Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 7 & 8

Episode 7: E.B. Was Left Out

Al Swearengen figures out that there is a door and walkway that connects The Gem to the newspaper office. Hmmm… could this lead to Al putting “fake news” in the paper? Guess we have to wait and see. We learn that Ms. Stokes, the teacher D.W. Merrick had been crushing on, has fled town. Then Al gives a FAB speech (pep talk w/ LOTS of cursing) to Merrick, who is looking VERY depressed after his printing press was destroyed (Ep.6). So what if he got beaten down? He’s got to keep on going! 

After Joanie Stubbs confides (re: murders of some her friends) in Charlie Utter, he gives her a hug. Later, at the hotel, Utter picks a fight w/ Wolcott and beats him up in the street. Yay, I wanted to cheer! The fight is ugly, muddy, and drawn-out. Doc tells Wolcott that he has several broken ribs, BUT he doesn’t seem too concerned re: the pain. Wolcott tells Doc to tell Utter to come see him re: Wild Bill’s last letter to his wife. Later on, he gives that letter to Utter after they have a conversation. 

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There is another council meeting (w/o E.B.- who we know has no real power as mayor) re: what to do w/ Wolcott, who MAY represent evil (or a force that’s outside their control). There are more canned peaches eaten (as we saw in S1). After a short discussion, these town leaders decide to let it go; they will do NOTHING. It’s cynical, yet probably more true to life/history than we (esp. those w/ a more idealistic nature) want to admit.  A powerful man has gotten away w/ murder! 

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Al meets w/ Alma re: Alice, the tutor who turned out to be a spy. She could be working for someone connected to Brom (her dead hubby) or another party. This is VERY well-written and acted. Alma also has a (awkward) mini-reunion w/ Seth Bullock, who learns that yes, she is pregnant w/ his child. In S2, Bullock has grown as a character (and become MORE interesting)! Yeah, he’s still angry, BUT there is a LOT of disappointment and self-loathing in the mix. He’s got more social obligations now (Martha and William); it’s not just about the hardware store or being sheriff. Bullock hates that he can’t be w/ Alma, the woman he loves, BUT he knows he brought this on himself.

Episode 8: Childish Things

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Al has a LONG monologue (reminiscent of a villain from Shakespeare). It turns out that he’s talking to a package containing the head of an Indian (Native American) chief. Dan is worried about Al; Johnny hovers around him a BIT too close. Al meets again w/ Alice (who we now know is a Pinkerton detective); he tells her that he has spoken w/ Alma. 

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Martha and William come (w/o notice) to visit Alma and Sofia at their room in the hotel. While the kids go into the bedroom to look at Sofia’s books, the ladies have a chat. It starts out nice and polite. Alma wants them to have tea, BUT she can’t manage to light the potbellied stove (being nervous and confused, I’m sure). Martha doesn’t mind that; we know she came to check out Alma from up close on her own. Since Ms. Stokes is gone, Martha suggests that she teach the children of the town. Alma looks surprised, then gets upset when Martha says that she’d like to have Sofia come and learn alongside her son. Alma insinuates that Martha wants to take Sofia under her care (like how she has done w/ Bullock).

Later on, Alma goes to Alice’s hotel room, wondering why she hasn’t left yet. Alice gets all up in her face, NOT intimidated in the least!

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It looks like everyone in town takes a FEW minutes to watch the bicycle ride. Even Wolcott manages a brief smile! 

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Utter encourages a hung-over/bruised Jane to go and meet w/ Joanie next door; she has decided to stay alone at the Chez Ami. Cy wanted Joanie to come back to the Bella Union, BUT she refused. The two women end up talking and drinking together. “Violence” happened to her friends, Jane guesses correctly. Deadwood creates odd friendships!  

I was saying to myself: “No, no, no, no, no” when I saw Wolcott walk into the Chez Ami later that night. Joanie thinks that he’s going to kill her, BUT Wolcott looks unsure (like he doesn’t know WHY he ended up there). While he is ruminating out loud, Joanie breaks a bottle against the side his head. Then she quickly locks herself in one of the bedrooms; she has her little silver pistol w/ her for protection. I REALLY don’t want anything to happen to Joanie- she’s such a great character! 

