Anyway, this finale revved up the quality in all spheres. There is a moment of brilliance here when Bullock's temper rears its ugly head but is later reflected upon and corrected (thanks to a friend's sound advice). This man is destined to be the sheriff. He gets "bloody thoughts" just like the rest of us but is determined and righteous enough to stop right before these drive him too far (they don't stop him from exploring certain 'other' thoughts however). The badge he ends up wearing at the end is only a confirmation of what everyone had already known all along.
All this is what separates him from men like Al who is, on the other hand,a calculating murderer but what makes him such a joy to watch is the fact that he doesn't seem to take pleasure in the killings. He is often conflicted about his actions. Everything he does - he does with the camp's best intentions in mind and as strange as it may seem to some - some killings even seem to 'make sense' in this world of his. One of the killings in this episode is so well portrayed, that I was genuinely moved and got goose bumps for the first time in months. This is because the killing (of the reverend) is dealt with intelligently. Everyone knows he is going to die eventually but morality dictates this should be left to nature. The doc questions the divinities and why they seem to let this poor man's suffering go on and on...Most on the camp have thought about what needs to be done...but no one seems to be so cold blooded that they would kill a man of the cloth who has done them no wrong - even if it would be a 'mercy killing'.
So the audience guiltily looks to Al to perform the deed. The surprise here is that Al is visibly shaken by what he is about to do and is even in tears outside the room wherein he finally commits the murder. He allows himself a moment of grief before composing himself and putting on a straight face again. Kudos to the writers for handling such a difficult scene with such humanity. It also elevated Al's character considerably. Let us not forget Al is much more than the main source of humour present in the show (which is often hilarious by the way). He is a complex character and one of television's finest.
The finale also plays out the tension between Trixie and Al, ending on just the right note. She is caught in the moment - staring at the doc dancing with 'the gimp' who can now walk better thanks to the doc's help (another brilliant and very touching sub-plot). She stares up at Al still smiling...but Al is hurt. She betrayed him. He looks at her but doesn't smile. She stops smiling and looks away - fully understanding what lies in the air between them. From above, Al looks ahead at his saloon and the scene ends with that bitter-sweet taste you usually get after watching an excellent movie.
The mood is just right and the tension is often palpable. The whole episode is just brilliant. Sometimes, you have to remind yourself that you are watching a television show....