“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 those desires come in the form of human life as we see in the episodes shocking final sequence.
Meanwhile, Al (Ian McShane) is slowly waking up to the camp and all of the events that have come to pass since his illness. J and I go through the visits from Trixie (Paula Malcomson), Ms. Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson), Lee (Philip Moon) and Wu (Keone Young) and what each of the meetings represents. Of these, the fact that Isringhausen is working for the Pinkertons is perhaps the most significant development. With Hearst and the Pinkertons trying to gain a foothold in the camp, it may be beyond the powers of Al and Seth (Timothy Olyphant) to stop them.
Finally, I offered some context for the final song in the episode, “Pretty Polly,” which was recorded by Hilarie Burhans for the show and plays over the credits. It’s a tune I’ve long enjoyed since I first saw this episode years ago but I was particularly interested to learn about the meaning behind the lyrics. It’s a tragic story about a woman murdered by a man but who ultimately finds revenge on her killer from the afterlife. It is apt parable for “Something Very Expensive.” Whether we’ll see anyone get their revenge on Wolcott remains to be seen.
Next week, we’ll be talking about Season 2 Episode 7, “E.B. Was Left Out.”