Political power shifts high in the political world and on the streets makes Nucky a prime target and Al a big boss in the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire.

Boardwalk Empire, Season 3, Episode 8, “The Pony”—Gillian finally ties loose ends with regards to Jimmy’s death by putting that poor chap Roger in a wooden box. As she has him cremated Nucky, Eli and Owen hear news from Eddie that “Jimmy is dead.” This confuses Nucky who then reads the death notice in the paper placed by Gillian. The guys all have confused looks on their faces. Yep, Gillian’s a whack job boys. But at least now, with closure on Jimmy’s death, she can collect the Commodor’s money that Jimmy inherited in order to fix her whore house, or as Gillian refers to as a “Health Resort.” You have to hand it to Gillian, she has the guts to go head-to-head with the big guns.

So when Nucky pays her a visit they keep up the charade for a few minutes before Gillian throws a drink in his face accusing him of killing her son. So how does Nucky reply? He tells Gillian to watch her step and that she only “exits in this town because he lets her.” Angered by this, Gillian decides to help out Gyp Rosetti by giving him Nucky and Rothstein’s whereabouts that she learned from Luciano earlier.

In Chicago, the power shift is also changing. Torrio facilitates a meeting between Al and O’Banion. But it now seems that Torrio is more interested in a calmer life filled with Osso Bucco and fine wine than with the gangster one. Even at the end of the show, we get the impression that Torrio is slowing making his way out of the game, leaving it free and clear for Al to take over.

And what about Van Walden’s wife? That seemingly straight-laced woman has proven herself to be not only a major player, but cunningly savvy in art of selling booze. After Van Alden blows up at the sales office, after a work associate brutally mocks him during a practice sales pitch, and takes an iron to the guy’s face, he realizes he’s not made for honest work. But just when he’s ready to pack up and run, his wife shows him a version of a grappa she’s cooked up (she use to make it for her father) and ready to sell to the Norwegians in town. That woman is brilliant.

Back in Atlantic City at the hospital, Margaret is approached by Mrs. Shearer for a diaphragm (it seems her husband won’t stay off of her), a topic that is taboo. But what are rules to Margaret? Later, while shopping for a Pony with Owen, they have sex again in the car. I think this is the moment when she reconsiders the whole birth control issue and when she later approaches Dr. Mason and asks for the diaphragm but instead of asking for one, she asks for two. (One for herself would also be best.)

Right after phone call Nucky has with Andrew Mellon on taking down AG Harry Dougherty, Nucky seems to have things under control, except with Billie, who he learns had a great audition for a picture earlier on (a great scene, by the way). Of course, this would make her self-sufficient, something Nucky doesn’t want in a woman. Nucky tells her he longer likes their arrangement and they argue. But later, at his hotel room, he reconsiders his possession of her and gives her a a bond that will give her money monthly for the rest of her life.

Later that evening, on their way to Babette’s for dinner on the boardwalk, Nucky, along with Rothstein and Luciano, is detained by Charles Baxter outside of the restaurant. Annoyed, he sends Billie on ahead while Rothstein and Luciano talk off to the side. Moments later, Babette’s explodes. Nucky, Rothstein, and Luciano are spared - but Billie isn’t as lucky. I suppose Nucky will now appreciate Baxter’s annoying intrusion.

Will Nucky find out how Gyp and Co. found out about their whereabouts? Good luck, Gillian, and farewell Billie, we’re sad to see you go!


Boardwalk Empire airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Canada.


—Toni-Marie Ippolito


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