Monday, February 4, 2008

Deadwood recap - “Leviathan Smiles” (S3E8)

The dropping: Because there just aren't enough characters to keep track of already, Wyatt and Morgan Earp drop by Deadwood to cut timber and stir up trouble; the camp's power players tussle as to who will hire their guns first. Jack Langrishe seeks to smooth Hearst's ruffled feathers by bonding over their shared chronic back pain - I wish there were more seasons of this show because there is more to this theater fellow than meets the eye. Steve the Drunk finally shuts up, due to a swift kick in the head compliments of the N.G.'s cranky horse. Hearst tries to intimidate Merrick in retaliation for having printed Bullock's letter; he is frustrated when Merrick doesn't quail and quake before him. However, Hearst is somewhat appeased when at least twenty-five of his hooligan "bricks" come galloping into camp, torches a-blazing.


Merrick and Blazenoff deliver the latest edition of the Deadwood Pioneer – the issue containing Bullock’s letter the dead Cornish miner’s family. Richardson picks up a copy at the hotel – Richardson can read?! My world has been shaken on its foundations.

The Bullocks are arguing over the stupidest thing ever: since the theater people keep pushing back their move into the former Chez Amie, Martha keeps teaching the school there instead of moving to the new schoolhouse because she doesn’t want the children to feel their original place of education has been abandoned and left empty. Bullock, like me, thinks this is foolish and she should just move into the new school already. Is this scene just to give Martha a couple of lines? What a dumb issue. Oho – now we get to the root of it, however: she complains that he “did not retire with his usual sweetness” after the meeting last night. Lady didn’t get any and is cranky about it. Nice!

Bullock grouches off to work, meeting up with Sol and asking his bidness partner what the reaction has been to his published letter. When Sol says he doesn’t know, Bullock grumps that he doesn’t know fuckin’ much. Sol takes this in stride, saying dryly, “Guess not. Wanna fight?” This diffuses the sheriff’s tension (for now). Just then, the stage rolls in, accompanied by two young fellows, shooting off their guns. The story is that the heroic young guys, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, rescued the stage from an ambush. The sheriff is skeptical of their story – so are some other folks in camp, like Al.

Calamity Jane is a little nervous in the presumably post-coital morning with Joanie, getting dressed and bolting out of the room. Joanie looks fabulous, sporting some amazing cleavage. As they leave their room, the owner of the boarding house, Shaunnessy, starts haranguing them, saying he’ll not have “vile affections or uncleanness on these premises.” He even starts quoting the Bible until Jane hollers at him and pokes him hard in the stomach. The N.G. is saddling his horse at the livery, getting ready to go and ignoring Steve the Drunk’s morning bluster. After N.G. leaves, Steve turns the crazy on even more (prompting Mr. Mouse to wonder if he’s got syphilis and really is insane), talking to N.G.’s horse. The horse has no more patience with Steve than I do and gives him a warning kick when Steve tries to remove one of its shoes. Steve will not be dissuaded and tries again.

Al, while offering Wyatt Earp a drink, questions his story pretty closely, seeing how Al runs most of the existing road agents and hadn’t scheduled a stage-robbery for this morning. Wyatt is defensive and doesn’t take kindly to Al’s accusations that the Earp boys faked the rescue to make them look better. Al then offers to double whatever other offers the Earp boys get for hiring their guns. Wyatt takes this all under advisement. He collects Morgan from the bar and sends him off to buy tools for their timber lease. Wyatt, however, is moving on to the next step of his “plan.” Boy, I know you’re all historical and whatnot, but do not try to out-scheme Al Swearengen.

After giving Aunt Lou’s money back to her and picking up some food for the road (and musing that normally a “good-cookin’ big-hearted fat lady” would be enough to keep him in camp), N.G. returns to the livery to find Steve, bloody and stunned, having been kicked in the head by the offended horse. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Speaking of nice guys, Hearst pops into the newspaper office to intimidate Merrick. Merrick stands up under the pressure better than I would have expected.

Wyatt Earp stops by the Bella Union. Cy introduces himself and smarmily inquires as to his gun’s availability. Wyatt gambles for a while, and once he starts to lose, Leon suggests that he leave before he loses it all. An odd tactic for a gambling hall but Leon has obviously been instructed by Cy to have Wyatt quit while he’s ahead. Wyatt notices the favor.

The actors make excruciating preparations to get that dying, fat, old actor (name = Chesteron, apparently) to see their new theater space. In the middle of it, Jack Langrishe comes across Hearst and notices the latter has back trouble. Langrishe claims to have the same sort of ailment and to be aware of a “certain [Turkish] technique” that has put his own back pain into remission for over fifteen years. Hearst, clearly in pain, grasps onto this small hope and asks Langrishe to help him; they make arrangements for later that afternoon. Now, what is Langrishe up to here?

