margaret and, in a plea fraught with religious and romantic overtones, demands that she let him save her from damnation for participating in Nucky's criminal life. When she rejects him, he visits a bordello, where he takes shots of whiskey and later has vigorous sex with Nucky's former mistress Lucy.

Worried the D'Alessios will soon kill him for his incompetence, Mickey betrays them, revealing the conspiracy to an enraged Nucky. Nucky enlists his bootlegger Chalky White to arrange a false deal with Meyer Lansky, who had approached Chalky earlier with an offer to work with Rothstein instead of Nucky. Nucky hopes to lure Rothstein's men into an ambush at the site of the deal, killing enough of them to shut down Rothstein's grab for Atlantic City. When Lansky and two of the D'Alessio brothers meet Chalky to arrange the deal, one of them mentions his Packard, a detail they could only know from seeing it when they lynched Chalky's driver, in the beginning of the feud. Chalky takes them prisoner. That night at Chalky's warehouse, Nucky identifies one of the brothers as his would-be assassin; Jimmy shoots him in the head. The remaining D'Alessio promises Chalky that his surviving brothers will lynch him; Chalky strangles him with his bare hands. Seeing that the original plan is ruined, Nucky releases Lansky to go and tell Rothstein what has happened.

Nucky returns home to Margaret, blaming his late return on a campaign strategy meeting. The episode ends with Margaret looking in the mirror, contemplating the decisions she has made.


Critical receptionEdit

IGN gave the episode a score of 8.5 calling it "Great" and said ""I don't control anyone, Margaret," Nucky says. "I'm more of an overseer." If "Emerald City" is any indication, how Nucky observes and participates in the events of Season One's final two episodes will involve more changes and more strategic bloodshed."[2] The A.V. Club gave the episode a "B", describing it "For the first nine episodes of Boardwalk Empire, we've been getting a lot of introduction and backstory and a lot of exploration of the world of 1920, but only a little bit of forward movement on the plot that was set into motion back in episode one. Yes, we've seen Margaret blossom from an abused immigrant peasant to an increasingly assured political player and Jimmy go from being a small-time crook to a shrewd mobster, and we've seen a number of folks get shot. But we began this adventure with Nucky Thompson, Arnold Rothstein, and the agents of the United States government all at odds over the future of the booze biz, and their respective advantages haven't changed much since then. And not to be an alarmist, but after tonight's "The Emerald City", there are only two episodes remaining in the first season." Expanding on that, they said "As mentioned, "The Emerald City" features a lot of scenes of powerful men dealing with underlings who may or may not be up to the responsibilities of their respective organizations. Even Arnold Rothstein has a rough time of it, trying to explain "the age of information" to a bunch of goons whose idea of sound business practice is to shoot a man in the street. But then that's what Boardwalk Empire is all about, isn't it? Or at least it's what keeps me fascinated by the show even when it occasionally annoys me. What is it that all these characters are engaged in: Is this business or crime? Or is it something in between—like politics."[3]


"The Emerald City" gained a tenth of a point in to a 1.3 adults 18–49 rating and added a handful of viewers, just topping 3 million and had an overall of 3.049 million viewers.[4]


External linksEdit