Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deadwood recap – “Complications” (S2E5)


The dropping: Al is mending and oh how the camp (and the viewers) have missed him. Mrs. Garrett's hotel room is going to start getting crowded in about nine months. Jane makes a new friend with whom to drink, nurse and fire off really funny lines. George Hearst's crew makes great inroads in acquiring mining claims. We find out a little more about Miss Isringhausen's agenda (and get to see Adams half-nekkid, so that's good, at least in my book).

Uh-oh: Alma Garrett is puking into her washbasin first thing in the morning. It would seem that she and the good sheriff did not practice safe sex. The better news is that, on the other side of the thoroughfare, Al Swearengen is awake and lucid for the first time in ages. Dan is perched at his bedside, gazing fondly at his boss. Al grumps at him: “Did you fuck me while I was out?” “Hell, no!” “Then quit lookin’ at me like that.” Hee hee - I’ve missed Al. Doc and Johnny are also there, looking pleased as punch as well. Doc thinks that Al may have had a small stroke in addition to his other difficulties but he’s definitely mending better than expected. Al, however, mostly hopes that Bullock looks as awful as he does. It doesn’t take long before he is pumping his lackeys for information, to Doc’s consternation – Al needs to rest! The boys go downstairs to tend to business and Al tells Doc that if he doesn’t make a decent recovery, he expects Doc to kill him. Doc gets mad: “Don’t you put a fuckin’ clock on this.”

E.B. is practicing the speech he plans to give to Mrs. Garrett refusing her offer to buy the hotel. When she comes downstairs, however, he chokes and can’t manage to get it out. She borrows Richardson to escort her on some errands and E.B. picks up his recitation right where he left off. Commissioner Jarry drops by Merrick’s newspaper office with a notice to be published. Merrick’s initial jubilation at having something substantive to print soon turns to dismay when he reads the notice that, in sum, says that the presumption of ownership of the gold claims may be arbitrarily overturned. Merrick thinks this will have an “unsettling” effect on the populace; Jarry doesn’t care.

Mrs. Garrett finds Trixie at the hardware store and sends Richardson back to E.B., but not before he tells her she’s purty. Her skin almost visibly crawls with that statement. Trixie is almost glad to be interrupted in her accounting lessons when Mrs. G shows up. (For his part, Bullock’s spine seizes up.) The two women go outside to talk and Trixie, who is no fool, immediately asks if she is knocked up. Alma confirms her suspicion, adding that she’s been told that bringing a child to term may kill her, and Trixie says that she has a tea that will take care of things – has in fact taken care of seven of her own. The whore also asks the widow why she hasn’t gone to the doc. Alma replies that she feels Doc judges her. Get over it, Alma. Trixie sends her home, saying that after she “finishes her Jewish lessons” she’ll get to work on Alma’s problem.

I don’t really like Miss Isringhausen so I’ll just cut to the chase: she’s been hiding out in Adams’s room and, when he stops by in the morning to pick up a clean shirt, she jumps his bones. She is up to something for sure. Ah – a new character: a young black man, dressed in a ragged Union Army uniform. We’ll just call him N.G. for short as I draw the line at writing his actual name here. He has some sort of relationship with Hostetler, the owner of the livery, that I’m guessing will come into play later or possibly it’s just that the very few black residents of Deadwood need to stick together. At the Bella Union, Cy is counting out his cut from the Chez Ami that Doris has dutifully brought to him. As usual, Cy gets angry, this time thinking that Joanie and Maddie are paying him MORE than his agreed-upon cut just to make him think that they’re doing better than they are. Doris says that all the money is from one trick and finally confirms that it’s Wolcott; she also lets on that Wolcott may have some fairly deviant tendencies with regard to sex, which Cy is happy to learn. She is a complete dishrag, although her line readings are slightly better than pretty Lila’s.

Trixie stops by the Doc’s office to yell at him about going to check on Mrs. Garrett. She is ridiculously cranky and he snaps that she has as bad an attitude as Al. “I ain’t exclusive to him no more,” she non-sequiturs. Jane is perched on the bench outside of Charlie’s freight office and N.G. tries to buy her bottle of whiskey from her. She won’t sell it but she will share it with him, not caring whether he’s black or not. Their exchange is friggin’ hilarious and I can’t even try to quote it all. I love Jane. Ugh: Adams and Miss Isringhausen, post-coitally. She is playing him like a violin and he finally figures it out when she tells him she wants to meet with Al. “Why do I feel lucky we didn’t meet across from a poker table?”

