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Main article: What Does the Bee Do?

This recap of "What Does the Bee Do?" features a detailed section on each scene of the episode.

Scene 1[]

The episode opens at night in one of Mickey Doyle's warehouses, loaded with cases of liquor retrieved by the Coast Guard when they boarded Bill McCoy's ships last episode. Jimmy Darmody notes that it is near impossible moving inside and suggests Doyle to distribute the load in other warehouses. He replies, however, that all of them in ten miles around are as loaded as this one. Jimmy then commands Doyle to expand them to eleven miles, and after teasing Doyle for his stupidity ("If you had a brain, youd'be dangerous") he leaves in a car with Richard Harrow.

Scene 2[]


Gillian performing as the goddess Diana.

Gillian performs a surprise private burlesque number for The Commodore, pretending to be Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the Moon, hunting, and chastity, who turned a hunter that had dared to see her naked into a stag making his own dogs tear him to pieces. As Gillian dances, the two discuss how the Commodore never came to the Cafe Beaux Arts to see her perform. He says that it was because he never liked to see her being stared at by other men. Gillian responds that he could have married her, making it unnecessary for her to perform in order to feed herself and her son. The Commodore brushes this off, saying he had a city to run. Gillian claims that she understands that now and she always did. The Commodore lustfully insists that she come have sex with him, but as Gillian strips down, he suffers a stroke and is paralyzed.

Scene 3[]

What does the bee do

Emily Schroeder performs the poem from which the episode takes its title.

Margaret, Teddy, Katy and Lillian hear Emily sing a children's song about the roles of members in the family (the titular What Does the Bee Do?) before breakfast the next day. Nucky arrives and tells them that he will spend the whole day outside attending Mayor Edward Bader's birthday; he has also made Owen Sleater his new driver. As the others leave, Margaret says that she finds Owen a bit impertinent. Nucky shrugs and hands her some extra cash for a raise in the house staff's pay. Margaret finds it inapropiate on account of Nucky's legal problems and says that the servants likely steal from them anyway, since "it is what service does". Nucky argues back that it is a mere $2 rise: it makes no difference to them but it is a windfall for the service, and that it is better to have them happy precisely now that dire times are coming. Margaret comments that when she was a maid back in Ireland she never got a raise.

Scene 4[]

Chalky is having breakfast at home with his family for the first time in months. His youngest daughter, Adeline, asks him to check her homework, unaware of her father's illiteracy. The eldest son, Lester, scoffs at the idea, implying that he does know his father's secret, which in turn earns him a caution from his mother Lenore, but Chalky merely brushes it off. Finally, Chalky's other daughter Maybelle asks her mother if she told Chalky that they had invited her beau Samuel Crawford to dine with them the next day. She didn't, but she excuses herself since she did tell him that Maybelle wanted to invite Samuel back when Chalky was in jail. Chalky gives his permission and hopes that they eat his favorite dish, hopin' john, at the dinner table.

Scene 5[]

Angela is hanging one of her paintings on the wall when Richard arrives. Richard asks for Jimmy; Angela tells him that he left during the night after getting a phone call from his mother and that she though that Richard was with him. Angela confides Richard that Jimmy never tells her anything and that his dispute with Nucky, whatever it is, has translated into Nucky's being cold to her as well. After seeing the painting (which Angela identifies as her "feeble attempt at Expresionism"), Richard recalls an artist's work that he saw while on leave in Paris during World War I, consisting of empty cityscapes with no people. Angela identifies that artist as Giorgio de Chirico and tells Richard that he also draws human figures that look like mannequins. She then asks Richard if he'd ever pose for an artist and he says no, but that he himself used to draw when he was a child, finding it very relaxing.

Scene 6[]

The Commodore post stroke

The Commodore after his stroke.

Dr. Carl Surran examines the Commodore and tells Jimmy and Eli Thompson that he has suffered an apoplexy and that his entire right side is paralyzed. Gillian completes the information adding that he can eat, but not speak. Surran asks Gillian if the Commodore was somehow overexcited when he had the attack and she lies saying that she found him that way. Jimmy suggests putting him on a hospital but Gillian refuses, saying that "no one can care for him like his family". The Commodore then tries to talk to Eli, but all he can say is "cock" and "fuck".

Eli panicks. He thinks that they have nothing to do without the Commodore's money and connections and mentions that they already owe $70,000 to his allies. Gillian unsuccessfully tries to calm him saying that Jimmy will take care of everything, now as commander in chief. After Eli leaves, Jimmy comments that they should have not let him see the Commodore in that state. Gillian says that it's a hard time for the two and kisses her son in the lips.

Scene 7[]

Nucky, Eddie, Ward Boss Fleming and Bill McCoy go to his suite in the Ritz Carlton Hotel while planning the party for Mayor Bader. Nucky also tells Eddie to get Arnold Rothstein on the phone. Carolyn Rothstein answers it and passes the call to her husband, who is having stomach problems. Nucky tells Rothstein that his importation of alcohol is blockaded by the Coast Guard and that he needs a new port. Rothstein suggests Montauk, in Long Island, but McCoy refuses since it is too far. They eventually settle for a deal in which McCoy will unload liquor for Nucky in Philadelphia, giving a cut of 20% to Arnold Rothstein and another 20% to Rothstein's ally in Philly, Waxey Gordon. The alcohol will then be moved to Atlantic City under the supervision of Lucky Luciano.

