Friday, January 11, 2008

Deadwood recap - “Full Faith and Credit” (S3E4)

The dropping: Lots of little transactions happen in this episode but nobody gets killed. Hearst wants Al and Cy to see to his dealings in Deadwood. Doc is dealing with a bad illness of his own. Bullock brokers a deal for Steve to buy the livery. Joanie makes a deal to sell the Chez Amie to Al's dandy friend Jack. Leon deals to Alma.


After his weekly survey of the Bella Union whores, Doc checks in on Cy. Doc looks really bad and sounds even worse with his cough. A crowd has gathered in the thoroughfare underneath a sign that has been covered by a cloth: it’s the grand opening of the Bank of Deadwood. Joanie Stubbs is out for a stroll and Jack Langrishe walks with her for a bit. He asks if she’d be willing to sell or rent the Chez Amie building to him so that he could use it to stage his plays. She’s a little taken aback and snaps that it’s a schoolhouse now.

Hearst’s captain delivers another note to Al from his boss. The Captain and Dan growl at each other a little – I predict bloody conflict down the line between those two. Al reads the note, remarking, “Another fuckin’ invite. Hearst must take me for an optimist.” Dan mutters, “I’m going to kill that cocksucker.” Al appeases him with a raised eyebrow and a bemused “All in good time.”

The younger of Langrishe’s chubby female companions strolls into the Bella Union and commences flirting with Con Stapleton. He’s gross and I don’t see the point of any of this scene (or subsequent ones when they screw) so I’m not recapping any of it. Jane receives a telegram from N.G. and takes it to Charlie who reads it for her. N.G. wants to know the state of affairs in the camp as regards the horse that killed Martha Bullock’s son. Charlie and Jane agree that the men would be crazy to try to bring that horse back to camp. Just then, N.G. and Hostetler ride by the freight office, leading the horse. “Aw – fuck!” exclaims Jane. Meanwhile, Steve is at Hostetler’s abandoned livery, caring for the horses. It’s clear that he loves working with them and is much better suited to it than to working with people. He looks up to see Hostetler staring at him from the street, lips quivering with rage. That’s right, snarls Steve, you’ve come back to take it all away from me.

Joanie finds Charlie at the freight office and presents her shall-I-sell-my-place dilemma to him. She doesn’t know what to do and latches onto the concern of displacing the schoolchildren. She says she wishes she could have cared for the little ones just once “instead of doing what I did.” Poor thing – she’s so lost. Steve is storming around in Tom Nuttal’s bar, all bombastic and dropping f-bombs left and right. He goes to the hardware store to tell Bullock that Hostetler’s brung the horse back. Bullock grabs his hat and heads out, grimacing.

Ellsworth has brought his wife an apple on her first day of work. She smiles sweetly, and then unthinkingly asks, “You don’t confuse me with Mrs. Bullock, do you?” He doesn’t appear to pick up on it but she realizes what she’s just said and makes a little face of annoyance at herself. It’s cute. Trixie is now working as a bank teller and needs a little lesson in customer service when dealing with a belligerent depositor. Ellsworth and Alma tag-team to calm things down. A little later, Leon [Cy’s opium-addict faro dealer] opens his bank account. I’m not really paying attention to the text or the subtext here but at one point, Alma gives Leon a strange look.

Bullock finds Hostetler at the livery as Steve rampages out at Nuttal’s bar. Hostetler apologizes for his part in William’s death and lays himself on Bullock’s mercy. The sheriff says he has no intention of going after Hostetler for an accident. Then Bullock asks about Steve: “Any chance to keep hell from breakin’ loose between you?” You know, all the Hostetler vs. Steve scenes in this episode are a pain to recap. What it all boils down to is Bullock hilariously plays go-between trying to arbitrate Steve’s purchase of the livery from Hostetler. It’s comical and gives the sheriff something to do besides fret over Hearst.

Joanie practices her response to Jack Langrishe’s offer in front of Charlie: she’ll sell but she wants him to build a new schoolhouse first. She’s not sure if Mrs. Bullock will like that so Charlie offers to find out for her. Okay, she says, and then she’ll talk with Langrishe. Unfortunately Charlie catches Bullock right in the middle of brokering the livery deal and while he receives a favorable answer to Joanie’s question, Bullock nearly bites his head off in the process. Is Bullock the camp’s first realtor? Heh.

Oh good – it’s time for Al’s latest blowjob monologue. He’s trying to clear his head (ahem) before he meets with Hearst. Dolly the whore is having trouble getting the job done (or perhaps Al is having the trouble) so, during a break in the action he asks her who she’s going to vote for in the election. “Star for mayor and Harry Manning for sheriff,” she says. No, instructs Al: “It’s Star for mayor and Bullock for sheriff.” Dolly shakes her head, “Bullock yells at you.” Aw. Sighing, Al tells her to get out.

Downstairs, Jack catches Al on his way to meet Hearst. He wants to know if Al knows any reason why Joanie Stubbs might not want to sell. “I don’t know, Jack,” says Al, “She’s all right.” Al is fretting a little about seeing Hearst and Jack gallantly offers to accompany him as his second: “My obvious unsuitability might confuse him.” Jack throws some cute little air punches and Al tries not to laugh before going on alone.

