This episode motherfucked me and blew my head off. I watched it twice and still couldn’t figure out how to write about it—there was so much going on that if I even straight-out wrote about the “action” I would be writing 5,000,000 pages. And if I added all the little things that I noticed, that might just be even more important, it would be double. Have I mentioned how much I love this show? Well, let me say it again.
Rather than a play-by-play account I think I’m just going to hit some highlights (because I have to find some time to sleep tonight). One thing that stood out for me is how this whole episode seems centered on change—the camp began shifting from a camp to a community last season and it changes more this season as annexation nears. And the changes happening in the people—real changes of positive personal growth juxtaposed against Cy’s contrived conversion. WTF is that about? I have some thoughts for later.
The first thing that struck me was the opening scene where we see Al lying in bed wide-awake and worried looking. I remember the days when all Al needed was a belt of whiskey and a blowjob to send him off for an evening’s respite, all thoughts of the camp’s bidness to wait for the morrow. But now he lies awake ..worried. (As it turns out, for good reason). And, speaking of blowjobs, Al hasn’t gotten any in ages ..and where’s Dolly and has she dyed her hair?
At Fucking Bullock’s, Seth is attempting light-hearted banter with the marm missus. He doesn’t look like it comes very natural to him—he’s stiff in the delivery of his tea teasing. And then he’s ..huh?..stiff in that other kinda way. Oh dear! Does he like Martha’s toes now? Will plaster be raining down by next episode?
Speaking of plaster raining down, the rainmaker her own self is having a heartbreaking conversation with the doc. And Molly is fanfuckingtastic in this scene. The subtle shift in her tone and expression is dead on. She asks the doc how she is with a feigned innocuousness. Then she gets pissy with him as he begins to deliver the bad news, then she registers a moment of utter horror before her look morphs from shock to sorrow.
And then Doc goes downstairs and lets Ells know it ain’t good and stops on his way out to caress Sofia’s cheek and give her a loving chuck on the chin. Doc sets out to get ready to do the abortion that he believes is necessary to save Alma’s life and Alma starts setting her affairs to order.
Trixie comes over to witness Alma’s verbal last will and Alma drops the bombshell that she will leave Sofia in Bullock’s care. Poor Ells just about dies (a shining moment for Jim Beaver) but he sets out to fetch Bullock to see if he “accepts”.
Later, when Seth shows up Alma tells him she is trying to spare Ells from having to deal with Hearst because of his past history with the man and that Sofia needs protecting because Hearst will likely come after her claim via Brom’s family. She and Seth stare at each for a while and she says “I regret nothing” thus trying to let Seth off the guilt trip he will surely take if she dies. Of course he says nothing because, really, what could he say?
Later, Ells comes back up to Alma and she says that he should remind Sofia that there’s a full moon soon ..then she reaches for his hand and says that the three of them will watch it together. Ells, being the great guy that he is, just puts his own hurt feelings aside and gives her a little smile. Her look says she knows she’s lucky to have a guy like him, this man who stepped up to haul her boulder.
At the Gem, Dan is wondering why Al won’t go after Hearst instead of waiting for Hearst to make a deadly move but Al says better to sit tight. Al says some ‘nother stuff about forgoing the rock for the dagger which I didn’t really get but then he says “change calls the tune we dance to” and I sure get that.
And later that sea creature looking cocksucker, The Captain, delivers a message from Hearst to Al. Well, it’s not much of a message per se—just a line and four Xs drawn on the paper by Hearst. None of Al’s boys can figure it out—not even Silas and he’s the smart one—but Al deciphers it to mean that the Xs are murderers and the diagram shows that two will be at the bar and two will be at a table nearby. OK. I get that. But then Al somehow also figures out that the two at the table will not be backing the play of the two at the bar so he knows that he and Dan will be able to dispatch those two-- the previously parping cocksucker and his sidekick—without having to handle the other two at the table.
And that is exactly how the shit goes down. Hhhhhhhmmmm. All this from a line and four Xs? Call me persnickety but that seems to go beyond what even a smart person like Al could glean from that drawing (Deadwood or Dead Zone—you be the judge) But anyways, fuck a bunch of Xs-- who cares? Doesn’t matter, all that matters is that this warning was Hearst’s way of setting right the insult of killing the Cornish miners in Al’s place.
So, everything’s cool, right? Eh, not so much because here comes The Captain with another note and Al looks plenty worried as he heads out into the thoroughfare. The Boys file out behind him wondering WTF. Silas delivers one of my favorite funny lines “If we was trailing water, we might get took for ducklings.”
