Boardwalk Empire: 3.08 – “The Pony”

While the rest of the world was watching The Walking Dead (I think I’m the only person I know who doesn’t watch that show), I was watching Boardwalk Empire.

Holy shit.

Seriously, that’s the only words I can come up with.

Never mind, I’ve found some more.

Okay last week was amazing. Damn near perfect actually with the way it was written and bouncing back and forth from everyone’s Easter dinner and Gillian killing the poor kid from Indiana, and Gyp beating down a priest, and Nucky and Margaret exchanging loving looks before Margaret refuses his juggling lessons so he goes and makes up with Eli… perfect. I loved every part of it and was pretty damn certain that it was going to be the best episode of the season. I was wrong. I was foolish to rush to judgment, even if it was a good judgment. I have seen the error of my ways and it was “The Pony” that shined a light on my hastiness.

Where to even begin? Might as well start from the top.

Newsflash: people are getting fed up with Gillian’s shit. The dude with the muttonchops whose name I can never remember pretty much tells her to stop the horse and pony show with this whole “Jimmy is dead” schtick but it’s Richard who really puts her in her place with his very somber and to the point, “Jimmy deserved better than this”. You tell her Richard! But don’t do anything that pisses her off too badly or she’ll kick you out and then Tommy will have no one to protect him from her psychosis.

James Darmody is dead.

Everything about Nucky “discovering” that Jimmy had died was awesome. It’s hard for me to imagine a world in which you’d find something like that out days later in the newspaper as opposed to plastered all over reddit or twitter the moment it happens.  Thank the heavenly angels above for technology. Of course we wouldn’t know any differently so it wouldn’t matter and now I’m just stuck in a loop so moving on.

What exactly was Nucky thinking Gillian’s reaction would be like? No really. Did he honestly think she’d be wearing black and sitting in a corner of her “health resort” entertaining condolences? Once again I have to wonder, does no one in this show watch this show? Come on Nucky! You are better than this. You had to have known from the first moment when Eddie (poor Eddie, someone needs to rescue that poor man) told you Jimmy was dead that there Gillian would be unstable. Foolish.

Thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure we saw Nucky with every single person besides his wife. Instead she’s off with Owen looking at ponies for Emily. The girl who can’t walk. How is she going to ride a pony without use of her legs? Has Nucky ever ridden a horse? You control it with your legs! I mean you have reigns and all but legs play an important role. Of course Margaret’s misgivings over the horse probably have more to do with her doomed marriage than proper riding technique. Every single time we see Owen now, I just picture a countdown hanging over his head. It is only a matter of time before he is killed off. Oh and every time he and Margaret get it on in very open places (hello people- get a room or something!) that countdown speeds ahead a bit. I did like the shout-out to Fry’s Chocolate Cream. As the first mass-produced chocolate bar, we owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Fry (even though it was bought out by Cadbury in 1919 and then of course Kraft bought Cadbury in 2010) and his sons. While we’re on Margaret, let’s acknowledge the “ugh” moment of this episode. Ugh, the birth control thing. Much like being unable to fathom a world without instant news, it’s hard to imagine one in which you had to corner a doctor friend outside the hospital to ask for a diaphragm. Different world.

We returned to Chicago! Torrio has returned and it appears as if he’s ready to hang up his holster. I loved watching Al Capone come to the realization (slowly) throughout the episode that he was being handed the reigns. However, for once, it was not Al Capone and Torrio who were the highlights of a Chicago storyline. Oh my sweet mother mary that was Van Alden, with Sigrid coming in a close second.

No, it’s an iron. – George Mueller

Had I been drinking something at the time, I’m sure I would have choked on it when we saw O’Banion standing in Van Alden/Mueller’s kitchen. Should we stop calling him Van Alden? Is he full-time Mueller now? Maybe we should just call him “husband” like Sigrid does. On second thought, Van Alden is fine.

So, Van Alden is an alcohol producer now. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Not only that but he’s now O’Banion’s “muscle”! See kids, this is what happens when your wife bashes a federal agent’s skull in and then you finish him off. This dude is an after school special just waiting to happen. Just for shits and giggles the special can include a segment on bullying.