Scene 8[]

Council meeting 1

Henny Walker confronts Chalky.

Chalky meets at Church with Reverend Lemuel Cuffy, Wilfred and other members of the town's African-American community. An old woman, Mrs. Mayhew, asks him for help her with a couple of noisy neighbours. He also hears Travis Elkins, a cook at the Ritz Carlton that complains about extended shifts, low wages and pay cuts for washing their uniforms and food that is barely edible. Chalky promises to act in both cases. As he prepares to leave, however, he is interrumpted by Henny Walker, who demands justice for her husband that was killed by the Ku Klux Klan while guarding Chalky's liquor warehouse. Chalky says that he'll look after her, but this only prompts three more women to demand a reaction for their dead sons and husbands, while Henny attacks his capacity to lead.

Scene 9[]

Van Alden, Clarkson and Sawicki are counting money confiscated on several raids. Clarkson offers to tag it but Van Alden insists on doing it himself and tells his subordinate to not extra-limit himself. After Van Alden leaves for the W.C. Clarkson quotes an article on the New York Herald saying that over half of Prohibition agents accept bribes or are corrupt in some other way. Sawicki does not want to listen but Clarkson insists, stating his firm belief that Van Alden is corrupt. He saw him driving in a car with Mickey Doyle over a month before and followed them to a barn in the woods where alcohol was obviously being unloaded and processed. When Van Alden comes back, he confronts the two agents over an obscenity that someone written on the toilet wall - "Van Asshole".

Scene 10[]

Contrary to Nucky's orders, Margaret tells Katy, Lillian and Pauline that the extra $2 are for this week only and they will, in fact suffer a pay cut in the future. The women are surprised because they had heard otherwise from Nucky Thompson, but since he said so when he was "in a rather jolly mood", Margaret brushes it off as an empty promise made when drunk.

Scene 11[]


Mickey, Jimmy and Richard arrive at the butcher shop.

Mickey Doyle takes Jimmy and Richard to a butcher shop in Philadelphia. The shop is run by Manny Horvitz, a Jewish gangster that owns several restaurants and speakeasies in the city's Jewish quarter, and they hope to sell him part of their alcohol surplus. Manny finds Jimmy younger than expected but welcomes his attempt to salute him in Yiddish. He also introduces the trio to one of his lieutenants, Herman Kaufman, and talks them about his daughter, wife and beef with Waxey Gordon. Jimmy insists that Manny pay $5,000 in advance, despite the fact that he is a sure business partner. Manny agrees, but also warns Jimmy that his icebox "is filled with pieces of fellas who tried to fuck me over".

Scene 12[]

World heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague arrive at the Ritz Carlton surrounded by an excited mass of fans in demand of autographs. Up on the 8th floor suite, Eddie sings a song in German over the piano while Nucky, his lawyer Isaac Ginsburg, Ernie Moran and Damien Fleming party with prostitutes. Meanwhile, the prostitutes' madam and two others play with and spank a blinded Mayor Bader with his pants down. As the song ends, the prostitutes bring a birthday cake and take down the Mayor's blindfold. "Make a wish", Moran says - "This was my wish", replies Bader. Bader is also surprised when Dempsey and Hague enter the room. The guests discuss the upcoming boxing match against Georges Carpentier, the European champion, and Hague shows off that he built a stadium solely for this fight. Fleming inquires if July Jersey City is a good place for boxing, and Dempsey recognizes that he doesn't like the smell of the sewage treatment plant. Nucky then proposes him to train in Atlantic City, where he will be able to enjoy the beaches and its other natural resources - in reference to the prostitutes present. The madame catches Nucky's comment and corrects him saying that they are not homegrown, but from Philadelphia. As Fleming promptly adds, they were brought in last November to perform sexual favors in exchange for Republican votes. The last comment brings Isaac Ginsburg an idea to get Nucky's case dismished: since moving women for immoral purposes across state lines is a federal offense, the addition of this charge moves Nucky's prosecution to federal level and places it squarely on the hands of Nucky's political ally, the Attorney General Harry Daugherty.

Scene 13[]

Nelson Van Alden is smoking in his office when the phone rings. It's his wife, Rose, who is worried because she called yesterday to his boarding house and was told that her husband no longer lives there. Nelson vehemently denies this.

Scene 14[]

Nucky and Chalky discuss the issue of the four men's dead families in the latter's home. Nucky reassures him that they will be compensated; Chalky responds that they don't want money but revenge against the KKK. Nucky commands him then to not insist on the issue and when Chalky does so Nucky tells him to "be a good boy" and keep calm. Chalky is not the only one that wants to settle scores.

Scene 15[]

Fleming accompanies the madam and two other prostitutes to denounce Nucky for violation of the Mann Act. They don't understand Solomon Bishop's flowery language, but when Fleming puts them on layman's terms ("You fucked people to swing some votes.") they agree. Bishop observes that the charges keep piling on Nucky's case. Fleming answers that he had it coming.

