Things really pick up in Boardwalk Empire‘s season three episode six “The Pony”. Watch Boardwalk Empire with us as we take you through the Winners and Losers of the episode.
LOSER: Genuine attempts at mourning
Gillian Darmody is attempting to make peace with the death of her creepily beloved son Jimmy and she’s going to make us all go through the motions, including Richard and Leander Whitlock (Dominic Chianese), with a fake funeral. For some reason, the body of that guy Gillian forced to overdose on heroin in the last episode looks close enough to Jimmy for the state to declare him dead. Is that really how death declarations worked back then? “Well, it’s a body. Works for me!” Seems like that could be a more thorough process.
Nucky tells his butler, Eddie Kessler, “Don’t be an idiot” in response to his condolences for Jimmy Darmody and goes to pay Gillian a visit to preemptively call her out for whatever she’s doing.
But when Gillian throws a drink in Nucky’s face, he’s fast to remind her that she only exists in this town because he allows it. Nucky: 64% of a gangster for that one line alone.
WINNER: The burgeoning home brewing business
Over the course of a couple episodes, Van Alden has gone from an agent attempting to bust everyone for violations of the Volstead Act to a man now brewing whiskey in his house to pay off the Chicago gangster, O’Banion, who helped him dispose of a prohibition agent’s body. The shift of Van Alden’s character from a bizarre self-flagellator to a dark comedy protagonist has been interesting, to say the least.
WINNER: The first interesting Margaret Thompson scene of the year
Margaret Thompson’s continued efforts for women at the hospital continue. The woman whom she saw miscarry in front of her eyes actually gave herself a milk abortion (that’s a thing?). She wants Margaret’s understanding since no one else in the hospital will “even give her a diaphragm.” The plight of women in the time is an interesting topic and this scene was well done (especially compared to every other Margaret hospital scene), so let’s call it a winner.
Still not worth depriving us of a Chalky White scene, but hey, it’s progress.
LOSER: The people of Pompei
Johnny Torio attempts to use an allegory about the people of Pompei to explain to the blonde gangster O’Banion — being assisted by Van Alden — that losing money isn’t worth losing his life. The goal? To establish peace between his crew, including the always stable Al Capone, and O’Banion’s crew. Why is it that old school Italian gangsters in TV and movies love trying to explain situations using parables they probably read about once in grade school? O’Banion’s reaction was well-deserved for that overused trope.
WINNER: Kissing Nucky’s women
Billie Kent “schleps all the way to Queens” for an audition for a part in which she’s kissed by some charming gangster, then slaps him in the face and makes wacky quips. The director and casting people all love her antics, indicating she should be a shoo in for the part.
Meanwhile, Margaret is more interested in making out with Owen Sleater than she is about getting a pony for her kids. Typical.
LOSER: Iron sales in the Chicago area
Van Alden takes part in a sales training event with the rest of his iron slinging comrades. But a fat guy roleplaying a housewife being pitched on a sale takes the teasing a little too far, resulting in a hot iron to the face and a full on Hulk Smash rampage throughout the sales area. Bullying doesn’t pay, you guys.
Van Alden comes home and tells Sigrid that they need to get out of town ASAP. “We can move anywhere you want. But New Jersey, New York, and Illinois, obviously,” he hilariously deadpans. Sigrid replies by proposing a new bootlegging operation since she’s learned how to make the whisky using O’Banion’s equipment in the house. Then she’ll use an upcoming Scandinavian event to sell a ton of the whiskey to revelers. What a trooper.
LOSER: Nucky’s chances of being a supportive boyfriend
An orgy in the making between Billie Kent, Gil (the actor who kissed her), and some other chick is interrupted by an impromptu Nucky Thompson visit. Surprise! Nucky doesn’t take kindly to the actor’s presence in the home of his sidepiece and fisticuffs ensue. Nucky starts to dominate the fight when Billie breaks it up.
The good news? It’ll be hard for Billie to take Gil serious as a lover after he cries about how his broken nose might affect his acting career. Gil’s gangster rating: -4563% of a gangster.
The fight turns into Billie and Nucky hashing out their non-relationship. Nucky reminds her of her violent father and Billie likes going it alone. But she wants him to “be her gangster” and that seems to lead to a mild sexual assault make-up session. Oh, actresses.
WINNER: Strange bedfellows
Nucky introduces himself to Andrew Mellon (James Cromwell). He knows that Mellon can help take down competing bootlegger George Remus and the corrupt Attorney General Harry Daugherty. In return, Nucky would help bring Mellon’s distillery back to life. Mellon seems intrigued, up until the part where he threatens to call the police if Nucky doesn’t leave immediately. Business negotiation 101, Nucky.
Of course, Mellon calls Nucky later and the plan is on. George Remus will be arrested and, theoretically, Harry Daugherty’s house of cards will fall.
Meanwhile, Gillian blows up her partnership with Lucky Luciano since he’s also in bed with Nucky (figuratively…as far as we know). His offer of giving her “a good f-ck” just like she likes is not appreciated. But she gives Gyp Rosetti intel to drop in on Nucky’s dinner plans. Good for you, Gillian. Waste no time scheming on revenge.
WINNER: New Jersey dynamite sales
Holy crap did Gyp Rosetti waste no time acting on Gillian’s intel. A chance interaction with cutlery salesman George Baxter distracts Luciano, Nucky, and Arnold Rothstein from entering the supper club. But while Billie Kent waits by the doorway for Nucky to wrap up his conversation, a massive Joker in The Dark Knight-sized explosion goes off, killing her and knocking Nucky unconscious.
I’d say this is probably the first killer (pun not intended) episode of the season. Gillian scheming effectively, a surprise appearance from Gyp at the end that pays immediate dividends and, finally, stakes being raised for Nucky and all involved. And just when you start to like Billie Kent, there she goes. Rest in peace, you adorable cross between Kristen Schaal and Betty Boop.
I want more like this!
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