Saturday, October 20, 2007

Deadwood recap – “Requiem for a Gleet” (S2E4)


The dropping: Miss Isringhausen is up to no good whatsoever and she's looking to drag my man Adams into it. Wolcott, also up to no good, keeps getting shadier and shadier. Mrs. Garrett is looking to go into the real estate development business, to E.B.'s dismay. At his wife's urging, Bullock finally consumates his marriage. And Al Swearingen will live to fight another day.

Bullock and Mrs. Bullock wake up in the same bed together, scarcely much more comfortable with each other than they’ve been. But, Mrs. Bullock, that sassy girl, suggests that they have some morning delight (but using an euphemism to indicate my euphemism – she calls it “a discussion”) and Bullock is both surprised and interested. I sure hope they’re able to call each other by their first names after they get nekkid. Out and about early, Wolcott has made his way over to suss out Mrs. Garrett’s mining operation. Ellsworth (yay!) sees him and, recognizing him from the Comstock, kicks him the hell off the widow’s property. This may be the first time I’ve ever seen Ellsworth actually angry, as opposed to just jealous.

In her hotel room, Alma watches, bored, while Sophia reads to her dolls. When there’s a knock at the door, she bribes the girl with candy to keep her quiet – nice parenting there, Alma. It is Miss Isringhausen and Mrs. Garrett, while managing to be more polite than last night, stands by her decision to sack the tutor. She gives Miss I a sizable severance package and sends her off. At the Gem, E.B stops by to get an update on Al. Dan’s got no time for any of his weasely bullshit, however, nor does he have much patience for some disgusting person who stops by to offer a business opportunity for Al. This guy’s nickname is “Crop Ear” – wonder how he got that one. Yuck. Dan is stalling, protecting Al’s incapacity as best he can, but he knows he’s out of his depth.

The stagecoach pulls in, bringing what I assume must be Wolcott’s current obsession since he springs to her side to greet her. She’s pretty, but bitchy from the get-go. Also on the coach is Ned Ryerson, a/k/a Hugo Jarry, Deadwood’s new county commissioner, who takes a room at the hotel and heads to the Bella Union. Cy is holding court there, already in the process of buying panicked prospectors’ claims. Joanie and Maddie are continuing their spat over at the Chez Ami: Maddie is furious that Joanie almost ruined things with Wolcott, but Joanie is more concerned about the ugliness looming on the horizon. “Something terrible is going to happen,” she pleads. Maddie snorts, “You don’t even know the girl he’s going to harm … you stay the fuck out of it.” Suddenly, the new girl, Carrie, flounces in: “This whole place smells like shit!”

Oh dear, another E.B. and Richardson scene. I’m guessing Richardson is just there so E.B. has someone to talk at and not have to give a strange soliloquy all to himself. Whatever – this time E.B. wails on about how he’s such a parasite. I’m moving on. Adams comes up to Dan at the Gem’s bar, again asking to see Al. When Dan puts him off yet again, Adams reports that Commissioner Jarry has arrived in camp and “intends to fuck Al up the ass.” Dan finally relents, needing to talk to someone – even his sworn enemy - and tells Adams that Al is in sore shape, maybe dying. Adams is shaken and apologizes for giving Dan a hard time; Dan nods, and promises to pass along Adams’s news if and when Al can handle it. Ellsworth finds Mrs. Garrett fluttering about in the hotel’s lobby. She’s worried about what she’s been hearing about the mining claims not being valid. Ellsworth reassures her that he believes the rumors are false, and that he thinks Wolcott is the source of the rumors so that his employer can snatch up all the gold. She is relieved and encouraged and, when E.B. approaches her (amazingly obsequiously and yet insulting at the same time) to attempt to buy her gold claim (in his assumption that she’s panicking like the rest of the hooples), she not only crushingly rebuffs him but also offers to buy his hotel. When he demurs, she asks if he is lying about the “peril” the camp is in. No, no! he exclaims, and so she insists on him making a price for her.

