Deadwood: Bullock Returns to the Camp   Rewatch 
January 23, 2017 9:25 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

After tracking down McCall, Bullock returns to Deadwood a changed man – and a marked one – while Utter pays final respects to a fallen friend. Trixie feels uneasy about her charge, which prompts a violent response from Swearengen. Cy Tolliver is shocked, and displeased, to see Andy Cramed return to his saloon alive. Miles and Flora, two young siblings arrive at Deadwood looking for their missing father and work.
posted by torisaur (7 comments total)
So many great things in this episode.
  • "Them as heals under my care stays fucking healed," as if the non-contagion of smallpox were a matter of Jane's personal will and talent.
  • "Say what you're gonna say or prepare for eternal. fucking. silence."
  • "You wanna feel a damp palm, Al, select either of these hands!" rivals "Hint at the amount!" for great moments in chipper venality from E.B.
But my absolute favorite moment has to be the writer blowhard telling his myth of Hickok's death to Charlie as everyone* stares on in total disgust. The juxtaposition of that and the simple tale Nuttall just told, right down to Nuttall's simple "I'll be sorry about that for as long as I live" vs the blowhard's "I will take the murderer's bullet to my grave"—so great, and such a hilarious but quiet meditation on legend and narrative. It continues Charlie's comment that much as Bill hadn't been dead before he'd hoped he wasn't this time either—I don't know that the legend of the West per se ever becomes a strong theme, but all these moments of Hickok and then Charlie negotiating what it is to live as/with a legend are a thoughtful little tributary.

*even Con Stapleton! How low do you have to be that Con Stapleton thinks you're garbage?
posted by felix grundy at 9:14 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Does anyone find anything redeeming or worthwhile in the Mile and Flora story line? I was glad when it came to a swift end as I found it to be a ill-fitting intrusion into the show. I am willing to be convinced I am not giving it enough consideration.
posted by Falconetti at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2017

I enjoyed the Mile/Flora mini arc (it got me to go watch Veronica Mars).

My take on it is that it's a comment on 'civilization.' Even out on the frontier, while most everyone else grifts, these kids go a little too far outside of the established norms and are burnt for their transgression.

I originally thought that the arc takes place in an awkward part of the show, but considering it further it kind of fits and establishes that while there are several competing 'factions' in Deadwood there are basic levels of decency/community dictating the limits around acceptable behaviour (there's still grift and murder, but you have to consider the consequences) otherwise the entire community falls apart.
posted by porpoise at 9:29 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Miles/Flora storyline is most important in isolating Tolliver as a completely unsympathetic character. Seeing Cy as fundamentally less likable than Al does a lot to inform the developing dynamic of the community. I can't help but to see Tolliver as a representation of the sociopathy of unchecked corporatism/capitalism and his behavior in the storyline also helps to cement that concept.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:58 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I agree with Rust Moranis. At the same time that Tolliver is showing himself to be an utterly evil ass, Al is pulling a sort of heel-face turn and displaying that he actually has concerns beyond his own pocket - he cares about the camp enough to take a lead role in organizing the smallpox care and treatment along with trying to set up the temporary government. He's not fully a good guy, but the show's portrayal of him softens in the middle of the season.
posted by LionIndex at 6:12 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tolliver has shown himself to be fundamentally uninterested in community. I forget what episode it is in, but in a conversation with Jonie, he indicates he doesn't see or even really care about the long term prospects of the camp. He's a pure exploiter, more ruthless and cruel than Al because he just doesn't care. Al, for all his evil, fundamentally wants to build something - they all do. They all want the camp to become official and then build their fortunes there. Cy sees it as just one more place to latch onto and leave when the profit is gone. He doesn't have to worry about leaving a bad taste in people's mouths, in his own mind he'll be gone shortly.

All the more ironic for Cy being the one that operates the high class saloon/casino in town, the one that seems to speak more to permanence and "civilization."
posted by absalom at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the general "Roses of civilization growing up through whatever makes the soil" thesis of the show, I think Miles/Flora is important.* They are presented as innocents, so that we see how both Al and Cy react to them. Cy immediately sends Flora to Joanie to have her "turned out." Al soft-sells through Miles, winning him over both in Miles' act and, seemingly, in reality. Dan gets his blood up and kills a man, seemingly because violence is the thing he can do and he's desperate for it to be used for some heroic end after everything Al has been sending him out for.

Joanie shepherds Flora into prostitution (as far as she knows) but gently, and with affection. It feels like Miles is pushing to stick around not for the long-con he vaguely alludes to, but because he likes it there and likes The Gem. Flora can't clock what she's up against at the Bella Union and is too cock-sure to recognize the danger that portents.

And in the end (of the next episode, anyway) Cy shows himself to be an unrestrained psychopath to Joanie and Eddie, neither of whom are willing to follow him there. This community is forming It will be civilization. As the Judge said in Episode 5, in lieu of laws there will be social norms, and Cy's treatment of Miles and Flora is in gross violation of them.

*Note, I am writing this having watched through S1E9: "No Other Sons or Daughters.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older The Young Pope: Third Episode...   |  Star Trek: Voyager: Eye of the... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments