“Full Faith and Credit” delicately balances Deadwood’s racial dynamics while offering some deeper introspection about who its leading characters really are. Esther and Søren discuss.
On a technical level, “True Colors” is often bizarre and always interesting; narratively, this is some of the most exciting material we’ve seen in Deadwood.
“I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For” is an episode that makes a frightening declaration about who Hearst is and what Seth and Al are up against.
In “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood,” director Mark Tinker revels in Deadwood’s brewing conflict between George Hearst, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen. Esther and Søren discuss.
However (un)satisfactorily “The Iron Throne” concludes Game of Thrones, it also brings our podcast series, “Stark Contrast,” to a bittersweet end. This week, Esther and Søren close out Stark Contrast.
In Game of Thrones’ “The Bells,” Miguel Sapochnik once again uses every visual trick he can find to try reanimate a show long past its prime. Esther, Søren and guest host Josh Lewis discuss.
“The Last of the Starks” struggles to justify its own existence as Game of Thrones meanders in the wake of its climactic battle with Death itself.
Release the confetti, folks: Miguel Sapochnik is back for “The Long Night.” This week we’re treated to 80-ish minutes of Game of Thrones‘ best remaining director choreographing the largest and most complex battle sequence in the show’s history. The results are immediately evident as a striking opening shot of Sam Tarly’s (John Bradley) shaking hands […]
After a rough season premiere, Game of Thrones veteran Bryan Cogman turns the show in a positive direction with “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Cogman is responsible for writing some of the show’s best episodes (including Season 1’s “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things” and Season 4’s “Oathkeeper”). His dialogue and character work shows a […]
Welcome back to Stark Contrast! We’re happy to return to our perennial podcast show where we discuss Game of Thrones. This week, we’re kicking off with the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.” It’s a slow burn re-introduction to the denizens of Westeros and Essos that never managed to get J and me excited about the series […]
After last week’s dirge, Deadwood closes out Season 2 with the fantastic “Boy the Earth Talks To.” Director Ed Bianchi is back and it’s immediately apparent. His clever use of depth of field and of framing immediately permeate event he more mundane scenes. Tonally the show also strikes a contrast with its predecessor, trading day […]
Watching “The Whores Can Come” in such proximity to the finale, “By the Earth Talks To,” draws a striking contrast. This episode is a funeral: a sunny daytime tale where black clothes contrast with a bright backdrop. The joy of its successor is nowhere to be found; Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Martha (Anna Gunn) languish […]
J and I both enjoyed “Advances, None Miraculous” from writer Sarah Hess and Deadwood film director Dan Minahan, J going to far as to call it their favorite episode. The episode features a distinct technical touch, embracing techniques like rack focus and dolly shots to set emphasize characters and set scenes, respectively. These little moments […]
Director Ed Bianchi does excellent work with “Amalgamation and Capital.” The episode focuses on Seth’s (Timothy Olyphant) nephew and adopted son, William (Josh Eriksson), whose amiable interactions with different players in the camp put a lighter spin on the Deadwood cast. To build the tension of several plot threads, Bianchi uses clever editing reminiscent of […]
“Childish Things” is outstanding television. Director Tim Van Patten and writer Regina Corrado offer beautiful vignette-like portraits of human relationships within Deadwood. Meanwhile, the denizens of the camp — enemies and allies alike — coalesce around a charming wager as to whether or not Tom Nuttall (Leon Rippy) can ride his newfangled bicycle across the […]
“E.B. Was Left Out” is a generally fantastic episode of Deadwood, even if both J and I found the subplot about the new prostitutes in the Chinese part of camp to be distasteful in presentation. Director Michael Almereyda adds small touches here and there to keep things interesting, particularly in his framings of otherwise ordinary […]
“Something Very Expensive” is an explosive episode that finally delivers on the foreboding promise of Mr. W (Garret Dillahunt). Here we finally see his truest colors, only hinted at before. He sees the world as transactional; there are proclivities he would like satisfied, and George Hearst provides the capital to cover for his indulgences. Sometimes […]
Following a more by-the-numbers episode last week, Deadwood is back with a vengeance in “Complications” under the excellent direction of Gregg Fienberg. Al (Ian McShane) has risen from the near-dead and summoned Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) back into the fray. But as their yin and yang begin to take shape again and set the camp to […]
“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 […]
