Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Deadwood – “Dark Water” (S1E2)

A dog runs along Main Street, following E.B. Farnum as he wheels dead Tim Driscoll to the Chinaman to feed to his pigs. Apparently the dog was Tim’s and now he’s not happy about his master being dead. E.B. suggests that the Chinaman feed the dog to the pigs as well, or, if he is so inclined, eat the dog himself. Yummy! Al Swearingen wakes up next to a naked Trixie and asks about her derringer. She says she bought it for him. Anyone suppose that gun will make another appearance before the end of the season? Al yanks the sheet off her and orders her out. Bullock, shaving, says he’ll meet Sol at the hotel for breakfast and then stalks off toward Doc’s, still without moving his arms. The preacher has built a coffin for Dead Shady Character; Johnny stops by and quizzes the preacher about the identity of the corpse. This dead guy is Ned Mason, brother of one Tom Mason. Johnny knows Tom. E.B. gives Al the morning report about the gun fight at dawn; Al crossly wants to know why Hickok and Bullock even care about the dead family. He is more concerned, however, when E.B. tells him that one of the children lived. "Wouldn’t she have a story to tell?” marvels E.B. Doc wakes Calamity Jane to tell her that the little girl will have a fighting chance if her wounds don’t fester. They observe Bullock walking towards them and Doc tells Jane not to tell him anything about the girl. When Bullock asks after her, Doc replies that he thinks the girl’s chances are not good. Bullock leaves and Jane tells Doc that he’s wrong not to trust the young ex-marshal. Fairly patiently, Doc explains that the little girl will be in danger if she tells anyone who killed her family.

Charlie is singularly unimpressed with the hotel breakfast: “Same damn roach in the same damn biscuit.” Bullock, joining Sol for breakfast, greets Bill and Charlie. Charlie tells the boys they’ll stop by the hardware tent later to purchase prospecting gear for Bill. Bill reprimands Charlie for herding him like a damn steer; Charlie defends himself by saying they need to get Bill a regular source of income, particularly if he’s going to lose all his money playing poker. Over their own coffee, Bullock and Sol discuss how much to offer for the lot they are currently renting. Alma Garrett stops by E.B.’s desk on her way to breakfast and asks him to fetch Doc for her. What a druggie. Wild Bill observes her hand shaking when she reaches for the coffee pot. Out in the stream on Garrett’s claim, Garrett and Dan are hard at work prospecting. Ellsworth (yay!) stops by to introduce himself. He’s already made his day’s quota for “whiskey, pussy and food” while Garrett is discouraged that he hasn’t even found any flakes, much less nuggets. Dan keeps a close eye on Garrett.

Back in Deadwood, Johnny has figured out that the road agents (Ned and Tom Mason, and Persimmon Phil), not the Sioux, must have killed the Norwegian family. Al gets grumpier and sends Johnny off to fetch the doc to “see to the whores.” Bullock and Sol stop by the Gem to talk to Al about buying their lot. Al and Bullock immediately get off on the wrong foot. They are like two dogs taking an immediate and vicious dislike to one another. To his credit, Al even attempts some charm: “I am stupidest when I try to be funny” but Bullock is incapable of reining in his animosity. Realizing that this is perhaps not the best time to negotiate for the real estate, Sol hustles Bullock out of the saloon before the damage is irreparable. As they leave, Tom Mason and Persimmon Phil come in and Al invites them upstairs to talk privately. He asks after Ned but they don’t know where he went. When Tom selects Trixie, Al snaps at him to pick another whore. Out on the street, Bullock grouses that he really doesn’t like Al. Sol chivvies him a little, saying that fortunately he didn’t let Al see it. He suggests to Bullock that they just buy the lot and then give Al a wide berth. The preacher corners the boys and twists their arms into attending to Ned Mason’s funeral. Too bad he doesn’t know Ned’s brother is in town. Wild Bill is still cranky with Charlie for shopping him out to saloonkeepers. Doc Cochran has refilled Alma’s laudanum and tells her that he will “see to [her] requirements whether [she] has symptoms or not.” Alma gets a little snooty about it – unnecessarily, I think.

Al and Phil drink and talk as Tom enthusiastically bangs his whore in the next room. Al asks Phil if he knew about the massacred family. Phil tries to dance around it and Al says “keep lyin’ and I’ll murder you in that chair.” Phil wises up a bit, promising Al that they took care any loose ends. Al, who is by now working himself into a serious simmer, then brings Phil up to speed on two things: the little girl not only survived but is in Deadwood; and Ned came back to camp and was subsequently shot down by Wild Bill Hickok. Phil tries to make up for the mess the road agents made by offering Al all the money they took off the family. Al doesn’t want the money – he wants to smack Phil around. He is so scary. He knocks Phil off his chair and threatens to cut his throat. Just then, a naked and full-frontal Tom, with himself well in hand, opens the door and wonders at what’s going on. Phil says he tipped over in his chair; Al says he’s helping Phil up, and could Tom put his "iron" away. But Tom’s not quite done yet with that poor whore and shuffles back to her. Jeez, he doesn’t even have his pants all the way off. These people.

