‘Boardwalk Empire’ recap: Chalky and Nucky out for revenge

Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), on the run for killing a prison guard and an escaped inmate, returns to Atlantic City with the intent of committing at least one more murder on “King of Norway,” Episode 53 of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

Seeking out bootlegger Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) at the Onyx Club, Chalky asks for help in tracking down his nemesis, drug kingpin Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright).

“That’s not something that would do either of us any good,” Nucky cautions Chalky, who lost his family and fortune battling Narcisse for control of Atlantic City’s African American community.


“There’s no sense looking back,” Nucky adds. “The only thing you can do is start again.”

Ignoring Nucky’s advice, Chalky searches for Narcisse at his brothel in Harlem. But when he enters a private office with his pistol drawn, Chalky is shocked to see his former lover -- vocalist Daughter Maitland (Margot Bingham) -- and her young daughter.

So maybe Chalky will start again, if he manages to slay Narcisse and reunite with Daughter.

Meanwhile, Nucky’s brother Eli (Shea Whigham) hopes to start again by convincing his pregnant wife June (Nisi Sturgis) and their children to join him in Chicago. Eli can’t return to their Atlantic City home because he’s on the lam for beating to death undercover agent James Tolliver (Brian Geraghty).

Eli assures June that he’s “moving up the ladder” by working for gangster Al Capone (Stephen Graham). But a family reunion seems out of the question following a disastrous dinner party hosted by Eli’s partner in crime Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and his bitter wife Sigrid (Christiane Seidel).

First, Sigrid reveals that she had sex with Eli while he was in a drunken stupor. Then two feds knock on the door and take Eli and Nelson into custody.

Eli could face the gas chamber, he’s warned. And Nelson, a former federal agent who’s also wanted for murder, could suffer the same fate. But they can avoid the death penalty by stealing Capone’s ledger books and thereby providing proof of massive income tax evasion.

Nucky’s got problems of his own as he tries to determine who ordered an assassination attempt in Havana. If it wasn’t for quick-acting bodyguard Arquimedes (Paul Calderon), Nucky would be dead.

One suspect is Salvatore “Boss of All Bosses” Maranzano (Giampiero Judica). Nucky’s prime suspect, however, is the ruthless Charlie “Lucky” Luciano (Vincent Piazza), who ostensibly reports to Maranzano but actually has far more ambitious plans.

“He runs his mouth,” retired mobster Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci) says of Charlie. “But he still dances to Maranzano’s tune.”

“Not if Maranzano is dead,” Nucky counters.

To settle the issue, Nucky meets with Maranzano at his New York restaurant. Johnny is supposed to join them but he’s a conspicuous no-show.

“When are you going to get rid of Charlie Luciano?” Nucky asks Maranzano. “He’ll come for me again and then he’ll come for you.”

“When one sits on the throne, that is to be expected,” replies Maranzano, who appears unwilling to kill this fellow Italian.

Their conversation ends abruptly when mobsters unleash a hail of submachine gun fire at the restaurant. Nucky ducks for cover just in time, but his face is bleeding from shattered glass.

Knowing he’s been set up, Nucky places a call to Johnny, who just received a visit from Charlie and his associate, Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef).

“We waited for you, John, for quite some time,” Nucky says over the phone. Then he delivers an unequivocal message for Johnny and “the two pissants in league with you.”

“I will not rest,” Nucky vows, “until I see you in your graves!”