Monday, May 16, 2005

Act civilized even if you ain't.

I have felt, for most of this season, that a "Lie Agreed Upon, Part 2," was the best episode of this season, and possibly of the entire series. But last night was a very close second to that. What an episode.

Last night was, for the most part, all about the ladies of Deadwood. It started off with the burning of the Chinese whores' corpses and wound it's way to the grief of Martha Bullock. From Jane and Joanie's new found friendship to Trixie's musings on human nature, the women really got a chance to shine last night.

Favorite scenes - Trixie, Trixie, Trixie. It should come as no surprise that Trixie is probably my favorite character on this show, and Milch has done a nice job of developing her subtly this season. Loved her explanation to Sol about why she went to Al after William was injured: "The pimp's a whore's familiar. So the sudden, strange or violent draws her to him. Not that I wouldn't learn another way." I was also pleased and touched when she visited Alma and told her that she was sorry she had butted in on the Ellsworth proposal. As she points out, women have so few choices in this life, that when they do have a choice to make, others ought to mind their own business. Classic touch when she sniffed Alma's glass to make sure she wasn't back on the laudanum. And Trixie bossing the Gem whores around as well as being overly superstitious about Dan's boots on the bar was another nice touch.

And where last week's ep failed to move me, this week certainly succeeded. Between Alma's talk with Sophia and Martha Bullock's barely contained rage and grief, I was definitely feeling it. I also though that Timothy Olyphant did a nice job as Bullock this week - he actually managed to make me feel something other than irritation for him. Between having to make his nephew's cophin, keeping up appearances with Jarrey and attempting to comfort/stay out of the way for Martha, well, he got me. I felt for him.

As to the theme of frontier women. This show has never shyed away from how women were treated in the west in the 1800s. This ain't no Laura Ingalls world and there's nothing romantic about it. But following the brutality of the treatment of the Chinese whores, it was nice to see the women of Deadwood acting or reacting in the most important roles in their lives - for Alma and Martha, it's motherhood; for Joanie and Jane, it's friendship; and for Trixie, it's a little bit of both.

Final thoughts, is a psychopath born or made? In the case of Swearengen, it appears to be the latter. I love it when he tells stories about his youth, and I always enjoy seeing a glimmer of humanity in him. Despite his skills at acting like he doesn't give a shit, to learn that he actually cannot stand funerals because of what they meant when he was a child was a bonus. And of course, I'm pleased that Alma accepted Ellsworth's proposal.

Next week is the season finale! Looks like Hearst will arrive and the shit is about to hit the fan between Wu and Lee.

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