Is Morgan Earp the same guy who was John in John from Cincinnati? (IMDB confirms that my guess is correct!)

Bullock accosts the Earp boys and grouches about their having piled all their goods in the center of the hardware store and then leaving them there without buying them. Testosterone flares a bit but no blood is shed. Meanwhile, Cy has gone to check in with Hearst: he thinks that they should maneuver a Bullock vs. Wyatt Earp showdown and thus rid themselves of their pesky sheriff problem.

At the livery, Doc examines Steve the Vegetable and proclaims he’s not long for this world. N.G. is pissed – at Steve for getting kicked, at Hostetler for getting him into this at all, and at the horse for kicking Steve. Doc says he’ll send Calamity Jane over to help see to Steve; N.G. tells him to have her bring a bottle too.

Bullock goes to see Al: “Those assholes workin’ for you?” Al raises an eyebrow: “You mean the heroes?” Al says that he’s got Wyatt on a string, not to worry. Bullock then thinks printing the letter was a mistake and he does not intend to wait to act on Hearst’s timetable. When Merrick and Blazenoff knock at Al’s office door, asking if the sheriff is in there with Al, Swearengen smirks, “Just briefly – he’s out of sorts and going downstairs for a blowjob.” Bullock rolls his eyes. Merrick and Blazenoff come in: Merrick reports that Hearst didn’t like the letter (to which Al says the letter was not a mistake and they will, in fact, be waiting to see what Hearst does); and Blazenoff has a telegram for the sheriff which indicates that the Earp boys are, in fact, on the up and up and not called here by Hearst. Bullock goes back to the hardware store and asks the boys to consider working on the side of the law while they’re in town. Wyatt seems to get it.

The Earp boys go back to the Bella Union to consider the many opportunities they’ve been offered thus far. Wyatt seems inclined to just go out to their timber lease and work on that. When Morgan asks if Wyatt’s path is less clear now than he had planned, his brother replies that no, he doesn’t know what to do. Morgan says that the sheriff doesn’t seem so bad and maybe they should be deputies and just work the timber on the side. Wyatt says, “Did you hear him offer us work?” Morgan chuckles, “Well, let’s just kill him and take his fuckin’ job!” and they both grin. Cy approaches and Wyatt whispers that the plan Tolliver has for them might vector in more closely with the original idea Wyatt had, so Morgan is not to screw things up for them. Seriously, what’s his original plan? We’re running out of episodes here.

Back at the livery, Jane is trying to feed Steve the Vegetable while N.G. gets drunk. After a while, she gives up and leaves; a frustrated N.G. starts pelting Steve in the face with the porridge. A little while later, he feels badly about it and cleans his old enemy up. Back at the hotel, Langrishe performs the camp’s first chiropractic adjustment on Hearst. Whatever he’s doing works and Hearst almost immediately gets some relief. It’s kind of weird and funny and I’m assuming Langrishe will explain to Al later on what he’s doing.

The actors are at the Chez Amie. Langrishe and Chesterton sit together, reminiscing or imagining old times. They begin to quote lines from some play (and, before we figure this out, Mr. Mouse and I give each other WTF looks) until Chesterton finally dies. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT GUY? What a waste of screen time. Ugh.

Afterwards, Langrishe and Al drink together. Jack suggests that perhaps instead of fighting against Hearst, they should try to play nice. Al gives him a WTF look. Jack explains his chiropractic session and says that Hearst now thinks kindly towards Langrishe and perchance they can use that slight goodwill to their advantage. They go outside onto the balcony. Noticing Hearst on his own overlook, watching the road into camp, Jack calls out and asks after his back. Hearst says it feels pretty good and Jack gives him a big huzzah.

At the Bullocks’, Martha explains that the actors’ delay was due to Chesteron’s illness and now that he’s died, they’ll move into the Chez Amie and she’ll move into the new schoolhouse. She then asks if Bullock acknowledges his “lack of sweetness” towards her the night before. He does, claiming worry over Hearst’s reaction to his letter. Martha asks about Hearst’s response and Bullock, smiling, says that perhaps tonight “will be twice as sweet.” Woo-hoo!

Their cute flirtation is interrupted, however, as Hearst’s twenty-five bricks arrive at camp, galloping with torches held high. Hearst smiles grimly and Cy tells his lackeys to cut the amateurs (the Earp boys) off of the house’s good graces – Mr. Hearst’s brought the pros to town.

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