And later we find out that Al had plenty reason to be looking so worried. That last message was an invitation from Hearst for Al to come over to Heart’s “veranda” (the roof outside the hole he knocked out of the wall) to watch the election speeches. Al goes, sans The Boys, and tension mounts as Al verbally tangles with Hearst until Hearst threatens to have The Captain pop a cap in his ass unless Al agrees to retreat back inside so Hearst can go about bending Al’s will.
Hearst learns this is no easy feat and Al gets his hand chopped with a mini pick-axe for not grabbing ankle. Hearst maybe puts a little extra oomph behind the swing for Al’s smartass rejoinder to Hearst's suggestion that Al help him get in with Alma “As far as making your way into her…act averse to nasty language and partial to fruity tea.” Even after getting conked in the back of the head Al is still one funny mofo.
Earlier in the day, over at the Bella, Joanie is flitting around Cy all nervous Nellie like and she kinda snaps and starts spilling her guts to him. When she tells him she almost splattered her brains at Shaunessy’s he registers no shock at her confession (he’s probably heard it a million times before) and instead of offering any comfort he starts dogging her about getting back to her gainful occupation. After all, that would be good for everybody, young lady!
Joanie doesn’t think it would be so good for her and says she doesn’t want to run women anymore but Cy implores that she is turning from her gift and her training. A distraught Joanie says "When you speak it’s like the devil talking" and Cy gets genuinely offended--oddly offended for someone who is perhaps, Satan his own self.
But I think Cy has a real blind spot about his relationship with Joanie. I honestly think in his own twisted worldview he believes he saved her and gave her a good life. And now she’s being a haughty cunt after all he's done for her. He is mighty miffed. “Try to stay afloat from the fuckin’ sickbed., have to listen to something like that”. Indeed.
And what about him and that bible? What’s up with that? I think we’re going to find out why Cy came to hate God the way he does and yet still looks to the bible to “show me another fucking strategy ..deception don’t preclude the search for fucking conviction”. Hhhhhmmmmm.
OK, I’ll never be done with this unless I just cover everything else in a random love-fest.
Another sign of growth—they’re using contracts to cement agreements instead of the ol’ spit-in-the-hand-and-shake. Much more bidness-like, not to mention hygienic.
I loved the shot of Seth’s face when Sofia said “my mother’s sick”. A picture is worth a thousand fucking words.
Jane’s storytelling to the camp’s kiddos was fun and sweet. I love how she spoke about Sofia also being brave ..and, yeah, the marm , too. There, I said it. Also, some people want to know where these kidlets came from. Anwswer: Several of them came from their daddy’s being actors on the show (Earl’s little “Mary” and Sean’s lil’ curlie-bop cutie). Oh, that’s not what you meant? Nevermind.
Oh, and Richardson! I laughed my ass off when he saw fucking Bullock and said “it’s the sheriff that beat you” like he needed to specify which sheriff as if the town was full of ‘em. And I loved that scene with him tending to
EB: Could you have been born, Richardson, and not egg-hatched as I’ve always assumed? Did your mother hover over you, snaggle-toothed and doting, as you now hover over me?
And good ol’ Richardson saying “I loved my mother” *awwww* and “my father didn’t liked me” *sigh* And EB: I’d like to use your ointment to suffocate you.
And, Charlie is just about the best friend ever. His little speech to Joanie was excellent and how sad was his voice breaking when he spoke of his dear friend Bill. And maybe Joanie took his kind words to heart because later she tells that impossibly long-legged Lila that “nothing’s over yet.” And Charlie is a good friend to Seth, too, even though neither of them could speak about what they really wanted to say when they were discussing Alma. Awkward extraordinaire!
And back to the people changing thing, I noticed that Johnny is really growing up. He’s learning to keep his yap shut and listen and he was cool as can be in the showdown at the Gem with Hearst’s henchmen. Remember the Johnny that used to scream and wave his gun around and accidentally shoot people in his panic? Boy, this was a way different guy who pulls a shotgun on the Xs at the table and warns in a confident commanding tone “make a move cocksuckers!” Steady as can be.
Ah, and even Davey gets in on the action. When Al and Dan commence with the close-in work on the two at the bar, Davey steps in from his post at the door and levels his gun at the guys at the table. He, too, looks like a bona-fide Bad Boy.
Did Davey just step into the inner circle? Maybe so, because it looks like Al’s going to need all the help he can get.