Saturday, November 3, 2007

Deadwood recap – “Amalgamation and Capital” (S2E9)

The dropping: Martha has a change of heart with regard to both her husband and her husband's ex-honey. Al, Wolcott and Cy keep entrenching themselves deeper into the camp's politics. Trixie is really bad at math. Hostetler is proved right yet again when he thinks it's an inauspicious time for fixing wild horses.

Morning at the Bullock household. The men of the house are enjoying a cup of coffee together. William is so cute, and Bullock is very cute with him. They talk about William’s father, Bullock asking questions since he didn’t know his older brother very well. Martha tiptoes down the stairs and watches them, Bullock’s obvious affection for her son warming her heart. When Charlie comes to fetch the sheriff for “camp bidness,” Martha hastens down the stairs and says good morning to her husband, which she didn’t seem likely to do as of yesterday. E.B., still suffering with his toothache, pays a call on Al, who instructs him to make friends with the new telegraph operator. “Of course I’ll befriend him,” says E.B., “I’m very fond of Russians.” Hee hee. Al goes on to say he is particularly interested in telegraph messages to and from Yankton. As E.B. leaves, Dan delivers the morning paper with Al’s “article” about Montana’s interest in Deadwood.

At the Bella Union, Cy is grousing about Al being behind this newspaper article when Bullock and Charlie come in. They’re here to see Mose Manuel about the shooting of his brother. At the hotel, Ellsworth (yay!) has brought some paperwork for Alma to sign: the safe for her new bank is arriving shortly, to be housed in the hardware store until the bank building is built. She gives him a letter to take to Al and, when he asks if there’s anything else they need to discuss (like his unanswered marriage proposal), she dodges that bullet by lunging for her barf basin. Convenient, that morning sickness! Joanie pulls up the curtains at the Chez Amie to see Jane leaning against the front door, asleep. Joanie asks her to come in several times, but Jane is not listening, rambling as she explains her encounter with Wolcott the night before. Finally Joanie says, “Jane! It’s nippy on my twat!” and Jane comes indoors.

Hostetler and N.G. are fussing with a wild stallion that N.G. has caught and brought into camp. The horse will need to be castrated before it settles enough that they can sell him. Hostetler says that he “can nut him, but the moon is wrong and he’ll take it badly.” N.G. doesn’t want to waste any time on the moon and insists on going forward. This horse looks like the one from the opening credits. Al comes downstairs to the Gem bar, reading his piéce de resistance in the paper. In a nice bit of continuity from last season, Dan grumps that the ball scores in Merrick’s rag are outdated. At the newspaper office, Merrick has just finished printing another one hundred copies of the paper – he’s jubilant. E.B. is there too, sucking up to Blazenoff. Just then Miss Isringhausen stops by to send a telegram; E.B. does his best to read over her shoulder but she is not having any of that, telling him to get the fuck away. E.B., thinking she’s actually a tutor, is scandalized by such language.

When Merrick stops in at the Gem, he and Al get into a shouting match but I’m not really paying any attention as to why. I’m more interested in the fact that Ellsworth has dropped Alma Garrett’s letter off in Dan’s care, warning that Al better not treat the sender ill. Okay, I guess that Merrick is concerned that what he printed was falsehood, but Al explains that it was all for the good of the camp in the face of the imminent annexation. Al pours Merrick some whiskey and they reaffirm their alliance against of what’s to come. E.B. pops in to report that Miss Isringhausen is sending a telegram and Al, after reading Alma’s letter to him, sends Dan to fetch her.

William has brought some sunflower seeds with him from Michigan and is planting them in his little garden. He tells Martha that he thinks Bullock might like the sunflowers as William’s father liked them. She helps him plant, and then he asks her if they might take lunch to Bullock at his store. She watches him, realizing how important it is for her son to have a father figure in his life. Since William is so adorable and sweet, it is at this point that I start to be certain that something horrible is going to happen to him. This is television, after all.

William’s father figure and Charlie are interrogating Mose Manuel as he disgustingly eats his own lunch at the Bella Union. Mose is not particularly interested in explaining himself. Just as things as things are starting to get a little tense (Cy fanning the flames as usual), Wolcott comes in to report to Bullock that his mining operation had to shoot one of the Cornish miners who was attempting to flee with stolen gold. Charlie rolls his eyes and make a reference I don’t recognize: “It’s all amalgamation and capital, eh, Wolcott?” As Bullock arches an eyebrow at his newly erudite deputy, Wolcott responds that he didn’t know Charlie was a student of Hume or a disciple of Karl Marx. Charlie doesn’t really want Wolcott talking to him about anything and begins to get a little chippy.

Bullock doesn’t like where this is heading and gets Charlie out of there. Charlie is furious: he tells Bullock that he has to leave camp to deliver Bill’s letter, and says that it was Wolcott who gave the letter to him. “Money must buy these bastards any fuckin’ thing they want!” he rants. Bullock wants to know if the letter was the impetus for Wolcott’s beating but Charlie says he’s promised not to talk about that. The sheriff then asks what the import of the phrase “amalgamation and capital” is and Charlie says that in some magazine interview with Bill, the reporter said that that’s what was changing things around out West. Bullock promises to keep an eye on Jane while Charlie is gone and Utter takes his leave. Martha and William walk up with lunch for Bullock. He’s pretty surprised to see them.

