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"Battle of the Century" is the ninth episode of Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, and the 21st episode overall. It was written by co-producer Steve Kornacki and was directed by Brad Anderson. It first aired on HBO on 20 November 2011.



Nucky Thompson and Owen Sleater visit Belfast, Ireland to offer the Irish Republican Army (IRA) the US Army’s surplus Thompson submachine guns. Nucky wants whiskey in exchange in order to gain funds for his own war. John McGarrigle turns down the proposal because of impending negotiations for peace with the English government. The other leaders of the IRA are less keen to end their struggle for independence and have McGarrigle assassinated allowing them to accept Nucky’s deal. Nucky is concerned that Sleater did not make him aware of this plot and then distressed by a telegram from Margaret Schroeder. Prosecutor Esther Randolph continues to build her case against Nucky, interviewing a subordinate in the Sheriff's Office.

Margaret is horrified when her daughter, Emily, develops paralysis of her legs. Emily is diagnosed with polio and quarantined in hospital. Margaret blames her own sins for the illness and cannot stay away from Emily’s bedside.

Jimmy Darmody attempts to consolidate his newfound power in Atlantic City. He arranges to buy the transportation routes for medicinal whiskey from George Remus so that he can steal it. He meets with Waxey Gordon and informs him that Manny Horvitz is responsible for killing his men. Waxey unsuccessfully attempts to have Manny murdered and Manny is able to link the killer to Atlantic City. Chalky White orchestrates labor unrest among the African American workers of Atlantic City. Richard Harrow worries that Jimmy was mocking him when he promised that he would settle down with a woman. Jimmy denies this and the two meet willing dates at the radio broadcast of the Dempsey vs. Carpentier boxing match.


Main article: Battle of the Century recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.


First Appearances[]

  1. Bill Neilan, an IRA member.
  2. Daniel Fitzgerald, owner of an Irish distillery and IRA member.
  3. Patrick, another IRA member.
  4. Alfred Gordetsky, an enforcer for Waxey Gordon.
  5. Dr. Edward Holt, an expert on polio at the Atlantic City Children's Hospital.
  6. Edith Thompson, Eli Thompson's eldest daughter.
  7. Anne Thompson, another of Eli's daughters.
  8. Dermott Thompson, Eli's youngest son.
  9. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Food and Beverage Manager.


  1. John McGarrigle - Shot by Patrick.
  2. Alfred Gordetsky - Killed in self-defence by Manny Horvitz.




  1. Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson
  2. Michael Pitt as James "Jimmy" Darmody
  3. Kelly MacDonald as Margaret Schroeder
  4. Michael Shannon as Agent Nelson Van Alden (credit only)
  5. Shea Whigham as Sheriff Elias "Eli" Thompson
  6. Aleksa Palladino as Angela Darmody (credit only)
  7. Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein (credit only)
  8. Stephen Graham as Al Capone
  9. Vincent Piazza as Salvatore "Lucky" Luciano AKA Charlie
  10. Paz de la Huerta as Lucille "Lucy" Danziger (credit only)
  11. Michael K. Williams as Albert "Chalky" White
  12. Paul Sparks as Mickey Doyle
  13. Jack Huston as Richard Harrow
  14. Anthony Laciura as Edward "Eddie" Kessler (credit only)
  15. with Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody (credit only)
  16. and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner (credit only)

Guest Starring[]

  1. Charlie Cox as Owen Sleater
  2. William Forsythe as Manny Horvitz
  3. Julianne Nicholson as Esther Randolph
  4. Erik LaRay Harvey as Dunn Purnsley
  5. Ted Rooney as John McGarrigle
  6. Robert Clohessy as Jim Neary
  7. Glenn Fleshler as George Remus
  8. Adam Mucci as Deputy Halloran
  9. Nick Sandow as Waxey Gordon
  10. Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky


1. Spencer Aste as Customs official 2
2. Curt Bouril as Clifford Lathrop
3. Peter Bradbury as Food and Beverage Manager
4. Scott Burik as Alfred Gordetsky
5. Richardson Desil as Franklin
6. Tim Dolan as Western Union Messenger
7. Josie and Lucy Gallina as Emily Schroeder
8. Samuel Ray Gates as Head Chef
9. Michael Halsey as Bill Neilan
10. Brittney Lee Hamilton as Redhead at radio broadcast

11. Joel Hatch as Dr Edward Holt
12. Kevin Henderson as Dr Carl Surran
13. Angus Hepburn as Daniel Fitzgerald
14. Rege Lewis as Travis Elkins
15. Heather Lind as Katy
16. Christopher McCann as Mortician
17. Edwin McDonough as Priest
18. Declan and Rory McTigue as Teddy Schroeder
19. Daniel O'Shea as IRA leader
20. Jacqueline Pennewill as Lillian
21. Charlie Plummer as Michael Thompson

22. Laine Rettmer as Brunette at radio broadcast
23. Ivan Sandomire as Man at butcher shop
24. Isaiah Stokes as Louis
25. Nisi Sturgis as June Thompson
26. Lee Summers as Otis
27. Justin Swain as Patrick
28. Amy Warren as Pauleen
29. Terence Patrick Winter as Radio commentator
30. Brandon Zumsteg as Brian Thompson


  1. Matthew Broadley as Patrick Thompson
  2. Unknown as Thompson daughter 1
  3. Unknown as Thompson daughter 2
  4. Unknown as Thompson daughter 3
  5. Unknown as Thompson daughter 4
  6. Unknown as Youngest Thompson son
  7. Unknown as Customs official 1


  1. APM studio musicians - "Invention No. 8" plays as Margaret gets a telegram from Nucky and Emily won't get out of bed.
  2. Joseph Payne - "Voluntary in G" plays as Nucky offers to sell guns to McGarrigle in exchange for Irish whiskey.
  3. Martha Wainwright accompanied by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "All By Myself" plays as Randolph and Lathrop discusses Nucky's case in bed.
  4. Na Fili & Tomas O'Canainn - "Cis Liathain is Maith Le Nora" played as end credits simultaneously as the announcer of the boxing match is commenting on the match.

Memorable Quotes[]


Season Two
#01 21#07 Peg of Old
#02 Ourselves Alone#08 Two Boats and a Lifeguard
#03 A Dangerous Maid#09 Battle of the Century
#04 What Does the Bee Do?#10 Georgia Peaches
#05 Gimcrack & Bunkum#11 Under God's Power She Flourishes
#06 The Age of Reason#12 To the Lost