Following the tight two-episode arc from last week, “Reconnoitering the Rim” introduces what feels like a broader glimpse at the plot of Season 1. Both “Deadwood” and “Deep Water” functioned as good character studies. We got a glimpse into the lengths that Al Swearengen (Ian McShane will go to defend his fiefdom and learned about Seth’s (Timothy Olyphant) short temper and penchant for justice. Alma Garret (Molly Parker) also demonstrated her disinterested aloofness toward her husband while Calamity Jane’s (Robin Weigert) struggled with her own past and her love for Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine). The story of the murdered family established the ingredients that make Deadwood work.
This week, the arrival of Cy Tolliver (Powers Booth) stirs the pot. He rolls into town with Joanie (Kim Dickens)* and Eddie (Ricky Jay) to set up his brand new saloon in direct competition with Al. In the meantime, Seth and Sol (John Hawkes) manage to lock down the lot for their hardware store. The episode ends on a morbid note as Al tasks Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown) with dealing with Brom Garret (Timothy Omundson), the city dude who made the wrong threat to the wrong person and pays the ultimate price for his naïveté.
J and I enjoyed “Reconnoitering the Rim.” In particular, J remarked how affectingly it develops Bill and his relationship with Charlie (Dayton Callie) and Jane. We discuss how cinematographer David Boyd frames Bill as he leaves a gambling den: silhouetted against blindingly white light, almost like death or a dream. We also dive into Bill’s tense encounter with a zealous fan whose actions on his behalf leave Bill feeling dejected and unable to escape his own fame. I draw a direct parallel between this and the way some people seem to think it’s permissible to harass celebrities on the internet, particularly on Twitter.
* I do believe I may have said Josie in the podcast. It’s been awhile.
Next week, we’ll be discussing Season 1 Episode 4, “Here Was A Man.” Be sure to stop on by!