I’ve seen the last two episodes together and as much as I wanted to review them as one, as they seemed so masterfully coalesced, I eventually decided on writing two separate reviews. I rated them however as one continuous episode and despite the great value they both have, I thought I would emphasise more on the last episode, for obvious reasons. However, it would not have been fair not to say at least a few words on „The Catbird Seat” alone, as it is almost undeniably the most important episode of the season (if not the series) and also, arguably the best.
There isn’t much to comment though, as its sheer excelence is quite transparent. Paula Malcomson did an outstanding job among an already outstanding cast. The whole scene when Ellsworth is carried through the camp is phenomenal. The music is subtle, ambiental, with a growing intensity and it matches the characters’ reactions brilliantly. It was a great surprise and shock to all of us to see Ellsworth go. Personally, I remained petrified for nearly 5 minutes after the gunshot, still trying to figure out what just transpired and unable to follow whatever was happening on screen. I liked the entire final scene with Ellsworth, remniniscent of old times, when he used to stand in his tent at the mine, talking to his fellow dog. In this familiar context, his untimely demise, is only more filled with sorrow.
And so, once Hearst lets „his dogs loose”, the camp elders all gather at their rampart, also known as the Gem, preparing the final encounter. Standing out among all the beautiful scenes that ensue, are the doctors conversation with Alma, and the refreshing moment when Jack tries to give an anxious Charlie a drink. As a matter of fact, ironically, the episode sports a number of hilarious moments, being at the same time probably the saddest and funniest episode this season. Be it Mr. Wu’s self description „Big man… Wu – big man”, or the ending when Al comments on one of his customers: „Rouse him to spend on *****, or rob the son of a *****”, while the girls decide which of them to go on a rock/paper/scissors game, the second half of the episode is filled with such moments. A lovely touch of „cinnamon” is added to the palette by Jewel, who in the middle of all the commotion announces that she’s making breakfast and later insists on carrying the tray to Mrs. Ellsworth herself, prompting Dan and Johnny to give her a hand up the stairs, while poor old E.B. finds himself carrying all the guns. In the end, I have to say that in my opinion, the season’s ending would have worked even better should the final two episodes had been joined in a two-hour finale. They flow nearly seamlessly from one to the other and this way the atmosphere wouldn’t have suffered a one-week rupture.
I can never wait to watch the next episode of Deadwood. But this episode is by far the most exciting they have had. It had me at the end of my seat the whole episode, I was sure that there was going to be an all out war. They all had guns at the ready and everyone was at edge in the town. People started to reveal things about themselves that was never known before. I think if you didn't watch any of the series, this won't have much of an impact on you. But if you have followed the series thus far, you WILL love this episode. I'm just sorry to say that it is the second to last episode.
While the citizens of Deadwood head for their own destruction, they don't see it coming, but soon wake up to the reality of the situations that are in play all around them.
The sherrif is in the middle of his political campaign and called out from that to handle the totally unexpected death of one of the gentle caracters of the town.
Al is in prime form as both the comforter and the protector of Mrs. Ellsworth during her time of need - for indeed he can see what is coming down the line and is ready in the waiting for it.
The comical banter between Al and Woo is priceless as always! Al's quotes are too many to mention, but the reactions of those around are worth several viewings at least...the whores playing rock, paper, scisors is totally hysterical~!
With nipples to the wind - one of the best whores in town sets out to put into motion the demise of the town bad-man, but only stirs the pot and gets the water boiling...her ultimate undoing is the size of the gun used - but a well placed shot is better than missing her mark - HEARST!
Still can't fathom that his is the next to last episode - can't wait to see how it all comes to a head in the season/series finale!
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