Deadwood


#181

Well, it was originally going to be about Seaborn and Mandy, but Martin Sheen so totally owned things when he was given little screen time, that the show shifted to him.

I really think that the show is about the President, and Sheen plays it so well that you can handle more episodes that don’t focus on him. Plus, nothing really happens without his involvement in the end because all major decisions either come from or run though him.

So I’d agree that it has a big cast, but I don’t think it truly is about the White House. Like ER in it’s better moments, it has some obviously main character(s) that are strong enough to make less character driven episodes tolerable.


#182

Better example: Law & Order.


#183

I really enjoyed Bullock’s conversation with Alma, Joanie’s conversation with Utter, Jane leaving (again), Sy and Eddie, Swearengen and whatever the fuck, I love the Preacher and am very curious about what’s going on with him, and especially the doctor.

I loved last week’s episode. I’ve been hoping for a more ensemble driven episode for a while now. Deadwood has so many great actors in minor parts, lets do whatever we can to expand them. Whoever said it above said it well. The show is called Deadwood because it’s about Deadwood. Last week’s episode showed the town taking another step toward becoming a real town… I find that very interesting.

Don’t forget, last week we saw Joanie leave Sy, we saw Sy threaten Eddie, we learned that Al Swearengen murdered someone in Chicago, and that the Doctor has been accused of grave-robbin’ 7 times. Oh, we also learned that Bullock’s wife is his sister-in-law.

Anyway, since there’s three episodes left, I expect things will pick up really fast. But even if they don’t, give me more episodes like this! Please!

Best line: (paraphrased from memory)

Bartender Guy: “Do you want me to die the death of a thousand cuts? Am I to endure this water torture?”

Al: “Do you want to sit down? Or keep talking about whatever the fuck ‘Yellow Peril’ book you’re reading?”


#184

“Can I tell Dan about my promotion, Al?”
“No.”

Hah.


#185

What’s even better is that, he doesn’t. Dan asks him what’s new and he sort of hems and haws, looking uncomfortable. Excellent!


#186

Potential Spoilers

More Chinese in Deadwood than I thought. Good episode although not much really happened. More of a day to day events episode. I find it interesting that Al considers the Chinaman a boss among his own people. I liked the bribe at the hotel desk, especially the end where the briber finally reaches his limit.

The bathtub / dopefiend scene was interesting. I’m not sure why it happened there instead of Al’s office.


#187

I loved the interactions between Al “Swegen” and the Chinese boss.

I felt bad for the reverend, he’s fading fast.


#188

Easier to kill someone in a bathtub? :)

Besides, they don’t have to bring the body downstairs during business hours and distrub the customers. Just lug 'em around the street.

— Alan


#189

I believe we have a new high score for the “cocksucker” count.


#190

This was a really good episode, and gives me faith that the awesome first 3 or 4 episodes weren’t just flukes. The show had begun to settle into a rut, but the town coming together, that stuff about Bullock “borrowing a life”, the Chinaman problem, etc have brought the show right back up.


#191

Am I the only one finding this show is getting more meandering and boring by the week? Fell asleep again during this week’s show. Where is all this stuff going? The plot isn’t developing at all. We’re getting slightly redone scenes every week. This week we had more "cocksucker"s from Swearengen, more tension between Bullock and Alma, another indication that Utter and Joanie have some kind of attraction, more with the steadily losing it minister, further indication that Mayor Larry is a scumbag whom everybody despises, etc. All stuff we’ve seen before.

We had a few interesting hints this week, especially with whatsisname from Boogie Nights telling Joanie how he’s going to rob Cy, but nothing is going anywhere. Even the introduction of the Chinese didn’t do anything for me, as they were treated as racial stereotypes and used as yet one more reason to get “cocksucker” into the dialogue a hundred times. That opening scene was awfully close to self-parody. The show’s starting to resemble a Garth Ennis comic, where even grandmothers say “motherfucker.”

What’s happened with Alma’s gold strike? With Swearengen’s plot to get it back/cover up the murder of the dude? With the threats to bring in the Pinkertons? With the budding rivalry between Swearengen and Tolliver? With the budding rivalry between Bullock and Swearengen? There were so many great stories and characters set up in the first four episodes or so, but the whole thing’s collapsed, at least for me. I’ll probably try one more episode, but if I conk out at 10:25 again, I’m done.


#192

I thought the opening scene featuring the Chinaman and Al’s flunkie was very well done. The flunkie wasn’t really racist, he was just doing what he knew or what he was told. And at the end of the scene, when he asks him to leave, even Al didn’t come off as racist, just another person trapped by the norm.

I just found that to be somewhat ironic and sad. Maybe even painful in a sense.


#193

I don’t think it is a problem if characters in a semi-fictional TV drama are racist.


#194

Am I the only one finding this show is getting more meandering and boring by the week?

I’m the opposite- I find it gets better each week.

Its definitely not plot based- you really can’t sum up a specific story for each episode. With the exception of Bill’s murder I’d be hard pressed to tell you which episode a specific event happened. Still, the overall story and characters have progressed fairly significantly since the beginning of the series IMO.

Each episode seems to take up only one or two days- you can still see the scars on Bullocks face from his fight from several episodes ago. Consequently I don’t think any of the plots will necessary come to fruition quickly. Doesn’t bother me at all though since I find the characters suitably interesting I’m not really concerned when the next big event will take place.


#195

If you’re referring to me, I think you might have missed my point. I’m not sure if either person is racist as opposed to conformist. Hope that makes sense.


