The consequences of Hostetler’s (Richard Gant) suicide and Hearst’s (Gerald McRaney) imprisonment place Deadwood in a state of roiling tension in “A Rich Find.” Steve (Michael Harney) can’t help but proclaim to the thoroughfare that he’s innocent in Hostetler’s death because — yet, as we know, he’s fundamentally culpable. This contrasts with Hearst, who is either convinced (or convincingly lies) that he isn’t responsible for the Cornish union organizer’s murder. It’s hard to imagine Steve in any sort of favorable light, and Deadwood doesn’t offer him one (despite a few goofy expressions), but the comparison does emphasize the sheer delusion of George Hearst whose conscience seems totally nonexistent.
“A Rich Find” is the first and only episode written by Alix Lambert, and the first and only directed by Tim Hunter. They do a good job here breathing more life into characters we’ve followed for three seasons. I particularly enjoyed certain shots of Hearst and Dan (W. Earl Brown), both of which frame certain characters like animals (a caged gorilla and a stumbling bear, respectively). There’s a running visual theme of isolating characters, too, surrounding them with a claustrophobic black frame; we see his with Hearst in jail and in the hotel, and with Alma in a moment conveying her suffocating aloneness.
The real thrust of the episode, of course, comes from newcomer Odell (Omar Gooding). He’s Aunt Lou’s (Cleo King) son, and his initial easy-going demeanor (belied by his fancy clothes) gives way to a cunning individual who seeks an audience with George Hearst. Esther and I discuss how painful it is to watch Lou lose her son to the man she tried so hard to keep him from, but it’s all held together by fantastic performances from Gooding and King. The episode ends without revealing the outcome of Odell’s efforts but if we know anything about Hearst — especially given his recent agitation — it isn’t likely to end well.
On the next installment of Hoopleheads, we’ll discuss Season 3 Episode 7, “Unauthorized Cinnamon.”