"Boardwalk Empire" Blue Bell Boy (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • After tracking down a liquor thief, Nucky and Owen end up spending a long night hiding out from the Feds with the precocious perp. Mickey makes a routing call that will have far-reaching consequences. Capone's feud with O'Banion heats up.

  • Owen and Nuck uncover a petty whiskey thief who steals from everyone including Masseria, but are forced to hide out in his cellar to save their lives. Capone, who works for Torrio on Chicago's South Side, intensifies his feud with florist/gangster Dean O'Banion. Because the sideroads are almost impassable because of the severe winter conditions and makes a fateful decision to challenge to try to bring his convoy of liquor to Rothstein by challenging Gyp's Tabor Heights roadblock.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Slater and Katie are going at it when Nucky calls. Katie answers it and passes the phone to Slater. Nucky tells Slater to read a newspaper and get over immediately. Katie convinces Slater to stay just a bit longer.

    In Chicago, Al Capone is upset that his son isn't at school. His wife claims the boy has a bellyache, but Al sees that his son is sporting a bruised cheek. Al is upset, at first, that another kid at school hit his kid. But he storms out of the room saying his son's "gotta toughen up."

    At the warehouse, Nucky makes an announcement about the dead sheriff in Tabor Heights. Nucky says it's "quite possible there's a bit more to the story," given that Gyp Rosetti was the only witness. Nucky says all shipments to New York will use backroads. Mickey Doyle thinks it's a bad idea, given those roads are iced over in January. Mickey turns to Slater and asks if it's a good idea, which makes Nucky even more agitated. Nucky gets in Mickey's face and tells him that's the way it is. Nucky then comes over and asks Slater what's being done about Rowland Smith, the second man involved in the warehouse robbery (the first was already killed). Slater explains that job was left to Manny Horvitz. Nucky gets upset with Slater, saying he doesn't want to have to follow up on everything. Slater says it won't happen again. Nucky suggests getting Agent Sawicki involved, if help is needed. Slater questions the idea, but Nucky presses him on it and then asks Slater if he's got "any more second guessing" to do. Slater says nothing. Eli pulls Nucky aside and asks if he can help with the Tabor Heights business. Nucky tells Eli, "allowing you to simply go to jail is the last gift I'll ever give you." (Remember, Jimmy had told Nucky that it was Eli's idea to have Nucky killed).

    At the hospital, a nun is uncomfortable with the word "vagina" being included in some literature at the women's clinic. Dr. Mason and Margaret try to talk her through it. The nun also strikes the words "pregnant" and "menstruation." She also notices that Kotex tampons are included in a gift bag for the women, and this makes her uncomfortable, as well. Margaret tells Dr. Mason, "Let's hope our evening students aren't quite so sensitive."

    Nucky meets with Agent Sawicki, with Slater at his side. They're outside of Rowland Smith's house, at least based on intel from the Philly office. They bust in and see stacks of creates of whiskey. Slater notes "at least half of it is ours." Nucky says it's all theirs now. Sawicki's intel came from one contact in Philly, and Nucky and Slater wonder whether the agent might have tipped Rowland Smith off. Nucky is done with the walk through and tells Slater, "Call me when he gets here." Slater tells Nucky he'll take care of it and Nucky needn't involve himself, which annoys Nucky again.

    "Is that what I asked you?" Nucky snaps, rhetorically.

    Slater says that Nucky's mentioned wanting to keep a low profile, so he was simple trying to oblige. Nucky leaves and Slater stays behind.

    In Tabor Heights, Eli and Mickey are questioning Deputy Ramsey, who is now the sheriff. He's standing behind the story that the sheriff doused himself with gas and then lit a smoke. Mickey tells now-Sheriff Ramsey that he's got a load coming through the next night. Sheriff Ramsey takes the money Mickey hands him and says he'll "take care of it."

    In Chicago, Al gets a postcard from Johnny Torrio, who's in Naples. Al gets annoyed with his sidekick, Jake Guzik, for smelling bad and not shaving.

    Slater and one of the drivers are chatting at Rowland Smith's house when we see a guy in a leather jacket walk into the house. The kid gets smart with Slater when asked what his name is. Slater punches him in the gut a couple of times, then in the face. Slater ID's him as Rowland Smith and dials up the Ritz Carlton.

    Gyp is eating with a guy from Yonkers in the Tabor Heights diner, talking about making shipments through the ocean. Gyp grabs a waitress and tells her he's going to show her how to make sauce one day. She says she doesn't know how to cook and Gyp tells her, "You stir, I'll provide the heat."

