Paris Green (Boardwalk Empire)

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"Paris Green"
Boardwalk Empire episode
Richard tells Nucky that Margaret has disappeared, along with her children
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Allen Coulter
Written by Howard Korder
Original air date November 28, 2010 (2010-11-28)
Running time 56 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Emerald City"
Next →
"A Return to Normalcy"
List of Boardwalk Empire episodes

"Paris Green" is the 11th episode of the first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered November 28, 2010. The episode was written by supervising producer Howard Korder and directed by Allen Coulter.


Agent Van Alden continues to question Agent Sebso's lies about the witness death, prompting Sebso to call Nucky asking for some leads to regain his boss's trust. Nucky tells Sebso about an illegal still in the woods on the outskirts of town, and suggests Sebso tell Van Alden about it. As they look for the still, the two agents come upon a black church's river baptism. Van Alden sheds tears, perhaps remorseful for his slip into drink and adultery in the previous episode. When Sebso, who is Jewish, puts in for a transfer to Detroit, he confronts a still-suspicious Van Alden about his hostility and anti-semitism. Exasperated in spite of his actual guilt, Sebso demands to know how he might earn his trust before leaving. In response, Van Alden brings him to the river and bullies the smaller man into being baptized. Driven into a religious frenzy by Sebso's confusion and refusal to "repent," Van Alden dunks him underwater repeatedly, and ends up drowning Sebso. Van Alden declares to the crowd that divine justice has been done, leaving his intentions ambiguous.

Commodore Kaestner, Nucky's predecessor and Jimmy's biological father, is dying. Gillian asks Jimmy to visit, which he does reluctantly. Jimmy notes that Gillian was 13 years old when he was born and the Commodore over 50, making it rape. The Commodore tries to mollify Jimmy, even telling him that "the wrong man is running this town," implying that Jimmy should supplant Nucky, whom Gillian reveals was the one to bring her to the Commodore decades ago. Jimmy decides to stay with his father as he passes away. The decision proves crucial, as he is first to find out when the doctor detects significant amounts of arsenic (Paris Green) in the Commodore's hair sample. The Commodore begins to recover, and Jimmy confronts Gillian with an empty canister of arsenic that he found in the trash. He reassures her of his support, whatever her intentions, but she remains silent.

Rothstein is called to Chicago to defend against charges that he rigged the 1919 World Series. The D'Alessio brothers have gone into hiding outside of Atlantic City. Richard Harrow, Jimmy's fellow war veteran, has found one of them staying with family members. The mild-mannered Harrow somewhat ruthlessly suggests killing the family. He suggests this may get the brothers to "stick their heads up," a tactic hearkening back to his past as a sniper in the trenches. Jimmy is undecided.

Meanwhile, Angela carries out her plan to leave town with her son and Mary Dittrich, leaving a note for Jimmy and going to the photography shop. There she finds the shop empty, as the Dittrichs have absconded (in another scene we are shown that Robert knows his wife is about to leave for France). Distraught and helpless, Angela rushes home, only to find that Jimmy has already read the note. With their son in the room, neither mentions the note, and Jimmy seems determined to carry on as before.

Nucky continues to deal with the twin pressures of winning the election and the gang war with the D'Alessio brothers. Meanwhile, the boyfriend of Margaret's "kept" neighbor Annabelle loses all his money in the original Ponzi scheme. When he absconds with Annabelle's life savings, she offers to resume her old relationship with Nucky. Margaret catches them talking in his office and later argues with him, criticizing Nucky for involving her in his business, then insisting she ignore its unsavory realities. Nucky argues that Margaret's own choices have brought them together, none of which reflect well on her own character. Margaret also levels her suspicions about his part in the death of her husband, Hans, suspicions that Nucky indirectly confirms by retorting that neither of them has or should have any regret about what happened to the abusive Hans.

Nucky's brother Eli is furious, for in confirming Margaret's suspicions, he has endangered Eli, who carried out the murder on orders from Nucky. Eli insults Margaret, calling her a liability created by Nucky's selfishness and criticizing Nucky's hypocritical aversion to violence. After a heated argument, Nucky drops Eli from the Republican ticket in favor of the dimwitted Deputy Halloran, who has been angling for the nomination. Nucky arrives at Margaret's place only to find that she has left, her whereabouts unknown.

The last scene shows Nucky visiting the palm-reader of the boardwalk, while his butler looks on.


Critical reception[edit]

IGN praised the episode, calling it "outstanding" and went on to say, "With his safety nets gone and his finger tightening around a trigger gunning for Rothstein, Nucky is a man alone, surrounded by a war that can go any way but good. The future is uncertain, tension hangs and fans of the series are in the best position possible going in to what's sure to be a game-changing finale."[1]

The A.V. Club gave the episode an A-.[2]


"Paris Green" slid two tenths of a point in to a 1.1 adults 18–49 rating, but had a nearly identical average viewership vs. last week. The episode had a total of 3.004 million viewers.[3]


External links[edit]