Doc pays a call on Mrs. G, ostensibly to give Sophia her yearly exam. After some verbal sparring back and forth, Mrs. G consents to an exam for herself. Afterwards, Doc tells her that taking a pregnancy to term will be difficult (i.e. painful) but not dangerous to her or the child. She is shaken, having been told before that having children was not an option for her. At the Bella Union, Wolcott is paying Cy for all the claims Cy has bought. Commissioner Jarry comes by to update them on his successful dealings with Merrick. Leon then pops in to announce that the dealings were maybe less successful than the Commissioner thought: Merrick did not put the notice in the paper but posted it outside his office instead, and folks are all riled up. The conspirators think that perhaps they went too far and Cy goes to try to manage the situation.

At the Gem, Johnny reports the situation to Al who immediately sends Dan to fetch Bullock. Cy fans the flames of the mob who decide that the commissioner needs to be taught a lesson. Bullock arrives to see Al who is annoyed: “You got gall, comin’ before me prettier than ever.” But he gets to the point, saying that if harm comes to the commissioner, who is currently allied with Cy, Yankton will blame it on Al. Bullock figures the devil you know is better than the devil named Tolliver and heads to the Bella Union. He gets there just in time to save Jarry from the mob. I like it when Bullock uses his deep, gravelly don’t-screw-with-me voice. Once their erstwhile quarry has been whisked away, the mob comes back onto the thoroughfare, looking for a new scapegoat. Jane’s new drinking buddy sees the mob and bolts – why? Bullock takes Jarry to Charlie’s freight office where he’ll be put in the cell for his own safety.

Charlie informs Bullock that the mob has grabbed N.G., and they head out, Jane remaining behind to keep an eye on Jarry. When the commissioner complains that he’s thirsty, Jane tells him to “Lay on [his] back, take aim and piss.” I can’t really figure out why the mob is so angry with N.G. – I think it has something to do with the Union uniform he’s wearing. They strip him and begin the tarring segment of a tar-and-feather session. I can’t believe people did that to other people – it’s so horrible. They’ve tarred one of his shoulders when Bullock and Charlie arrive, guns drawn. Bullock fires into the air, ordering the crowd to disperse. When the ringleader, Steve, says that N.G. has motherfucked him, Bullock roars, in his great big voice, “I will motherfuck you … and I will blow your head off.” He is not kidding and the mob knows it.

Trixie is struggling with her accounting; Sol gives her the answer to speed things along to the carnal portion of the evening. Once again, Alma stops by to see Trixie, and they bond a little. Trixie asks her what she’s going to do and Alma says that her plan, at the moment, is to watch and wait (i.e. she’s going to keep the baby). Trixie tells her that she’s learning to do accounts and Alma says she’s delighted for her. Trixie then says she’s “also fuckin’ one of the owners,” to which Alma also expresses delight. Both these women so badly need a female friend and neither exactly knows how to go about it, but they’re making some progress. Wolcott reads Wild Bill’s last letter to Carrie. Yawn. I think this is trying to establish their relationship (as such) as normal (for Deadwood) so that we’re all the more shocked when he gets his crazy on. Let’s get to the crazy already – we know he’s not normal.

Doc checks in on Al again, impressed with the progress his patient continues to make. Bullock comes by to give his update; as the doc leaves, he admonishes them both to keep it “pithy and civil.” Al and Bullock agree that Yankton is moving against the camp, but Al points out that someone must be behind the politicians to give them such courage. When Bullock asks if it might be Cy Tolliver, Al disagrees, thinking it must be someone with a lot of power, from outside the camp, whom they don’t know about yet. Al promises that once he gets back on his feet, he’ll carry his share. Bullock replies that his money’s on Al. I really like how they dislike each other, yet recognize the need to work together for their own best interests and the interests of the camp. It’s a great relationship and both McShane and Olyphant do a lovely job together.

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