Deadwood: Here Was a Man   Rewatch 
January 2, 2017 2:07 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Swearengen directs Farnum to buy back the Garret claim. Garret's wife, Alma, prevails on Calamity Jane and Wild Bill for help with the claim issue. Hickok's respect for Bullock grows and, as a result, he commissions Bullock to do a review of the Garret claim. An ailing colleague, Andy Cramed, rejoins the Bella Union, and Wild Bill's run of luck at poker ends abruptly.
posted by porpoise (6 comments total)
The pathos of Hickcock wanting a friend so desperately really highlights how much Garret needed one, too. Both the deceased and the widowed.

Doc ain't one of them, being an enabler; but good on Alma.

Only just now realized how really shabbily dressed Farnum is (much re-patched shoulders of his coat), given that he's the proprietor of the Gem.
posted by porpoise at 3:06 PM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

HICKOK: You know the sound of thunder, don't you Mrs. Garret.

ALMA: Of course.

HICKOK: Can you imagine that sound if I ask you to?

ALMA: I can, Mr. Hickok.

HICKOK: Your husband and me had this talk, and I told him to head home to avoid
a dark result. But I didn't say it in thunder.

Ma'am, listen to the thunder.

Very good luck to you.

Always loved this bit of dialogue. Been thinking about it recently. Likely due to the same polite tone of dire warning in a lot of current political media/conversations.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:46 PM on January 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Doc is a utilitarian, which I suppose is enabling, but he doesn't have any illusions about his version of do no harm. I mean, I expect he basically is in a triage mindset all of the time.

Farnum is the proprietor of the hotel, Al Swerengen runs the Gem. I do agree with the larger point: I love all the shabby pretenses of respectability. That tension between lawlessness and "civilization," right down to the costuming. It makes the arrival of the Bella Union from Chicago that much more arresting on every level. Strangely, Al actually seems to have a really nice suit, which I suppose he can afford since he's apparently rich as hell, at least based on the amount of currency he's throwing around. It's not Croesus fortune or anything, but that $20,000 from the Garrett claim didn't seem to huge an imposition on him or his operation.

I love that they kill Bill off really early on in the season. His actual presence in the camp was almost nothing but, looking ahead at direction of Deadwood (town and series) - his presence is felt throughout the seasons.
posted by absalom at 5:48 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Strangely, Al actually seems to have a really nice suit, which I suppose he can afford since he's apparently rich as hell, at least based on the amount of currency he's throwing around.

Sure, but it seems like it's his only suit, and he wears it directly over his union suit, with no shirt or accessory pieces to go with it.
posted by LionIndex at 6:01 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

This episode is such a tease with the blossoming Bill + Seth romance getting cut short right at the end. Nobody can build anything except out of necessity, I guess.

Andy is about to have a real bad time. His presence is like an out of tune string crescendo. He closely succeeds Brom Garrett as the town albatross.

Jack McCall is so dirty in this episode, possibly the best-ever human impression of Linus van Pelt. The smear of white paint on the brim of his hat is a great detail.

Garret Dillahunt in his first credit: One Life To Live in 1993 with bonus Casper van Dien.
posted by rhizome at 5:40 PM on January 10, 2017

This show's pleasure in its own language is one of the great pleasures it gives in turn, and this episode is exemplary for why—funny bits like the free/gratis newspaper exchange coming up in the plague episode are one thing, and great in their own right, but McCall staggering around this episode grasping for expression is its love of language as character development, as revealing the gap between feeling and capacity for expression that is itself a part of Jack's fury, and at its very best in the scene at poker at Tom Nuttall's place.

It's a reprise of last episode's exchange between Hickok and McCall, of course, when McCall briefly one ups Hickok with the hilarious "Well that's one in a row for you, Wild Bill!" only to be reduced to a sputter by Hickok's meditation on his cunt face and droop eye. Still essentially in that sputter, powerless and further done in by losing at the Bella Union, having his cursing silenced there, and being sent away with Hickok's dollar that he only has the capacity to take for insult, he here grasps again at the power of language, using the words where power had most recently been seen to reside, giving us this trill of beautiful nonsense:

"You believe that cause you're a walking fucking cunt! With your cunt—and your eye—MOVING..."

It's the failure of these words to have any effect, to fix his standing at all, to get any purchase on his interlocutor, that sends him into talk of his gun—thus *we* see in his failed use of Hickok's insult the full expression, despite himself, of his frustration, and how that frustration is turning into violence. It's so good.
posted by felix grundy at 9:28 AM on January 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

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