boardwalkempire_imageAfter one of Nucky’s closest companions made his exit last week, another one returns. Welcome back, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald)! These recent events seemed to have finally brought Nucky out of cruise control. Same can be said for the show. “The North Star” reminds us what “Boardwalk” is like when it’s firing on all cylinders.

Right away we see how shaken Nucky is after Eddie’s suicide, so shaken that he goes to see Margaret in hopes of comfort before he goes to Florida for business. Things are still awkward between them, and Margaret reemphasizes that she wants nothing to do with Nucky anymore. Nucky doesn’t help his situation when he assures her that a gift for Teddy isn’t some kind of pet – “I wouldn’t put something alive in a box.”

Down in Florida, Nucky, Meyer, and Luciano meet with a new potential business partner, Vincenzo Pertucelli. Luciano knows Pertucelli has connections to Joe Masseria, and gets cold feet. Nucky and Meyer continue with the deal.

Nucky isn’t the only one affected by Eddie’s death. When Eli goes to retrieve a key for Eddie’s safety deposit box with sensitive materials, he discovers Eddie had kids. This rocks Eli, and he realizes how he could suddenly be gone just like Eddie.

It also has an affect on agent Knox, but not emotionally. Now that his informant is gone, Knox must convince the FBI his case is still worth pursuing. Once again donning his rube disguise, he manages to earn the trust of Eli by getting the safety deposit box.

However, Eli and Knox make mistakes in their final moments. Eli reveals too much information regarding Nucky’s operations to Knox when he becomes emotional, but Knox then mistakenly hands him his handkerchief, which has the initials of his real identity on them, something Eli recognizes immediately.

Richard returned back to Atlantic City, at first trying to hide from Julia and Tommy. Though after he is confronted by Julia’s dying father and told that he can’t let his past ruin his future, Richard reconnects with the two. Julia is hesitant to welcome Richard back into her life after how he left last season, but she eventually does.

The main idea of this episode was the characters finding their way “home.” Eli is able to reaffirm the importance of his family while Richard realizes that his true home is Atlantic City, not Wisconsin. Chalky also discovers where he feels most at home, and it is not with his family. Instead, the attraction that has been brewing between him and the Onyx Club’s new singer finally sparks.

Nucky needed a helping hand, or two, from the bar owner Sally to find his way. After a few drinks Nucky opens up about how lost he feels, especially now that Eddie is gone. Sally can’t stand the whining and punches him, getting Nucky so angry they start to wrestle. In their fighting they end up consummating their relationship as well. The next morning, Nucky has found his way back, finishing his business in Florida, and leaving Sally to handle the operations of it. He even lightly shrugs off condolences from Meyer regarding Eddie.

“The North Star” was the season’s best as far as writing goes, and while it didn’t answer a lot of the lingering questions, for the first time it feels like an episode that can stand on its own two feet. Here’s hoping they’ve followed the north star and gotten “Boardwalk” back to what has made it so good in t