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"Two Boats and a Lifeguard" is the eighth episode of Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, and the 20th episode overall. It was written by executive producer and series creator Terence Winter and was directed by executive producer Tim Van Patten. It aired on 13 November 2011.



Nucky Thompson has problems on multiple fronts. Since his brush with death he is having strange dreams and getting little sleep. Margaret Schroeder is worried about her sick daughter and the safety of Nucky and her family after the shooting. Esther Randolph continues to build the legal case against him. He confirms that Jimmy Darmody is behind the assassination attempt. Finally his father, Ethan Thompson, dies. Nucky takes advice from Johnny Torrio and Arnold Rothstein and decides to feign retirement and go to Ireland to raise funds for a counterattack. He asks Chalky White to orchestrate a strike by African American workers while he is gone.

Jimmy faces mounting frustration with his allies: Manny Horvitz is pressuring him for money; Mickey Doyle continues to irritate him; his wife Angela forces him to be honest with her about his business dealings; and he is deaf to warnings about Nucky from Eli Thompson. He loses control at a victory party after Nucky's retirement and throws Mickey from the balcony onto a table in front of Manny. Angela attends a different party and kisses a new acquaintance, Louise.

Prohibition Agent Nelson Van Alden hires a nanny to care for his daughter. He continues to skim money seized from raids on businesses illegally selling alcohol.


Main article: Two Boats and a Lifeguard recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.


First Appearances[]

  1. Sigrid, Abigail Van Alden's nanny.
  2. Louise, Angela Darmody's new girlfriend.
  3. Michael Thompson, one of Eli Thompson's sons.
  4. Patrick Thompson, another of Eli's sons.


  1. Ethan Thompson, Nucky and Eli's father, of a fatal stroke.




  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
  5. Shea Whigham as Sheriff Elias "Eli" Thompson
  6. Aleksa Palladino as Angela Darmody
  7. Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein
  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
  15. with Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody
  16. and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner

Guest Starring[]

  1. Dominic Chianese as Leander Cephas Whitlock
  2. Charlie Cox as Owen Sleater
  3. William Forsythe as Manny Horvitz
  4. Julianne Nicholson as Esther Randolph
  5. Tom Aldredge as Ethan Thompson
  6. Greg Antonacci as Johnny Torrio
  7. Robert Clohessy as Jim Neary
  8. Glenn Fleshler as George Remus
  9. Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky


1. Happy Anderson as Waiter
2. Joseph Aniska as Agent Stan Sawicki
3. Curt Bouril as Clifford Lathrop
4. Clark Carmichael as Guardsman
5. Kevin Carolan as Boardwalk Barker
6. Rony Clanton as Langston
7. Peter Claymore as Grey-Haired Man
8. Jonathan Dickson as Delivery man
9. Robert Dorfman as Max Hirsch
10. Moira Driscoll as Beach Matron
11. Josie and Lucy Gallina as Emily Schroeder
12. Kevin Henderson as Dr Carl Surran
13. Heather Lind as Katy

14. Andrew MacLarty as Elevator operator
15. Edward McGinty as Alderman Al Boyd
16. Declan and Rory McTigue as Teddy Schroeder
17. Spencer Moses as Ukulele player
18. Cliff Moylan as Sheriff's deputy
19. Brady and Connor Noon as Tommy Darmody
20. Thomas Philip O'Neill as Dick Halsey
21. Charlie Plummer as Michael Thompson
22. Christiane Seidel as Sigrid
23. Kristen Sieh as Louise
24. Nisi Sturgis as June Thompson
25. Samuel Taylor as Paddy Ryan

26. David L. Townsend as Arthur Lasch
27. Peter Van Wagner as Isaac Ginsburg
28. Brandon Zumsteg as Brian Thompson
29. Drew Humphrey as Dancer 01
30. Kathryn Avery as Dancer 02
31. Jennifer Bowles as Dancer 03
32. Mark Manley as Dancer 04
33. Dieter Riesle as Dancer 05
34. Frank Root as Dancer 06
35. Douglas Sheppard as Dancer 07
36. Felicity Stiverson as Dancer 08
37. Emily Tyra as Dancer 09
38. William Ward as Dancer 10


  1. Matthew Broadley as Patrick Thompson
  2. Unknown as Abigail Van Alden


  1. Guido Diero - "Oh, Those Days" plays as Capone talk to Jimmy on the phone and Torrio tells Capone to keep him out of what he's doing.
  2. Rae Eleanor Ball - "Venetian Moon" plays as Sigrid comes home to Van Alden for the first time.
  3. Christiane Seidel - "Trollmors Voggesang" sung by Sigrid while taking care for Abigail.
  4. Belgian Band Organ - "Yellow Rose of Texas" plays as Nucky is having a meeting with Esther Randolph and Clifford Lathrop.
  5. Belgian Band Organ - "Onward Christian Soldiers" plays as Nucky is having a meeting with Esther Randolph and Clifford Lathrop.
  6. Jim Frier - "Trombone Noodling" plays as Louise's is causing disturbance on the beach and Angela pays her fine.
  7. Glorius Regina Music Box - "Under the Double Eagle" plays as Louise's causing disturbance on the beach and Angela pays her fine.
  8. Alma Gluck - "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" plays as Margaret and Nucky discuss greed, their future and signs from god.
  9. Vienna Instrumental Quartet - "In Vienna" plays as Nucky arrives at the armory and the surplus machine guns are unloaded by the Nationa Guard.
  10. Wurlitzer 157 - "Skater's Waltz" plays as Van alden and Sawicki understand each other.
  11. Spencer Moses - "Big Bad Bill(Is Sweet William Now)"
  12. Helen Louis and Frank Ferera - "Hapa Haole Hula Girl" plays as Angela & Louise meet Arther Lash.
  13. Spencer Moses - "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" plays as Angela & Louise kiss.
  14. Neapolitan Trio - "Happy Days" plays as Nucky asks Teddy and Emily to call him dad.
  15. Christiane Seidel - "Trollmors Voggesang" plays as Van Alden comes home and finds Sigrid singing to Abigail, pulls out a pouch of money from his pants.
  16. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" plays as Nucky wants Chalky to call a city-wide African-American strike.
  17. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "The Sheik of Araby" plays as A large crowd dances to Raucous jazz. Neary reads from the paper as they celebrate their conquer of Atlantic City.
  18. Leon Redbone accompanied by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "The Sheik of Araby" plays as Margaret rocks a feverish, crying Emily, end credits.

Memorable Quotes[]

  • "I make my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make 20 bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months in fact, when I don't make any bet at all because there is simply no play. So I wait, plan, marshal my resources, and when I finally see my opportunity and there is a bet to make... I bet it all." (Arnold Rothstein)


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