Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More TV-Talk

(or, How to Kill Time During Work Without Really Trying)

Deadwood Recap: "The Catbird Seat" (warning: spoilers.)

Can I just scream, on behalf of all the people who watch the show, FINALLY!!!

After waiting ALL season for the fireworks to kick off between Hearst and the camp, it finally (finally) starts with an unlikely murder and even more unlikely shooting in Hearst's own hotel. But, I'll take it slowly (see: subtitle).

Bullock isn't around. He's "campaigning" in the nearby town of Sturgis. In the beginning of the episode, him and his crew are debating whether he should continue his campaign away from Deadwood and somehow decide that he should. Despite the attack on Alma Ellsworth last week that had him rushing back to town. Basically, they decide that he'll have to rush back when - not if - the war begins.

Hearst meets with two black-suited nameless henchman (who else misses Col. Turner?) and intones a simple but ominous line, "You're clear on the order of the killings?"

Farnum is still in his cubbyhole of an apartment, still having not wiped off Hearst's spit from a previous episode. It is another degrading and sad moment for this punching bag of a character. A part of me starts to feel bad for him, but then I remember he's a loser and everything that is happening to him he made happen himself or deserved in account of his awful treatment of his slave worker and erstwhile confidant, Richardson.

Next scene finds Ellsworth, one of the best characters of the show's three year run and fifty character roster, having a very long and involved discussion about Alma with a dog. One of the henchman shows up and puts a bullet in Ellsworth's forehead.

The next scenes blur together into an excited rampage of violence and fright. Alma reeling with grief in the middle of the thoroughfare, Utter running into The Gem shouting, "Ellsworth's been shot!" are classic Deadwood moments. Everyone realizes what's going on and immediately reaches for weapons. There's a strange confusion in the air as the characters - much like the audience - have no idea what's going to happen next.

What happens is as dramatic as you can imagine. A character who has come dangerously close to irrelevant in this new season, Trixie, sees Ellsworth's body being dragged through the camp and decides she's sick to fucking death of this fucking Hearst guy. She pulls her trusty gun from her trusty bra and jabs it into her dress. She then takes her shirt off and parades right past Hearst's guards in the lobby of the Grand Central, who are as you can imagine distracted, and marches right up to Hearst's door. He is fearless and a little dumb. He opens the door, greeted by not one display of exposed flesh but two, and is completely surprised by the gun in her hand. She fires, but misses her intended target - his black, greedy heart - and hits him in the shoulder. She flees, while the guards scurry up the stairs strangely (and unbelievably) ignoring Trixie.

Meanwhile, Swearengen is sheltering Alma again while Utter goes to fetch Sofia and Jane (tragically underused) watches over the kids in their tree-shaped school house. The battle, it seems, is underway in a quiet way.

Hearst, guarded well (this time), marches through camp with blood pouring down his arm on the way to the doctor. A chilling scene follows as the Doc mends Hearst's bullet wound not five feet from Ellsworth's cold body.

Sofia is thankfully returned to Alma, where she has the sad duty of informing young Sofia about Ellsworth's fate. Sofia demands to see Mr. Ellsworth, to "feel his beard" one last time. Alma and Al and then Alma and the Doc have very interesting conversations about Sofia and what happened to her family way back in the beginning of season 1.

Bullock finally returns (again) to comfort Alma and Sofia. He doesn't really do or say much (as usual), but gives them all good hugs. Mrs. Bullock, as usual, is absent from all important things during the course of the episode.

There's a charming scene between Richardson and Jewel, fourth (possibly fifth)-tier characters in the Deadwood hegemony.

One of my favorite characters enters the scene with as much fanfare as one would expect of such a lofty and high-faluten individual, Wu. The exchange between Wu and Sweargen is important, but lacks the pure fun and silliness of their earlier conversations over the last three or four episodes. But there was a wonderful moment at the end when Wu gets up close to Swearengen, locks his middle and right index finger together and says, "HANGDI!" which I believe means best friend in Chinese. Swearengen gives him a nod, a "Hangdi!" and sends him off to collect his 150 chinks from Custer City.

Next week, the war begins (or ends?) in earnest with the season/series finale.

But, fellow Deadwood fans, don't fret! Regular episodes of the show may be over, but HBO is planning two (that's right, two!) Deadwood TV-movies (read: long episodes) for sometime in 2007. I'm guessing one of them will involve the summation of the Hearst storyline and the second will involve the famous Deadwood fire that destroyed the town in 1879.


August said...

WTF. The season finale was (mostly) boring, with the main badasses Bullock and Swearengen being scared little girls. Shame on you Deadwood. Is this the new trend in HBO series? Sopranos ended the same way (except even more boring)...

It just seems so unreal that Trixie can waltz in and shoot Hearst, while everyone else is making it out to be that the guy is untouchable. I mean, he only has a human sized hole in his fucking room.

Those two Deadwood movies better kick some serious ass.

On the bright side, I bought the first season of Battlestar Galactica and it arrived today. =)

Elad said...

yeah, i gotta agree with you on the finale. it was SO disappointing. i was reading some fellow fan reactions and they cautioned to make sure to watch the episode again to fully grok it, and i'm planning to, but i haven't yet.

but after a whole season of build-up, there was - literally - nothing. and they were ready! three minor armies facing off in the thoroughfare and what happens? nothing!

i agree with you that the WHOLE Trixie thing felt off and weird. And killing Jen to make Hearst happy. When did Swearengen become a pussy?! Where's his "cold" revenge? the Deadwood crew just sat back and let Hearst do his shit and then leave. the badguy WON. he didn't pay for killing Ellsworth and he got Alma's gold claim (which came out of nowhere!).

Overall, i feel much like I felt after last season's Deadwood finale. Lots of wasted time and characters, some dramatic highpoints, but no where near enough.

A part of me is so disillusioned by the finale, i'm glad the series is over. One can take so much disappointment. Although I hope for the best with the movies.