#196

All of these have had fairly significant developments recently:

Alma’s gold strike is probably fairly resolved for now- she owns the property and Swearengen’s backing off for now with the impending annexation. I wouldn’t expect more on this one in the near future. For now I think this thread just served to set up Alma’s character and bring Bullock into Swearengen’s orbit.

Swearengen’s plot falls in with this- he essentially lost but it did serve to bring him closer to direct opposition with Bullock.

The budding rivalry between Al and Sy was featured prominently in the last episode- Al had to choose between offing one of his guys or Tolliver’s to appease the Chinaman with no right answer. Even by killing off his own guy he’s given himself an opening for Tolliver to come at him with the “one whiteman’s life isn’t worth one chink’s life” bit.

The Bullock/Swearengen rivarly nearly came to a head two or three episodes back when Bullock confronted Swearengen over Alma’s claim in one of my favorite scenes from the show.

All of these threads have been dealt with in the last two or three episodes. With such a large ensemble and so many different threads there’s no way a single episode can satisfy them all.


#197

If you’re referring to me, I think you might have missed my point. I’m not sure if either person is racist as opposed to conformist. Hope that makes sense.

I think Brett was ultimately referring to the writing of Wu as racist- ie strictly adhering to racial stereotypes. This somehow got misconstrued that the characters are racist (which some are no doubt).


#198

That’s significant? This murderous plot comes to an end with one of the parties just backing off? Maybe that’s realistic, but it’s not exactly dramatically satisfying. It’s the same sort of thing that people are slamming The Sopranos for–never paying off on good storylines, or letting them just sort of evaporate. This is really deadly for, um, Deadwood because the show’s just gotten started. It’d be like if Tony’s problems with Junior and Livia in the first season were solved by a family dinner and group hug.

I just don’t see that as a big deal. There’s no direct involvement between Al and Cy. And do you really think Cy gives a damn about a dead Chinaman? Ever read how they were used to plant explosives when railways were built? They weren’t even thought of as people in North America at that time. Oh, and I couldn’t care less about racism in a TV show, but I felt the opening scene was pure self-parody. You’ve got the vaguely Dr. Fu Manchu-looking Wu, a clumsy attempt to communicate, and yet more uses of the word “cocksucker.” It would’ve been funny for a minute or two, not the five or so it actually lasted. And like the rest of the show, it repeated the same “joke” over and over and over again. Hey, the Chinese say “cocksucker,” too! Funny, funny stuff.

That was great. But, again, that was a few episodes ago now.

And that’s a problem. It’s not that I want simple Law & Order crap, but I want some sense that there’s a story unfolding. I’m not getting that from the last three episodes of Deadwood. The events in the three could have been compressed into one “setting the stage” episode. At least four episodes this season were pretty much filler, and when your season is around a dozen episodes long, that’s a problem. Also, how does this sell the show? How do you characterize it? It’s a western where Lovejoy says “cocksucker” every three words. Yeah, that’s really gonna draw the viewers.

I’m just getting pissed off because I was really starting to get into Deadwood. Seems like a lot of promise is being wasted. Great acting and great characters like this shouldn’t be boring.


#199

That’s significant? This murderous plot comes to an end with one of the parties just backing off? Maybe that’s realistic, but it’s not exactly dramatically satisfying. It’s the same sort of thing that people are slamming The Sopranos for–never paying off on good storylines, or letting them just sort of evaporate.

The storyline sets up Alma as the sole owner of a plot of land with a major gold strike. This is likely to be key aspect of her character for some time to come. It also brought Swearengen and Bullock at odds- again another conflict that’s clearly coming. While it may not be significant in the sense that no one other than Alma’s husband died from the deal, its pretty important for establishing both Alma and Bullock and Swearengen’s relationship with both. I’m not sure how much more of a payoff you wanted. And the plotline isn’t over- next week’s episode preview shows her father showing up I believe. I imagine he will be very interested in her claim. IIRC, he used to have money but is broke now.

just don’t see that as a big deal. There’s no direct involvement between Al and Cy. And do you really think Cy gives a damn about a dead Chinaman? Ever read how they were used to plant explosives when railways were built?

That no one gives a damn about a dead Chinaman except for Al is exactly the point! Al had to appease the Chinaman by offing at least one of the opium thieves in order to keep the supply of opium and the other back alley dealings he has with Wu. The problem is, no one else in camp thinks that a dead chink is worth a dead whiteman. If Sy puts the word out that Al killed a white guy for a Chinaman then Al could be looking at getting lynched (this is exactly what Al said during the episode- maybe it was after you fell asleep).

As for the lack of Al and Sy interaction- I like that! Its like two generals making maneuvers without coming into contact with the other. They’re both playing with some of the same pieces but don’t know what the other has up their sleeve. The dramatic difference in the style of their saloons, dress, and speech just accentuates the differences. Having too much interaction between the two would spoil some of that effect.

The events in the three could have been compressed into one “setting the stage” episode

I don’t know- three episodes ago was the one that climaxed with Bullock and Swearengen’s standoff as well as Sy’s murder of the two swindlers. Most significant episode of the season so far IMO. Two episodes ago was the setting up of the ad-hoc government- again fairly significant. Nothing as significant happened in this week’s episode but I thought there was some very good character work and I think Al’s murder of the opium thief is definitely setting the stage for things to come.

Sorry your not enjoying at as much Brett but Deadwood’s my favorite show on the air at the moment.


#200

Any idea why we have to wait 2 weeks for the next Sopranos and Deadwood episodes?