Nucky makes peace with Masseria and Rothstein, a dalliance causes Dunn Purnsley to murder a talent agent, and Gillian tries to wrest custody of Tommy.
Following his battle with Gyp Rosetti, Nucky makes a peace offering to Joe Masseria while working the odds with Arnold Rothstein. While Chalky is busy running the Onyx Club on the Boardwalk, the impulsive Dunn Purnsley clashes with a booking agent. Fresh-faced Federal Agent Warren Knox arrives in Atlantic City to learn the ropes from Agent Sawicki. Gillian seeks custody of her grandson, Tommy, while trying to find a "good" man to keep the Artemis Club afloat. Eli's college-age son, Willie, turns to Nucky for career advice. Al Capone enlists his brothers, Frank and Ralph, to help him expand his business in the Chicago suburb of Cicero. Richard Harrow returns to his violent ways.
- Season 4 opens with two men sitting at an otherwise silent bar in the Indiana town of Warsaw. The bartender has fallen asleep. The two mobster-type guys give the barkeep a hard time about how little there is to do in town and ask how far it is to Columbus. One of the men leaves a "sawbuck" tip on a $2 tab and the other says they were supposed to be laying low. The men leave and, after some trouble starting the car, one gets out to check under the hood. After a moment of silence, the other gets out and steps around to see what's going on. He finds his associate dead with a slashed throat, turns and sees Richard Harrow raise his gun to shoot him in the face. Harrow reaches into the man's jacket and pulls out a thick envelope with the letterhead, "Old Mission Title & Insurance."
Back in New York, Chalky White is getting the hard sell from an agent representing a couple of black tap dancers he says are going to be filling seats one day. The agent's wife asks Dunn Purnsley to freshen up her drink, a "New York Sour." Dunn says he'll get her the Jersey version. She doesn't want to leave for Newark and her husband suggests they can stay if Chalky signs up his dancers at $1,000 a week for a two-week initial commitment. As Dunn returns from getting the woman's drink, she motions to him to check his coat pocket. In it, he finds a graphic and suggestive sketch she's made as a sexual proposition.
Nucky is watching Chalky's meeting from a room a story above. Eddie brings him a jacket. Nucky is preparing to meet Joe "the Boss" Masseria. Nucky extends a hand for a shake, but Masseria declines (despite Charlie Luciano's suggestion, in Italian, that he should). Arnold Rothstein is there, as well, and Eli Thompson says they're looking to settle things. Nucky reiterates his territory -- South to Cape May, North to Asbury Park, West to Trenton -- and insists he didn't ask for any trouble.
"What was brought to my doorstep, I returned," he says. "I'd expect all of you to do the same."
Rothstein reminds Nucky that he tried to put him in federal court. Masseria lost 15 men. An argument ensues but Masseria cuts it off by asking why they should trust any word that comes out of Nucky's mouth.
"That's a reasonable question," Nucky says. "Let him see it," he says to an associate.
The man opens a bag full of money, which seems to calm things. Masseria says as much and Nucky should now have a reasonable expectation of peace. Rothstein asks Luciano how he's been -- it's clear Charlie now works for Masseria, who says Charlie is a good boy. Rothstein replies that he knows because Meyer Lansky, who is also in the room, keeps him informed. Luciano shoots a short glance at Lansky. Masseria and Luciano leave. Rothstein stays and talks philosophically with Nucky for a moment. Nucky tells him the casino is expecting him and there will be no limit at the table. Rothsten says that's very thoughtful of him. As Rothstein leaves, he tells Nucky he ran odds on whether Nucky would try to kill him. He came up with 14-to-1 against.
Gillian is making her case for custody of Tommy, her grandson. He has apparently been in the care of Julia and Paul Sagorsky. Julia reminds the judge that Gillian was running "a cathouse," leading the judge to ask what exactly happened in Gillian's house eight months earlier. No one seems to be willing to shed any light on the truth of the matter.
Eli is teaching his son to drive -- it's a fairly hair-raising experience. Eli is going to meet with Mickey Doyle. His son asks if Mickey "runs the place." Eli changes the subject and does some parenting, giving the son a hard time for sneaking cigarettes and telling him to button up his coat.
Eli goes inside and meets Agent Stan Sawicki and a new agent, Warren Knox, who's been working there a month. Stan reminds Eli of a problem he took care of, in a not-so-subtle plea for more money. Eli hands some over and Agent Knox -- who'd been asked to leave the room -- notices an exchange of cash. He, meanwhile, has met a guy named Borst who tells him he's preparing to booby trap his garage door to protect his stash of bootlegged liquor that somebody keeps breaking in to steal. Stan calls Knox over and announces, "Our inspection is concluded."
Cicero, Illinois: Al Capone welcomes a literal truckload of women to the "Cicero Quilting Society" and they file out of the truck and into a hotel. They're working girls brought in to accommodate some kind of lodge club meeting.
Johnny Torrio calls Al into his office and asks if he has seen the newspaper. A Democrat is preparing to run and focus on eliminating the "criminal element." The article specifically mentions Torrio and his bootlegging, gambling and prostitution. It also mentions "Alphonse Caponi." Al is enraged that his name has been misspelled.
Back in Atlantic City, Eddie Cantor and a female companion are pitching a movie to Nucky, who takes a liking to the blonde actress. Eddie leaves and she starts to flirt with Nucky, after telling him that Eddie had told her Nucky was "dangerous."
Gillian is giving a tour of her home to a man she hopes will "bring it back to life." She's giving him a hard sell and steps out to let him think about it for a minute. She goes into another room and gives herself an injection of heroin.
