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 camp with a quiet and unnerving slither, capturing the attention of the town’s underbelly.
J and I discuss how Mr. W’s introduction helps us better understand other characters. For example, by the epsiode’s end, he has both Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) and E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson) eating out of his hand. It’s no shock to watch Farnum bow and scrape to power, but to see Tolliver, ostensibly a mover/shaker in the economy of Deadwood, instantly shaken by Mr. W’s association with industrialist George Hearst offers us the strongest contrast yet between him and Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). And both Farnum and Tolliver look all the meeker and more timid next to Maddie (Alice Krige) and Joanie (Kim Dickens), both of whom handle Mr. W as if he’s just another (high-value) customer.
In the meantime, Al’s dealing with problems of his own as McShane turns in another great performance of screams and moans. I found myself believing this person — show to one side — had kidney stones, making the experience all the more painful to watch. It remains to be seen what Al will make of Mr. W and his George Hearst pedigree when he finally comes to.
Next week, we’ll discuss Season 2 Episode 4 — the excellently named “Requiem for a Gleet.”