“Requiem for a Gleet” lives up to its name this episode, highlighting a deeply agonized Al (Ian McShane) as he struggles to hold on to consciousness in the face of extreme pain. Indeed, this episode serves as a finale to the Kidney Stone Arc, as it were, finally offering Al a gleet-ful release from his torment. A tearful ensemble effort from Doc Cochrane (Brad Dourif), Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown), Johnny (Sean Bridgers) and Trixie (Paula Malcomson) help him avoid likely fatal surgery.
This episode also sees the arrival of Hugo Jarry (played by character actor Stephen Tobolowsky), an official from Yankton who seems content to cede all power to special interests (like Wolcott/Hearst) as long as he gets his due bribes. Wolcott continues to stir up trouble as he angles for Alma Garrett’s (Molly Parker) land but he meets some strong resistance from Ellsworth (Jim Beaver). Ellsworth has a history with Wolcott and we’re starting to see some battle lines drawn over the abuse of workers and people for private gain. Of note, Ellsworth’s combative response to Wolcott runs contrary to how both Cy (Powers Boothe) and E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson) reacted on meeting the man.
Finally, the landscape of Deadwood has changed dramatically in the days Al’s been indisposed. Questions remain as to how Al will adjust as he comes to in a new world dominated by Mr. Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt) and Hearst’s long-reaching interests. Mr. Lee (Philip Moon), a new arrival from San Francisco, has set upon Mr. Wu’s stranglehold on the Chinese part of camp at Mr. Wolcott’s behest. Meanwhile, Dan Dority takes unkindly to one of his former associates who was planning to let Al know about a lucrative robbery opportunity. And at the Chez Amis, Mr. W’s odd sexual proclivities are quickly coming to a head.
We’re also both curious to see what becomes of Mr. Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson). Is she a con artist? We’ll just have to wait and see!
Be sure to stop by next week as we discuss Season 2 Episode 5, “Complications” — formerly, as Josh notes, “Difficulties.”