Nucky, polite with the one-time help and a good tipper, gets more and more jerkish to Harlan the Ritz shoe-shiner after he begins working directly for him. This shows that Nucky has a problem dealing with people on a regular basis, and that after a while he begins to take them for granted and stops being polite altogether - thus his problems with Eli, Jimmy and even Margaret.
Nucky is a very permissive parental figure, as evidenced by his reaction to Teddy's pyromania. He gives him a little talking-to, then rewards him and sends him on his way. Since Nucky was the closest thing to a father that Jimmy had, it's no wonder why Jimmy became so undisciplined and violent.
More Fridge Brilliance: Nucky's permissive approach to parenting is clearly stemmed from his own childhood experience with his physically abusive father. It would make sense that as a victim of child abuse in the name of discipline, Nucky took the simple route and avoided disciplining altogether.
Plus, the loss of his son most likely left him with a very sentimental view of children, not really seeing them as people but as precious commodities to be cherished and preserved.
Jimmy's destructive behavior clearly has it's beginnings during college and his unhealthy relationship with his mother. Add to that the toll fighting in the war took on Jimmy's psyche. Moreover, Nucky's relationship with Margaret's children doesn't give us any clue to what his parenting skills were with Jimmy. Nucky is clearly not interested in Margaret's children. The same can't be said for Jimmy, as it was apparent he was being raised as Nucky's protege.
Nucky is very much interested in Margaret's children, even calling himself the only father they'll ever have. The problem is that he's almost clueless in how to show affection and prefers the easy route of being an Absentee Father and handing cash or buying them things, like he does with everyone else. But the interest, and the need to spend time with them is still there. It is Margaret who forbids him from interacting with the children from Season 3 and leaves for good with them in Season 4, not Nucky who decides to cut contact with them. Nucky taking Jimmy shooting when he was Tommy's age is no different from him taking Teddy to his old home or to watch Chaplin at the movies. Finally, while Nucky had been "watching over" Jimmy since he was born, he only began working for him and thus became his protegé when he was 12 (Pilot). Teddy was 8 when they left for Brooklyn and had no chance to do that. And yet, Teddy is already an entitled, disobedient and violent kid (shrugging off chores saying that "the maid will do it", spying on his mother when he had been told to go to sleep, his pyromania), and this is obviously a result of Nucky's influence, who gives everything he wants even when he misbehaves and burned down Ethan's house in his presence. While Jimmy obviously had other issues, the reality is that Nucky's influence didn't correct them. On the other hand, they could only make him worse. Just like Teddy.
When Chalky White is moved to Dunn Purnsley's cell in jail, the rest of the inmates stand up and tower around him in a way that seems threatening. The moment is presented as if Chalky has lost his privileged status and is now in physical danger from the masses. The air of menace continues until we learn that all of the inmates except Purnsley are actually at Chalky's beck and call. When they stood up on his arrival, it was actually out of respect.
The way Angela's last appearance mirrors her last painting (courtesy of tumblr).
Richard is from Wisconsin, a state with a long history of local liberalism. It shouldn't be a surprise then that he knows the difference between a socialist and a communist, even though he himself has not much interest in politics.
Gyp is in a lot of ways an Evil Counterpart of Chalky (this is noted explicitly in "Two Impostors" wherein Gyp tries to pull Not So Different on Chalky to gain his loyalty). Both come from "poor but honest" backgrounds and have little to nil formal education, and don't like it when people look down on them for these features. They're also both feared and respected by the men they work with, but dominated (literally, in Gyp's case...) by strong women at home. However, whereas Chalky ultimately respects education and is only involved in crime to provide a good life/social mobility for his family, Gyp loves being a gangster, and plays out his resentment by sadistically toying with other people.
As of the end of Season 3, Eli has Nucky's respect and is closer to being his full-on partner than ever before; in contrast to Jimmy and the Commodore, both of whom are dead, Eli has, in a roundabout way, gotten exactly what he joined the conspiracy in season 2 looking for.
