'Boardwalk Empire' recap: To the Lost

steve-buscemi-boardwalk-empire-320.jpgLet's start with the important part: Van Alden and Sigrid and the baby have all fled to the Midwest to live as the Meullers. I know you were worried. (Actually, this will supposedly pay off next season, as they've settled into the Al Capone-preferred town of Cicero, IL.)

On to the real business of "Boardwalk Empire": Jimmy and Richard storm a Klan gathering, delivering to Chalky the men who shot up his joint. In exchange, Jimmy wants a meeting with Nucky. At the same time, Nucky is meeting with a drunk-and-hiding Manny Horvitz, who wants to make a deal with Nucky wherein they eliminate Waxey and Jimmy for each other. Nucky meets with a humbled (though quixotic) Jimmy, and it looks like there's room for an alliance once again. Margaret (with Father Brennan by her side) is brought in to answer Esther Randolph's questions. Randolph gives her real talk and encourages Margaret to set herself free of Nucky. Back at home, Nucky asks Margaret to marry him, so she won't testify against him, which only seems to strengthen Randolph's warnings to Margaret about Nucky's amorality. But after watching Nucky sweetly teaching Emily to walk in her leg braces, Margaret agrees to marry Nucky, after she makes a full confession to God.

Jimmy goes to Leander and Neary and wants to pull back the Nucky railroading and sacrifice Eli instead. He gets no takers, so the next day, Jimmy and Richard storm Neary's office -- interrupting some HBO-mandated doggystyle -- force him to sign a confession, and then blow his head off. Neary's "suicide" puts a giant hole in Randolph's case against Nucky. A mistrial is declared. Nucky and Eli go free. Halloran is sentenced to Fort Leavenworth. Wah-wah.

"Maybe God is giving me another chance," Nucky muses to Margaret, who is buying none of Nucky's good fortune as being mere coincidence. He goes to visit Eli and wants his brother to plead guilty to the Schroeder murder. Two years in prison, tops. Eli, as ever, is totally pathetic about it.

Luciano and Lansky bring Rothstein in on their heroin business, and they're all very excited about the prospects. Nucky calls AR for advice -- he's stuck between killing Manny Horvitz or ... something else. Rothstein tells Nucky to flip a coin; in the air, he'll know what side he wants to come up. So Nucky lures Jimmy out to the war memorial with promises of delivering Manny. In truth, it's an ambush, and Jimmy walks into it willingly. He died in a trench, years ago, see. Nucky shoots James Darmody dead -- his first kill -- and makes it clear he's not looking for forgiveness.

The next morning, Nucky completely lies to Margaret about Jimmy re-enlisting in the service. So while Nucky, Bader, and the rest of the cronies are out celebrating at the site of the new highway Nucky's been angling for since last season, Margaret is busy signing the deed for that very land (which Nucky had set up to transfer to her last week) over to the church. That's going to be one holy highway.