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. 


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! 


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


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. 


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!


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


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! 

Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 5 & 6

Episode 5: Complications

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.

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.

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.

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.    

Silas Adams (Titus Welliver)
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? 

An angry mob confronts County Commissioner Hugo Jarry in the abandoned bank.
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.

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. 

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. 

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!  

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.

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

Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) bonds with William.
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

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)!

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).


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.  

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!   

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!  

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)?

Deadwood: Season 1, Episode 1


HBO made SO much money off of The Sopranos, the network decided to take a chance on two lavish, intricate other series- Rome (read my review) and Deadwood.  This Western drama series starts off unlike any other (that I’ve seen)- w/ the hanging of a horse thief!  As the show’s creator David Milch explained, an “unhorsed man was akin to a dead man in the Old West.”  Before he can start his new life in Deadwood, South Dakota, Montana marshall Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant, who I first discovered and LOVED on Damages) has to administer justice.  There is a large, angry crowd outside his office, men w/ torches ready to storm in and attack the prisoner.  Milch said that Bullock (whose name means “young bull”) “hated the mob,” so he decided to swiftly take things into his own hands.   

Bullock (along w/ his pal/business partner, Sol Star) travels on a wagon to Deadwood; the two men plan to set up a hardware store.  Sol (John Hawkes) is Jewish, comes from a business family from Vienna, Austria, though he was raised in Ohio.  This is Hawkes LONG before he made a name for himself on Winter’s Bone (Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout film); he was nominated for an Oscar for his role. 


Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), a saloon owner and defacto leader of the camp community of Deadwood, has his own share of troubles to handle after one of his prostitutes, Trixie (Paula Malcomson), kills a regular customer who had the nasty habit of hitting her when drunk.  Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif, who some of you will recognize from the LOTR series) comes to examine the wound- it will be fascinating to study the man’s skull.  I liked Dourif as the villainous Grima Wormtongue, but I quickly grew to LOVE his character on this series! 


Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine, the biggest name actor in S1) arrives at the camp w/ his loyal companions, Jane (Robin Weigert, most recently seen in Jessica Jones) and Charlie Utter.  It’s obvious that Jane (also a fan fave- including mine, along w/ Doc) is in love w/ Bill, though he has recently married another woman.  As for Charlie, he serves as a friend, counselor, and manager to Wild Bill.  On the road, Wild Bill’s entourage comes across a blonde family (w/ Norwegian accents) who are headed back home to Minnesota; Deadwood we gather was too rough and tumble for them.  We will find out exactly WHY in no time!           

Wow, did you see HOW fast Seth got some of the men organized after learning of the murder of the Norwegian family!  He may be a socially awkward man of few words, but he definitely has a STRONG sense of right and wrong.  Wild Bill (another man of action) goes along w/ Seth; he is another fan fave.  (Carradine wore blue contacts, which were quite uncomfortable, for his role as Wild Bill.)