We begin back in 1884, where young Nucky is sweeping the front porch at The Corner Hotel. After checking around inside, he's summoned to The Commodore's office. The Commodore shows Nucky some of his big plans for the future of the city — including the segregation of the neighborhoods. He also teaches Nucky a lesson: "Don't spend your own money, why?"
"Because you could lose it all," the boy responds.
The Commodore tries to send Nucky back to school now that the summer is over. He wants to keep working, saying that he gives the money to his mother. The Commodore says that isn't his concern and sends the boy on his way, telling him to leave his uniform with Whiting before he leaves.
Back in 1931, Nucky wakes up with a massive hangover to find Margaret giving his Cuban bodyguard some English lessons. Nucky says he's planning to travel to Havana, but the guard tells him the airplane is canceled. Nucky asks the guard to leave, then asks Margaret why she's there. She explains about her job in the brokerage house in New York and the account Arnold Rothstein opened and that she helped him with stock information in exchange for an apartment. She says her boss kept the account open and traded on it, withdrawing money until there was nothing left. She tells him that Rothstein's widow intends to sue them both to get her money back. Nucky needs some coffee.
In Chicago, Al Capone smokes a cigar, laughing it up as he and a crowd of men watch a newsreel about himself and his rampant killings en route to ruling the town. Al turns to Lucky Luciano and asks what he thinks. Lucky says, "You're the Italian Wallace Beery," referring to the actor famous in the '30s who was frequently cast as a "a big lovable slob". Al doesn't think it's very funny, and one of his men laughs a bit too much at Lucky's joke. After intimidating the a bit and getting in his face, Lucky tells Al to "lay off — he didn't do nothing." Al then blurts out that he's "the real movie star — there ain't a kid in America don't know my name." Al then chides Lucky for being jealous of Al's fame. Lucky sees Van Alden come into the room and takes notice. He walks up to his room for the night and asks Van Alden, "Do I know you?" Van Alden says he doesn't believe so.
Back in 1884, young Nucky comes home to find the doors locked and Eli sitting on the porch trying to burn ants with a magnifying glass. Nucky goes around the side of the house and climbs up the window for a look inside. He sees his father having sex with someone. He tells Eli there's nothing to see, then wrestles his little brother to the ground to keep him from looking through the window himself.
Nucky calls Sally and tells her he's rained in. She says Ronis (the Bacardi guy) is looking for his "good-faith money," three words Nucky says don't go together. He says he'll wire the money. Nucky hears Joe Kennedy having a laugh with Margaret outside his office. Kennedy tells Nucky that their deal isn't for him, saying, "scotch and rum don't really mix." Margaret looks uncomfortable. Kennedy tells Nucky he wishes him "smooth sailing," but Nucky says he doesn't need it. Kennedy gets up and offers Margaret a ride back to New York on his private train car. Margaret hints that she should go, but Nucky tells her he "thought there was a problem — I must have been mistaken." Margaret good-heartedly says it's best that she stay. Before he leaves, Kennedy tells Nucky, "Remember, sport safety in numbers."
Back in 1884, young Nucky and Eli sit on the beach when Nucky tells Eli about people living in houses in Philadelphia and New York who come to Atlantic City with multiple changes of clothes and "don't do anything." Nucky expresses frustration with his situation.
Sally chats in Spanish with the bank manager who tells her in poetic words about how wonderful he finds Havana. She abruptly ends the conversation by asking in English if she can have her money, "everything in the account." He replies in good English, "Of course, it awaits you as we speak." He then goes out into the hallway to talk to some soldiers, occasionally looking back at Sally.
Back in 1884, young Nucky and Eli sneak into a room in the hotel just so Nucky can show Eli how a flushing toilet works (and how the upper crust lives).
Nucky is out to lunch with Margaret and tries to relay a funny moment in Cuba, but she is compelled to ask why he's being so nice. He says it'd be cruel not to be nice when she's come to him in need. Nucky asks her if she got a cut of Rothstein's portfolio and when she says she didn't, Nucky says, "That was dumb" and she agrees. Nucky asks if Margaret thinks he should just pay Rothstein's wife $111,000 and Margaret says, "That's what she wants." Nucky says that's what she wants now, but what about later when she's realized how easy it was to get that. Margaret asks Nucky if he wouldn't rather "keep it quiet," and Nucky asks what she's suggesting. She says she's not suggesting anything — certainly not "that," but she isn't specific about what "that" would be. Nucky pours Margaret her own glass wine — after she's been drinking from his for a while — and as they both raise their glasses, he quips, "Partners in crime!"
