“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 scenes. And, significantly, we finally have the first of Al Swearengen’s (Ian McShane) iconic monologues to a head in a box. I remember these moments being among my favorites in the show and I look forward to seeing more of them.
The cheeky title of “E.B. Was Left Out” belies the serious subject matter of the episode. This episode deals painfully with the fallout from last week as Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens) struggles to find any source of comfort or direction after her dreams of independence came crashing down. Confiding in Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie) only brought more conflict by way of a brawl with Mr. W (Garret Dillahunt) in the thoroughfare. For Joanie, there’s not much left for her in the camp. A beautiful and tragic final portrait-like shot of her in the Chez Amis emphasizes her loss and isolation.
We discuss all of this and more in the episode, including the new dynamics Al and Alma (Molly Parker) a brief discussion of Madeleine Peyroux’s mournful song “A Prayer” which plays over the credits. You can listen to that song in full here, and don’t forget to check out J’s review of Almereyda’s Experimenter, as well.
Next time, we’ll see what “Childish Things” are afoot in Season 2 Episode 8 of Deadwood.