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Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 5 & 6

Episode 5: Complications

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General and the blacksmith- two African-Americans in the camp

A short black man wearing an Union Army cap is in the camp; he refers to himself as N****er General (yup, the N-word is used throughout this ep by BOTH black and white characters). The other black man (older/taller) is the blacksmith who owns/operates his own business; we saw him a BIT in S1.

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General and Jane chat and drink.

General is surprised when Jane offers him a drink, then sits and chats w/ him outside the jail. Jane is a good person deep down, though she puts on that tough/cranky persona and drinks way TOO much. After General is tarred (on his shoulder) by an angry mob, led by Steve (Michael Harney- who’d later be on Orange is the New Black), Jane helps him out.

Deadwood (TV) Timothy Olyphant,Ian McShane,Molly Parker,Brad Dourif,W. Earl Brown,John Hawkes,Paula Malcomson,Dayton Callie,Leon Rippy,William Sanderson,Robin Weigert,Sean Bridgers,Bree Seanna Wall,Jim Beaver,Kim Dickens,Powers Boothe,Anna Gunn [dvdbash]
Doc, Dan, and Johnny watch over Al in his bedroom.
Al is on the mend, though Doc (privately) tells him that he has suffered a mild stroke. Al looks VERY serious, telling Doc that NO ONE should know about that fact! This reminded me of how maybe a king (or other type of leader) would’ve hidden their health issues. Later on, Bullock brings Al news of what’s happening in the camp. Now, don’t look for a bromance- they are merely civil to each other.

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Al gets the latest news from Bullock.

Now the BIG news: Alma has been throwing up in the mornings. Uh oh, we know what THAT means (at least in TV world)! She steels herself, gets a male escort (Richardson, the grungy/loyal old cook at E.B.’s hotel), and goes to The Gem. Since Trixie isn’t there, Alma (looking pale and nervous) heads to the hardware store. Bullock and Sol are there working; Trixie is learning the books. Alma calmly asks to speak privately w/ Trixie.

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Alma talks with Trixie re: her predicament and fears.

When they get out in the alley, Trixie instantly knows what’s up (or could be up). Talk about street smarts! Trixie suggests she drink a tea w/ certain ingredients; she also confides that she’s taken it 7 times (w/ laudanum). Alma admits that she’s esp. scared b/c she’d heard from doctors that she couldn’t have children, or if it happened, she could die. 

Later on, Trixie goes to the Doc’s house and tells him that Alma needs his expert advice, BUT won’t go to him (b/c how judgmental he was when she was getting off laudanum- see S1). Doc is surprised by Trixie’s blunt manner, BUT he says he’ll go see Alma the next morning. Trixie says to go under another pretense. I think she has a soft spot for Alma, though they’ve lead VERY different lives. Trixie has been though a LOT of hardship and seen much of life; Alma is more sheltered (though has become less so since coming to Deadwood). 

Next, we see Doc finishing up a check-up of Sofia in Alma’s hotel room. As he packs up, he asks her if there is anything ELSE that she is concerned about. Alma is hesitant before she explains her fears. After Doc examines Alma, he concludes that indeed she is pregnant; it will be difficult though (given some childhood illness she had). He says it’s her choice now to decide what to do.    

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Silas Adams (Titus Welliver)
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Mrs. Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson)

One of Al’s men (Silas) quickly) falls under the spell of Mrs. Isringhausen. Before (boldy) hitting on him, she stayed in his room the previous night b/c she feared for her life (at the hands of Alma). Mmmm hmmm, where is she going w/ this? 

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An angry mob confronts County Commissioner Hugo Jarry in the abandoned bank.
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Bullock escorts Jarry to jail for his own protection.

Seth stops a mob (like in the series pilot) and puts the County Commissioner, Hugo Jarry, in jail for his own protection.

Episode 6: Something Very Expensive

Deadwood (TV) Timothy Olyphant,Ian McShane,Molly Parker,Brad Dourif,W. Earl Brown,John Hawkes,Paula Malcomson,Dayton Callie,Leon Rippy,William Sanderson,Robin Weigert,Sean Bridgers,Bree Seanna Wall,Jim Beaver,Kim Dickens,Powers Boothe,Anna Gunn [dvdbash]
Al meets with a newcomer to town- Lee.
There is a new Chinese (or “Celestial”) man, Lee (Philip Moon) in town doing all sorts of business (incl. selling women and drugs). Of course his angers Woo, who demands that Al (as his ally) get to the bottom of it. Woo hides behind the screens of Al’s bedroom while Al meets w/ Lee. He gets two sacks of money from Lee, BUT I don’t know why. Maybe so Al leaved him alone w/ his enterprises? Or was it for drugs? We know that Lee sold some Chinese women to Cy, though this wasn’t the case w/ Al.

