Season 3 Episode 9

Amateur Night

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Aug 06, 2006 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
107 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

As Deadwood is overrun by Hearst's men, Bullock issues contingency
plans to Martha. Wu is caught in a Pinkerton stampede and delivers a cryptic message, that is solved by the unlikeliest person, to Swearengen. Barrett makes Merrick pay for embarrassing Hearst in "The Pioneer", while Morgan Earp calls out one of the "Pistoleros". As night falls, Langrishe mines Deadwood's talent pool with an amateur-night performance in front of his future theater, financed in part by a "loan" from Alma's bank.moreless

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  • „And blaze your bright muskets all over my coffin, saying there goes an unfortunate lad to his home…”

    Well we’re drawing close to the season’s finale and this episode reminds us of that perfectly. The atmosphere is really getting heated up in anticipation of the final clash and many old players have come back into play. On the one side Jarris is back in town, delivering Hearst a message, while Wu comes to Als aid. And as both sides get reinforcements, even if some greater than the others, the camp still goes about its daily life.

    For the time being, until his own lines are greatly strengthened, Al is trying to „learn the way of church-mice”. Hearst on the other side has already started his assault. And how better to start it, if not by means of the newspaper :). In other words poor Merrick received the magnates harsh reply for his audacious act of publishing the Sheriff's letter. And while he will convalesce, the rest of the tribe will probably seek seclusion from Hearst's army that tramples everything in their way (including Wu :) ). The only ones who decide to remain unwavering to the new changes are of course, Bullock and the Earps. It was nice to see some gun play and as always it was a treat to see Bullock take someone by the ear into custody. Timothy truly plays his part excelently, his fearlessness being amazingly convincing: „You tell your men to interfere… Give me a reason to do what I want!”. – His severe gaze and his determined gestures truly give his character dimension. It’s sad to see the Earps leaving though. I was finally getting used to them and they would have made a nice team with Bullock in the upcoming campaign against Hearst. However, it was nice that Bullock took their side in „the fair fight”; if their ways do part so soon at least it is with a smile that they take their leave. It was also nice to see Johnny outsmart Al for once - his reward for it was of course a punch – whether it was the result of challenging Al’s authority, or simply because Johnny seemed ludicrous in his enthusiasm of fathoming Wu’s message, that I am not sure of. Either way, it was hilarious.

    Among other key events of the episode, I would like to recall the moving of the school. I found their trip through the street really nicely filmed. A glint of innocence and peace surrounded by forces of destruction. The camp seemed peaceful for a brief moment, even as Hearst loomed from his high balcony.

    Aunt Lou receives the dreadful news of her sons death and her reaction, as well as how Hearst handles the situation, are very interesting. For the first time Jane seems to truly relate to Joanie and perhaps she will finally give up on drinking. Though that’s wishful thinking.

    Perhaps the highlight, or at least the most original moment, was the amateur night, throbbing with color and joy. Al on the other hand was busy working, which may or may not have been an excuse not to participate at an event that he sees as being beneath him. Nevertheless, there was an obvious desire for him to join those people outside, to let go of his pride and his worries, a desire that breaks through by means of his marvelous ballad at the end – one that however is witnessed only by an inanimate trophy. Or perhaps the ballad can signify more than simply this. Perhaps it is symbolic in the context that the towns people, for one of the first times, are not spending their evening in the Gem Salloon, but some place else. Civilization and order is slowly settling into the camp and Al's old ways are coming to an end. In this way of seeing things, the "unfortunate lad" in the ballad may very well be Al. A marvelous ending.

  • the beginning of the one of the best shows on TV

    while the inner workings of the Hearst machine comes to a boil - the citizens of Deadwood go about their business and the workings of their life are just as complicated as Hearst himself.

    The ever growing relationship of Miss Stubbs and Jane take on a decidely lesbian slant - Jane herself misses the boat to show Joanie just how much she feels for her in return. Instead of being the man, she send in the town's whale of a bouncer, and he does the job well enough that Joanie and Jane only stand back and let the whale stand his ground.

    Al is left in the dark in regards to the mindset of the Wyatt and his dim brother - they are in the background, but seems to be going about their business...characters to watch out for when the 3 episodes air in the coming weeks

    Al, alone, tending to his bar, and singing was the highlight of the show - this only enhances the human side of his character - too bad no one was round to hear it - the townsfolk were too busy watching the freakshow in the muddy mess that is the great town of Deadwood.

    Here\'s to next week episode - BRING IT ON!moreless
Gale Harold

Gale Harold

Wyatt Earp

Guest Star

Austin Nichols

Austin Nichols

Morgan Earp

Guest Star

Franc Ross

Franc Ross


Guest Star

Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell


Recurring Role

Jeffrey Jones (I)

Jeffrey Jones (I)

A.W. Merrick

Recurring Role

Larry Cedar

Larry Cedar


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • As I was a-walking down by St. James' Hospital,
      As I was a-walking down by there one day...

      The song that Al sings at the end of the episode is "The Unfortunate Rake", an Irish ballad from the late 1800's which was brought to England and the American West by immigrants and workers and became known by other names, like "The Trooper Cut Down", "The Bad Girl's Lament", and "Cowboy's Lament", as the lyrics were adapted to their new surroundings.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Charlie Utter (Talking about attending amateur night) : "I think I'll attend badge-less, lest I put a damper on stupidities"

    • Jane : "Get outta my f****n light."
      Mose : "It's me."
      Jane : "Who's me, the f****n eclipse?"
      Mose : "Mose Manuel"
      Jane : "Oh, really. I thought it was Giganto, the runaway circus elephant"

    • Merrick: Have I bled on your bed linens, Al?
      Al: You wouldn't be the first.

    • Al: Well, what does Tolliver know of the guns come to camp?
      Adams: Said he don't know nothing.
      Al: And you ******* believe him, huh?
      Adams: I think I did. Felt like he's outside looking in.
      Al: We ought to form a ******* club.

    • Adams: Horsemen come to camp by torchlight last night.
      Tolliver: Tell Al as we didn't wake to the Apocalypse, I suppose all we need fear is their Winchesters.

    • Al: Question extant being — till reinforced, can we learn the ways of church mice?

    • George Hearst: (referring to the newly arrived Pinkertons) The camp is to know they're here. The camp is to know they're my employees.

    • George Hearst: Kitchen's closed.
      Jarry: The sustenance I would take in any case Mr. Hearst, like a newly hatched bird, would come I would hope from your mouth.

    • George Hearst: You will not mistake the newspaper man. He looks like a... big turtle.

    • George Hearst: Sit, sit, sit, sit.
      Jack Langrishe: Must I do so four times?

  • NOTES (1)


    • Adams: Horsemen come to camp by torchlight last night.
      Tolliver: Tell Al as we didn't wake to the Apocalypse, I suppose all we need fear is their Winchesters.

      Tolliver is referencing the Revelation section of the Bible which refers to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.