‘Boardwalk Empire’ S3 / E8 – ‘The Pony’

“Jimmy deserved better than this.”


Wow, that was crazy. After weeks of patience and anticipation we’re rewarded with the best episode the ‘Boardwalk’ has to offer thus far. For weeks now we’ve sat and wondered how Terence Winter planned to integrate all of these rapidly developing, intricate story lines. It took episode upon episode to lay out the blueprint, all of which came clashing together in brilliant climactic fashion in this past Sunday’s episode, ‘The Pony.’ Nelson Van Alden is out of the iron business, Margaret’s love affair grows deeper, Gillian is out for revenge and our protagonist, Nucky reaches the tipping point. All hands on deck, shit just got real.

It’s clear now that Margaret and Owen’s relationship has reached outside the confines of mere attraction. Every time the two share the screen we open our eyes a little wider to whats really going on – the two have fallen for one another. It’s hard to say for sure since Owen is a player at heart, but it’s almost impossible to deny the obvious connection between the two Irish natives. Last week I mentioned how Margaret has been frustratingly all over the map this season, though it would appear now that things are beginning to fall into place. She remains as distant from the main plot as she is with her neglectful husband, but it’s evident that her affair with Owen and her dealings with the women’s health clinic are slowly beginning to intertwine.

We have a number of different and fascinating story lines beginning to come together in Chicago. Nelson Van Alden, now under the services of Dean O’Banion, appears to have succumbed to his new gangster mentality – brandishing a fellow salesman with a hot iron to the face and selling bottles of liquor right out of his kitchen. Meanwhile, on the south side, Al Capone welcomes Johnny Torrio back after a long trip to the Italian homeland. Torrio’s lax mentality suggests that his trust and faith in Capone’s leadership is paying dividends, quite different from what we’ve seen in past seasons. Capone, Van Alden and the rest of the Chicago crew has yet to involve themselves with the war in the East, perhaps the inditement of George Reemus will raise the stakes.

United States Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew W. Mellon lit up the screen this past Sunday with a host of plot-twisting, character-revealing scenes. Nucky, Esther Randolph and Mr. Means are in the process of carrying out the indictment of George Reemus, the most prominent bootlegger in the business. In doing so, they’ll need Mellon’s political pull to call upon his bitter enemy in the Justice Department, Harry Dougherty. It would appear that Nucky’s problems in Washington are beginning to work in his favor but how long can this continue with the growing threat in Atlantic City?

Gillian Darmody has emerged as one of the most dangerous players on the ‘Boardwalk.’ For the first time this season we get an inside look at the resentful relationship between her and Nucky, a reunion which brought about a drink to the face and a terrifying reminder that Gillian exists because Nucky allows her to exist.


Threats are meaningless at this point, she’s lost everything she’s ever cared about to this man, and now he comes to her home and plays along with a disgusting lie to which they both know the horrible truth. It’s no surprise that Gillian has allied herself with Gyp Rosetti, we all saw this coming, but what will happen in the wake of Rosetti’s failed assassination of Nucky, Rothestein and Luciano? Will this mark the end of Gillian? Is enough, enough? Or will she continue to plot and scheme under Rosetti’s protection? Look for Nucky to make due on his promise.

Nucky’s patience is once again pushed to the limit. After confronting Gillian about the news of Jimmy’s fake death, Nucky storms into Billie’s apartment where he brawls it out with one of her presumed lovers, breaking his nose and falling even harder for his Broadway mistress. We’ve watched him steep further and further with every passing episode, now that he’s lost Billie Kent to the climatic explosion in the episode finale, he’ll be sure to make full use of his ruthless gangster methods.

We’ve reached the midpoint plot twist of season 3 and we can expect things to grow worse for Nucky as things continues. I feel almost ashamed for doubting Winter and his play on previous episodes but in the end, ‘The Pony’ delivers. Tune in to ‘Boardwalk Empire’ next Sunday, 11/11 and join the conversation.

  • Is Margaret’s life now in danger? If so, whats the greater threat – Rosetti, or Nucky discovering her dark secret?
  • How will Richard Harrow deal with Gillian’s deception?
  • What measures will Nucky go to in the wake of his shady dealings in the White House?
  • What character do you think will get ‘whacked’ next?

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