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Wolcott learns that Cy knows about his violent temper.

We see EXACTLY what Wolcott is capable of- cold-blooded murder. He kills Doris (who was a spy for Cy) after figuring out that she spilled his secrets to her former boss. Poor, clueless Doris had NO idea what she’d gotten into! We don’t see her being killed, just her lifeless body w/ throat cut. I was MORE shocked when Wolcott (w/o blinking) killed doll-faced Carrie (his favorite girl). Maddie’s death was just- WOW- I was speechless! I wanted to know more about her, BUT not even that tough cookie could handle such a monster! It wasn’t quite like the Red Wedding (Game of Thrones), BUT it was deadly! It’s dangerous it is to be a woman in Deadwood w/o a husband, money, powerful friends, etc. 

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Maddie aims a pistol at Wolcott’s head.

Cy helped Joanie cover up what had happened after she rushed to the Bella Union. I liked how he (sternly) told her to stay away from Chez Amis. Though Joanie was VERY upset, she borrowed money from the bartender, then had Charlie (who she likes/trusts as a pal) bring around his wagon. The pros were hidden under blankets in that wagon, given money, and sent away that night. It’s NOT safe to be a woman in Deadwood. Only Al saw what was up from the balcony of The Gem. 

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Al wonders what Joanie and Charlie are up to late at night.

There were a FEW light moments in this ep, such as Trixie playing matchmaker for Alma and Ellsworth (w/o Alma’s knowing); also, Merrick’s (obvious) crush on the schoolteacher new to town, Ms. Stokes. I LOVED how Trixie explained the importance of such a marriage- it’s all about the appearance of respectability, sparing others shame, and doing the right thing for a woman in trouble. I think she cares about Alma, but ALSO wants to keep the peace in the (fragile) society. We know Trixie hates Bullock; he put Sol in danger. Wasn’t it weird when Trixie went over to check on Al and told him about her relationship w/ Sol?  I’m pretty sure Sol is in love, BUT what about Trixie’s feelings?  We’ll have to wait and see. The character development here is strong, even more so than the other women; Trixie is a survivor making her own way in Deadwood now.

At the end of the ep- we see Merrick’s newspaper office and vandalized (Cy had sent some of his men to break his printing press and make a mess). Merrick got this treatment b/c he refused to run a certain announcement (let’s say “fake news”) in the paper in E5 under the orders of  the County Commissioner. 

Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 3 & 4

Episode 3: New Money

We see Al in his long underwear, lying in pain on the floor, unable to move or speak. Wow, I did NOT expect that! Three of his loyal employees (Dan, Johnny, Jewel) think that he wants some quiet time, BUT then they don’t hear a peep from him, and get worried. Doc comes to visit, wondering what’s up. When Trixie comes back to The Gem, she sees the Doc’s concern. She had been out the previous night caring for Sol. Jewel has Dan break down the door- finally! It takes time, BUT we learn that Al is suffering from kidney stones. Of all the employees, Trixie is the MOST upset, maybe feeling guilty re: NOT being there before?  After all, these individuals depend on Al for their livelihoods!  

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Francis Wolcott (Garrett Dillahunt) eats breakfast at hotel of E.B.Farnum (William Sanderson)

A new man arrives in town- tall, bearded, and dressed well.  This is Francis Wolcott (Garrett Dillahunt), a surveyor/engineer who works for a mining operation run by the famed Mr. Hearst (though that name should NOT be mentioned). E.B. tries to make some money off of him, BUT Wolcott is no chump. Later, Wolcott makes a business deal w/ Cy, who is unsure what to make of the no-nonsense/imposing man. Ellsworth knows him from a mining accident years back in another state; he tells Wolcott to get off Mrs. Garret’s claim ASAP (unless he wants harm done to him). The more I see of Ellsworth, I more I like him!  He’s one of the FEW honest men in this town.

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Joanie (Kim Dickey) talks with Maddie (Alice Krige)

Maddie has been awaiting Wolcott; in an earlier ep, told a (VERY concerned) Joanie that this “Mr. W.” is a dangerous man who gets rough w/ pros. She has banked her retirement on him; she sends for his  favorite pro, Carrie. It turns out that Wolcott is interested in Joanie (for her mind); he thinks it’s too bad that she’s stuck at the Chez Ami instead of making her mark in the wider world. 

