BAD LANGUAGE, WILL ROBINSON, WARNING! WARNING!
A drunken hooplehead climbs up the empty stage in the thoroughfare and gives his own speech, waking up Al. Then the hoople falls off, landing on his head and breaking his neck with an audible crunch. Al goes back to sleep ‘til the morning light when he, a shirtless Dan (yikes) and a union-suited Johnny (back-flap wide open) find and collect the corpse. In his rooms, Hearst is solemnly marking something on a piece of paper while the captain watches. Bullock teases Mrs. B about the weakness of the tea she’s made him; he smiles at her genuinely but she’s a little annoyed that he hadn’t brought it up earlier. Then he runs his hand down her spine and it’s very sexy, corsets and clothing notwithstanding. Having finished his examination, Doc tells Alma that she’s not doing as well as he hoped and that she will probably lose the baby. She is bleeding and he wishes to abort the fetus to save her life. Unhappily, she sends Doc off to make his arrangements while she takes care of her own.
At the Gem, Dan and the boys want to know why they don’t strike first if they know Hearst will be coming for them. Al cautions patience. The captain appears to deliver a message to Al from Hearst; Al receives it with a quizzical eyebrow. Joanie visits Cy again. He’s still proclaiming his newfound faith. She, however, is panicky and tells him that she thought of killing herself. Cy gets angry, saying that what brings on those thoughts is a lack of purposeful occupation and being useful to others. He wants her to come back to run his whores but she really doesn’t want to. Outside, Lila is in a bad way, doped to the gills. Joanie grabs onto her and makes her start walking – she just can’t keep from helping. Calamity Jane asks Mose to help her lug in water as she is going to take a bath. “Camp get up a petition?” snarks Mose, but he helps anyway and asks if he listen in on the talk she gives to the school children.
Dan, Adams and Johnny are completely befuddled as to the diagram Hearst has sent to Al. The boss explains that it’s a sketch of the Gem’s bar with Hearst’s murderers in specific locations. Okay, but that’s still not so clear. E.B. practices his speech while Richardson tends to his wounds – the speech is, as expected, ridiculous. Back at the Gem, Al is tending bar for four of Hearst’s men, two of whom killed the Cornishman, all of whom are in the diagrammed positions. Suddenly and in concert, Al and Dan slit the throats of the two murderers and Al sends the other two lackeys back to Hearst, telling them that the speeches are back on for tonight. Charlie stops in, looks at the carnage and heads back out, saying, “I’ll drink after I’ve et.” Adams is not involved in these throat-slittings because he is at the hardware store, signing over his house to Sol.
Trixie sits with Alma who is giving an oral last will and testament: all pre-marriage properties she and Ellsworth had remain separate and unencumbered (as they had apparently decided upon previously – they had a prenup!); Sophia is to be her sole heir; and there are to be no changes to the guardianship or stewardship of Sophia’s interests. Poor Ellsworth’s feelings are hurt because this means Bullock. Trixie gives him a sympathetic look.
Jane, clean and shiny, comes to school to give her talk. She seems relaxed and manages to tell her tale without any cuss words – amazing! Bullock and Charlie reconvene at the hotel restaurant where Hearst is at his lunch. “Two of his men with throats cut and he picks the fish!” marvels Charlie. Bullock asks why Charlie thinks the men are Hearst’s but they are interrupted when Ellsworth appears, saying his wife would like to see the sheriff. Off goes Bullock. He promises Alma that he will take care of Sophia. There are some lengthy, longing gazes between the two of them (“I regret nothing,” she says breathily) before he can’t stand it anymore and leaves. Ellsworth goes back up to his wife where she asks him to remind Sophia that the full moon is in a couple of days. She holds his hand and promises that all three of them will watch it together. Sol stops by the Ellsworth house to tell Trixie that he’s bought Adams’s place. He’s very cute and excited about it and she smiles as she turns away.