Scene 16[]

Richard Portrait

Richard poses for a portrait - without his mask.

Angela draws a portrait of Richard with a pencil. While posing, he looks at Angela and Jimmy's wedding portrait with his good eye and comments that Jimmy loves her. "There is love, and then there is everything else," she says. Richard apologizes, assuming that he shouldn't talk while posing, but Angela says that it doesn't bother her. She then asks Richard if he's ever been in love. Richard says yes, but not in the way she means. He then talks about his twin sister Emma. They grew up together on a cow farm near Plover, Wisconsin, and were inseparable because there were no other children of their age in the area. She is the person that Richard has loved the most in his life. However, when Richard came back injured from the war he suddenly found that he had no more feelings for her. Once his wounds were healed, he went to Chicago to lose himself and has not talked to her ever since. After finishing the story, Richard takes off his mask. Moved, rather than horrified, Angela takes out a new sheet of paper and begins to sketch Richard without his mask.

Scene 17[]

Owen discusses his experience as a bomb maker while preparing another one for Nucky Thompson. His first bomb killed 12 Black and Tans in a constable station Tipperary, one of whom was decapitated. Afterwards, his group would plant a bomb per week, targeting British lorries, sentries, quarters, post offices, "even a rectory". In all of them he used gelegnite, a product used in quarries and mines that does not leak nitroglycerine like dynamite does. Once finished, Nucky tells Owen that they will plant it on Mickey Doyle's warehouse.

Scene 18[]

In New York City, Lucky Luciano is unsuccessfully trying to convince Meyer Lansky to sell fake wristwatches when they get a surprise visit from Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein tells them about his deal with Nucky Thompson and that he wants them to guard the liquor shipments between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. When they protest, Rothstein tells his pupils that they don’t have a choice, since Joe Masseria is still demanding their deaths.

Scene 19[]


"Where is the Hopin' John?"

Chalky drinks and stares vacantly while his family serves the dinner. Lenore welcomes their rich and very pale guest, Samuel Crawford, and asks him to say grace. He readily accepts, but Chalky ignores him when he tries to hold hands. As Samuel begins his prayer, Chalky interrumpts him repeatedly, asking why there is a duck as main dish rather than the hopin' john he asked for. Samuel complicates matters when he smiles, mistakenly believing that Chalky is joking, and sends Chalky in a rage when Lenore asks him to forgive her husband's "country ways" and he answers with a condescending "I completely understand". The dispute makes Maybelle cry. Samuel offers to leave, but Chalky orders him to stay in his seat, sarcastically saying that it is him, Chalky himself, who should stay out of the house since he is a "field nigger" and does not fit in. Chalky leaves the rest of the people to have dinner without him.

Scene 20[]

Angela finishes Richard's portrait when it is already very dark outside and shows it to him. Richard wants to pay, but Angela says that it is a gift. Jimmy arrives with a sleeping Tommy over his shoulder and says that they rode the Ferris Wheel after visiting Gillian. He also tells Richard that they'll hand Manny Horvitz his alcohol the next day. After Richard leaves, Jimmy tells Angela that he is never sure of what's inside Richard's head, to which Angela rises an eyebrow.

Scene 21[]

Margaret is reading the news that Nucky trucked prostitutes from Philadelphia to win Republican votes in the 1920 Atlantic City local election in the Atlantic City Daily Press. Nucky reassures her that it is a scheme to get the case to the Attorney General and that he had no relations with those women. Margaret then asks for $100 - "clothes for the children", she says. Nucky pays her with no hesitation and she leaves for the bedroom.

Scene 22[]


Clarkson after the explosion.

Clarkson drives a car through the woods to the barn he mentioned. He tells Sawicki that the place is owned by a widow, but run by Mickey Doyle, who was arrested by Van Alden the year before for bootlegging. Sawicki has doubts; he points that the place looks empty and that Van Alden will have their heads if Clarkson is right. Clarkson replies that the place smells of distillery, that checking it is their job as prohibition agents, and that if Van Alden turns out to be corrupt, they will arrest him, not the other way around. The two men get off the car. Clarkson will enter through the front door while Sawicki checks the back. However, just as Clarkson gets near the door, the warehouse blows up in an explosion that hits him directly. Sawicki puts away the fire on his colleague’s clothes and carries him, badly burned, back to the car.

Scene 23[]

Margaret puts the $100 in a secret stash hidden inside the dressing table, following the advice that Annabelle gave her the previous year.

Scene 24[]

Samuel, Lenore and Maybelle enjoy Lester’s talent with the piano. Outside, Chalky works on a stick in the garage.

Scene 25[]

Gillian spoon-feeds The Commodore in his bed until he refuses to eat any more. Annoyed, she puts the food away and takes a drink. She recalls their first meeting, fondly at first, but becoming sadder and sadder as she narrates the encounter:

"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?"

The Commodore attempts to respond, but he can't because of the stroke. Gillian slaps him. As he looks at her in shock she says, "I asked you a question," and continues slapping him repeatedly until the episode ends.