Breakfast at the Bullocks’ house: they call each other “Seth” and “Martha” – yay! Apparently the morning “discussion” went well. William wants to start a garden and his step dad sends him down to the hardware store for supplies; he cutely scoops up his oatmeal into his hands so he can eat it on the way. Back to Al’s room where the moment has come to make a decision. Doc tells Al and the assembled flunkies that there are two ways to operate: through the abdomen (which surgery Doc has personally witnessed, but not actually performed it himself) or from below, “cutting through his taint,” as Johnny puts it. He gives the impressive statistic of 4 men out of 10 surviving the topside surgery. Al is clearly past communicating so Dan makes the call: cut from above. Wolcott, Cy and Jarry meet at the Bella Union and Jarry explains that pretty much the mining claims will be handed out to those who pay the most. Cy suggests that in the meantime Jarry avail himself of the various girl-services offered at the saloon. Jarry perks right up at that. Trixie stops by the hardware store to let Sol know that she can’t come to her accounting lesson today, as worried as she is about Al. When Bullock comes in, Sol fills him in on Al’s condition and then they discuss setting up a bank in camp.

Back at the Bella Union, Wolcott explains to Cy the set-up for the new Chinese player in town from San Francisco, here to start a Celestial gambling and whoring operation in an attempt to oust Mr. Wu from his position of power in camp. Cy is fine with it, as long as he gets his cut. Trixie and Dan are drinking and smoking at the Gem, Dan waxing nostalgic that he was just like Crop-Ear, “a creature walking around on two legs,” before he met up with Al. Trixie ignores his soul search and makes him promise to help her burn the Gem down if Al dies and Cy tries to take it over. Wu comes in, wild to talk to “Swidgen.” Dan tries to figure out what Wu wants: “All right, there’s an invisible cocksucker next to you and he’s from San Francisco.” Hee hee. Doc is a wreck, his hands shaking as he tries to sterilize the instruments. “Jesus Christ! I do not need to kill another man!” he shouts before getting himself under control.

In a very strange turn of events, Miss Isringhausen invites herself into Adams’s room. He’s awkward, offering her “whiskey or water … that I just washed my face in.” She takes the whiskey and starts spilling her sad story to him. When she tells him that she thinks Mrs. Garrett may try to kill her, and professing to have evidence that Mrs. G killed her own husband, I decide that she’s not to be trusted and is playing him. What is she up to? Under Doc’s direction, Dan gets ready to tie Al to the bed while Trixie prepares a big dose of laudanum. Al starts groaning, rolling his eyes: he’s afraid of the surgery! They decide to give it one last try and grab onto him, Dan pinning him to the bed and Johnny shoving smelling salts up his nose. , Doc puts that probe back up his urethra and Trixie is told to “milk” the stone down and out of him. It’s awful: screaming, swearing, groaning, tears from everyone. Finally, gruesomely, the gleets come out. Everyone collapses in a big sweaty pile and Doc, sobbing with joy, thanks Al for saving him. Although I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around.

Wolcott is back at the Chez Ami. He rambles on and on about Greek mythology to a less than rapt audience of Maddie, Joanie and Carrie; the other whores stand around the perimeter of the room, facing the wall. Carrie is impatient. They are all impatient with him - “Take her in or get out,” snaps Maddie. He first snits that the paying customer should be indulged, then apologizes and goes into the backroom with Carrie. They talk a little, Wolcott wanting to know where she’s been. Carrie is snippy to the point of rudeness to him, but he takes it from her. “And you mustn’t hit me like you do the others,” she insists. “You’ve never displeased me,” is his reply. She straddles him and he is quickly done, but without even unbuttoning his pants. She rolls her eyes. As they put themselves back together, Wolcott says, “I gather Miss Stubbs has fucked a relative,” and Carrie replies, “It’s a big club.” Eew – I just got the horrific feeling that the two of them are related to each other. I’m sure I’m completely wrong. Because that would just be more than creepy enough.

Things are getting back to normal at the Gem, drinking, whoring, you know. Crop-Ear comes back, insisting on an audience with Al. Dan agrees, leading him up the stairs, and then just cuts his throat. “I don’t have the patience for this bullshit - I have had a tough fucking day!” But you’re handling the stress very well, Dan. The last scene is Al, lying on his back in his bed, obviously exhausted but in better shape than he’s been. He lies there, staring blankly at the ceiling, and then pooches his lips to make a little pfft noise. You said it, brother.

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  1. haha i'm so glad i'm not the only one that can only see jarry as ned ryerson. watch out for that last step! it's a doozy!
    (p.s. i've been watching the whole series on dvd for the first time over the past month or so & finally came across your blog when i was already into season 3! boo. so needless to say i'm just going through all your deadwood recap archives to see if i was right on my assumptions of what the heck was going on in some episodes. i'm glad you mentioned bullock's incessant nose rubbing as a tell to his relationship with alma. i was beginning to think he just had sinus problems.)

  2. Ned Ryerson rules! (Jarry, not so much.)