Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On The First Four Episodes Of Season Two Of Deadwood

  • I am killing it with these post titles.
  • The first two episodes of Season 2 are titled “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part 1 and 2,” but I think there’s far more poetry in “Thoughts On The First Four Episodes Of Season Two Of Deadwood.
  • Suck it, Milch.
  • New season, but still the same credit sequence, which is gorgeously shot and evocative and meaningful and truly annoying during a binge-view.
  • (Idea: “Binge view mode” which eliminates the opening credits and periodically asks you if there isn’t something better you could be doing with your life.)
  • The first season was about how a community comes together (though this theme continues throughout the series) and the second is about predators, sexual and financial and bodily and temperamental.
  • Also, some sort of nonsense involving Sarah Paulson, who has a hateful, boring nose and a garage door for a forehead and this odd Drew Barrymore lisp, as a tutor for the Squarehead child.
  • Does she get murdered?
  • I remember she’s secretly a Pinkerton or something, but I don’t remember if she gets eaten by pigs.
  • I hope she does.
  • Her subplot is one of Deadwood‘s notable, but not rare, missteps: it’s not a perfect show; it’s the best show.
  • Those are different categories.
  • Sarah Paulson’s tutor thing, Kristin Bell and her brother doing their Paper Moon impression in the first season, the Earp brothers’ completely pointless cameo in the third.
  • Deadwood‘s like a Dead show; sometimes they play We Can Run, and you either learn to appreciate it or fast forward past it.
  • Holy shit, am I not looking forward to that fucking theater troupe in Season 3.
  • We’ll get to it, trust me.
  • (By the way: you should be watching this show, obviously. If you have already, then do so again. If you haven’t, then I envy your first viewing. It’s on HBO GO, which is a new app where you run around the neighborhood collecting prestige series and also Real Sex 231. You can also get the whole thing from the torrents, or actually buy the thing. In fact, you can get all three seasons for $35, which is legitimately a good deal. Go buy it.)
  • Did you just plug?
  • GET OUT OF HERE. I’M BEING A SERIOUS CRITICIZER.
  • Sure, champ.
  • NEEEEEEIIIGH
  • KuhFWAP
  • ClippyCLOPclippyCLOPclippyCLOP
  • shhhhhhSHWOCK
  • SIOUXNOISE!
  • He just rode away on a horse and took an Indian arrow to the face, but I’m going to get back to show; I apologize for that foolishness.
  • Season 1 ended with Al Swearengen watching the Doc and Jewell the Cripple dance at the Gem.
  • He was smiling.
  • There is very little smiling in Season 2 from Al.
  • He gets the shit kicked out of him by Seth Bullock (who is now Sheriff Bullock) and takes a tumble from the balcony of the Gem (which is the symbolic seat of his power) into the shit of the thoroughfare.
  • And he kind of deserves it; this is the face Sheriff Bullock makes at him before the ass-kicking commences:
  • tumblr_li26ydp9y21qfr7f4
  • Al Swearengen is a very smart man, so he should have known what it means when Sheriff Bullock makes that face.
  • It means he is about to throw you to the ground, straddle your chest, and punch you in the head a dozen times.
  • But after seeing that face, Al continues to fuck with him, so there’s no sympathy for him here.
  • Although on the other hand, that is Bullock’s face.
  • He has Resting Punchy Face.
  • Hell, this is what he looks like when he smiles
  • Seth-Bullock-deadwood-19908777-2560-1707A person who smiles like that is happy about something you want no part of.
  • We’ll get back to Bullock–who becomes a truly loathsome character as the show goes on–but first let’s talk about medicine in 1877, specifically the medicine available in South Dakota.
  • There was a little bit.
  • You could get stitched up, or a bone set, and if your wounds didn’t get infected, then you would make it through.
  • If your wounds got infected, then you would not.
  • Nine times out of ten, there was someone available to press a washcloth to your forehead.
  • And that was about it.
  • The treatment for tuberculosis back then was “move to Arizona.”
  • So if you had a kidney stone that wouldn’t pass, a “gleet” in the local parlance or maybe just word David Milch made up like “hooplehead,” then you were well and truly fucked.
  • In New York or London, you could go to a hospital and get a lithotomy from a trained surgeon, and expect a three our of four chance of survival.
  • In Deadwood, you get this:
  • doc cochran al gleet
  • And remember: this was better medical attention than 99% of the world would have had access to in 1877, South Dakota or not.
  • Al Swearengen is the 1%.
  • Anyway, you know Al’s not going to die, but the show makes him suffer for a few hours: he passes the gleet in one of the most horrific scenes ever televised.
  • Medical procedures should never include the phrase, “Now milk his prick as hard as you can.”
  • And if it is said, it should be directed at a nurse, and not Trixie the Whore.
  • The past was terrible.
  • What Al’s expelling from his body is not as bad as the infiltration of the camp.
  • Hearst comin’!
  • George Hearst smells the color, and like a pressure drop and sudden squall before a hurricane, his presence can be felt long before he’s present.
  • And make no mistake: Hearst wins, both on the show and in real life.
  • He’s not a villain.
  • He is time.
  • Or gravity.
  • Struggle all you want and pretend it has meaning: the game ends one way.
  • Hearst’s advance agents are psychopath geologists, and Celestial crime bosses, and rumor, and chaos.
  • This is the geologist:
  • wolcott deadwood
  • His name is Francis Wolcott and he is played by Garrett Dillahunt, who also played the Coward, Jack MCall, what put a bullet in the back of Wild Bill Hickock at Tom Nutall’s Number 10 Saloon.
  • When he did, he looked like this:
  • the-trial-of-jack-mccall-05-1024And I’ll be honest: first time I watched the show, I had no idea they were played by the same person, so congratulations to Garrett Dillahunt.
  • (An aside: not only do the characters on Deadwood have spectacular and poetic names, but the actors portraying them do, too: there is Garrett Dillahunt, and Powers Boothe, and Ian McShane, and Dayton Callie, and Jim Beaver, and Geri Jewell, and Titus Welliver, and Anna Gunn, and Leon Rippy, and Molly Parker. Those are some great fucking names.)
  • (Also: the guy behind McCall that you recognize because he’s been in a million things? That’s Magistrate Claggett, and he has long since been fed to the pigs, so don’t worry about him.)
  • Anyway, Garrett Dillahunt is now Wolcott.
  • Maybe David Milch has a Time Sheath?
  • And he has plans to kill a prostitute because he enjoys doing that sort of thing, and you were totally allowed to back then if you had some cash.
  • You’re still allowed to kill prostitutes now, but it costs way more money and you might have to go to another country.
  • In Deadwood, they would ship ’em in special for you.
  • The past was terrible.
  • In short order: E.B. Farnham spreads rumors about the future of everyone’s claims; Alma Garrett becomes pregnant and marries Ellsworth, who will be a larger character this season and I’ll get to; Calamity Jane reappears and shouts drunkenly; Dority tries to bust down a door with his shoulder even though he should know better; Joanie Stubbs, who is a complete fucking downer, opens up a high-end brothel with the Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact; Sol Star and Trixie get to know each other; Bullock’s wife and child (it’s complicated and we’ll get to it) arrive in town and the boy is a good kid, but a terrible actor.
  • Also: it took until Season Two, Episode Four to hear the N-word.
  • So that’s something, I guess.

2 Comments

  1. & that reminds me of a song…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*