Lucky and Al sit around with a bunch of men and chat, cracking some jokes. Lucky passes Al a gift, a replica Empire State Building. Al hands it to a guy and says he wants it on his desk "by the elephants." They start talking business, and Lucky proposes to Al that he run his organization "like a business," as part of an Italian network working under the "same understanding, same rules" from one city to the next. Al notes that Nucky Thompson is not Italian. Lucky says it'll all get sorted out. Lucky then talks about how 10 years earlier they were "knocking around doing whatever" and is suddenly struck with a memory of Van Alden having arrested him once. He says Van Alden, who the Capones know as "Mueller," is "a fed." Al wants his men to find him.
Back in 1884, young Nucky and Eli are in trouble when Sheriff Lindsay catches them in the bath in the hotel room. Sheriff Lindsay explains to Nucky what trespassing is, then escorts him out.
Back at lunch, Margaret is feel the effects of the half bottle of wine she's consumed. Margaret says prohibition is the worst thing that ever happened to her. Nucky says he agrees, but she says it made him rich. He says he's nearly broke, then goes on to marvel at how she shook down Arnold Rothstein, held down a job and raised the kids by herself. She says her sisters helped out. She admits that she's "still married, of course." She asks him about his status and he notes, "still married, too, I suppose." She asks if this is a fight and he says, "We've had all the fights we're going to have." He extends a hand and she shakes it, with the handshake turning into a more tender touch for a moment.
Back in Chicago, Lucky circles Van Alden while asking him about Jimmy Darmody and about his time in Atlantic City. Al asks Van Alden is he thinks he's stupid. Al eventually tells Van Alden to get on his knees, then puts a gun in Van Alden's mouth. After attempting to speak, Van Alden is given 30 seconds — with Al's brother counting aloud — to make his plea while Al keeps the gun pressed to his temple. Van Alden talks about how loyally he's worked for Al and then turns on Lucky, saying that this man coming in from out of town telling Al how to run things in his own house is "pretty damn disrespectful." He gets a reprieve. Al lets him get up and tells him, "You can rule by fear or you can rule by love — remember that if you're ever in charge." Lucky nods and takes another drag of his cigarette. Al nudges Van Alden out of the room and tells someone to get him a drink. Outside in the hallway, Mickey D'Angelo tells Van Alden he's "got a pair," but Van Alden doesn't remember what he said. He needs to find the men's room because he may have soiled himself.
Sally waits for Ronis to show up to a meeting. He mentions that his wife is going to Paris for the summer because she gets restless in Havana. Sally hands over a bag full of cash and Sally tells him about an uprising in Jibarra, which is close to his cane fields. He says the money is to keep the Army protecting his cane fields.
Sally calls the club looking for Nucky, so she leaves the message with Mickey Doyle that "the dirty deed is done. Mickey flirts with Sally over the phone while watching a burlesque dancer rehearse on stage. Sally hangs up the phone and sees men carrying out a large number of trunks.
Back in 1884, Sheriff Lindsay sits young Nucky and Eli down. They wait, then a maid comes and tells them to scrub their hands completely. They wind up at Sheriff Lindsay's family's dinner table. Nucky focuses on the sheriff's use of his utensils to see how they're used. The sheriff's adolescent children joke with each other. His wife then urges him to talk to the women of the town about what he's seen as a result of men drinking too much. Nucky gets emotional for a moment. The sheriff's son cracks a joke and lightens the mood.
Back on the boardwalk at night, Nucky and Margaret are looking out at the waves coming in. Margaret notes that not much changes in Nucky's world, but he says he may have had his fill. She asks what's brought it on and he says nothing. She notices the burlesque club and asks if the women take off their clothes. She teases him about their poses, then he asks about the kids. Nucky recounts that when he first met her, he thought to himself that if he could save her, "maybe I'm not so bad myself." She says she thought he must have been very lonely, being the only person living on the whole floor of a hotel. He says, "Maybe nothing changes." She steps forward and plants a kiss on him, wrapping her arms around him. Then she steps away, but asks, "Are you going to kill Carolyn Rothstein?" He tells her Carolyn Rothstein will take 25 cents on the dollar and the firm will stay afloat. She thinks he's "up to something," then suggests she should get the train. He tells her to leave in the morning and she says, "I don't have anywhere to stay, do i?" He calls over one of his men, hands him some cash and tells him to take Margaret to a nearby hotel and get her a room with an ocean view. Nucky walks away, noting, "I'm happy to see you."
