Boardwalk Empire – The Pony (Filthsposition)
Another week, another great episode. It must be like listening to a broken record, hearing me praise this show week after week. For my money there has only been one mediocre episode this season- Ep 6 “Ging Gang Goolie”. That was the one I didn’t review. It wasn’t exactly bad but was just clearly the weakest installment of the season. The rest of the installments have all been very good, a bunch of them crossing the line into being flat-out amazing. This week’s “The Pony” probably wouldn’t quite crack the top three, but it wouldn’t be far off that mark. It was very good.
This episode opened with a close-up of Richard Harrow’s face. “Jimmy deserved better than this”. What a haunting moment.
The ensuing scene between Nucky and Gillian was fantastic, where they go through the motions of pretending until Gillian can’t take it anymore. Gillian’s scenes this season have been both rich in emotion, and dramatically giving forward momentum to the plot. Very very good use of her character this year. Gorgeous woman too.
The image of the dripping tap of Whiskey keeping Van Alden awake at night was superbly unsettling. His outburst at work was just glorious to witness, probably the single most memorable scene the character has ever had. He broke bad in this episode, finally becoming the violent gangster who he despised so thoroughly back in Season 1. His journey into that territory has been so intricately laid out this season as to be utterly believable and brilliantly paced, growing organically out of itself and making this the best year on the show the character has ever had. His life “this stuff just sells itself” was extremely poignant to me, the character allowing himself to feel some relief, despite his shame over how many of his own moral lines he has crossed by this point.
Stephen Root’s character is growing on me pretty quickly now, so is the whole political subplot (which is the part of the show that I’ve usually resisted). I don’t think I’ve ever seen Root give a better performance either. His life “you have prospered mightily in beef!” made me laugh out loud. Same with James Cromwell’s line about the “intercourse being concluded”.
The way Gyp Rosetti looks at Richard Harrow peculiarly was interesting, as is the way he towered over Harrow in the shot. Harrow looks so small and harmless in comparison, but we know he is in fact just as powerful a force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t be surprised if that image of Harrow seeming so small in comparison gets subverted before the season is out, and if Harrow ultimately plays a part in Gyp’s eventual downfall.
The ending of this episode was HOLY F*CKBALLS CRAZY!!!! Let’s just say the war in Atlantic city just got personal, for more characters than one. It was a brilliant payoff to the arc Nucky has been having this year, and this should kick into motion a highly dramatic final portion of the season over the next few weeks. Bring it on.
The Pony- 8.5/10