"What Does the Bee Do?" is the fourth episode of the second season of Boardwalk Empire, and the 16th episode overall. The episode was written by executive story editor Steve Kornacki and directed by Ed Bianchi. It originally aired on 16 October 2011.
At a birthday party for Mayor Bader, Nucky's attorney has a legal brainstorm that could turn the tide in Nuck's election-rigging case. Facing a local liquor surplus, Jimmy and Mickey head to Philadelphia in search of buyers, while Nucky strikes an unlikely deal to get booze into Atlantic City. Eli frets over the Commodore's ability to lead; Margaret doles out staff bonuses; Chalky is cornered at work and at home; Owen puts his munitions expertise to work; Van Alden's agents target Mickey's warehouse; Richard lets down his guard in the name of art; Gillian recalls her "first time" with the Commodore. (HBO Publicity)
- Main article: What Does the Bee Do? recap
A detailed recap of this episode scene by scene.
- Manny Horvitz, a Philadelphia gangster and kosher butcher.
- Herman Kaufman, Manny Horvitz's lieutenant.
- Maybelle White, Chalky White's elder daughter.
- Adeline White, Chalky White's younger daughter.
- Samuel Crawford, Maybelle's beau.
- Travis Elkins, a cook at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
- Jack Dempsey, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
- Jelly Roll Morton - "The Crave" plays as Micky Doyle shows Jimmy Darmody the overstocked bootlegging warehouse.
- Bela Drahos, Flute; Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia - Flute Concerto in F Major Op 10 No 1 RV 433, "La Tempesta Da Mere" plays as Gillian dances for The Commodore, raising his blood pressure to dangerous levels.
- Helen Louise and Frank Ferera - Hawaiian Hula Medley plays as Angela Darmody asks Richard Harrow if he will pose for her to sketch him.
- Butch Thompson - Butcher of Greenwich plays as Nucky tells Eddie his plans for Mayor Bader's birthday party.
- The Gypsy Queen - "American Patrol" plays as Nucky and Rothstein make arrangements to ship liquor into Philadelphia.
- APM Studio Musician - "Birthday Cheer" plays as Jack Dempsey signs autographs for the crowd outside the Ritz Carlton.
- Actor Anthoy Laciuria sings "Ja das Schreiben und dad Lesen" from der Ziegerunerbaron accompanied by Peter Yarin on the piano during Mayor Bader's birthday party.
- All Star Trio - "You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet" plays as Ginsburg explains to Nucky how he can end his current legal troubles.
- Kitty Berger - "The Ring & The Rose" plays as Angela Darmody draws her second portrait of Richard Harrow.
- APM Studio Musician - "Old Jazz Movies" plays as Rothstein orders Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky to oversee the transportation of liquor from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.
- Campbell, Burr & Oakland - "Everything Reminds Me of That Old Sweetheart of Mine" plays as Nucky explains the newspaper story about his legal troubles to Margaret.
- Peter Yarin - "Curious Story" plays over the final montage of Margaret hiding cash in her jewellery box and Chalky's family enjoying Lester's piano playing while Chalky sits outside, whittling.
- Knickerbocker Quartet - "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming" plays as Gillian Darmody takes her revenge on The Commodore and the end credits roll.
The episode was watched by 2.546 million viewers. It fell two tenths, to 1.0 million adults 18-49 rating.
IGN gave the episode a score of 8.5 out of 10, saying that it "effortlessly hits that sweet spot between advancing the plot while developing characters, much in the same way that the Season 2 premiere did." 
- Gillian Darmody: "Do you know what happened to the shepherd who spied on the virginal Diana? She turned him into a stag. He tried to run away, but his own hounds torn him to pieces."
- Gillian Darmody: "I didn't spend my life getting groped by a bunch of drunks to wind up in a goddamn poorhouse."
- Eli Thompson (to Gillian): "Jimmy and you. That's exactly... the two of you, and... him?! None of that is normal. It never was!"
- Chalky White: "This is my house! And my 'country ways' put the food on this goddamn table!"
- Gillian Darmody (to The Commodore, after being paralyzed by a stroke): "Do you remember when we met? I'll never forget your smile. Jimmy sometimes, he has it. I look at him and I see you. That first night, how you plied me with wine... Why, I'd never felt such a sensation. We were downstairs. And I'd fallen asleep on the divan. You carried me to the bedroom, went to say good night to your guests. And I laid there in bed, dreaming of the waves. I'd been on the beach that day. Suddenly I felt a crushing feeling. I couldn't breathe. I opened my eyes to find you atop me. Your breath smelling of whiskey and tobacco. One hand covering my mouth and the other groping at me. Do you remember that? Still, sometimes when I sleep, it wakes me with a start. Do you remember that night? (Gillian slaps The Commodore) I asked you a question." (Gillian slaps him again, repeatedly)
- Seidman, Robert (October 18, 2011). Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Doubles NLCS + NJ Housewives, 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Talking Dead,' 'Dexter' & Much More. TV by the Numbers.
- Pirrello, Phil (October 17, 2011). Boardwalk Empire: "What Does the Bee Do?" Review. IGN.
- "What Does the Bee Do?" at HBO.com
- "What Does the Bee Do?" at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- "What Does the Bee Do?" at TV.com
- "What Does the Bee Do?" at Wikipedia
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