This article was updated on the 19th of September 2006 @ 08:00AM GMT+8 local Taiwan time.
This article recaps the 1st eleven episodes of the third and last season of the gritty western drama Deadwood on HBO. There will be a few TV movies next year, but the series has been cancelled. This is from what I have read. It is also possible that this was planned in advance, to have TV movies for the 4th season. Be it as it may, there is no TV season planned for Deadwood. It’s a shame, because like most HBO series, it is quite riveting.
With the arrival of Hearst, things start boiling in the frontier town of Deadwood. The Deadwood bank is up and running and Hearst is trying to get Ms Ellsworth’s interest in her goldmine.
One of Swearengen’s acquaintances Jack Langrishe played by Brian Cox, comes to town to open a theatre. He agrees to buy Ms Stubbs establishment and to build a new school for the children. Ms Ellsworth has some minor surgery and the Doc is coughing up blood. Cy Tolliver is still recuperating from his attack of last season, but is brought under Hearst’s heel when Hearst confronts him about Wolcott’s letter.
Hosttetler comes back in the 3rd episode and agrees to sell his horse business to Steve the drunk. Swearengen confesses Hearst’s attack on him to one of his whores. The elections are imminent and Sol Star is running for mayor against Farnum, who gets the shit kicked out of him after the 1st meeting between Bullock and Hearst. The reason why is that Bullock thinks after hearing Hearst that Farnum told Hearst about his affair with Ms Ellsworth.
Hearst declares Swearengen and enemy and chops off one of Al’s fingers. Swearengen is plotting his revenge, and appoints one of his deputies to be his representative. Wu comes back with good news for Swearengen and a few Cornish fellows get killed in Swearengen’s bar when tempers flare about the way they talk.
Cynthia Ettinger from HBO’s Carnivale, makes her Deadwood debut as Claudia, a new addition to the town. She is one of the most striking plus sized models I know and reminds of the past, when fertility and large hips were most attractive to the males in those bygone eras.
The Cornish miners from Hearst’s mines are dropping like flies; they are trying to unionize and Hearst doesn’t like that. After Dority insults Hearst, the Captain is sent by Hearst to duel Dority which takes place in the middle of the 5th episode. It’s a hand to hand duel and get bloody and violent pretty quickly, especially when Dority plucks out the Captain’s left eyeball. The rules are similar to gladiatorial combat, with Swearengen and Hearst deciding if the duel is to the death or not. Dority wins and kills the Captain. As sanguine as Dority is most of the time, he refuses the adulation of the whores and the cares of Doc Cochran after his fits and laments naked by himself.
Ms Ellsworth, having kicked her laudanum habit, starts it up again after her surgery. We see this in episode 5. Doc Cochran is onto her, as well as foulmouthed beautiful Trixie, who is shacking up with Sol Star, but nothing has happened yet about this. Alma is being supplied by one of Cy Tolliver’s cronies, Leon. Cy is aware of this since he squeezed it out of his crony. He is instructed by Hearst to make Leon kill Alma by constantly upping the quality of the drugs, but after Hearst spends the night in jail, he tells Cy to back off. At the end of the 5th episode, Mr Ellsworth being uncomfortable with the physical relationship with Alma and with her drug habit, leaves his sex starved wife. Trixie corners Leon and finds out that he is selling dope to Alma. She confronts Alma and gets fired. Trixie tries to get a whoring job from Swearengen, but he turns her down and tells her to run back. Doc Cochrane has been sick since the 3rd episode. He is coughing up blood and looses his voice in the 7th episode.
Robin Wreight plays Calamity Jane in a most spectacular way, having seen pictures of her out of costume, you hardly recognize her at all. She is drunk most of the time. Haffstater blows his brains out after another racist encounter with Steve the drunk. Bullock finally snaps when he is insulted by a drunk Hearst after the duel. Hearst gets arrested and almost killed by Bullock, but is dragged unceremoniously by the ear to jail by Bullock where he spends the night.
In the 7th episode, Hearst’s servant son O’Dell returns from Liberia with tales of gold that enraptures Hearst. At the end of the 6th episode, Bullock and Swearengen call a meeting of the town elders. It is decided during the meeting that a letter that Bullock wrote to a murdered Cornishman’s family would be printed in the Deadwood Pioneer to insult Hearst. Jane and Joanie kiss whilst Joanie cleans Jane up from her latest drinking binge.
In the 8th episode, Wyatt Earp and Morgan Earp show up having defended a coach from bandits. Swearengen discovered that they actually faked the whole thing. Wyatt Earp is examining his options in the camp thanks to the hero’s welcome he got when he arrived. There is a lot of showdowns in this season, even staredowns. Wyatt Earp and Bullock almost came to shots over some tools.
The hired guns that Hearst ordered finally show up at the end of the 8th episode. The newspaper man Merrick gets beat up by the gunslingers for having disrespected Hearst. O’Dell, Aunt Loo’s son who is Hearst’s servant, is dead in the 9th episode. He was working with Hearst to confirm the validity of a goldmine in Liberia.
At the beginning of the 10th episode, Ms Ellsworth gets shot at. Swearengen and the deputy sheriff run to her assistance. Mr Hearst’s right hand man of the Pinkertons gets beat up by Swearengen, after he delivers a not to him. Swearengen knows that he beat up Merrick the newspaper man, scared Wu and shot at Ms Ellsworth. The lieutenant is killed by Swearengen. The usual suspects meet again to discuss the implications. Hearst has contracted a kill. He has Mr Ellsworth killed. It’s war in Deadwood. The soldiers appear for the voting rig. Bullock is steaming. The camp is up in arms. Trixie bares her breasts and shows her privates to a most surprised Mr Hearst before shooting him in the shoulder with her baby Derringer, which won’t amount to much damage.
Cy is freaking out and aggravating is injury. Sol Star is trying to spirit Trixie away before Hearst’s goons catch her. Star brings her to Swearengen. Hearst is on the prowl for Trixie with his Pinkertons. Swearengen sends Wu to gather his 150 countrymen from Custer City to Deadwood.
I’m always surprised at how much happens in this show and how filthy and coarse it is. It is filthy in a few different ways, from colorful language to casual nudity and sexual content. It is thoroughly enjoyable though. And another good thing, is that most characters featured in this are based on reality. Like Hearst. Too bad it got cancelled. Hopefully, if the movies from next season is successful, the series might return after a hiatus.
What are we waiting for?
To see what kind of hell breaks loose.
Swearengen to his crony right before Bullock drags Hearst to jail by his ear.
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Swearengen to Dority
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