The dropping: There's something (probably not all that important to the plot at large) between Aunt Lou's son Odell and Hearst regarding purported gold in Africa, but I wasn't really paying attention. The camp elders decide that publishing Bullock's tasteful letter to a dead Cornish miner's family in the camp newspaper is an alternative to fight-or-flight as regards dealing with Hearst, at least for the present. However, Hearst has ordered guns and they're on their way. Harry the Bartender is apparently allergic to alcohol as well as cinnamon (good thing he's not a baker too). Alma and Ellsworth seem to come to terms with their separate arrangements. Joanie puts the moves on Jane (after Jane has bathed, obviously).
We pick up right where we left off. Hearst meets with Odell to talk about the potential for the African gold; since Hearst is gold-mad, he is intrigued. Bullock comes home and asks for dinner quickly, seeing how he has a town elders meeting to get to and soon. Martha is a little snippy with him because she’s been slaving all day and now he wants to eat quickly and get on to the menfolk bidness. You know, I think Bullock checks out her ass when she bends over to get the roast out of the oven. Either that or he was ogling the roast.
While Johnny circulates throughout camp notifying the elders about the called meeting, Dan struggles to open the cans of peaches for the meeting. I find these recurring peaches hilarious. Jewel takes some initiative and sets the eponymous unauthorized cinnamon out on the table in case folks want some. When Dan rebukes her, saying that’s not her province, she retorts, “Well, if food ain’t my province, then you can make your own fuckin’ breakfast!” You tell him, Jewel. Dan is cranky about lingering in camp and not being on the road to Cheyenne. When Johnny makes it to Doc’s cabin to summon him for the meeting, Doc is unable to talk for all the hacking and wheezing and thus will not be attending. After Johnny leaves, Doc sinks down onto the floor, gasping and sighing. Poor Doc. How I’ve missed him of late.
Hearst and Odell are now eating dinner together in the hotel dining room. Hearst grills Odell about the purposed Liberian gold while Aunt Lou watches nervously from the kitchen. Seems like Odell is trying to draw Hearst away to Africa (for whatever purpose) but I can’t see Hearst going purely on spec – he’d send a lackey first. Things get tense for a bit between Hearst and Odell but when Aunt Lou asks Richardson how her boy is doing out there, Richardson replies, with energy, “Holdin’ his fuckin’ own!” I’m starting to come around on Richardson – he’s gross and squirrelly but has hidden depths.
Sol is trying to soothe Trixie who is beside herself with worry about what will happen to Sophia now that Alma is back on the dope. He suggests that perhaps the Bullocks could take Sophia … or maybe they could. Trixie holds her breath a moment, then asks, trying to keep the hope out of her voice, “You’d have us care for a child?” Sol nods solemnly and she reaches out and holds his hand. It’s just lovely, the HOPE in both of them.
Cy and Al convene in Al’s office just before the meeting starts, Cy telling Al that he pretty much handed the Garrett-Ellsworth claim to Hearst on a silver plate but that Hearst is so furious with Bullock that he can think of nothing else. Cy says “giving Hearst Bullock is the only move that don’t end with the camp in flames … and that one only gets us up to 50/50.” Al is noncommittal. They go down to the meeting, allied in their worry about Doc’s illness.
Oh lordy – it’s Detective Metavoy from NYPD Blue. He’s a strange flamboyant tailor who has brought silk swatches for Al wrap his mutilated finger with. Al humors him for some reason that is beyond my fathoming. Moving on, the Gem whores are enjoying the respite the meeting gives them, sagely noting that even if you own a bank, being a woman won’t get you a seat at the meeting. They use more colloquial terms, mind.
At Shaunessey’s, Joanie is helping Jane bathe. Jane is either drunk or sobering up and a little nervous to be disrobing with pretty Joanie, telling her she’s not used to this, never having had a sister. Joanie breaks my heart when she says, “I had two. And I slept with both of ‘em. I don’t know why God let me, or if he forgives me when I pray. But I’d never hurt you, Jane, or touch you if you didn’t want.” Jane stares at her, saying “I believe that […] but you can go ahead and kiss me if that’s what you fuckin’ do.” And sad, lonely Joanie leans in, and gives sad, lonely Jane a gentle kiss on the mouth.
Hearst and Odell stroll in the thoroughfare. Hearst is being a complete nut job, ranting and raving about “the color,” but then actually tears up a little (!!) at the memory of Bullock stuffing him in that cell. He tells Odell he wants to send one of his men back to Liberia with Odell (which appears to have been Odell’s thought all along, so I guess I was wrong about the revenge scenario). Then Hearst looks around at the camp and growls that he’ll “bring this place down like Gomorrah.”