Dan and Johnny clean up the Gem’s latest corpses as Dan explains that Hearst set this scenario to square things with Al. (I think – I’m feeling as dim as Johnny right about here.) Upstairs, Adams is a little hurt that he wasn’t involved with the throat cutting – everyone’s so sensitive these days. “You have no idea how badly you’re fucking boring me,” growls Al. The captain walks in with another message from Hearst. Al reads it and, without a word, walks out of his saloon. The three boys follow him, Adams grumping that “if he were trailing water, we might get mistook for ducklings.” Heh. Across the thoroughfare, Hearst is knocking a hole in the hotel wall so he can walk out on the porch roof. His message to Al: “Come watch the speeches with me from my veranda.”
At the freight office, Charlie is still struggling with all the mail he’s expected to move, bags of letters this time: “People should try keeping their thoughts to themselves.” Bullock comes in to ask Charlie if he will stand outside the Ellsworth house tonight to find out how Alma gets through the procedure. Charlie is glad to do it and Bullock gives him a warm and grateful look.
Ugh: Harry the bartender practicing his speech. I’m bored. Ugh again: Cy, clutching his Bible. The stabber, Rev. Andy Cramed, arrives to visit with his stabbee. Cy grants him an audience and almost gets the chance to shoot him with a hidden pistol. Leon and Con interrupt them, however, and Andy makes his escape. What was the point of that far too lengthy scene? We all know Cy is no good and treacherous to boot.
Trixie tries to comfort Alma: “Seven times through and I’m healthy as a fucking horse.” She gives Alma some chloroform and Doc starts the D&C. He yells at Trixie to follow his instructions exactly – everyone is very tense, including Ellsworth, hovering on the porch. Bullock is also tense. Mrs. B promises to watch Sophia while he gives his speech and says that they’ll both pray for Mrs. Ellsworth to come through. At the Gem, Al instructs Dan, Johnny and Adams to wait for him: he’s going to see Hearst alone. Dan is not happy about this at all. Al goes to Hearst’s room at the hotel and they climb out onto the porch to watch the speeches.
Joanie spies Charlie standing outside the Ellsworth house. She is fragile and freaking out. Charlie calms her down, telling her not to be judge, jury and executioner on herself, that other people think she’s a good person. I think she hears him. He reaches out and holds her hand. It’s very sweet.
Oh good lord – the speeches. Cleverly, however, we don’t have to sit through much of them, despite the build-up they’ve been given. E.B is insulting to Sol in his, of course. Sol tells folks that he’s here for the long haul, having just bought a house. Bullock speaks briefly and, hilariously the crowd starts to disperse before dim old Harry can even get up on the platform. No one listens to him at all. It’s great.
On the porch roof, Al and Hearst slowly start verbally sparring, poking at suspected vulnerable spots. Hearst wants to “consolidate” his and Al’s interests but Al knows that Hearst means to be in charge and won’t have it. The captain steps up behind Al, out of knife range and with a gun drawn. The three men go back into Hearst’s room and the captain shoots a nasty smile across the thoroughfare at Al’s lackeys. This can’t be good. Hearst is angry, wanting Al to accept him as the power in the camp. He pours a drink for Al and spills it all across the table. When he tells Al to drink it, Swearengen refuses. The captain pistol-whips Al and pins his hand on the table as Hearst rises, rock-hammer in hand. God, you can just see it coming. Al is dizzy, wounded. Hearst demands to know how to get Alma to sell her claim. Al suggests that he “act averse to nasty language and partial to fruity tea.” Awesome – and likely true. Hearst is furious and hits Al’s hand with the rock-hammer. Al passes out and the captain drops him to the floor. I’m guessing he just lost a finger there.
Soon Al comes out of the hotel into the thoroughfare, left hand tucked into his jacket. Bullock sees him and goes straight over to him. Dan et al. also see their boss and Dan recognizes that the look on Al’s face is the one he gets when he’s badly hurt. Al greets Bullock effusively, complimenting him on his speech. He leans on the sheriff a little and warns him not to look up at Hearst who has come back out onto the porch roof. Bullock asks Al if he wants him to go up after Hearst – he wants to go get the cocksucker now. But Al barks to “Stay the fuck away from him. I’m having mine served cold.” As in revenge. He collects his boys and they head back to the Gem. Bullock glares at Hearst out of the corner of his eye and strides off to gird his loins.
It’s going to be ugly, isn’t it. Hearst is, thus far, living up to his Season 2 reputation. Yikes again.
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