“Don’t bully or Van Alden will iron your face off”- has a nice ring to it. I’m sure with a little finessing, Van Alden can replace the boogie man as the go-to “get your shit together or you will be sorry” story that parents tell their children. Anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to the show had to see this coming a mile off. Dude is a bit unhinged in the first place but those guys were massive douche canoes. Even I was getting to the point of wanting to throw a typewriter whenever they came on the screen.

I know I can’t be the only one who yelled “HULK SMASH” when watching this scene. Now I really want them to do a Halloween episode and watch Van Alden dress up as The Hulk to go trick or treating. However, seeing as The Hulk didn’t exist until 1962, I don’t think this is going to be happening. It would be awesome though.

Speaking of awesome- that meat-packing set was amazing. Especially with the guy who was beat up by the guy that Capone then killed (his name is completely escaping me at the moment) repeating “it’s where meat comes from” about a hundred times. The “cattle jobber” sign was also a nice touch.

One bone to pick with Johnny Torrio though- I’m not 100% but I’m pretty sure that shekels were not in use in Pompeii at the time Vesuvius erupted. It probably would have been some form of Roman currency. Not only that, but the residents of Pompeii were not killed by lava but rather heat. Their bodies and everything around them were then preserved by volcanic ash, not lava. The closest you’d get to lava covering a city would probably be Herculaneum.

More afraid of losing money than his life.
– Johnny Torrio

As awesome as all of that Chicago business was, my favorite was Sigrid. Girlfriend decided to take advantage of the still in their kitchen to make her a batch of the Norwegian spirit, aquavit. I’m looking forward to big things from her. Of course we probably won’t see them again for another month but whatever.

You know it’s a good episode when Van Alden ironing a man’s face is one of the lesser parts of the show. Nucky and his showgirl were all over this episode. I’m going to come out and say it. I do not like Billie Kent. I did not like her with Nucky at all and I especially did not like Nucky with her. He needs to get over this “help the flavor of the month damsel in distress” bullshit he’s got going on because I’m tired of watching it.

However when he gave her that annuity I damn near literally laughed out loud because all I could think of was this:

Of course we know she won’t need that annuity much longer but first let’s discuss Esther Randolph. She is quickly becoming my favorite woman on the show. Especially if she keeps using phrases like “in for a penny” and “mighty white of me” and telling Nucky that she “runs naked through the pages of the United States Criminal Code”. :swoon: My only fear is that they are going to try to make Esther Randolph a love interest for Nucky. A couple of episodes ago I might have been more on board with that idea, but now I’m just really really hoping they don’t go down that road. That would be most distressing.

When Lucky showed up at the “health resort” (seriously Gillian, that is perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard uttered, which is saying a lot) and mentioned that he was having dinner with AR and Nucky, I thought nothing of it.

When Gyp showed up there (rudely insulting Richard Harrow- I’m thinking we need to send Van Alden to teach him a lesson) and Gillian told him about Lucky, AR, and Nucky having dinner at Babette’s I thought “hmmmm, you know Gillian, you probably just created a scene without even knowing it”.

When Billie was standing outside Babette’s and they did that meaningful slow lingering close up on their faces I thought, “I think something bad is about to happen.”

When this happened,

I might have exclaimed “OH MY GOD!!!!” so loudly that two dogs came running from across the house to my rescue as they thought something or someone was violently assaulting me.

Can you blame me? Because OH MY GOD!!!!! I’m usually a somewhat perceptive person but this show has caught me off guard so many times this season that I’m beginning to question myself. This was such a typical Gyp Rosetti move though. Need to get two guys? Bomb an entire city block. It’s been over 24 hours (my internet has been on the fritz which is why this is so delayed) and I’m still a little stunned. We know Nucky, AR, and Lucky are okay, and Billie is dead (I didn’t like her but damn this was a bit of a drastic way to get rid of her) so the biggest question is, what about Babette?

Honestly, this is one of the best hours of television I’ve watched in a long time. It built on itself (well it’s been building for weeks now) perfectly to the obvious climax of the season. If you’d told me after the Gyp Rosetti/Taxi Driver episode that his retaliation would be this severe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I knew it would be big, but I didn’t know it was going to be literally big. I can not wait to see what happens from here on out.

There’s no avoiding it- this was another 4.5’er. It is so close to a 5 that had it involved Chalky White in some way (is he even on the show any more?) it probably would have been there. But alas, he wasn’t so 4.5 it is.

“Until next time” is my usual ending, but this week…

“Our intercourse is concluded.” –  Andrew Mellon

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