Meetin’-time. Since he’s running for sheriff, poor pathetic Harry has come with Tom Nuttal – he’s in way over his head as far as the concepts and schemes flying around the table and sticks to eating the peaches. Al asks the assembled group for their suggestions against his instinct to send for more guns; he says he fears for the innocents in camp if it comes to all-out warfare with Hearst. Charlie thinks they should send the innocent folk out of camp and then attack Hearst. This is not all that well-received. Then Bullock hands Merrick a letter that he has written: It’s to the stabbed Cornish miner’s family, informing them of his death. Merrick reads it aloud. “That’s a very nice fuckin’ letter,” according to Al, and it makes no explicit mention of Hearst at all. The group decides to publish the letter in Merrick’s newspaper. Behind the scenes, Jewel informs Dan that Harry seemed to enjoy the cinnamon she put out. Dan doesn’t want to hear about it.
When Merrick goes back to the newspaper office, Blazenoff tells him that Hearst has received a telegram that makes him uncomfortable; normally he wouldn’t impinge on the telegram recipient’s confidentiality but he feels that Al needs to know what is in the message. Merrick takes Blazenoff to Al and we learn that the message is that Hearst’s order for “25 bricks” will be arriving soon. Al agrees with Blazenoff’s interpretation that this means Hearst has 25 hired guns on their way. That’s not so good. Out on the boardwalk as he and Tom are walking back to Tom’s saloon, Harry collapses, unable to breathe. I guess that Harry is allergic to alcohol because Tom cries “Where did you lay your hands on liquor?” as he calls out for help. That’s hilarious because HARRY IS A BARTENDER.
Ugh. The dying fat actor and Jack Langrishe. Then Langrishe goes to the former Chez Amie to tell his company that tomorrow they’ll bring the fat actor over to see the new space they’ve been cleaning, readying for just that event. Whatever. Downstairs at the hotel, Aunt Lou says she thinks Hearst will kill Odell rather than send someone back with him to Liberia. Odell says he isn’t trying to put one over on her boss – he’s just trying to make something of himself. She tells him that she gave the N.G. $742 to give to Odell to get him out of camp safely but Odell will not be swayed from his course.
Back at the Gem, Dan, Adams and Johnny try amongst themselves to figure out what exactly got decided at the meeting. Johnny’s having a tough time with it. As Jewel walks by, Dan toasts her with his fork, saying “Aaaay! Little Miss Fuckin’ Cinnamon!” and she flips him the bird. Hee hee. Blazenoff delivers Hearst’s telegram and the big man is very well pleased, tipping Blazenoff an unprecedented $20.
At the Garrett-Ellsworth mansion, Alma is crying and being a general drama queen as she checks on a sleeping Sophia. “I want to be good, I want to be good,” she murmurs as she goes downstairs to answer a knock at the door. It’s her husband: “For being gone, I seem to be frequently back.” I love Ellsworth and he doesn’t deserve stupid Alma. She apologizes for going back on the dope; he says his moving out should help her odds at kicking the habit; she actually makes me smile when she says, “I started using spirits at seventeen, Ellsworth, with no premonition we’d marry.” He stands by his position, however, saying that she obviously is stronger alone and doesn’t need him to take care of her, but that he’ll always be there to support her if she needs a friend. I guess he’s probably right about that.
Jack Langrishe drops by Al’s office. Al apologizes for not having invited him to the meeting and Jack wonders what topics he might have helped with: “Reprobates? The elderly?” “Fuckin’ Hearst!” gripes Al. He relates the situation and Bullock’s nice letter. “Strategy some may call ingenuous, others … off the point,” observes Jack, before expanding to say that publishing the letter is cunning and genius, invoking a decency that Hearst cannot display. This cheers Al quite a lot and he shouts over the inside balcony to open the Gem back up and get those whores’ legs in the air! He returns to his office to ask Jack how he’s doing himself. Jack is sad because his friend is dying; Al pulls out the good whiskey. “Oh, perhaps just the one,” says Jack gratefully. Brian Cox is great – I just wish he wasn’t surrounded by those annoying actors.
The drunk Steve finds the N.G. asleep in the loft of the livery and blusters around for a while before actually offering the N.G. a job. The N.G. turns him down, saying he’s heading west, hopefully with Odell. I guess the writers are trying to garner some sympathy for Steve but it’s too little too late.
Back at Tom’s saloon, Harry has come around under the ministrations of a coughing, haggard Doc Cochran. “Don’t eat cinnamon!” are his instructions. Al sees Doc hobbling along on his way back to his cabin and calls him into the Gem, then calls Doc out for being a lunger. Doc says that the disease he has is airborne and he doesn’t want to make anyone else sick. “No one gets out alive, Doc,” philosophizes Al. Doc tries to leave and Al screams a whole lot of things at him – basically, suck it up, we all struggle – before throwing the cloth samples at the poor doctor. “Pick a swatch for a spitrag, use others for masks and go about your fuckin’ business. I ain’t learning a new doc’s quirks!” Doc is amazed and slightly appalled, but he picks up the swatches and goes about his fuckin’ business.
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