Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven't seen Season 3, Episode 8 of "Boardwalk Empire," titled "The Pony."
And boom goes the dynamite. This season of "Boardwalk Empire" has at times felt like watching a slow-burning fuse, and in "The Pony," it finally exploded.
Gyp Rosetti made a move on Nucky Thompson in Babette's Supper Club, the same place where Jimmy Darmody took his shot at him last season. But this is "Boardwalk Empire," and one of the limitations of the show is that we know that several of these historically-based characters will live to fight another day. So Nucky, Arnold Rothstein and Lucky Luciano survived the explosion, while Nucky's lady on the side Billie Kent likely lost her life in the blast. And of course, Rosetti did not send a shooter in after the blast to finish the job because he's incompetent, just as the show needs him to be.
Jimmy Darmody's memory cast a long shadow over this episode, and not just because of the location Rosetti chose to plant his bomb. He was also tipped off by Jimmy's mom Gillian that Nucky and his crew would be dining there that night. Gillian has been on a subtle quest for revenge since her son's death, and she nearly got it -- and some satisfaction -- after throwing a drink in Nucky's face. His warning that "you exist in this town because I allow you to" may have seemed menacing, but it was a hollow threat. Gillian exists in this town because she's more cunning and cutthroat than most of the gangsters on this show.
That scene between Nucky and Gillian featured an interesting introduction that I sincerely hope will prove to be a "Checkov's Gun" moment later in the season. Gyp Rosetti and Richard finally met each other after Gillian introduced them at her Artemis Club. Harrow is just waiting on the show's sidelines to be put into play as a paid assassin for Nucky, and you get the feeling that won't be the last time he comes face to face with Gyp this season.
Before Nucky escaped death at the end of the episode, he took the next step in his plan to evade a federal indictment, dropping in on Secretary Of The Treasury Andrew W. Mellon to pitch him on his plan to take George Remis down. Nucky offered to run Mellon's secrety distillery for a profit in exchange for giving Mellon the opportunity to take down Remis, and Harry Daugherty's corrupt Justice Department with him. After Mellon dispatched a few choice quotes, like, "That's what democracy gets you: Bandits fighting over the loot," and called Prohibition "a child's idea of morality," he had Nucky kicked out of he club. We'll see next week if this plan gets off the ground.
Meanwhile, Margaret and Owen Sleater continued their affair in a car during a rainstorm. Margaret seemed more and more disenchanted with her absentee husband, and she's taking small steps toward empowering herself in each episode. It was interesting that she asked Owen to teach her how to drive, and also inquired with her doctor friend about getting some birth control.
And last but not least, Van Alden went crazy again at his job, ironing a co-worker's face after he gave him a hard time during a sales presentation. After throwing a few typewriters around, he put on his hat and strolled out, ready to flee to another city. But his wife urged him to stay, and sell some of the booze he's distilling for O'Banion to Chicago's Norwegian community. Van Alden has really come full-circle: He's gone from a devout Prohibition agent murderer to a liquor-selling, murdering mob enforcer. At least the murdering has stayed constant.
What did you think of this episode of "Boardwalk Empire"? Share your thoughts on "The Pony" and where you think the season is going in the comments section.
Note: HuffPost TV's full "Boardwalk Empire" Gangster Rankings will return next week after Hurricane Sandy knocked us out this week. In the meantime, check out a slideshow of "Boardwalk" photos below: