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Deathwatch: George Hearst

I can’t imagine that George Hearst is long for Deadwood. His enemies seem to be growing by the day, while he only requires the protection of a single bodyguard. What’s stopping someone from sticking a knife into his heart at one of these meetings he’s so fond of having? Ellsworth hates him. Bullock hates him. Swearengen hates him. Cy hates him, and he has to work for him. So who will kill him? The odds are that Swearengen or Cy will do the deed, but something tells me that it will be one of the more honorable types that will take Hearst down.

My head is spinning from all of the subtext in the show’s dialogue. These people continue to speak politely to each other while there is thunderous anger under the surface. Take, for instance, Alma’s first meeting with Hearst. Ellsworth can’t stand the man, and can’t keep his emotions in check. Alma is embarrassed and she and Hearst continue to speak politely to each other, ignoring Ellsworth’s ramblings. In their next meeting – this one without poor Ellsworth – Hearst’s anger at Alma’s financial proposal was palpable. He told her he was offended, insulted her and then threatened her, all without any overt action. Moments later, when Bullock sees Alma in the thoroughfare, he knows – just from Alma’s expression – how her meeting with Hearst went. Creator David Milch had a similar writing success with “NYPD Blue” – you just knew how Andy Sipowicz was going to react towards any given situation. The subtext on “Deadwood” is just as dense, if not more.

Brian Cox joined the cast tonight, playing a character with a long history with Swearengen. This promises to be an interesting on-screen relationship as Cox is built for this type of supporting role. As far as I can tell, his character came into camp independently of Hearst’s group, so he might be a bit of a wild card.

Also, one observation of Trixie: she seems to be in Al’s pocket, but her interactions with Sol Star indicate that her feelings for him run deeper than she lets on. How she comes to terms with this should be one of the more compelling storylines of this, the final season. I also hope that Joanie and Jane have more of an impact on the camp’s happenings in the weeks ahead.

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