"A Man, A Plan..." is the tenth episode of Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire, and the 34th episode overall. It was written by Dave Flebotte and directed by Jeremy Podeswa. It premiered on 18 November 2012. The episode is set on May 30, 1923, Memorial Day, which in the United States is traditionally considered the start of of summer season.
Nucky reaches out to Gaston Means to keep Jess Smith quiet in Washington, and enlists Owen to neutralize Gyp’s alliance with Joe Masseria in New York. Margaret considers alternate futures, at the hospital and at home; Van Alden’s side business backfires; Gyp fumes when a shipment comes up short; Harrow coerces an apology for Julia; Chalky sees opportunity in the ashes of a boardwalk institution. (HBO Publicity)
Richard Harrow, Julia Sagorsky, and Tommy Darmody are on the beach for Memorial Day. A swimmer in the ocean finds a bottle of whiskey, then several others find bottles of whiskey too. Soon the entire crowd is in the water grabbing bottles.
Gyp Rosetti berates Tonino for losing two dozen cases of whiskey at sea. Tonino's cousin Franco says that it might be rogue waves, explaining that it's easy to lose cargo that way. Rosetti is clearly agitated by Franco but lets it go.
Nelson Van Alden enters a Norwegian restaurant and sells four bottles of alcohol, carried in a suitcase, to the owner.
Nucky speaks by telephone with Gaston Means, who is concerned about Jess Smith babbling about everyone he knows. He tells Nucky he can take care of the problem with delicacy, for $40,000. Nucky says he'll pay Means when he sees results.
Katy and Owen Sleater are in a bedroom in the morning. Owen is dressing to leave for the Thompsons. Katy is suspicious of something going on between Owen and Margaret, but he insists there is nothing going on. When she asks him to prove her wrong, he says he would be happy to prove it to her by marrying her.
At the Ritz Carlton, Owen approaches Margaret to speak with her, but Eddie is present. Owen tells Margaret that it is Katie's birthday the next day, and they meet privately under the pretense of her giving him advice. When they are alone, Owen warns Margaret that if they want to run away together, they can't botch it. He tells Margaret she'll need to leave first, and that he will follow four or six weeks after. Otherwise, he says, Nucky will find out they've left together, and there will be no safe place for them. She asks him what St. Louis is like, and asks him about Katy. He says that he'll tell her something convincing, and leave one morning.
Nucky Thompson is in his office with Eli Thompson, Prohibition Agent Stan Sawicki, and Mickey Doyle, waiting for Owen. When he arrives, Sawicki informs Owen that Joe Masseria goes to a New York City Turkish bath at the same time each week, and they agree that it is a good place to murder him. Nucky tells Eli to go to Chicago to meet with John Torrio, to help deal with Gyp Rosetti and the fallout from Masseria's death. Nucky tells Doyle he'll be going to West Overton, Pennsylvania, where Andrew Mellon's distillery is located, and get it up and running in order to take over George Remus's operation. Owen and Sawicki plan to take on Masseria by themselves.
Meyer Lanksy and Charles Luciano, meeting with Arnold Rothstein, discuss plans to import 50 pounds of heroin. Rothstein warns them against new ventures until they know what will happen in the war between Nucky and Joe Masseria.
Means meets with Jess Smith. He tells Smith that $10,000 of cash that Smith had received from George Remus was marked by the Treasury Department. Means tells Smith to burn the money immediately. Smith goes to the garden and begins to the burn the money in a birdbath, while Means walks over to Harry Daugherty's office. Harry sees, through the window, what Smith is doing, and wants to stop him. Means tells Daugherty to save himself, and not get tangled up with Smith, who is mentally unravelling. Means makes the same offer to Daugherty that he made to Nucky Thompson: for $40,000, he will make the Smith problem go away.
At St. Theresa's Hospital, a nun tells Margaret and Dr. Douglas Mason that the bishop has ordered them to end the women's health classes. As she leaves, she hesitantly tells both of them that she found the classes very educational. After she leaves, Mason gives Margaret two diaphragms (birth control devices for women), one for herself and one for Edwina Shearer, who had asked for Margaret's help procuring them. He tells her that the classes could continue somewhere else, where there would be fewer restrictions. When she tells him he could be risking his job, he tells her he isn't sure he wants to work at a Catholic hospital.
Nucky meets with Bill McCoy in his office, telling him to go to Tabor Heights to make a deal with Rosetti. The real reason for the visit, however, is to gather as much information about Rosetti's operation as possible.
Van Alden returns to the same Norwegian restaurant where he had previously sold alcohol, and brings some lefse for the owner. However, the owner apologizes to Van Alden, as two men in suits walk up behind him and put a gun to his head. They take him out of the restaurant.
Richard and Julia are at the Sagorsky household, where Richard is telling Julia about Tommy. Julia's father Paul returns, and when he sees them together he begins to belittle Julia, calling Richard a sideshow freak. Richard attacks Paul, and gets him on the ground, where Richard pulls off his mask and asks Paul if he would pay a dime to see his disfigured face. He chokes Paul and tells him to apologize. Paul apologizes to Richard, but he tells Paul to apologize to Julia. Paul refuses, despite Richard nearly choking him to death.
Luciano and Lansky meet with Joe Masseria, hoping that he will be more willing to partner with them in the heroin trade than Rothstein. Masseria is distrustful of Lansky, and discusses the deal in Sicilian with Luciano, saying that the Jewish people are "a joyless bunch" and have sex through a hole in the sheet. Luciano refutes this claim, proclaiming that Meyer does it like a sailor on shore leave. It's unclear how he knows this, but Masseria seems sort of impressed by the little man's alleged sexual prowess. Like Rothstein, he is unwilling to partner with them. However, they hint that Nucky is moving against him, and offer him information in the deal. He agrees, and Luciano begins to divulge what they know.
