After going home to find his wife had committed suicide, Corky holds a traditional Irish wake with friends and family to honor her death. During St. Patrick’s Day, as festivals ensue throughout Five Points in celebration, Corky solemnly builds his wife’s coffin and prepares for the wake while Elizabeth and Robert prepare for Kennedy’s long-awaited execution. When Corky speaks to the priest about burying his Ellen near Maggie so she can be with her daughter, the priest informs him that it’s simply not possible due to the mortal sin she committed in killing herself. Understanding Corky’s wishes, however, he goes on to hint to Corky that he and the others couldn’t possibly know or say a thing if he should cremate his wife and spread her ashes on Maggie’s grave. Satisfied with this idea, Corky then heads to Matthew’s home to ask Sara to help him choose a dress for her wake where he finds Matthew pouring over some maps determining how the water that had affected so many people had been contaminated. When Corky arrives and finds he is unable to recall, not even sure if he ever knew, Ellen’s favorite color, Sara’s mother steps in and offers to take care of the preparations. I have to say, Corky’s lack of knowledge about Ellen’s favorite color just gives a further glimpse into the state of their marriage. It may not be an extremely big thing, but it says enough. Corky may be a great detective but he definitely has some serious character defects, especially when it comes to his private life. There is no denying that.
Later on, at the wake, Robert and Elizabeth arrive to pay their respects and while Francis mourns outside realizing the impropriety of entering at that moment, perhaps, Corky thanks them for their condolences and Robert and Elizabeth return home. Once there Robert confesses that he uses opium to stave off the idea of an “alternative ending” before he parts with her to meet with a major about the preparations for Kennedy’s execution. When he arrives, however, he discovers that Kennedy, who had earlier set fire to his cell and used the distraction to kill a guard, has escaped. I just have to take a moment to ask whose father or grandfather got the part as the major? The lines were a bit stiff and punchy, but at the same time he was almost cute in his enthusiasm in delivering them, so I definitely must forgive the kindly old gent for his acting skills. It was a short moment, but it was cute, too! After learning of Kennedy’s escape, Robert rushes home as Elizabeth prepares a drink and heads to her bedroom where the escaped convict lies in wait. Really? You’ve escaped from prison and the first thing you do is go to the home of the man who got you locked up and the woman who has flat-out told you she wants nothing more to do with you in favor of that man? Really? That was smart. He surprises her and when she talks down to him and refuses to join him, he attempts to force himself on her. Sneaky and conniving as always, she stops him by tricking him into believing she intends to join him, so they go to Robert’s study in search of funds for their trip. While there, Robert arrives home and hears them in the study. He approaches Kennedy and cordially offers him a drink while hinting to Elizabeth to add her secret booby stash of opium to Kennedy’s drink. She understands and does this as Kennedy holds a gun on Robert. After giving him the drink, which he downs in one gulp, Kennedy demands money from Robert, which Robert produces for him. Kennedy opens up the box after taking the key from Robert, but as he looks at the money, the drugs take their effect and he falls to the floor shooting the gun as he does. No one is hit and Robert takes the gun and knocks him out. That night Kennedy is delivered successfully to his execution and hung before an audience including Robert, Elizabeth and Norbert.
Back at the wake, Corky takes a moment to escape for a bit and happens upon Eva as she’s leaving a condolence basket on his step. He talks to her and she admits that she feels responsible as having had the opportunity to set Ellen straight about Eva’s pregnancy, she didn’t. Instead she let Ellen believe that Corky could be the father of Eva’s baby despite the timing being all off. Curious! I’m kind of glad to know it’s not his. I think that would be a bit cliché, but it does make you wonder whose it could be. Personally, I’m leaning towards Donovan. Corky returns to the wake and reminisces with Andrew until Andrew’s wife tells Corky that Ellen “is stunning.” In one of the funnier moments of the show, Andrew reprimands her for saying so since she’s dead and he doesn’t understand how someone can be beautiful when they’re dead and she says it about everyone, even the ugly ones. I was laughing loud enough that I had to pause the show and explain to my mom why I had just burst out laughing at my computer.
Meanwhile, Donovan works his way up in the world through blackmail, proposals and evil doings, perhaps he is a villain carefully disguised as an amiable Irishman after all… After meeting with a man (the reporter from earlier this season, perhaps, though I can’t remember) about getting the bid approval for his aqueducts project, the man inquires about his length of time as Donovan’s pawn. At this point, Donovan produces some whores for him and calls their collusion mutually beneficial. Later, Norbert Morehouse meets with Donovan and asks about his past and his luck in business considering his opponent’s, Bartlett’s, death and another man’s silence. Could this mean that Donovan was, in fact, behind Bartlett’s death all along and that’s the reason he wanted Corky to stop investigating? What will come of that, I wonder… Norbert then goes on to point out that Donovan’s plans will never work as long as Lansing doesn’t withdraw his bid. Donovan boasts of his ability to “adjust negotiation style if required.” Demonstrating this tactic while Donovan and Norbert meet, Goon Francis pours a flammable liquid on Lansing while he sleeps and threatens to burn him alive unless he signs the document withdrawing his bid. Pathetically, Lansing does so after begging for his life and Donovan gets a step closer to his aqueducts.
As Donovan sneaks around behind-the-scenes and Francis plays goon, Corky receives an unexpected visit from Annie who, after hearing about Ellen’s death, came to pay her respects. She informs him that she’s found a nice family to live with and has taken his name as her own, telling the family he’s her father. Wouldn’t that make them wonder why she’s not with him? After some general inquiries, Annie takes her leave and thanks Corky for never giving up on her. And with that, I must admit, I like this version of Annie better. The crazy, psycho, kleptomaniac Annie annoyed the hell out of me, but this Annie was not only tolerable, but also rather likable. I daresay if she had been anything like this while with Corky, I would have preferred her to stay instead of being happy when she left.
At this point, with everyone gone, Corky continues sitting up with his wife when Francis enters. He tells Corky that he loved Ellen and continues to love her as well as Corky. He admits that he loves Corky “more than any brother he ever could have had” and tells him that he “would kill or die for” him if he just asks. Corky admits that he knows and Francis bids a final farewell to Ellen as he sings at her side and later helps Corky cremate her. Ellen’s death is tragic and sad, but I hope with her death these two can finally begin to really mend their friendship and be what they were in the first season again! Though, admittedly, if it were me, I wouldn’t have anything to do with Francis ever again. I hold grudges really well and to quote one of my favorite books “my good opinion once lost is lost forever.” (Pride and Prejudice)
Meanwhile, Matthew is almost in over his head with the illness affecting so many people. After continuously trying to save lives, he realizes their best option lies in blood transfusions and asks Captain Sullivan for young coppers to help out. Sullivan initially refuses due to the racism of the day, but after being reminded of Matthew’s bravery in saving Sullivan’s life, he agrees to spare a few men for him. The coppers go through the blood transfusions and though the transfusions seem to be working, a young girl, Hazel Turner, is overtaken by the illness and dies. Matthew is struck with this death perhaps more so by her father’s insults and determines that he won’t let another Hazel Turner lose her life to this illness. He determines to chronicle everything and while doing so, Sara and her mother, who is not only having trouble dealing with her new life, but understanding the so-called freedom they cherish in such squalor, head home despite Sara’s mother’s misgivings on the point of the work.