Deadwood: Deep Water   Rewatch 
December 12, 2016 6:38 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

As suspicions arise that "road agents" may have been the true perpetrators of the massacre as opposed to Sioux scouts, Swearengen takes a special interest in the health of its sole survivor, a young girl ministered to by the unlikely team of Doc Cochran and Calamity Jane. Brom Garret suspects his newly acquired gold claim may not be all it was advertised.
posted by torisaur (12 comments total)
I'm Chinese, fully Westernized but not native born, so depictions of Asians in media is of interest to me; my opinions are strictly that, mere opinions.

I remember at first being conflicted with the depiction of Chinese here (scene between Farnum and Wu), but I think the show ultimately did a respectful and as nuanced as the platform allowed job overall.

The evolving relationship between Wu and "Swidgen" (heng dai!), when "San Fransisco cocksucker" shows up, are as invested as any of the many other well written arcs.
posted by porpoise at 5:55 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can't think of a show with a deeper bench of terrific characters. The writing they're given to work with is terrific, too, and there must be about a line a minute that gets me to crack a smile. William Sanderson is spot on--so obsequious! The scene where he shows Hikock and Utter into their respective rooms is brilliant--first him making the weird comment about it formerly being inhabited by an Irishman (now, of course, residing in Wu's pigsty) and then hanging around and saying something like "No tip necessary, I am the owner of this establishment" is just so spot-on.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:01 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jim Beaver is awesome playing Ellsworth, as a viewer I'm already friends with Ellsworth. Always loves me some good Jim Beaver.

Brad Dourif in another quiet intense role. Garret Dillahunt excels in roles playing characters with abnormal brain chemistry.

Agreed, Sanderson really sold a deeper character that could have been played too buffoon-ishly.

For years afterwards, I couldn't see Olyphant as any other character than Seth Bullock.
posted by porpoise at 6:07 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I only watched this for the first time within the past few years, and I remember that at this point I didn't yet know that Ellsworth was a good guy. The scene at the claim is played really ambiguously, what with the talk of gold being around yesterday, Dan glaring like a psycho, and naive Guy-From-Psych shoveling water all the while. There's so much tension where it seems like nobody is necessarily who they seem and who could haul off at any moment anyway, and Ellsworth isn't exempted from that yet.

The claim deal and the Squarehead massacre are much more foregrounded to me this go 'round. You forget what a sensory overload these first episodes were.
posted by rhizome at 2:05 AM on December 13, 2016

I didn't yet know that Ellsworth was a good guy

I respectfully disagree with you slightly.

Yes, the audience at this point doesn't know who all is involved in the mining claim scam, and Ellsworth seems a little too friendly...

But Ellsworth scans to me already as simple uncomplicated; he actually is a straight shooter, friendly, and not overly greedy/ambitious. "I made my quota for whiskey, pussy, and food." [in that order...].
posted by porpoise at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2016

Yeah, but it's everybody else's sketchiness (and the sketchiness of the existence of the town itself) that rubs off on him. Heck, at this point Dillahunt could still be a lovable scamp, if damaged.
posted by rhizome at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2016

This episode deserves so much more from me than to be thought of as "the one where I saw Nick Offerman's wang", but that's sadly how I've mentally cataloged it.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:52 PM on December 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

That was Nick Offerman!?

Holeee sheeet, it is!
posted by porpoise at 6:38 PM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

What's struck me this time around is how angry Seth.. isn't.


He's actually.. smiling. And hopeful about their chances.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:25 PM on December 14, 2016

For years afterwards, I couldn't see Olyphant as any other character than Seth Bullock.

Considering his character in Justified - another great show - is basically modern Seth Bullock, I gotta agree with you there.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:59 PM on January 10, 2017

Been reading a lot today about these first six episodes and both Sepinwall and Vanderwerf seemed to miss the point of the "why would I do it to you" exchange, in that Jane clearly felt like Al was oing to rape the little girl, as Jane had been in her childhood, and the situation brought so much back that she felt helpless there to do anything but offer herself up instead. Jane's next scene with Cochran underlines this really hard and it's weird to me that it flew over anyone's head.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:36 PM on April 30, 2017

"I've been called worse by better" is such a perfect summation of Sol's outlook. And for some history, real life Sol Star ended up probably the most beloved and celebrated resident of Deadwood, with the most well-attended funeral of anyone who ever lived there. And in the show he's got such a consistent, calm "can we cool down and focus on what matters?" mentality that all of that makes perfect sense to me. Hell yeah, Sol.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:31 PM on September 27, 2019

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