Episode 4: Requiem for a Gleet

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Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) bonds with William.
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Sol (John Hawkes) keeps the store’s accounts.

Doc contemplates a procedure that could cure Al, BUT it could kill him. While boiling instruments for surgery, Doc exclaims (in front of Johnny) that he doesn’t want to kill another man. I LOVE this character, probably b/c the actor (Brad Dourif) just puts his whole heart into the role.

Bullock looks to be liking domestic life w/ wife Martha and adopted son William (who is interested in gardening). It’s easy to like this kid actor- he’s just got the period era manners/attitude down. I hope that William has a chance to make a friend or two, perhaps w/ Sofia (unless Alma forbids it).  

Alma cuts ties with Sofia’s tutor, Miss Isringhausen (a youthful/brown-haired Sarah Paulson). She gives the tutor 6 mos. pay and allows for her to stay in the hotel while she finds another job/ponders her next move.  

At the hardware store, Sol is recovering from his shoulder wound and teaching Trixie how to keep the books (at her request). She also cries over Al, wondering if he will die. I like their relationship- it’s complicated (mainly on HER part), yet also caring and gentle. 

The County Commissioner (veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky) arrives in camp; this causes rumors to fly re: validity of ownership of gold claims

Trivia: BOTH Dillahunt and Paulson had supporting roles in the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years a Slave.

 

Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 1 & 2

Episodes 1 & 2: A Lie Agreed Upon, Parts I & II

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Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) faces off against Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant).

After a LONG time (almost a year), I’ve returned to Deadwood! FYI: It’s available on Amazon Prime. The big issue- Al (Ian McShane) knows re: Alma Garret (Molly Parker) and Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) hooking up on the regular (as the kids say), and insults him about it. Maybe in Al’s mind, a man of the law should NOT be in an illicit relationship? Or maybe he just wants a fight? Being the stubborn man that he is, Bullock can’t let that slide.

Theses two town titans get into a VERY nasty fight inside The Gem which eventually flows out onto the street. Instead of shooting Bullock, Al hits Bullock’s bestie/business partner, Sol Stark (John Hawkes), in the shoulder. Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) is horrified and rushes to Sol’s side, which I REALLY liked. YAY for potential romance (hey, w/ a show like this, you take the little scraps of positive emotions when you can)!

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After the big fight, Martha (Anna Gunn) sees to Bullock’s injuries.

We see (once again) that Al is NOT 100% evil; after he saw young William (Bullock’s nephew-turned-adopted-son), he didn’t kill Bullock. Al takes his badge and gun though. I was a BIT surprised to see how calm/collected William’s mom, Martha (Anna Gunn), was during the rowdy tussle. Hmmm… there MUST be more to her than meets the eye! Martha (widow of Seth’s older brother) and William look like they are straight out of central casting (cleanly dressed, well-behaved, and polite).

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HOW awkward was that scene where Alma (escorted by trusty Ellsworth) went to see re: Bullock’s injuries, and also check out Martha!? Ahhh yes, love makes fools of us all, even a financially-independent/beautiful/cultured widow! I just hope that Alma does NOT go back to  laudanum IF things get rough.  

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Maddie (Alice Krieg)

There’s a new madam in town- Maddie (Alice Krieg); she comes from back East w/ a few new girls (prostitutes). Krieg (who hails from South Africa) is BEST known as the Borg Queen in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe. Her flawless pale skin, intense eyes, and mysterious face seem like an odd fit for Deadwood, BUT I can’t wait to see what her character will get up to in the future!   

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Cy bitterly celebrates Joanie’s new place w/ his girls at the Bella Union.

Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) is VERY shocked/angered when he learns that Joanie (Kim Dickey) is going into business w/ Maddie at the new whorehouse (Chez Ami). Joanie has been w/ Cy since she was 14 y.o. and I think that he REALLY loves her (in his way, of course). I was a BIT concerned for Joanie when she confronted Cy though!  

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Joanie (Kim Dickey) inspects Chez Amis.

Bullock gets his badge and gun back. Surprise- Al returns the items w/o a fight!  Bullock also makes his choice re: his personal life. He won’t run away w/ Alma, BUT will live in the new house he had built for his family. They need a man’s protection, after all. But what kind of marraige will this be (they have a bundle bed)?