After a two-part transition from Season 1 to Season 2, we’re finally off to the races with “New Money.” This episode sees the unlikely return of Garret Dillahunt to Deadwood. He previously portrayed the coward Jack McCall, but here he debuts an equally consequential character: Mr. Wolcott, also known as Mr. W. He enters the […]
If “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part 1” is the mountain of conflict, “Part 2” is the valley. The episode plays like a series of deflations. As Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) slowly makes his way across camp to retrieve his weapon and badge from the Gem, he’s waylaid by friends and supporters who do what they can […]
After a literal year away from the mic, J and I are very happy to be back! For the next few weeks, we will be covering Season 2 of Deadwood, beginning with “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part 1.” Since last we entered the frontier town, a lot of news — both positive and negative — has emerged around the show. This […]
In contrast to the previous episode’s elegiac tone, “The One-Armed Man” is a heated affair. Several plotlines kick into gear, and the lives of the town’s residents begin to intersect. Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) spends most of the episode following up on the leads from his dream. He meets up with the eponymous one-armed man, who […]
“Rest in Pain” is a melancholy installment of Twin Peaks. This week we see many of Laura Palmer’s friends and family cry out in anguish as she is finally put to rest. Meanwhile, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) uses the funeral as a litmus test as he continues to scope out suspects for her murder. Prior to the […]
Twin Peaks continues to juggle the jovial tone of last week’s episode with the crime serial seriousness in “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer.” In this episode, Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) employs a special technique for identifying the next lead in his case. His bizarre antics lead him to Leo (Eric DaRe), an abusive and violent […]
In this week’s episode of Twin Peaks, we see a shift from the pilot. A lighter tone has begun to seep into the show with “Traces to Nowhere,” with obvious moments of levity, a bouncier soundtrack and a brighter, more colorful visual palette. For my part, I welcomed the change from the dour season opener […]
Grab some of that damn good coffee, folks — we’re headed into Twin Peaks! Join us for our new series, “Ghostwood Radio,” in which we’ll be discussing the wildly influential show from David Lynch and Mark Frost. J is a longtime fan of Twin Peaks, a show which in many ways changed the landscape of […]
“Sold Under Sin” reveals the shattered backstories of several key character in Deadwood. From Joanie’s (Kim Dickens) abuse at the hands of her father and subsequently Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) to Alma Garret’s (Molly Parker) chattel-like status in Otis’s (William Russ) eyes, we begin to see how Deadwood tells the story of characters breaking free of […]
Game of Thrones caps off a landmark season with “The Dragon and the Wolf.” Jeremy Podeswa’s feature-length conclusion certainly exceeds the episode that came before, although it never quite matches the import of its reveals and final moments with the level of filmmaking we know the show can achieve. “The Dragon and the Wolf” finally […]
Game of Thrones finally lives up to its namesake novels with “Beyond the Wall” as the forces of ice and fire clash. Josh and I waste no time diving into the episode’s particulars. We generally skate past the timeline issues (1, 2, 3) discussed and debated elsewhere, instead focusing on inconsistencies with characters and narrative. I continue […]
Every episode this season of Game of Thrones has in some way involved a battle sequence, the biggest among them arriving last week. In “Eastwatch,” the show slows down and instead focuses on the fallout of last week’s conflict. In some ways this is to Game of Thrones‘ benefit: we see Davos (Liam Cunningham) demonstrate his smuggling […]
Game of Thrones throws some kindling on the fire this week with “The Spoils of War.” Unlike “The Queen’s Justice,” Josh and I found myriad plots and emotional arcs to interrogate this time around. We pay particular attention to family reunions and how context and time have shaped characters we’ve known since Season 1. We […]
After a drawn-out hiatus, “Hoopleheads” is back with our second to last episode covering Season 1. This week we discuss “Jewel’s Boot is Made for Walking,” an engaging episode that hints at Al’s (Ian McShane) backstory as another side characters take center stage. The titular Jewel (Geri Jewell) gets a particularly intriguing storyline as she […]
J and I enjoyed last week’s “Stormborn” as it both drove the plot forward at an explosive pace while offering something more for us to chew on as viewers. This week, the pace hasn’t let up — but “The Queen’s Justice,” alas, never digs deeper than the surface. In fact, the episode undercuts the enormity […]
Game of Thrones hits hard this week in “Stormborn” as major houses begin to band together and devious enemies already begin making their moves. Before we get into the episode itself, J and I open this week’s podcast discussing the controversy around Confederate, a new show recently announced by HBO from the creators of Game of Thrones. […]
