Boardwalk Empire – The Pony
Season Three: Episode Eight
Directed by: Tim Van Patten
Written by: Terence Winter & Howard Korder
The Spin: It was an hour of new alliances made, chapters coming to a close and pawns being put in their place as series creator Terence Winter colluded with the series’ best writer Korder to coauthor an explosive episode where an act of fiery terrorism brought destruction to the boardwalk (and poor Babette’s!) while in real life the modern day Atlantic City licks its wounds from Hurricane Sandy. And wouldya look at that, Gillian (Gretchen Mol) has become the greatest pawnbroker: her mock-Jimmy funeral brought her ownership of the whorehouse, she kicked Luciano to the curb as a partner, she came to verbal blows with Nucky (revealing that she’s not delusional and is fully aware of his part in the real Jimmy’s death), and then invited Gyp (Bobby Cannavale) into her lioness’ den to give him a tasty bit of information about where Nucky and Rothstein would be cavorting on a certain evening (hint: there’s only one supper club in town).
But man on man, what a night of stuff! Witness the Muller formerly known as Van Alden (Michael Shannon) go all Van Alden on his coworker’s face (nothing like a hot iron to a fat man’s cheek, I say!) after being forced by O’Banion to make whiskey, get all squirrelly and want to leave town, only to find his wife continues to be his “better half” when she reveals a way to make some money on the side with her own brand of hooch. Meanwhile, relaxed from his recent Italian holiday, Torrio returns to Chicago seemingly set to pass the torch onto Al Capone (Stephen Graham). In NYC, Nucky strikes a deal with Mellon (James Cromwell) to get rid of some competition, nail the Attorney General, make friends with Esther Randolph and get a new distillery. But woe is the man who thinks everything’s going his way…
BIG SPOILER AHEAD
And there she is…there’s his girl…now with her eyes on the silver screen and longing to break free…Billie Kent (Meg Chambers Steedle). The camera loves her, and she’s dyed her hair blonde, getting ready to take up a new role…to be somebody else. And Nucky knows he has to let her go. She wasn’t made to be a gangster’s moll. Yet he still tries to take care of her with an annuity, and she strolls down that boardwalk with him one last time in her new look and a pretty dress. And she looks at him with that melancholy smile of a woman who knows this is her last night with the man she once loved for a spell. She steps into Babette’s Supper Club….and BANG.
I Knew It!: Gillian somehow always gets her way…and she has a new alliance with Gyp…but is she playing the right cards?
Wait Until Next Week: Like the Reitchstag fire…the burning of Babette’s Supper Club is the symbolic start of a new era…and war is coming.
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?