Deadwood: Season 2, Episode 12

Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To (22 May 2005)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Crime, Drama, History
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Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

A marriage occurs against a backdrop of murder and negotiations for elections and the camp.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


As Deadwood readies for a celebration, George Hearst's arrival in camp brings upheaval. Hearst cuts ties with Wolcott and makes separate arrangements with Swearengen regarding the camp's "celestials", and E.B., who suffers from gastric difficulties. Tensions in camp boil over between Andy and Cy, as well as in "Chinaman's Alley". Swearengen orchestrates new elections, and sends Bullock home to his wife. Written by WyattJones

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Plot Keywords:

19th century | See All (1) »



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Release Date:

22 May 2005 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Al hits and yells at Johnny for pulling a gun and dragging Wu into the gem, Al's hair changes back and forth between slicked back tight to his head and wavy, hanging over his left eye. See more »


E.B. Farnum: Allow me a moment's silence Mr Hearst, sir, I'm having a digestive crisis and must focus on repressing it's expression.
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Theme From Deadwood
Written by David Schwartz
Performed by ;James Parks'
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User Reviews

Season 2: Continues with great characters and story-telling
1 May 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the first season of this show we were introduced to the various characters in the fledging town of Deadwood all vying to have power in the chaos, with most cards held by saloon owner Swearengen. In season 2 this continues but the bigger picture is that the growth of the Government sees a neighbouring state move to annex the town as part of its expansion into new territories, potentially making Deadwood's big fish into much smaller fish in a bigger pond. While a Government official and a representative of a large mining concern both arrive in town, smaller rivalries and sickness see Swearengen removed from the picture at a critical time.

Having slept on it for years I very much enjoyed Deadwood's first season when I finally got around to watching it. The town was very well created in terms of physical creation and the characters who populated it, while the various plots were all engaging whether they were larger (power struggles and the plague) or smaller (the relationships between characters). With so many simmering tensions and backroom plots and manipulations, season 2 took me aback at first because of how sudden and violent the relationship is between Swearengen and Bullock and it does rather dominate the first two episodes in a way that I wasn't sure worked. It still engaged me but at the same time it felt out of place for everything that had gone before in terms of tone and approach of the show. Once this is done though the politics (small and big P) come back into it, although with the smaller plots and characters and the season is back on familiar ground and headed towards being every bit as good as the first season.

The struggle for power against external influences is key and sees alliances formed in unlikely places, while others hedge their bets by siding with those yet to play their hands and all of this goes on while the characters continue to play out their lives as who they are – whether it be causing a spectacle on a new bicycle or engaging in rather precise and deadly sexual appetites. All of this forms an engaging tapestry of a tale and there is very little here that doesn't work in a way that either directly contributes to progressing the plot or alternatively enriches it by adding characterisation or understanding of context to the viewer. I make it sound so very serious but it is a very colourful and lively affair – albeit one that does require you to pay attention. A perfect example is the minor character of EB Farnum. He does play a part by being in the service of Swearengen but as well as this he is a great character in his simple nature – he wants so desperately to be as smart and as cunning and as involved as Swearengen but he is simply not and never will be – he knows it and he knows everyone else knows it. His turn of phrase and his embarrassment is often very funny but it also includes moments where he engages with his hired help (a VERY simple man) in the manner Swearengen does with him – he is a great character and so richly written (and performed) for such a minor one.

In terms of the main performances, the show still belongs to McShane even though it is very much an ensemble affair, although in fairness it is to the show's credit that it doesn't suffer to have him silent and confined to his bed for a few episodes. He is great though and continues to be very watchable whether scheming or raging. Olyphant Bullock changes subtly as his moral standing is exposed as convenient when it suits him (which OK is still the majority of issues) and he brings out the pragmatic nature of his character. Parker works well as the widow Garret. When I saw that Dillahunt had been cast as a whole new character (despite his death in season 1) I was put off because I know his face from a lot of shows and thought that his double casting was an unnecessary distraction. Fortunately he is great in his new character and makes him such a good performance that I quickly forgot his previous one. As with season one the ensemble cast throws up too many good characters and performances to list them all – from Malcomson's Trixie to Brown's Dan and (of course) Sanderson on great form.

The second season of Deadwood builds somewhat in terms of subject matter and conflicts but ultimately it retains the same strengths that made me fall for it from the start – great characters and great story-telling. I look forward to watching the third season very soon and the only thing about it that slightly sticks in my throat is the knowledge that it is also the final season. Season two is great drama through – engaging, funny, moving, complex and has strength in almost every aspect of its production.

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