“Stark Contrast” is back! Following an unusually long delay, J and I are once again discussing Game of Thrones. The Season 7 premiere immediately strikes a positive note as Arya (Maisie Williams) executes the family that killed her own. We discuss the bizarre magic of the Faceless Men and how the show missed a chance […]
This week, Okwudili and I delve into Marvel’s latest Netflix original series, Luke Cage. We unpack every nook and cranny of the show. We give particular attention to its highs (particularly its exploration of black culture) as well as its faults (at times weak writing and inconsistent in pacing). Though Luke Cage seemingly has the […]
“Mister Wu” opens up the Deadwood universe to some of the most iconic characters and lines from the show. This week introduces Richardson (Ralph Richeson), Hostetler (Richard Gant) and, most notably, a fully fleshed-out Mr. Wu (Keone Young). For many fans of the show, these names are inextricable from the fabric of the frontier town. I’m terribly excited […]
“No Other Sons or Daughters” puts the brunt of its focus on the new ad hoc government of Deadwood. As the United States begins to move further westward, Al (Ian McShane) and the other leaders in the town worry about what sort of outside forces and order that might bring to the town. In the meantime, Reverend […]
“Suffer the Little Children” earns its darkly ironic title. Flora (Kristen Bell) and Miles (Greg Cipes) finally reveal their true colors to the townspeople and the fallout affects everyone differently. Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) immediately reacts with unbridled rage, while Joanie (Kim Dickens) finds herself pitying Flora for her chosen path. Al (Ian McShane), on the other hand, […]
In “Bullock Returns to the Camp,” Deadwood seems to have found its fresh start. Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) has let off some steam and Alma Garret (Molly Parker) is mostly recovered from addiction leading to marked changes in their demeanors (and chemistry). Meanwhile the doctor (Brad Dourif), Jane (Robin Weigert) and Reverend Smith (Ray McKinnon) seem to have […]
“Plague” foretells chaos in Deadwood. As small pox breaks out, local business leaders (and religious figures) step in to keep order. Meanwhile, Jane (Robin Weigert) reenters camp and looks into the girl she helped save. Alma (Molly Parker) continues to wrestle with addiction; Trixie (Paula Malcomson) offers support at risk to her own life. Out in the frontier, Bullock […]
After a brief hiatus, “Hoopleheads” is back! “The Trial of Jack McCall” is a heavy episode. It directly handles the consequences of the shocking events in “Here Was a Man” as it splits attention between four primary storylines. First, the trial itself: Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt) has been caught and held prisoner as the camp decides his fate. Al […]
Keeping quiet about the events of “Here Was a Man” was an exercise in restraint for me. For weeks, Josh and I have discussed Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine). We’ve explored his relationship with Charlie (Dayton Callie) and Jane (Robin Weigert) and wondered at whatever drove him to come to Deadwood. And now, with one capricious […]
Following the tight two-episode arc from last week, “Reconnoitering the Rim” introduces what feels like a broader glimpse at the plot of Season 1. Both “Deadwood” and “Deep Water” functioned as good character studies. We got a glimpse into the lengths that Al Swearengen (Ian McShane will go to defend his fiefdom and learned about […]
Davis Guggenheim takes the wheel this week in “Deep Water,” an episode that feels like a direct follow-up to the series pilot. Now we’ve got a better handle on the characters, from Al (Ian McShane) and Seth’s (Timothy Olyphant) fiery relationship to Jane (Robin Weigert) and the Doc’s (Brad Dourif) unlikely alliance. J points out that […]
After wrapping up “Stark Contrast” (our Game of Thrones podcast) for the year, J and I have decided to take a detour out West. We’re delving into Deadwood, David Milch’s off-kilter Western series set in the historical frontier town of the same name. I’m a big fan of the show; I own the full box set […]
Game of Thrones comes to a satisfying conclusion with “The Winds of Winter” from director Miguel Sapochnik. Once again he puts focus on framing and makes stylistic choices we rarely if ever see in this show including locked-down shots and montages. This helps elevate an already quality set of narrative moments as Thrones moves into its final stretch. […]
Thank god for Miguel Sapochnik. Almost every week J and I tend to harp on the editing and camerawork in Game of Thrones. It’s been a bit better this season, but in general we’re both fairly underwhelmed with the technical side of the show. That’s why it feels like a breath of fresh air having […]
“No One” continues an unfortunate lull in Game of Thrones, a character episode that has as many brilliant moments as it does head-scratching. The plot inches forward for characters like The Hound (Rory McCann) while going almost nowhere for the likes of Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and the Blackfish (Clive Russell). Despite this, we […]