    Nucky is with Rowland Smith, who asks for a cigarette. He says he'll be 16 next month. Nucky tells him he shouldn't smoke, and Rowland says he doesn't. He just wants to try one to "see what all the fuss is about." Nucky is bothered that Rowland is trying to charm him. Nucky asks the kid if he knows who he is. Rowland says he's Nucky Thompson. Nucky gave his family a Christmas turkey once, when Rowland was 6. Nucky asks why, then, is Rowland stealing from him. Rowland says he didn't think Nucky would mind because he seems to be doing just fine. Rowland says some of the whiskey he's stolen was from Waxey Gordon, who he calls "a crook."

    Slater whispers to Nucky to tell him how he wants this to end. Slater says it's not going as planned, and he feels like it's his responsibility. Nucky says nothing to Slater, but hands Rowland a cigarette. Just then, cars roll up and the men who emerge announce themselves as federal agents. Nucky asks Rowland what the story is and Rowland says, "Beats me." He's pretty unconvincing. He says the agents from Philly have been following. He says one of the agents is in Waxey Gordon's pocket.

    The agents kill a couple of lookouts, it appears, and Nucky, Slater and Rowland hide in the cellar. An agent comes down to search it, but they hide well enough to avoid being caught.

    In Chicago, Jake shows up at a bar to make a collection. Joe Miller, one of Dean O'Banion's men, sees him and introduces himself. Jake tries to make a couple of jokes, but Joe doesn't seem to be playing along. Jake tries to walk out without incident, but Joe doesn't let that happen. He smacks him in the back of the head with a glass mug, and proceeds to kick and pistol whip Jake, who cries in pain on the floor while all the other patrons watch.

    The agents are filled trucks outside Rowland's house when we see a fancy shoe walking through the place. Nucky, Slater and Rowland are still hiding in the cellar. Nucky sees through a window that the agents are searching his car. He asks Slater what was left in it and Slater says, "Nothing always keep it clean." He also notes that the license plates are in Tunney's name (he was Nucky's previous, now deceased, bodyguard and driver). Rowland says he's got about 50 license plates if Nucky needs any. He swaps them around to avoid getting caught. Rowland starts chatting a bit about how easy it was to escape Nucky's pursuit, saying he just had to "drive flash, flash a pistol," adding, "No one wants to get killed over a few crates of booze." Rowland says it's a shame about Nate his partner. He says Nate was caught by the feds, but we know Manny Horvitz killed him at Nucky's order.

    In New York, Meyer and Lucky want to talk but the kid, Benny, who they sent out on previous deliveries, says he wants to be included on their conversations. Meyer says it's being discussed, but send him away. Lucky tells Meyer that he's been "summoned" to see Masseria. Meyer offers to go with him, but Lucky thinks Masseria won't react well to that. Meyer tells Lucky to "offer 2, settle at 5. None west of Broadway, none south of Grand." Lucky prepares to go and asks Meyer, "Anything else?" Meyer tells Lucky, "Don't sit next to the window."

    In Tabor Heights, Sheriff Ramsey walks his men through a plan to move in on Gyp and his men.

    Back in Chicago, Al is trying to get his son to hit him. The boy offers a couple of weak slaps. Al shouts at him repeatedly, and asks, "You gonna let people bully you, c'mon?!" The boy starts to cry and Al hugs him. Al gets emotional as he tells the boy, "It's OK. Papa's got you."

    Eddie and Eli have put calls out for Nucky, but can't find him anywhere. Eli tells Mickey he wouldn't go through with the shipment to New York because there's no way through Tabor Heights and the other roads are icy. "Don't you have some trucks to load?" Mickey asks Eli. "Sure thing, boss," says Eli.

    It's the next morning, and Nucky, Slater and Rowland (who is sleeping) are still hiding in the cellar. Slater tells Nucky he had more than a few nights like this in Ireland, having been sent out on jobs and waiting for the moment to finish the job. They have a little heart to heart, and Slater tells Nucky, "I know who's in charge, Mr. Thompson." Nucky asks Slater what he's done to earn Slater's loyalty. Slater says, "You made a place for me." Then Nucky asks him the real answer and Slater says, "You pay me."

    In Chicago, Al is shocked to see Jake battered and bruised. Jake tells him about Joe's attack. Jake seems most bothered that Joe made fun of him about how he smells. He says he can't help it, "An hour after I wash, I already gotta change my" He turns around before he can finish and sees that Al is gone.

    Margraet is on the Boardwalk trying to hand out fliers for the women's health clinic. She runs into Mrs. Shearer, the women who unwittingly and uncooperatively started the whole movement. Margaret watches helplessly as Mrs. Slater's husband joins and explains that they said their prayers and God got her through her miscarriage. Margaret mentions that the doctors played a part, but gets no response. Mr. Shearer says that once his wife is "up for it," they'll try again to have another child. Margaret says nothing but seems distressed. They leave.

