Crack open the peaches, y’all — we’re back in Deadwood‘s not-so-warm embrace! “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood,” the Season 3 premiere, sports so much of what makes this such a fantastic show. Series newcomer Mark Tinker makes a splash with his debut, immediately making use of natural lighting and dolly and pedestal shots to kick off the episode.
“Tell Your God to Ready for Blood” is a quote from Al (Ian McShane) to Richardson (Ralph Richeson), but it applies just as well to the other “god” in town: George Hearst (Gerald McRaney). This episode comes out swinging as it establishes the brewing conflict between Hearst, Al and Bullock (Timothy Olyphant). Hearst’s outsized, deity-like influence in the town is already ruffling feathers and Al remains steadfast in resistance.
For Esther and me, the most interesting component of this feud is how uneven the two sides are. This point is emphasized when Hearst orchestrates the murder of one of his Cornish workers. Hearst who has his employees killed when they dare to show solidarity (in this case, by unionizing) from a point of extreme remove — a far cry from Al’s personal brand of murder. His interest in fairness and human dignity are forever subordinate to how much of “the color” he can collect to bolster his already massive fortune. It’s engaging to see labor politics once again peak their heads into the dusty town of Deadwood.
This episode also sees Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens) and Jane (Robin Weigert) spiraling without one another. The formation of the school, headed by Martha Bullock (Anna Gunn) at the Chez Amis has forced the two of them apart. Joanie finds herself at Shaughnessy’s (Dan Hildebrand) inn more than once on the precipice of suicide; Jane, for her part, is once again lost in the sauce. Thankfully, the two make some welcome progress by the episode’s conclusion: Joanie invites Jane back to the Chez Amis where hopefully their companionship will lead to healthier outcomes.
During the podcast, I mention fantastic commentary we received explaining the encounter between Wu (Keone Young) and Lee (Philip Moon) last season; you can read those points here and here if your interest is piqued. Another fun fact — Shaughnessy is played by Dan Hildebrand who also played Tim Driscoll (a prospector) in Season 1 of the show!
Next week, we’ll be back to discuss Season 3 Episode 2, “I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For.” As always, feedback, comments and general thoughts are always welcome. We love hearing from you!