Paul Sagorsky is a textbook example of the Hollywood take on the Vietnam War Vet (nowadays being superseded by the First Gulf War Vet). Of course, the show takes place decades before either, in the 1920s, so he is a veteran of the Philippine-American War. This is not a gratuitous choice, however: Although forgotten today, the Philippines war was very polemic at its time and the criticism about the aims and conduct of the US Army was in many ways identical to the one in 'Nam years later, to the point that Teddy Roosevelt of the "walk slowly and wave a big stick" himself had to put an official end to the hostilities in 1902 to deflect some of this criticism (actual fighting continued until 1913).
Watch Regina during the assault to Nucky's suit in "Two Imposters". She's over the bed, barking at someone behind it and waving her tail happily. That someone is Eddie and the barking attracts Rosetti's men. But don't worry! Behind the door is hiding Nucky Thompson and he is capable of shooting the two first gunmen thanks to that. But the situation was so tense, however, that this could not have been planned. Eddie would have preferred to not have to deal with the dog at all. If she's with Eddie, it's because she wants nothing to do with Nucky Thompson.
There's a good reason our favorite characters keep getting killed off. So far, this show has been about the rise of organized crime in the 1920s. Naturally, part of that story must include which gangsters succeeded and made it big…and which ones were killed/arrested early on, and became nothing. The characters who are historical figures—Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, etc.—will of course make history. For the show’s original characters on the other hand, Failure Is the Only Option.
What makes this so brilliant? The fact that the historical gangsters are blended into the cast, getting only as much development and Crowning Moments as the original characters. After all, at this point in time, no one knows that which gangsters will become icons, and who will die young and be forgotten. Right now, Al Capone is just another gangster.
The greatest irony is that Jimmy Darmody, Richard Harrow, Eddie Kessler and others have the potential to become great criminals, but fail through bad luck or bad choices. “Boardwalk Empire” isn’t just another drama where characters get killed off just for the sake of it. It’s about the rise of the Mafia, and how the great gangsters got big while other, just as good ones, failed and vanished from America’s memory.
Richard comparing himself to the Tin Woodsman works more than one level. Like the Tin Woodsman, he has a prosthetic. But furthermore, the Woodsman claimed that now that he has no heart, he doesn't feel emotions. Richard similarly claims to be emotionless after his injury; he says he felt nothing towards his sister anymore, and that people cannot be really connected to each other. But the Woodsman wasn't really without emotion; he was actually the kindest character in the book. Richard too finds his humanity again during the series.
Margaret has to be wondering if seeing Owen come back in a box was Nucky's way of telling her he knew what was really going on between them.
"What do you have for something you are sorry, and won't do it again?" - Frankie Yale is talking about murdering O'Banion here. To O'Banion himself. It's true: Yale is a Professional Killer who has no personal beef with O'Banion, and won't do it again because he can't murder the same person twice.
Also, in real life O'Banion was killed after overstepping his bounds, pissing off the wrong people and alienating too many of his friends/allies. So Yale's bit of teasing has a double meaning, and he's basically mocking O'Banion's own situation and saying how no apologies are going to get O'Banion out of it, all without O'Banion realizing it.
Chrysanthemums would mean something completely different to O'Banion and Yale. To American-born O'Banion, chrysanthemums are cheerful flowers, so he offers them for Yale's wife. To someone born in southern Europe like Yale, chrysanthemums mean death. Fittingly, Yale deposits a chrysanthemum over Dean's body after killing him.
Narcisse agrees to take 10% of Chalky's club as compensation for Dickie Pastor's death, in exchange for "the other problem" going away. As they exit, he tells Alma Pastor that he is going to take her to "a place far away".
Just why is Gillian so creepily sure that Tommy will forget about Angela and Gillian herself and is so desperate to keep the children to her side, even if she's smothering them? It's because Gillian did forget her own parents. She was orphaned very young and was raised in a Dickensian orphan house in Trenton. She has no memory of them.
For mafia buffs, the historically-based gangster characters can invoke this. Getting to know and love the show's fictional versions of Al Capone, Benny Siegel, and so on can stir up some confusing feelings when one considered the specific crimes said people are known to have committed (like killing civilians, or rape).
With the fictional characters like Richard, Nucky, and Chalky, we can accept it with relief when they say they'd never beat a woman, or don't want to kill civilians. On the other hand, Lucky, Benny, and Al etc. make no such claims, and people who know their history know why.
And from what we know of Nucky and Chalky, there is very good reason to be suspicious.