    Lucky meets with Masseria, who doesn't seem too happy. He offers Lucky a seat right next to the window. He tells Lucky the seat has his name on it. "Like a headstone?" Lucky asks. Masseria says, "Nothing like that is going to happen here." Lucky sits down. Masseria explains some of what he thinks are the differences between Jewish gangsters and Italian ones  the Jewish ones are strictly business and the Italians' blood runs hot, he says. He wants a cut of the heroin business that's done in his territory. Lucky offers 2 percent within the territory. Masseria doesn't like this offer at all. After some uncomfortable chit-chat, Masseria tells Lucky he worries about him. He says he doesn't know him anymore. Masseria asks for 30 percent within the territory. Lucky tells him they're far apart, but say he'll discuss it. He gets up to leave and Masseria tells Lucky that Rothstein and Meyer will stab him in the back.

    Rothstein calls Mickey Doyle and immediately asks a rhetorical question, "Why am I talking to you?" Rothstein is flummoxed that this conversation is even happening. It's because he doesn't have his liquor and he can't reach Nucky. Rothstein tells Mickey he wants what he pays for, he wants it now, "and I don't even want to find myself chatting with you again." Mickey promises he'll have it by the next morning.

    Back at the warehouse, Eli tells Mickey he's an idiot for having promised it by the next morning. Mickey tells Eli to watch it, because he's his boss. Eli reminds Mickey that Nucky explicitly said to avoid Tabor Heights, but Mickey insists the back roads are iced over until May. Eli says he should postpone the delivery. Eli tells Mickey again, "not to do this." Mickey says, "I'm not doing anything. They are," referring to the drivers. He tells one kid to go straight through to New York, gassing up in Tabor Heights, and stopping for nobody  not even the law.

    In Chicago, Joe Miller shows up at a bar where Al is waiting. Joe sidles up and Al attacks him, punching him repeatedly in the face, then kicking him once he's on the ground. Then bashing him with a barstool all while the other patrons watch in horror. Al takes out a wad of cash, and tosses bills at Joe Miller's lifeless body.

    "Want to pick on people people who can't defend themselves?" Al asks.

    "Pay for his funeral," he says, tossing the rest of the money onto the bar.

    Night has fallen and Nucky, Slater and Rowland are still in the cellar. The last car drives away. Slater teases Rowland for having nearly soiled his britches. Rowland claims he wasn't scared, but Nucky admits he was scared, so Rowland does, too. They look at Slater, who says, "You won't hear a peep from me." Rowland asks Nucky is Slater is "always this fun." Nucky tells Rowland he should hear Slater on the phone some time, "canoodling with his girlfriend." They head upstairs and Rowland says he might have some bacon and eggs in the icebox.

    Eli is driving on his own. He pulls over in Tabor Heights, across the street from the gas station. He watches while the sheriff and his men meet with Gyp and his men. It's soon clear that the sheriff and Gyp are in this together, and ambush is about to take place.

    Slater gets off the phone and tells Nucky that Rothstein's shipment is on its way, through Tabor Heights. Slater says word came back that it was clear.

    Nucky walks over to Rowland, who tries to talk Nucky into hiring him. He says he knows all the roads and hiding places. He also tells Nucky that Waxey isn't nearly as smart as him. He says he can steal as much booze from Waxey as he wants. Rowland pulls out a cigarette and Nucky says, "I thought you didn't smoke?"

    "Did I say that?" Rowland says, with a smile. He then admits he's actually 19.

    Nucky offers him one of his own cigarettes and lights it for him.

    A car pulls up and Slater turns to look out the window. Rowland turns his back to Nucky, who turns his back, pulls out a gun and shoots Rowland in the back of the head. Slater, startled by the shot, quickly turns with his gun drawn and isn't sure where to aim. He aims briefly at Nucky, but lowers the gun once he's figured out what happened.

    "I thought you were letting him go," Slater says.

    "Why would you think that?" Nucky says.

    "I misunderstood," Slater says.

    "As long as you understand now," Nucky tells him.

    The car outside was Eddie, by the way.

    Eli tries in vain to stop the caravan, shouting, "It's an ambush." But the main driver keeps going, saying, "Mickey said don't stop for nobody."

    The cars pass an Eli jumps back into his car, which dies  apparently out of gas. Eli hears a hail of gunfire in the distance and knows exactly what happened.

    Gyp and his man survey the scene, and Gyp casually talks about which waitress he's going to have sex with in cruder terms.

    Al wakes up his little boy, pulls out a mandolin and sings, "My Buddy."

    While Al sings, we see Nucky walking alone on the Boardwalk and Eli calls him over.

    Still with Al's vocals in the background, we see Margaret read the headline that Carrie Duncan's plane crashed near Yosemite.

    Eli tells Nucky he has to talk to him. Nucky says they've had their conversation, but Eli tells him, "This is about something, and you gotta hear it." Nucky walks with him as we fade out and hear Al tell his son, "Good night."

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