Jimmy is ambushed by Van Alden
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Brad Anderson|
|Written by||Steve Kornacki|
|Original air date||November 14, 2010|
|Running time||52 minutes|
"Belle Femme" is the ninth episode of the first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire, which originally aired on November 14, 2010. It was written by staff writer Steve Kornacki and directed by Brad Anderson.
Jimmy returns from Chicago to help Nucky deal with the D'Alessio brothers while Van Alden attempts to arrest Jimmy for the shootings in the woods.
A wounded Eli identifies the D'Alessio brothers as the culprits in the casino robbery. Margaret meets Nan, whom Nucky has brought along from Chicago. Nan explains how she and Senator Harding met and how, in order for him to win the upcoming presidential election, he cannot support her and their child. The two women go to Madame Jeunet's to buy a dress for Nan. Madame Jeunet asks Margaret to persuade Nucky to reduce the exorbitant protection money he charges. At first, Margaret broaches the issue directly, but this only angers Nucky. Taking a different tack, she then tells Nucky she is worried about not looking good for him if Jeunet leaves. This works, and when Jeunet gratefully offers Margaret a dress for her daughter, Margaret instead uses her newly found influence to get a more expensive dress for herself.
Nucky comes to work and is surprised to see Jimmy, who agrees to Nucky's offer on the condition that Nucky also employ Richard and keep their work a secret. Nucky shows Jimmy mugshots of the D'Alessio brothers, implying that he wants them dead; Jimmy notes that Nucky still avoids giving such orders directly. In New York, Rothstein plots to seize control of Atlantic City and its seaborne trade in high-quality alcohol. He meets the D'Alessios and hires them to kill Nucky. To hedge his "bet" on the hit, Rothstein has his new business partners sign life insurance policies with himself as the beneficiary.
Angela drinks at home with Robert and Mary Dittrich. Robert tries to initiate a threesome with Angela and Mary, but the Dittrichs are forced to leave when Jimmy arrives unexpectedly. Angela says she never received his telegram. Jimmy forcefully kisses Angela and the two eventually have sex on the kitchen table. The next morning, Jimmy announces that with his new job, they can and should have a second child. Angela later visits the Dittrich studio, where Robert coolly informs her that his art dealer friend is no longer interested in her work, which he derides as "a cheap imitation of Mary Cassatt".
Van Alden is furious at his partner, Agent Eric Sebso, for misplacing Jimmy's telegram to Nucky, which would have enabled them to arrest Jimmy as he arrived from Chicago. Van Alden plans to use Jimmy's guilt in the truck heist to coerce his testimony against Nucky. Jimmy visits Gillian, finding she has Lucky in bed. Before Jimmy can take Lucky away, Van Alden arrives to arrest Jimmy. He denies involvement in the heist, but in jail sees his old accomplice Billy Winslow, whom he thinks may have confessed. Nucky comes to Jimmy's cell and learns of Rothstein's alliance with the D'Alessios. He refuses to buy Jimmy a lawyer but promises to help in another way. Sebso convinces Van Alden to let him take away Winslow, who has indeed confessed. Along the way, Sebso reveals his own corruption, killing Winslow and wounding himself to fake an escape attempt.
Nucky meets with the mayor and Deputy Halloran, Eli's second-in-command, who informs Nucky that Eli's recovery has been delayed for another month and asks to be appointed acting sheriff. When Nucky approves, Halloran further suggests that he should replace Eli permanently in the coming election, citing his poor health and growing public awareness of his corruption. The Commodore recommends that Eli and the mayor be dropped from the ballot, warning Nucky the election will be tough. Nucky and Margaret dine at Babette's with local businessman Edward L. Bader and his wife. Nucky asks Bader to run for mayor, explaining that he is dropping his support for the weak incumbent, Harry Bacharach. Out on the Boardwalk after dinner, Nucky and Margaret are ambushed by an assassin. Nucky's butler Eddie tackles the shooter, who hits an innocent woman instead. The assassin flees, although Eddie shoots him in the leg.
IGN gave the episode a score of 9 calling it "Outstanding" saying "I've never chatted about any television series around a watercooler. But if I lived anywhere near a time when that really happened, pretty sure Boardwalk Empire's "Belle Femme" would be the topic of discussion. And if you're one of the few out there not watching, then you're missing out on some great conversation."
The A.V. Club rated the episode with a B+.
"Belle Femme" slipped back to a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating and had a total of 2.984 million viewers.