A woman knocks on a door with the sign "Olde Mission Title & Insurance." She asks her boss if he's all set for the night and refers to a gift she purchased for him to give his daughter. He just has to sign the card. He says he is all set, but he is actually tearfully pleading for his life and saying he doesn't even make any decisions. He just acts on orders from Milwaukee. Harrow is sitting across from him, telling him he's going to die. The man scribbles something and extends it to Harrow, saying it's the name and address of the man he wants. Harrow shoots him twice in the face with his suppressed pistol and takes the note.
At family dinner, Eli's son is back from Temple University and his parents are grilling him about the kinds of people he's hanging out with at school. Eli urges the boy to tell his mother he loves her. Nucky gets up to leave and Willie follows him outside. Willie confides in Nucky that he wants to know about the family's business. Nucky tells him that what he does and Eli helps him with has nothing to do with Willie. Nucky urges him to keep getting good grades. Willie admits to Nucky that he does smoke. Nucky tells him, "I know. I went to college for a year. That's where I picked up all my bad habits."
Al Capone is still upset that his name was spelled incorrectly in the newspaper. Capone says the problem is he isn't known. He's reminding his brothers that he got to Chicago first and is taking care of them. Frank leans over and makes fun of Al, who responds by wrestling him to the ground and punching Frank until their mother steps in and yells at them.
Purnsley pours a shot of whiskey for the agent's wife in his hotel room but she says she doesn't have time for that. She has to be back in 40 minutes. She asks for another shot of whiskey. She reveals to Purnsley that Chalky should be careful with her husband, who lies and steals from the acts.
Dunn proceeds to have vigorous sex with the woman until they're interrupted by her husband, who is sitting in a chair in the corner of the bedroom with a gun pointed at them. His wife makes up a story about Purnsley having forced her to his part of town and threatened her with a straight razor. Her husband, Dickie, goes on a calm but offensive tirade about how he works with "you people" and enjoys their music but then forces Purnsley, with the gun now pressed to his forehead, to say, "Yes, boss," in agreement with Dickie's incredibly humiliating and demeaning description of the kind of person Purnsley is. He then forces Purnsley, still at gunpoint, to resume having sex with his wife. Purnsley does this and looks over his shoulder to see the man pleasuring himself while watching and saying, "There ain't no changing you people." Purnsley quickly grabs the whiskey bottle from the nightstand, turns and breaks it over Dickie's head and proceeds to stab him numerous times with the jagged edge. Dickie's wife flees out the window, leaving Purnsley alone in the room covered in Dickie's blood spatter.
Stan and Knox are staking out an 11 p.m. money exchange. Knox tells Stan about the farmer who asked him to keep an eye on his liquor-filled garage.
Chalky isn't happy with Purnsley's actions, telling him he'd spend a long time making friends with Dickie, who is connected in New York gangster Owney Madden. Eli and Nucky show up to inspect the scene. Nucky is stunned. They need to "find that girl," Chalky says, and "take care of it." Nucky tells Purnsley to "make sure people stay quiet here."
Later, Purnsley drags Dickie's body out into a snowy field while Chalky and Eli sit in the warm car taking pleasure in making Purnsley clean up the mess he made.
Gillian is snorting cocaine now in her big, empty house. She's in the middy of giving another tour. This man doesn't think she really wants to sell it. His name is Roy Phillips and she asks what brings him to town. He's there to set up a new Piggly Wiggly. She asks about his wife and he says he's leaving things behind. He asks if she'd be interested in being a "knowledgeable companion."
Al Capone pays a visit to the Cicero Daily Tribune office and confronts the reporter, who says he's "reporting the truth." Al grabs a blank sheet of paper, writes something and hands it back to the reporter, asking him to read it aloud, one letter at a time: "C-A-P-O-N-E." Extra emphasis on the one "E."
"Now you know," Capone says, just before slapping the terrified reporter in the back of the head twice.
Babette's is buzzing as "The Onyx Girls" dance show starts. Nucky, meanwhile, is annoyed that Purnsley has yet to track down Dickie's wife, who ran out of his room half-naked. Nucky goes back to his table, where his new actress interest continues to flirt with him.
Stan and Knox prepare to go into Borst's garage, where Stan says they'll split the take 50-50. Knox stays back, saying he doesn't see well in the dark. It's soon clear Knox isn't as green as he's been letting on. Stan gets blown away by the shotgun Borst has set up as his back door booby trap, then, when Borst comes out to see who's been shot, Knox shoots him in the head. Knox steps into the garage, tries the liquor and seems pleasantly surprised. He walks out, stands over Stan's expiring body and say he'll call it in as soon as he gets a hold of himself, adding, sarcastically, that the whole thing's got him "pretty rattled."
Nucky's new girl lays naked in his bed and promises not to tell Eddie Cantor if Nucky doesn't. Nucky says he's a bachelor. The girl admits she's wanted to meet Nucky for a long time, because "everyone talked about you and Billie." She adds, "How else could she star on Broadway?" Nucky steps out for what he says will be a moment, but Eddie comes in and tells the girl Nucky has been called away and she has to leave.
Nucky is standing out on the balcony of the Albatross Hotel reviewing some documents and maps.
Richard Harrow walks toward a lone farm house in wide open rural landscape. He stalks around outside, peeking in the windows, before stashing a gun into a stack of logs on the porch. He knocks on the door and there's no answer. He hears a dog whining behind him. There's the muzzle of a shotgun pointing at him. He turns and sees the woman holding it.
"Emma," he says, "I've come home."