Cy is waiting in the hotel lobby and he and Al go up to Hearst’s rooms together. “I think Cochran’s a lunger,” says Cy conversationally. “Bit motley ourselves,” observes Al, gesturing to Cy’s belly wound with his own maimed hand. [I think “lunger” refers to someone afflicted with tuberculosis. Crap. I don’t want them to kill off Doc!] In the meeting, Cy is sycophantic and Al is cranky. Hearst says he’ll be coming and going a lot, as staying in Deadwood doesn’t suit his temperament, and insinuates that he’ll be hiring Al and Cy to see to his interests in the camp. Al wants to know whom Hearst wants killed and how much he’ll get for it but Hearst wants to drag things out. Al has had enough dancing around and snaps that once Hearst and Cy have decided on names and numbers they should tell fuckin’ Adams and he’ll be go-between for Swearengen. “Him and me,” hisses Al, pointing at Hearst, “We’ve had our last word.” Al leaves and Cy looks thoughtful.

At the hotel’s dining room, Joanie has made her stipulations of sale to Langrishe and they reach an agreement, shaking hands.

Adams finally shows up for Al’s bidding. Swearengen is very angry that Adams was looking for his friend Hawkeye and not readily at his beck and call. (Can anyone tell me why Al hates Hawkeye so much? I honestly have no idea.) He tells Adams that he’s to be the go-between. Adams, noting Dan stomping to the back of the Gem, asks how Dan will take Al not choosing him for this job. “That’s my problem,” says Al and sends Adams off. Langrishe arrives with news of his real estate purchase. Al buys him a drink and congratulates him, then excuses himself to “go have [his] ear pissed in.” He finds Dan, sulking in a corner: “You know you hurt my feelings.” Hee hee hee – pouty Dan! Dan insists his loyalty to Al should never be in question. Al sighs. “You’d never go against me,” he explains. “Fuckin’ point is Tolliver knows. I need someone he don’t know that about.” Dan is appeased and admits that he doesn’t think Adams would go against Al either. They sit a moment, and then Al tells Dan that word in the camp is that Doc is a lunger. Dan shakes his head dolefully, “Jesus Christ. It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another.”

A-ha, this is what the look Alma gave Leon at the bank was all about: in the evening, as she stands looking out her window as she so often does, Alma sees Leon out in the thoroughfare. He sees her too, and doffs his hat; she excuses herself from Ellsworth and Sofia, saying she’s going to take some air. Junkie-lady’s off to get herself a fix. I totally called it.

Joanie tells Jane that even though she’s selling the Chez Amie, Jane is still welcome to go wherever Joanie ends up. Jane asks if Mose is invited too, because Joanie might have to widen the doorways. They stand companionably, looking around at the room. “Where would the stage be?” wonders Jane. “I don’t know,” replies Joanie. “Yeah, I don’t know either.” Their timing is really good in this little scene. Aw – the Bullocks are lying in bed, fully clothed, holding hands. Bullock is telling her about the livery sale he’s been trying to broker. She asks him to please see that no harm comes to the horse.

Al and Dolly are trying again. It’s still not working. Al is pretty wound up, saying that he did not shame himself in there with Hearst; the captain held him down and when you’re held down, you can’t defend yourself. He gives himself a chill thinking about it; a memory of being held down as a child after his mother (?) left him at the orphanage comes rushing in. Poor damaged Al. Dolly pipes up that she doesn’t like being held down either. Al is gentle as he says, “I guess I do that, huh, with your fuckin’ hair.” Dolly can’t speak against her boss and says no. “No?” repeats Al, “Well, bless you for a fuckin’ fibber.”

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  1. just found your blog. enjoyed your deadwood reviews. how come you stopped?

    anyway, thanks. rewatching the series again (third time), and I'm still not quite sure why Steve set upon N.G. in "Complications", and how N.G. seemed to know this would happen. Did they have a history that was later mentioned that I might have missed?

  2. Thanks for reading, zinzan. I've only stopped because the Australian Open got in the way: we've only got one t.v. and the tennis took precedence. And then I was gone skiing for the weekend. But now I'm back and have quite a few episodes to catch up on so stay tuned.

    This is my first time through the entire series and I just adore it: I think it's the best television I've ever seen (and I watch a lot). My language has deteriorated somewhat since I've picked it up, however.

    Again, thanks so much for checking out the little blog. More recaps are forthcoming AND Lost starts back up this week. too. - FM

    1. The "point" of the scenes where the actress seduces and sleeps with Con Stapleton is supposed to be humor. You should include it whether you understand it or not. Other people may understand it. It isn't "gross", it's hilarious. They make it pretty clear that the actress likes Jack Langrishe, they make it pretty clear that Jack Langrishe is gay, and Con looks like Jack with a mustache... They have almost the exact same physique and similar faces and gray hair. She is using him to make her feel like she is sleeping with Jack. This is why E.B. says to Con that if he "stay there long he might get to see his identical twin". He is referring to Jack. And it is why, after they finish having sex, she loses complete interest in him. It is a joke, lighten up.

  3. Juckstapoze - thanks for commenting. It's been so long since I've seen these eps that I scarcely remember them ... but I appreciate your insight w/r/t Con Stapleton. Clearly I missed the joke the first time around!

  4. Did you ever find out why Al, Dan and Johnny hated Hawkeye so much? My husband and I just finished watching all three seasons for the fourth time and this is our one BURNING question....

  5. Gosh, I have no idea now, if I ever did. I only watched the whole series through once - altho' I would like to do so again at least once if not twice. I wonder if someplace like the AV Club or Television Without Pity (whose recaps have a lot of analysis) might have addressed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!