Season Two Premiere. Nucky is rocked by an insurrection among his inner circle; Chalky's life and livelihood are threatened by a vicious KKK attack; Margaret copes with her son's disciplinary problems; Angela vies with Gillian for Jimmy's affections.
Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is rocked by an insurrection among his inner circle; Chalky’s (Michael Kenneth Williams) life and livelihood are threatened by a vicious KKK attack; Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) copes with her son’s (Rory and Declan McTigue) disciplinary problems; Angela (Aleksa Palladino) vies with Gillian (Gretchen Mol) for Jimmy’s (Michael Pitt) affections at home; Van Alden (Michael Shannon) shows his wife Rose (Enid Graham) around town as an anniversary present.
Concerned about losing his grip on Atlantic City, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) deliberates a countermove while trying to learn who in his inner circle betrayed him. As agents scour the Treasurer’s office for incriminating evidence, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) strikes a pose from the past to help Nucky avoid further trouble in the present. In New York, Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) puts Jimmy (Michael Pitt) on hold, but Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef) and Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) loom as possible trading partners. Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) is badgered in prison by Dunn Purnsley (Erik LaRay Harvey), a jailmate with an ax to grind; Owen Sleater (Ted Rooney), an advance man for Irish nationalist John McGarrigle (Ted Rooney), scouts the Thompson residence; the Commodore (Dabney Coleman) introduces Eli (Shea Whigham) to “the men who made this city.”
With the Commodore using his Coast Guard connections to put the squeeze on Atlantic City’s liquor shipments, Nucky reaches out to Washington’s new Attorney General, Harry Daugherty (Christopher McDonald), to return a political favor. In an effort to prove his worth, Owen intervenes on a delivery intended for struggling casino operator Lolly Steinman (Danny Burstein). Two sets of dinner guests clash at Babette’s; Margaret sheds her pretense with Katy (Heather Lind) and the household staff; Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) chafes at her enforced loneliness.
At a birthday party for Mayor Bader (Kevin O’Rourke), Nucky’s attorney has a legal brainstorm that could turn the tide in Nucky’s election-rigging case. Facing a local liquor surplus, Jimmy and Mickey (Paul Sparks) 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 (Michael Shannon) agents target Mickey’s warehouse; Richard (Jack Huston) lets down his guard in the name of art; Gillian (Gretchen Mol) recalls her “first time” with the Commodore.
After paying lip service to his enemies, Nucky introduces a surprise guest speaker at a Memorial Day dedication for war veterans. With his options dwindling, Eli questions his allegiances, but ends up digging himself a deeper hole. Nucky gets a new lawyer; Jimmy is taught a painful lesson by a Commodore crony; Richard goes hunting deep in the forest.
Nucky orchestrates a risky liquor delivery in Philadelphia; Attorney General Daugherty faces a quandary that could complicate Nucky’s case; Jimmy finds a new mentor in Leander Whitlock (Dominic Chianese), the Commodore’s longtime lawyer; Margaret confesses her sins; Lucy struggles in solitude, while Van Alden wrestles with his conscience.
While Nucky (Steve Buscemi) enlists heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey (Devin Harjes) to promote the wireless broadcast of his upcoming fight, Jimmy (Michael Pitt) faces a decision that could shape the future of Atlantic City. Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) travels to Brooklyn for a bittersweet reunion with the family she left behind in Ireland. Irked by the arrival of Daugherty’s (Christopher McDonald) new federal prosecutor, Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson), Nelson (Michael Shannon) weighs his options as his personal and professional problems converge. Badly in need of support, Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) visits an old flame for a handout. Owen (Charlie Cox) settles one score, and sets his sights on a new conquest.
In the wake of a personal loss, Nucky solicits advice on his political situation from Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), while Eli (Shea Whigham) remains suspicious of his brother’s actions. Nucky finds himself in the unfamiliar position of showing gratitude toward a federal agent; Angela (Aleksa Palladino) meets a new friend at the beach, and eavesdrops on her husband’s treachery; Nelson gets a nanny; Nucky approaches Owen with an overseas proposition; Jimmy flexes his muscles, at Mickey Doyle’s (Paul Sparks) expense.
Arriving in Belfast, Nucky and Owen meet with IRA leaders with a barter proposition. Meanwhile, in Atlantic City, Jimmy and his partners broker a deal with George Remus (Glenn Fleshler) for his “medicinal” alcohol before taking a break to see/hear the Dempsey fight. Margaret frets when Emily’s (Josie and Lucy Gallina) illness takes a turn for the worse; Dunn Purnsley (Erik LaRay Harvey) orchestrates a worker’s strike at the Ritz; Waxey Gordon (Nick Sandow) takes action against Manny Horvitz (William Forsythe) in Philadelphia; Randolph and Clifford Lathrop (Curt Bouril) grill Halloran about Nucky’s past.
Undercut by Nucky, who has a new source for alcohol, Jimmy and his partners look to cultivate a new revenue stream in Atlantic City. With the peak tourist season approaching, the Commodore’s (Dabney Coleman) crew faces a choice in dealing with the city’s striking workers: negotiate or fight back. Fearing that sin has led to misfortune, Margaret approaches Father Brennan (Michael Cumpsty) with an “act of devotion.” Nucky gets a new lawyer; Van Alden faces an uncertain future; Manny Horvitz takes exception to a debt payment.
With Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) pondering the consequences of sin, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) prepares her for a worst-case scenario as Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson) plays out her trump cards. Jimmy (Michael Pitt) revisits his college days with Angela (Aleksa Palladino) and Gillian (Gretchen Mol); Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) chafes at sharing his liquor profits; Eli (Shea Whigham) refuses to cop a plea. Nelson’s (Michael Shannon) past comes back to haunt him, tipping the scale in Nucky’s favor.
With Nucky’s trial looming, Jimmy looks to make amends. After weighing an offer from Esther Randolph, Margaret makes a decision that will change the course of her future – and Nucky’s.