Boardwalk Empire
The Pony

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B- | 1 USERS: A
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The Pony

It's time for Billie Kent's Hollywood screen test. She's sitting under bright lights while a director and some producers talk to her -- give her kind of a hard time, in fact -- about her ambitions, why she wants to be an actress, that kind of thing. She's good under pressure, though. Saying the right things (she likes the movies because you can sit in the dark and "forget who you are for a while") and generally presenting the best, most beguiling version of herself. She's introduced to her costar Gil Lonacre (played by Adam Campbell, who will always be from Harper's Island to me), and they prepare for their test scene. "Don't look at the lens, keep your lips closed when we kiss," he says, and she's like, "wait, kiss??" They improvise through a scene where he plays a scoundrel on the run while she's a showgirl -- "not the lead but the funny one in the chorus." "The pony," Billie says, offering the industry term. Immediately, we see she's got her character nailed. She gets direction all the way through, she's clearly nervous, but her energy is on point, and she's got screwball star quality. What's not to like? She even gets the room cracking up when she delivers a well-timed comedic slap. Everything's coming up Billie!

Nucky's successfully made it into the Union Club, with so many rich, white dudes, something-something Mitt Romney. Nucky finds Mellon and approaches him semi-awkwardly, but wastes no time in mentioning that they have an enemy in common, Harry Daugherty. Mellon goes from paying like 15% attention to Nucky all the way up to 55% or so, and he immediately realizes Nucky's not a member of the club. Nucky doesn't deny it, and Mellon has to wave off the butler guy. Nucky gets right to it -- he and Harry Daugherty have had dealings, the nature of which were circumvention of the Volstead Act. Nucky's pitch is simple: he's just a regular old crook, but Harry Daugherty's institutional corruption just isn't right for the country. Mellon sees through this patriotic pose, but it allows Nucky to commiserate with him on how un-American both Prohibition and the income tax are. Nucky suggests Mellon could take a stab back at the government he seems to loathe with one simple action: arrest George Remus, the biggest bootlegger in the country, and one with direct ties to Daugherty and his underlings. This would force Harry to show his hand. Mellon hardly things Daugherty will indict himself, but Nucky says that just means Mellon will have something to hold over his head. And in exchange, Nucky says, he will agree to begin running the abandoned distillery in Pennsylvania. "It would stick in my craw to have the government tell me what I could and couldn't do with my own property," Nucky says. Again, this runs counter to what he told Rosetti -- down to the "sticking in craw" verbiage -- but in this case I think he's just saying what he thinks Mellon wants to hear. And it is. Nucky promises Mellon would have no direct involvement in the place beyond collecting the profits. And there will be profits. Mellon takes this all in and chuckles to himself. Nucky hopes that's a yes, or even a perhaps, but what it means is that Mellon's about to call that concierge on over and have Nucky escorted out of the building for interloping. So ... not a "perhaps"?

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Boardwalk Empire

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