Broadway on Film: Allegiance (2016) starring George Takei, Lea Salonga, & Telly Leung

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Kei, Grandpa, & Sammy arrive at the Heart Mountain internment camp 
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. -George Santayana (1905), philosopher/writer
Allegiance ran on Broadway for 3 mos. during the Winter of 2015/2016, and was seen by 120,000 (which was the same number of Japanese-Americans rounded up and put in internment camps during WWII). The story is partly based on George Takei’s real life experience as a young child raised for 4 yrs in an Arkansas internment camp. Each night of its Broadway run, the veteran actor/activist/social media star, reserved a seat for (then presidential candidate) Donald Trump. Of course, Trump NEVER came to see the show! 
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The Kimura family at the dinner table.
This musical drama centers on the Kimuras, who are a close-knit farming family, yet individuals in their own right (who grow and change over the course of the play). They are sent to the Heart Mountain, Wyoming camp, which is the main setting of this story. There are armed men guarding them 24/7, a curfew is in effect at night, and the living conditions are VERY poor.   
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Sammy encourages the young people to think of ways to have fun in “Get in the Game.”
Sammy (Telly Leung, who has been chosen as the lead in Alladin) desperately wants to enlist in the army and show his allegiance to the U.S. His father says that this can never be, since they “have the face of the enemy.” BOTH men are quite stubborn! Sammy’s older sister, Kei (short for Keiko), serves as a mother-figure for him also. Kei (Lea Salonga, veteran actor/singer best known as Eponine in the original Les Mis) worries about Sammy’s future and takes care of Grandpa (Takei), who is missing his garden back home. 
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Grandpa creates an origami flower from the offensive loyalty questionnaire.
…after graduating from college, studying Asian American history, knowing about the civil rights era now– in a post-Vietnam War era– I think I would have done what Frankie did: You want me to fight as an American? Then treat me like an American! -Michael K. Lee
Kei (though she considers herself an “old maid”) forms a connection w/ Frankie Suzuki (Michael K. Lee), a law student from LA.  Since he’s a bachelor, Frankie has to share a cabin w/ 10 other men. His dark humor and sly wit are revealed in the rousing big band number Paradise. Frankie’s allegiance is to the Constitution; this character is based on (real life) activist Frank Emi.  I was quite impressed w/ this character; he seemed VERY fresh and modern!
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Sammy and Hannah joke and about their budding (forbidden) relationship.
Sammy and Hannah (a blonde, young Army nurse from Nebraska) become close while trying to get more medicine and supplies for the camp. They have a sweet duet (With You) which expresses their love, which is NOT safe to express.  The lyrics are simple, yet poignant; below is a sample. 
If I were with you, no one else could see us this way. -Sammy imagines
If I were with you, we would fight the world every day. -Hannah replies
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Sammy (center) with some of the men of the 442nd Combat Regiment
What can be done to end this imprisonment? Mike Masaoka (Greg Watanabe) of the Japanese Americans Citizens League (JACL) has been petitioning Congress to get his people freed. Perhaps in desperation, he proposes a loyalty test (“to root out the troublemakers”). Also, the able-bodied men MUST enlist (in a segregated unit, like the African-Americans) and take on the deadliest missions. (Masaoka was an actual person during this period in history.) Watanabe had older relatives in internment camps, as he noted in one of the behind-the-scenes interviews. I wanted to know MORE about this character!
Women weren’t just sitting around while the men faced danger. Kei and the camp’s women write letters to major newspapers and magazines to let the public know what’s going on. Kei goes after what she wants and becomes a stronger woman, as we see in Higher- a pivotal song for her character and showcasing Salonga’s powerful vocals.
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A banner ad featuring Sammy, Hannah, and a quote from the Washington Post review
In SOME ways, this play is quite traditional for Broadway- love stories, generational conflicts, song and dance. In other ways, it is groundbreaking- a cast of mainly Asian-Americans (incl. those of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean ancestry); a Japanese-Canadian director (who had relatives in similar camps in Canada); a Chinese-American co-writer; a female orchestra leader, etc. In this current political climate, this story is a cautionary tale, NOT merely entertainment. Should we prove our worth by standing by our country, no matter what (like Sammy)? Or should we resist the unfair laws being proposed, even risking prison (like Frankie)?