Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014)
3 user 4 critic

Friendless Child 

In 1897 Nucky's family tries to help the young Gillian and in 1931 his forces try to resist an ambitious Luciano.


Allen Coulter


Terence Winter (created by), Riccardo DiLoreto | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Buscemi ... Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson
Kelly Macdonald ... Margaret Thompson
Michael Shannon ... Nelson Van Alden (credit only)
Shea Whigham ... Elias 'Eli' Thompson
Stephen Graham ... Al Capone (credit only)
Vincent Piazza ... Lucky Luciano
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Chalky White (credit only)
Paul Sparks ... Mickey Doyle
Jeffrey Wright ... Valentin Narcisse (credit only)
Ben Rosenfield ... Willie Thompson
Gretchen Mol ... Gillian Darmody
Anatol Yusef ... Meyer Lansky
Marc Pickering ... Deputy Sheriff Enoch Thompson
Boris McGiver ... Sheriff Jacob Lindsay
John Ellison Conlee ... Commodore Louis Kaestner


Nucky's war with Luciano draws in Willie and Eli as Nucky tries to maintain his control in Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Maranzano's tenure as boss is nearing the end; Gillian sends a letter from the hospital; and in 1897, a young Nucky quarrels with Mabel about a runaway from Trenton and does a favor for the Commodore.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | History


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The book that young Gillian Darmody reads from is "Round the World with Nellie Bly", by Elizabeth Jane Cochran (writing under her pseudonym). The book details Bly's solo 72 day journey around the world, having with her only a single dress, overcoat, a change of underwear and some £200. She completed the journey and it brought her world fame and admiration. This is also the only book young Gillian owns, and may help to shine some light on why when we first meet her, she displays a very fierce, independent attitude. See more »


The sound of a train in the background features an air horn. In the 1930s it would have been a shrill steam whistle. See more »


Benny Siegel: Hey, Talia, I think I left my tongue down there.
See more »


Love Me or Leave Me
Written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn
Performed by Regina Spektor accompanied by Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks
See more »

User Reviews

Rushed story lines affecting impact, but still great
20 October 2014 | by TheLeyLegendSee all my reviews

Without giving away any spoilers, this episode was really good. It had some shocks, although held itself together pretty well- if that makes sense. It's not easy to find much to criticize about this episode, but I'll give it a go.

From my perspective, it may have lacked something. Don't get me wrong, a lot happened... but again, the big events would have played out nicer if the season wasn't cut to 8 episodes. It seems a bit like the secondary story lines (e.g. Gillian or Margaret to name a few) have had a greater impact due to a longer build up (throughout the season) to any upcoming resolution; this is generally how most conventional dramas play out. Not to mention their stories seems more... 'credible', because the audience is already used to these characters having less screen time.

However, the rushed nature of the main characters' story lines are something we as the audience have had to get used to this season. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the creators decided to include Nucky's childhood as a segment, to add more credibility to Nucky's rushed story.

I'm afraid the speedy shift in the playing out of the dominant stories will have implications leading into next weeks finale; I hope nothing is skimmed over or forgotten. If the finale next week wraps everything up in a well-paced, dramatic and meaningful way, I'll be happy.

All up, there was not much else to fault. And I won't discuss the much-more-frequent positives of the episode, otherwise I'll end up rambling about what happens (= spoilers). I will say however that it had plenty of symbolic moments which you just can't miss. Hope you enjoy!

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Release Date:

19 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color | Black and White (one scene)

Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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