Doc is teaching Jane how to dress the little girl’s bandage. “I expect care for those whores’ business areas is a big damn part of your income,” notes Jane. She looks at peace, tending to her patient. Out in the graveyard, the preacher is really hitting his stride, despite the fact that Bullock and Sol are the only ones at the funeral, and Sol – the Jewish one! – is the only one paying attention to what he’s saying. After the amen, the boys fill in the grave. Upstairs at the Gem, Tom is finally finished with the sex and Al is consoling him for the loss of his brother by pouring huge quantities of whiskey down his throat. When Johnny lets his boss know that the doctor is tending to the whores, Al goes in and grills Doc about the little girl. Doc refuses to give him much of an answer, so Al decides to find out for himself. He bursts into the doc’s hovel and Jane springs up, immediately on the defensive. She starts to bluster at him; he speaks softly and threateningly to her; she sees something in his face and takes a step back, stammering, all her bravado gone. Al pushes right past her and pinches the little girl’s arm. She opens her eyes immediately but doesn’t make a sound. Jane is slobbering and shouting: “Leave her alone! Do it to me if you have to!” Al never once raises his voice. “Why would I do it to you?” he says conversationally, walking out. Jane just lets him go, tears and snot covering her face. On his way home, Doc notices Al leaving and asks if he hurt the girl. Al says no, he didn’t, but she’s better than the doc thought: “Her eyes are open.” Doc runs to his hovel. Jane is sitting on the little girl’s cot, rocking herself back and forth. She whimpers, “I couldn’t take care of the little one. He looked at me and I fell apart.” Doc is kind to her, telling her that it wasn’t her fault, she’s not the first – meaning she’s certainly not the first person who couldn’t stand up to Al. Jane misunderstands him and starts raving. This whole scene is just brutal. Doc manages to calm her down and she apologizes to him. Doc says she has nothing to apologize for and that she did a good job caring for the girl. “Don’t be mean,” she pleads. He is serious, though, and tells her she has a gift. Scrubbing her face with her sleeve, Jane leaves.

Garrett returns to the hotel, despondent over his apparently worthless gold claim, and asks E.B. if he’s still interested in buying it. E.B. demurs, saying he was drunk last night when he made the offer. Garrett doesn’t think E.B. acted drunk last night and becomes suspicious. Al tells Dan to kill the little girl so she can’t tell tales. Dan has the decency to look upset. Al instructs Phil to sober up Tom so he can go murder Wild Bill and then goes downstairs to meet with the hardware boys again about the lot. Sol has a plan: “See if this makes sense, Seth - let me do all the talkin’.” Bullock spits to Al that Sol has his proxy; Al wants to know what Bullock is so mad about all the time. That’s funny. Al expresses concern that Hickok may be an unnamed partner with the hardware boys (Sol insists that he isn’t). He is also worried that they will build a saloon instead of a hardware store, in direct competition with the Gem (Sol insists they won't). They haggle but can’t come to terms. Bullock is simply unable to speak to Al without shouting at him, even when Al is almost polite. Al makes a counteroffer to Bullock’s counteroffer: “Go fuck yourself,” said really angrily. He snarls that someone needs to get Bullock away from him. Bullock, eyes bulging under his brows, stalks off, knocking into Al as he goes. I cannot believe Al doesn’t gut him for it.

In the Garretts’ room, Brom confides to his wife that he thinks he was swindled and wants to enlist Hickok to investigate. Sol continues to work on Bullock, and finally Bullock says he’ll accept Al’s terms if Sol can get them in writing. At the quieter saloon, Wild Bill is drinking whiskey and playing poker; Tom Mason is there too, drinking both whiskey and coffee and building the nerve to go shoot Bill. Sol and Bullock come into the saloon and Bill greets them. He mentions that the fella in the corner (Tom) intends to do him harm and asks Bullock to keep an eye on the fella’s buddy (Phil). Bullock is down with that and recommends that Sol step away from him. Outside, a really drunk Jane comes upon a slightly drunk Charlie and tells him that she’s on her way to kill Al. He stops her and she bursts into tears; Charlie is very sweet as he comforts her. “He scared me, Charlie. I haven’t been scared like that since I was a little girl.” She pulls herself together and “triangulates” herself so she can see Al’s saloon as well as Doc’s hovel. Charlie, resigned (or with nothing better to do), stands there with her.

Tom gets ready to take revenge for his brother and heads towards Bill, crying. Bill doesn’t even look up as Tom approaches but shoots him before Tom’s gun even clears its holster. Bullock insists that Bill acted in self-defense, the onlookers don’t seem to care much, Phil never even stands up and an informant sneaks out the back to report to Al. A conflicted Dan walks by Jane and Charlie (Jane slurs: “Whatchoo starin’ at? Like he’s a fuckin’ Adonis.”) and knocks on Doc’s door. Doc stands up to him. Dan allows himself to be talked out of killing the little girl, but he wants Doc to come with him to make their case to Al. As they walk past Jane and Charlie, Doc gets an idea. At the Gem, Doc and Dan tell Al that the “lunatic that runs with Hickok” just absconded with the little girl – nothing they could do about it. Al calls Phil into his office, asking if he is sure that the girl can’t identify him. Phil admits that he isn’t certain, but suggests that he leave camp for a while just in case. Al chuckles, shakes Phil’s hand good-naturedly, and then stabs Phil in the heart. “No loose ends now,” he grunts. Doc and Dan, upon learning of Phil’s demise, feel a little better about their own lives. And way up in the hills, Jane, Charlie and the girl are in a covered wagon. Jane makes Charlie sing “Row Row Row Your Boat” as a round. They’re not too bad at it.

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1 comment:

  1. I think Doc had the line of the episode when after he tells Jane to keep the girl's condition from Bullock; (I'll have to paraphrase a bit) "I've seen as much misery out of them that's tryin' to justify themselves as I have out of them that sets out to do harm."

    Also, I think I heard someone at breakfast in the hotel refer to coffee as "joe" which I don't think came in to use until WW I when the secretary of the navy was a tea totaler named Joe