Mickey D'Angelo is flipping through some files in his federal office and comes across a "Wanted" flier with Van Alden's picture on it saying he's wanted for murder.
Lucky prepares to leave Al's place and tells him he's "bigger than Wallace Berry." Al gives Lucky a jokey punch to the stomach. They hug and Lucky leaves. As soon as Lucky is gone, Al turns and spits back at the door and everyone mocks Lucky for calling everyone out as a fed, and for suggested that Al needs any of them. The same guy who laughed too much at the Lucky's Wallace Berry joke blurts out, "He's a jerk!" Al gets serious and tells the guy that Lucky is a friend and they've known each other since they were babies. The guys says it was a joke, but Al doesn't seem amused. Suddenly, Al laughs it up again and slaps the guy gently on the cheek before telling everyone to go and telling the guy to clean up the place. As the guy hurriedly cleans Al's office, he turns and Al hits him over the head with Lucky's souvenir Empire State Building gift. He then shouts, "Wallace Berry!" while viciously beating the guy in the face with it before stabbing him with the pointy end. Al steps out of his office and says he wants to get Atlantic City on the phone.
Sally drives in the dark on a foggy road and is confronted by a group of army officers who ask where she's going. She says she's going to Miramar. The officer tells her there is a curfew as of that afternoon. She asks how much he wants to allow her to go home. He asks her to step out of the car and it is searched. The officer frisks her and finds a small revolver concealed on her thigh and she explains she owns a bar in Havana and invites the officer and his men to visit when the curfew is lifted. He asks again who she knows in Miramar and she says Maxime Ronis, the owner of Bacardi. The officer recounts to her that she's out after curfew, offered him a bribe and does business with a man who pays one peso an hour for workers to cut cane until their hands bleed, and she thinks all he wants is to get drunk. He steps forward and tells her, in Spanish, "You're what is wrong with Cuba." She says she's sorry they can't be friends, but she's going back to Miramar. Two officers grab her and she takes one of their guns and points it at the other officers. They all raise their guns and point them at her. She starts to speak and one of them shoots her. The commanding officer punches the shooter in the face and calls him an "idiot" for shooting her right out in the open in front of everyone, noting "she was an American." He tells the others to get her body out of the road.
Al calls Nucky, who answers. Al tells Nucky, "We got a problem. His name's Charlie."
Back in 1884, Sheriff Lindsay brings young Nucky and Eli (who has fallen asleep) back to their house. Nucky asks the sheriff if he could put his father in jail. The sheriff says he could, but eventually he's have to let him out. Nucky then asks if he can do to Ethan what he did to the man in the hotel who asked for flowers. The sheriff says that was done for The Commodore and that has its own rules. He tells Nucky not to be foolish or take what isn't his. The sheriff says they're going to go inside and tell Ethan that Nucky worked for him, "If he doesn't like that, he's interfering with the law, and he will answer for that. Agreed?" He extends a hand and Nucky shakes it.
"Deputy Sheriff Thompson," Sheriff Lindsay says. Nucky seems to like the sound of that.
This episode provides examples of:
- Anyone Can Die: Sally Wheet is shot to death by a Cuban soldier.
- Call-Back: Lucky retells the time when he and Jimmy Darmody were arrested by Van Alden.
- Chekhov's Gun: The model of The Empire State Building.
- Consummate Liar: Van Alden seems to have an excuse for everything.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: Sally's death. She dies accidentally and while being separated from Nucky and his storyline.
- Fanservice: Margaret acts very flirtatious in this episode.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Capone brutally beats one of his own henchmen to death for laughing too long. (He was actually taking his anger out on him, because he believed that Lucky insulted him.)
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Sally Wheet.
- Manipulative Bastard: Van Alden manages to play on Capone's ego and turns his anger towards Lucky.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Capone brutally beats one of his own henchman to death with a model of The Empire State Building.
- Precision-D-Strike: Van Alden: "I'd say that's pretty goddamn disrespectful!"