In Tabor Heights, Rosetti meets with Bill McCoy to discuss a shipment. During the meeting, the subject of rogue waves comes up again, and Franco contradicts Rosetti, who glares at him.
Harry Daugherty and Jess Smith meet, and Daugherty proposes retiring. Smith tells him that his heart was never in it, and Daugherty tells him he felt the same way. Daugherty tells him he'll feel better in the morning.
Margaret is singing her children to sleep. As she tucks Teddy in, he asks how much longer they'll have to stay at the Ritz Carlton. She tells him they'll leave soon, and see where adventure takes them. Nucky, standing at the doorway, tells him they're finishing repairs at home.
Julia and Richard are on the beach with a campfire. He tells her about a girl he was involved with before the war, who married Richard's cousin while Richard was in France. She tells him about a widower with three children, twelve years her senior, who she had considered marrying. But then her brother Fred was killed, her father broke off the engagement, and the widower wound up marrying someone else. They begin to kiss.
Chalky White comes to Nucky with a proposal to build a club in the former location of Babette's Supper Club. He tells Nucky he has money to back his plan. Nucky is reluctant, seeing it as overstepping racial boundaries. Chalky, unhappy, leaves Nucky's office with a warning.
Al Capone eats dinner while he talks to Van Alden. He is unhappy with Van Alden selling liquor in Capone's territory. Van Alden tries to convince Capone that Dean O'Banion is unaware of the liquor he is selling to the Norwegian restaurant, but is threatened by Capone, who presses a fork against Van Alden's cheek. He tells Van Alden to reveal as much information as he knows about O'Banion's operation.
Gaston Means sneaks into Jess Smith's room carrying a gun, and approaches the bed to pull back the covers. As he does, Smith turns on the bathroom light. He is aiming a gun at Means. Smith asks Means how much Daugherty paid him to have him murdered. After a tense standoff, Smith shoots himself in the head, and Means quietly departs.
Agent Sawicki and Owen are briefly shown entering the Turkish bath.
Nucky tries to convince Margaret that things will return to normal soon, and he promises to make it up to her. He claims that it will be a new start, but Margaret is skeptical.
Rosetti stands on the beach with an entourage, talking about his father, a bricklayer. He tells Franco, who is buried in the sand up to his neck, that his father would have lived longer and worked less if he had been a fisherman like Franco's father. Tonino begs for Franco's life, and Rosetti acquiesces. He picks up a shovel, walks over to Franco, and begins to beat him to death. When he finishes, he walks off, telling Franco's cousin, "You owe me."
Eddie wakes Nucky at 4 in the morning, telling him a package has arrived. In the hallway, Eddie pries the lid off of a large wooden crate with a crowbar while Nucky watches. Margaret comes out to ask what's going on, and when the lid comes off, both she and Nucky see it is Owen's dead body. Margaret begins to weep uncontrollably, and it dawns on Nucky that she was in love with Owen.
Richard and Julia are shown asleep underneath the boardwalk at dawn, as more bottles of whiskey wash ashore.
Margaret, locked in her bedroom, has a flashback to her conversation with Owen earlier in the episode. After he callously states he'll lie to Katy and leave her, she expresses doubt that he's being honest with her, and he doesn't reassure her. She tells him she's pregnant with his baby. When she asks him to tell the truth, he says he wants it to be a boy. They both part, smiling to themselves.
- Jess Smith - Commits suicide by gunshot.
- Franco - Beaten to death with a shovel by Gyp Rosetti whilst buried up to his neck in the sand.
- Owen Sleater - Killed by Joe Masseria's men.
- James Ciccone
- Carousel Band Organ - "Oh Gee Oh Gosh Oh Golly I'm in Love" plays when Nucky asks Bill McCoy to head to Tabor Heights and cut a deal with Gyp.
- Ehud Asherie - "That Teasin' Rag" plays as Van Alden is selling alcohol on Capone's turf.
- Peter Jarvis - "Surveying Carnage" plays as Masseria and bodyguard enters the bath House, Owen and Sawicki arrives shortly after.
- Andrew Oye - "Carousel of Dreams" plays as Nucky promises a new beginning to Margaret.
- Peter Jarvis - "Surveying Carnage" plays as Owen arrives in a crate at the Ritz.
- Matt Beringer accompanied by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "I'll See You in My Dreams" plays as Margaret watches Owen walk away, end credits.
- George Means: "Fortunately, I have experience in these matters."
- Nucky Thompson: "What does that cost?"
- Means: "40,000. [Long pause] Are you there?"
- Nucky: "There are men who would do it for ten dollars."
- Means: "And you're free to hire them. I hope you don't choose a surgeon on the same basis. In both cases, the outcome can be unexpectedly messy."
- Lansky: "What if the deal won't wait?"
- Rothstein: "A deal will always wait. And a fool will always rush in."
- Margaret: "Tell me you're different from him [Nucky]."
- Owen: "Those'd just be words."
|#01 Resolution||#07 Sunday Best|
|#02 Spaghetti and Coffee||#08 The Pony|
|#03 Bone for Tuna||#09 The Milkmaid's Lot|
|#04 Blue Bell Boy||#10 A Man, A Plan...|
|#05 You'd Be Surprised||#11 Two Imposters|
|#06 Ging Gang Goolie||#12 Margate Sands|