Friday, June 23, 2006

Episode 26: "I Am Not the Man You Take Me For"

I do apologize, dear hooplehead, for my delay in posting a prompt response to last Sunday's episode. It's not like my left hand was smashed by a mining hammer or anything like that. I was just knocked off my routine. Yet another reminder that I need to be in total seclusion (communication silence!) come 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. Like Dan, I'm older and much less friendly to fuckin' change!

So what did you make of the first scene, with a drunken cocksucker slurring his way through his own declaration, only to fall off the speech platform and break his neck? I can be guilty of looking for deeper meaning and metaphors in most any scene (and really, there's no such thing as a throwaway moment in this series), but I was thinking this was symbolic of how powerless the people of Deadwood really are. Other residents of the camp might have their own feelings on how things should be run, but ultimately Swearengen and Hearst have the final say. Anything else is just noise that prevents Al from getting his sleep.

Or maybe it was just an excuse to show Al's minions in various states of undress. Was it worse to see Shirtless Dan or Topless Jane later in the episode? (I'll lean toward Dan - mostly because Jane has boobies, and you know how I feel about boobies.) And how about Johnny's showing off his butt crack?

That led to what's probably my favorite line of the week: "Would you close your flap that I don't forego my boiled eggs?" This is why we need nudity on premium cable.

Otherwise, I think Farnum got most of this episode's dialogue gems (no pun intended). He's never better than when taking shots at his favorite punching bag, Richardson:

"Could you have been born, Richardson, and not egg-hatched, as I assumed?"

"I'd like to use your ointment to suffocate you."

"Do you only feign stupidity while only plotting ways to madden me?"

And then there was his hilariously unsubtle, anti-Semitic campaign speech. His miming of the stereotypical Jew nose. (The fact that Sol doesn't quite sport such a feature made it that much more ridiculous.) His use of the word "exodus." And, of course, the brilliant tagline that should be the bumper sticker that some brilliant entrepeneur is printing up now: "Farnum! Christ knows he's earned it!" Ah, what an unaware moron...

How about Alma throwing up The Seth Bullock Cock Block Will on poor Mr. Ellsworth? Oooh, that had to sting a man right where he feels like a man. As much as I love Bullock, it's difficult not to take Ellsworth's cuckolded side in this one. ("My wife would like to see you.") I especially enjoyed the scene where Seth comes downstairs after talking to Alma and gets glares of death from Ellsworth and Trixie. But after exiting the oh-so-tense Ellsworth home, his best buddy, Sol, is outside to give him the thumbs-up. How touching.

But all that stuff was the undercard to the heavyweight title match: Hearst vs. Swearengen. Let me ask you this, my friend, what was colder shit: Hearst sending over a diagram of where the killers would be (Another great line: "Ask the fella who made these x's if he hires out for portraits") or how Al and crew quickly dispatched them? Whiskey in the face, stab to the gut, and a slit of the throat. Coooolld-blooooded. (And did you enjoy Adams whining that he was sent out on an errand while Al and Dan got to do the killing?)

No way Hearst's balls are as big as Al's, though. Everyone at the Gem knew Hearst was going to try something on Al (and it was almost touching how worried Dan was about that). Yet Swearengen insisted on going over there alone, because of the message it sent. I guess we'll see if Al's hubris cost him the use of his left hand. But you had to admire his insistence on standing tall and not showing his pain while Hearst stood up on his terrace as Master of the Domain (for now). Cool as the other side of the pillow. You have no idea who you're fucking with, Major Dad...

Other quickie notes that Merrick might put in the Deadwood Pioneer:

▪▪ Is it bad that I'm not giving a shit about Joanie and Cy right now? I bet Cy's going to have something to say in this Hearst-Swearengen feud before the season is over. But for now, I could almost do without his scenes. I did like, however, his Jim Bakker-like revival ("Where is this strength coming from that I feel flowing into me?").

▪▪ Okay, I am curious about Joanie. We've known Charley Udder's been sweet on "Ms. Stubbs" for at least a couple of seasons. I'm not sure if their hand-holding will lead to anything, or was just an indication that Joanie's not as alone as she might feel. But I'm already tired of seeing her play House Mom to that drugged-out whore, Lila. Even if that's "her gift," as Cy said.

▪▪ Trixie's had seven abortions! (And is "as healthy as a horse"!) How many of those fetuses do you think belonged to one Mr. Albert Swearengen?

▪▪ I also liked Trixie playing vagina stand-in for Doc.

▪▪ Martha had some good small moments, too. The sexual tension with Seth over the strength of her tea. ("I do not make weak tea.") I also loved the amused look on her face as Jane was speaking to the schoolkids. (And how about when Jane called her "brave"? Another strangely touching moment, to me.)

I look forward to seeing what your post might portend. Don't get scalped!


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