Season 1 Episode 10

Mister Wu

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 23, 2004 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
157 votes

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Episode Summary

An opium theft leaves Swearengen trying to find common language with his supplier, as well as navigating tricky waters to deal with the mess. Meanwhile, Silas Adams, bagman for the magistrate from Yankton, arrives with bad news for Swearengen; Bullock regrets having raised his hand at the government meeting; Merrick proposes Deadwood's first "club"; and an unwelcome Rev. Smith gravitates to the Gem and its new piano.moreless

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  • An episode building up more tension towards the end of the season as most characters encounter more difficulties and dilemmas than they would like.

    Mister Wu takes on a bigger role this time around, storming the Gem in an outburst of rage, causing uproar all around. There's a fantastic scene between him and Al Swearengen, as Wu explains to Al that his dope was stolen and the courier killed, which makes our beloved saloon owner not happy at all, as the opium was meant to be delivered to him. Al promises to find those responsible.

    Al violently interrogates dope fiend Jimmy Irons, trying to find out the location of his accomplice Leon, who works at the Bella Union for Cy Tolliver. This doesn't go all so well and the poor guy ends up jumping off into the mud from the Gem's balcony, promising Al to find Leon soon.

    Al strikes a deal with Wu to give up only one of the dope fiends, which doesn't fit right with Cy, who would never give up a white man for a Chinese. We see the contrast between the two Deadwood big shots right here - Cy has high moral standards, while Al could be described as just another thug who made it bigger than most.

    The problem ends with another great and classic scene, where Al forces Jimmy Irons to draw a straw and then kills him in the bathtub, cold-blooded, leaving Cy's employee Leon alive to avoid a conflict. He then delivers the corpse to Wu, who is very thankful.

    Not only this is a thorn in Al's side though. Magistrates arrive at the camp and one of them - Silas Adams delivers a letter to Swearengen which makes him extremely mad and causes him to badmouth and curse at Adams. It turns out Al has to kick up a bigger bribe to make his old murder record from Chicago disappear. Silas Adams also witnesses the whole matter between Al and Mister Wu, as well as Jimmy Irons' execution. This is how people learn to know how ruthless and brutal this camp really is.

    Other events in "Mister Wu":

    *Seth Bullock's hands are full with work as health commissioner and he clearly is not satisfied with it at all, whereas E.B. Farnum likes his position as mayor more and more.

    *Merrick thinks of opening a club in Deadwood and talks about it with Bullock, Sol Star and Charlie Utter, but they don't share his entusiasm.

    *Reverend Smith's condition worsens and now he begins to act delusional and seems to suffer from memory loss, as Al has to kick him out from the Gem twice, because "men of the cloth are not welcome". He later asks for Bullock's and Star's help in a really depressing but strong scene.

    *Joanie is still in process of setting up her own brothel, but doesn't want Cy Tolliver backing her. After she tells all of that to Eddie, he declares he will rob his employer. If this indeed happens, some major drama is bound to happen in the camp again.moreless
  • I don't think a show has ever taken hold of me like that...

    Perhaps it's the late hour, but I don't think I've ever been so moved by an episode of television. I was literally in tears, sitting at my computer and watching the Reverend appeal for help from Bullock and Sol. What a perfectly moving scene, and what a perfectly timed masterstroke of the writers flexing the control they've weaved over their loyal viewers through a slow-burn process of character development.

    Now, I didn't really really get into the rest of what was going on in this episode, but I am intrigued at what's going on with "The Ambulators" and where that actually might be going.

    It was interesting to have Wu begin as an actual player in the series. I also really liked the fact that they didn't make him speak English or subtitle him either. I caught the word "gwai-lo" which most white guys have heard at one time or another while on vacation in China - but how much more appropriate could it be for a show like Deadwood that the only English word Wu knows is "cocksucker"? Perfect! Although it figures that would be at the top of the list if he's learning from Swearengen.

    Anyways, I feel terrible for the Reverend. I don't suppose there's any chance for a "miracle" recovery, but when he does go, I hope it's peacefully.

    Great series - totally worth the effort.moreless
Titus Welliver

Titus Welliver

Silas Adams

Guest Star

Richard Gant

Richard Gant


Guest Star

Dean Rader-Duval

Dean Rader-Duval

Jimmy Irons

Guest Star

Ray McKinnon

Ray McKinnon

Rev H.W. Smith

Recurring Role

Keone Young

Keone Young

Mr. Wu

Recurring Role

Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Al Swearengen: You can't cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve.

    • E.B. Farnum: (as he watches the "Tit Licker" leave the saloon) I begrudge that man his capacity for happiness. I do.

    • Sol Star: I don't suppose you need me to say it, but if there's a Heaven, your brother sees what you did and he's grateful.
      Seth Bullock: Perhaps he sees me borrowing his life so that I didn't have to live my own.
      Sol Star: People have made good lives out of borrowed ones before.

    • E.B. Farnum: August commencement to my administration, standing stymied outside a saloon beside a degenerate t*tlicker.

    • Al Swearengen: Two white *********** killed him, and stole the dope that he was bringing to you?
      Mister Wu: (Pointing to the "dope" bag) white **********; you! 'Swejin!'
      Al Swearengen: The dope that you were gonna sell to me?! Who are they?!
      Mister Wu: "WU?"
      Al Swearengen: "WHO?" who stole the ******* dope?!
      Mister Wu: **********!
      Al Swearengen: Oh, Jesus Christ...

    • Swearengen: (to Adams) Get a ******* haircut. Looks like your mother ****** a monkey.

    • Merrick: Mr. Farnum's doing a land-office business. Or should I say "Mayor" Farnum.
      Bullock: Don't... unless you feel you have to.

    • Farnum: Anything the mayor should know?
      Swearengen: The name of another tailor.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The music in the closing credits is "Hog of the Forsaken" by Michael Hurley. The same song appeared in the credits before in the first episode of the series.