"Sooner or later, everyone steps through your door."

They aren't the first mistaken couple this season, with Richard and Julia being taken for Tommy's parents last week. This week is not so kind to our half-faced friend as it starts with him attending his best friend's cremation. Well, he's not that stupid and this might be the beginning of his eventual break from Gillian. But not Tommy. I don't see either one of them willing to walk away from the boy. Conflict! Anyway, news of Jimmy's death quickly brings Nucky to the house and, after shooing away Leander, the pair have a great scene together where Gillian's cards all eventually spill out on the table. And in Nuck's face. It's pretty ballsy to toast to the memory of the dead son you killed and it's the first time in a while I've respected Gillian even if she appears to bow down to him by the end of the sequence. Her contempt spreads to Nuck's known associates as Lucky, crashing at the place while in AC on business, is informed that he's no longer a partner or welcome in the whorehouse. She soon makes another Italian from NYC welcome, however, as Gyp arrives a few scenes later to (mock Richard, you asshole and) hear a surprise proposal.

"Than our intercourse is concluded."

Nucky is a busy boy in "The Pony" with almost all his issues laid out during the opening scene in his office. He and Eli are getting closer and able to joke about Rothstein, Billie and any other business he may have in NYC, not to mention talk candidly when it comes to getting a pony for post-polio Emily or what the fuck is going on with Jimmy suddenly showing up dead. It was also great to see Eddie. And even better to hear Nucky rip on him. The real reason he heads to New York is to see Esther Randolph and Gaston Means in order to continue his quest to take down Remus and Daugherty. Their new plan means bringing James Cromwell back to repeat his awesome guest spot as Andrew Mellon (from "You'd Be Surprised") and their relationship takes an interesting not to mention illegal turn, enough to make Esther question being in for a penny anyway. It seems that the wealthy man overseeing important parts of prohibition enforcement owns a distillery and, after Mr. Rixon, sorry, Nuck interlopes some color into his day, they strike up an agreement that will make Remus, and therefore Daugherty, the forces of any government investigations.

"I just want you to be my gangster."

It's also interesting to see Nucky interact with people so much more powerful than he is, since he's not one to call others sir very often. And apparently, doesn't take too kindly to being called sir himself. Oh, Billie. It all makes so much sense now and even though the writers never managed to make me care about her character, they did convince me that Nucky does, which in the end is enough. Before the end, however, she does get a sweet scene auditioning for a moving picture playing not the lead but the pony. Billie brings the kissing co-star, and another girl, back home to celebrate over some adult beverages but the party takes a violent turn when old Gus arrives. Yeah, I'm not going to miss her. Nucky beats the shit out of Sheik Bin Fartin and gets compared to her no fun father but all is okay after he forces her into bed. Damn it feels good to be a gangster. The newly blonde Billie also eventually accepts the handout from her sugar daddy as well as accompanies him to a business dinner at Babettes. Who would have thought that annoying bum Baxter would save Nucky (as well as Rothstein and Lucky) from the blast.

"Where are we with the pony?"

Billie not so much but like I said, I know Nucky liked her enough to get real vengeful over it all and that's exciting enough for me. Although, I'm sure the attempted murder of himself and his bootlegging business partners from NYC would surely have been enough to marshall all of their combined forces against Gyp and Masseria but this adds an extra emotional element. Sure, being emotional about the loss of the character would have been nice too but hey, they can't all be Jimmys. One thing that I also noticed myself uttering a lot was 'it's been a while,' meaning a lot of tonight's threads were being picked up after two, three or even four episodes away which should signal the end of any midseason filler and that it's time to barrel towards the conclusion.

Boardwalk Empire returns with Episode 9, "The Milkmaid's Lot," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Terence Winter, it stars Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Vincent Piazza and Michael Stuhlbarg.

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