|Season 2, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 25, 2011|
|Written by||Terence Winter|
|Directed by||Tim Van Patten|
"A Return to Normalcy"
"21" is the premiere episode of the second season of Boardwalk Empire, and the 13th episode overall. It was written by executive producer and show runner Terence Winter and directed by executive producer Tim Van Patten. It originally aired on 25 September 2011.
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 at home; Van Alden shows his wife Rose around town as an anniversary present. Written by HBO Publicity.
- Main article: 21 recap
A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.
First Appearances Edit
- George Remus, former lawyer and aspiring bootlegger established in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Leander Cephas Whitlock, The Commodore's long time lawyer.
- Lenore White, wife of Chalky White.
- Lester White, son of Chalky White.
- Stan Sawicki, a Prohibition Agent working under Van Alden's supervision.
- Clarkson, another "prohi" working for Van Alden.
- Solomon Bishop, Deputy US Attorney for the State of New Jersey.
- Katy, Nucky and Margaret's housemaid.
- Sister Bernice, a nun and school teacher to Teddy Schroeder.
- Walker, an employee of Chalky White, his throat cut by Klansmen.
- Orville, another employee of Chalky, shot by Klansmen.
- Two more of Chalky's men, also shot by Klansmen.
- Herman Dacus, a Klansman, shot in retaliation by Chalky White.
- Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson
- Michael Pitt as James "Jimmy" Darmody
- Kelly MacDonald as Margaret Schroeder
- Michael Shannon as Agent Nelson Van Alden
- Shea Whigham as Sheriff Elias "Eli" Thompson
- Aleksa Palladino as Angela Darmody
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein (credit only)
- Stephen Graham as Al Capone
- Vincent Piazza as Lucky Luciano (credit only)
- Paz de la Huerta as Lucille "Lucy" Danziger
- Michael K. Williams as Albert "Chalky" White
- Paul Sparks as Mickey Doyle
- Jack Huston as Richard Harrow
- Anthony Laciura as Edward "Eddie" Kessler
- with Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody
- and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner
- Dominic Chianese as Leander Cephas Whitlock
- Greg Antonacci as Johnny Torrio
- Enid Graham as Rose Van Alden
- Robert Clohessy as Ward Boss Jim Neary
- William Hill as Ward Boss George O'Neill
- Kevin O'Rourke as Mayor Edward Bader
- Victor Verhaeghe as Ward Boss Damien Fleming
- Glenn Fleshler as George Remus
- Bill Sage as Solomon Bishop
- Joseph Aniska as Agent Sawicki
- Matty Blake as State Trooper
- John Bolton as Carl Switzer
- Joel Brady as Agent Clarkson
- Rony Clanton as Langston
- Justiin A. Davis as Lester White
- Lucy and Josie Gallina as Emily Schroeder
- Marceline Hugot as Sister Bernice
- John Keating as Ernie Moran
- Heather Lind as Katy
- Eddie Manley as John Wright
- Edward McGinty as Ward Boss Boyd
- Rory and Declan McTigue as Teddy Schroeder
- Tracy Lynn Middendorf as Babette
- Brady and Connor Noon as Tommy Darmody
- Franklin Ojeda Smith as Deacon Lemuel Cuffy
- Natalie Wachen as Lenore White
- Kathryn Avery as Dancer 1
- Leslie Flesner as Dancer 2
- Kate Harpootlian as Dancer 3
- Sarah Skogland as Dancer 4
- Emily Tyra as Dancer 5
- Opening Scene Montage - "After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It", by Irving Berlin. Performed by Kathy Brier.
- Unknown - "Down Where the Swanee River Flows", by Albert von Tilzer. Performed by Al Jolson.
- Richard's Scrapbook Scene - "Is There Still Room for Me 'Neath the Old Apple Tree?", by Maurice Abrahams, Lew Brown and Edgar Leslie. Performed by the Peerless Quartet.
The second season premiere was watched by 2.912 million viewers, down 39% from the pilot and down 12% from its first season finale.
IGN gave the episode a score of 9 out of 10, saying that "... Season 1's finale promised a series ready to raise the bar. Judging by this episode, Season 2 looks primed to succeed at satisfying that promise." They continued by praising the "masterfully shot" speech Nucky gives to two different sides of the racial conflict. 
- Nucky (in front of a black church congregation): "Last night, four fine young boys were murdered by men claiming to represent the race of white American Christians. I won't speak the name of this so called organization within this house of God. But I can assure you, as Treasurer of Atlantic County, and more personally, as someone who has always regarded the members of our colored community as his friends, and equals, that neither I, Sheriff Thompson, or any of his men will rest till this hooded cowards are brought to Justice! And a message is sent, loud and clear: That [setting changes to a white church] no one need fear for their safety, or the safety of their wives, children or property on the face of the obstreperous negro. This coloreds need to learn a lesson, and we are going to teach them. With, here I say within these sacred confines, an iron fist."
- While at the funeral of Klansman Herman Dacus (whom Chalky White killed), outside on the porch:
- Jimmy: "An awful waste of a lot of good tablecloths."
- Nucky: "The laundry bills alone...."
- ↑ Gorman, Bill (September 27, 2011). Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Jeff Dunham' Tops Night, As 'Boardwalk Empire' Premiere Drops; + 'Breaking Bad,' 'Sister Wives,' 'Ice Road Truckers' & More. TV by the Numbers.
- ↑ Pirrello, Phil (September 26, 2011). Boardwalk Empire: "21" Review. IGN.
|#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|