On ''Deadwood,'' Hearst threatens to destroy the camp in revenge for his arrest, and Swearengen may be the only one who can stop him

By Paul Katz
Updated July 17, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Deadwood

type
  • TV Show
network
  • HBO
genre

”Deadwood”: Hearst threatens to destroy the town

This week’s episode was a bit like the day after an amazing birthday party. There was some cleaning up, time out to recall high points, and the still-lovely taste of ice-cream cake in your mouth — but it wasn’t nearly as good as when that cake was fresh out of the freezer and we got to make a wish.

Basically, tonight was all about fallout from last week’s amazing ep. Everyone in town is aware that once Hearst gets his ire on, there is going to be a price to be paid for Bullock’s locking the mogul up in jail for being drunk. After urging Bullock to strike the first blow, Charlie asks, ”How much do you figure will stand once Hearst has his say?” It’s easy for us to forget, but the camp is really more of an idea than anything else. A stiff breeze could make Deadwood disappear forever. It’s the fragile nature of a frontier town that makes its destruction much more of a possibility than, let’s say, the destruction of Los Angeles, despite what happens every year on 24.

Another great moment was the E.B. and Al scene, with the hotel manager begging Swearengen to think up an idea to ”Save us!” and Al replying, ”Have I ever not?” Of course, the response was partly in jest, but if anyone can save Deadwood from Hearst, it’s going to be Al. And score another point for Ian McShane for his rockin’ scene with Trixie. There are so many characters involved in the series that I forget how much I enjoy it when certain people interact. Trixie and Al have some of the best chemistry on the series and really haven’t seen much of each other this season. Now that Trixie has quit the bank, I hope she’ll spend more time checking in at the Gem. And does anyone else think the whole plot line with Mrs. Ellsworth (formerly the Widow Garret) is a touch weak? Sure laudanum is addictive, but her relapse feels like a retread. Sorta like Charlie being back on the heroin on Lost. We’ve seen her recover, so let’s move on to something fresh. Still, watching Leon pull a Martin Lawrence with his rant in the street was fun, and I eagerly await seeing what Hearst has planned. I almost wanted him to twirl his mustache like a villain in a silent movie.

The only real new element was the arrival of Odell, the son of Hearst’s cook, Aunt Lou. But once again, this was a new wrinkle that felt forced. All in one episode Odell arrives, meets Hearst, and sets him up for a sting concerning some gold mine in an exotic country. Man, does Liberia not sound like a vacation paradise. We all enjoy when the plot moves along, but this whole thread made for a bit more exposition than can reasonably fit in less than 60 minutes.

Tack on the weak ending of Joanie helping Jane back to her rented room and Al deciding that hiring guns from Cheyenne isn’t the correct choice of action, and this episode was the weakest of the season.

But what did you think? Who will strike first? Al and Bullock or Hearst? Will Odell sucker Hearst into giving him money? Where is Trixie going to get a new job? And (not that I missed him) but where was Langrishe all episode?

Episode Recaps

Deadwood

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 3
rating
genre
creator
  • David Milch
network
  • HBO

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