Jane asks Joanie if she’s planning to “restock and reopen” the brothel. Joanie demurs then asks her new friend if she would stay with her for a while, as Joanie’s guest. Jane nods with a grin, “I get top fuckin’ dollar!” She goes back to the freight office to pack up her stuff. Charlie is there, asking if there’s a new saloon in town and that’s why he couldn’t find her at her usual haunts. She tells him that she’s moving into Joanie’s place. Daring to be hopeful, he asks how the two of them are getting along, if they’re friendly or if it’s a business relationship. “Yeah,” she scoffs, “I’m gonna be Queen Hooker.” But Charlie is pleased and relieved, wishing Jane luck and asking her to relay his regards to Miss Stubbs. Jane shakes her head: “You’re not only a pain in the balls, Charlie, but also the strangest fuckin’ person I ever met.” “No argument here,” he answers. Aw, Charlie is such a sweetheart and Dayton Callie is just outstanding in his portrayal of him.

At the hardware store, William watches Trixie work her numbers. “3 and 3 is 6,” he points out politely. She grimaces, “Sometimes I just put ‘9’ to amuse myself.” Me too, Trixie - I hate math. Bullock, Sol and Ellsworth are struggling to put the safe into place. Martha suggests that maybe Alma might like to be invited to the opening of the bank. Bullock’s eyes bulge, Trixie tenses and Ellsworth reluctantly goes to fetch his boss lady. Trixie runs after him, asking what the fuck is going on between Bullock’s two women. Ellsworth has no idea whatsoever. He also has no answer when Trixie asks how his marriage proposal went over. “What the fuck is her fuckin’ problem then?” she spits. “You’re a worthy enough fuckin’ candidate, given all her fuckin’ givens.” “Warm endorsement,” Ellsworth grumbles. Hee hee.

Al tells Miss Isringhausen that Alma wrote to him saying she’d tipped her hand to the former tutor. Al figures that she knows it was Al who told Alma who Miss Isringhausen worked for, and that her recent telegram was most likely to her Pinkerton bosses saying that Al had thrown in with the widow and could not be trusted. Miss Isringhausen doesn’t dispute it. Al then goes on to threaten her, saying she’d best sign everything he has for her to sign, take the $5,000 he is just now offering her and disappear, severing her connection with the Pinkertons. Otherwise she’ll end up dead. To her credit, Miss Isringhausen doesn’t even blink, instead asking to see the $5,000. She further says that she wants Bullock to witness her signing Al’s documents (without the sheriff being privy to their contents) and also to escort her from Deadwood. Al thinks that can be arranged.

Tom Nuttal drops by the hardware store to ask Bullock what he discovered with regard to the Manuel brother’s shooting. Bullock resignedly reports that since there were no witnesses, the accident stands as is - accidental. Tom is dismayed at this most recent violence to occur in his saloon. When William asks him how the bicycling is going, Tom replies by asking if William can assist him with calibrating the Boneshaker’s handlebars. [At this point, Mr. Mouse notes that Leon Rippy, who plays Nuttal, has a great voice. It’s true: rich and gravelly and a nice rolling sound to his chuckle.] Martha gives her permission and the two bicycle enthusiasts head off, grinning ear to ear.

Ellsworth delivers the invitation to Alma, who snootily thinks she might just head over to the hardware store and see what Martha is up to. Ellsworth picks this moment to ask if she’s made a decision as to his proposal. She snaps that she’s not made up her mind yet and does he really want to push her right now? Bad timing, Ellsworth. At the hardware store, as Martha, Bullock and Sol are eating lunch, Johnny comes to fetch Bullock for Al. Bullock tells him “not now” and Johnny cools his heels on the boardwalk, afraid to return to Al without the sheriff in tow. When Alma arrives, decked out in her finest, Martha goes straight up to her and holds out her hand, sincerely wishing Alma good luck with the new bank venture. Surprised, Alma meets her eyes, reading the sincerity there, and shakes Martha’s proffered hand, in turn giving her support to Martha’s schoolteaching aspirations. Everyone else in the room – Bullock, Ellsworth, Sol and Trixie – breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.

Tom and William have adjusted the bicycle and Tom gets ready to ride again. William wishes he could ride too and Tom encourages him to grow his legs just a little longer. Steve (the guy who tarred N.G.’s shoulder a couple episodes ago) comes upon the bicyclists and genuinely smiles to see their fun. At the bank meeting, Trixie hands over a gold nugget to be the first depositor. Johnny asks again if Bullock will come with him to the Gem, promising it will be brief. At the Bella Union, Mose Manuel is getting a blowjob under the table as he plays faro. Wolcott and I are both completely disgusted by this. Mose gets himself worked up into a frenzy and ends up getting shot by Cy’s thugs. Wolcott seems twitchier than usual (I think he’s nervous about Bullock’s supposed Montana interests and how they might affect his boss) and tells a lackey to find Bullock before fetching the doctor for Mose.

Back at the bank, Alma wishes to sign Trixie’s receipt since it’s the first one. Everyone is smiling and happy and ... uh-oh. Twanging music has started up, ominously getting louder, and we start rapidly cutting between several scenes: Steve trying to lift William up onto the bicycle as Tom rides past and then circles around for another try; Hostetler and N.G. preparing to castrate the furious, flailing horse; Cy’s lackey searching for Bullock; Miss Isringhausen nervously reading over the paperwork as Al and Bullock wait for her.

Suddenly, the distraught horse breaks free from the livery, dashing headlong down the thoroughfare, neighing wildly. The horse startles at seeing Tom on the bicycle and lunges away, trampling Steve and William and sending them flying. Bystanders shout and cry out – Bullock, hearing the uproar, leaves Al’s office before Miss Isringhausen has put pen to paper. In the hardware store, the assembled group hears the noise outside but doesn’t know what to make of it. In the thoroughfare, a horrified Tom jumps off his bicycle and runs to William’s side. We pull back into an overhead shot: William is sprawled on his back, limbs outstretched, not moving. It looks really bad for this sweet little boy. I told you this would happen.

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