'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 3: 'Reconnoitering the Rim' (Veterans edition)

"Deadwood" is fundamentally a series about the work and sacrifices necessary to bring order to chaos, civilization to lawlessness. This brutal, amoral mining camp had a long, complicated road towards becoming a place that could acceptably be absorbed into the United States. The first major step in that road comes near the end of this episode, involving the character who has so far been a symbol of all that is lawless and untamed about Deadwood. 

When we met Al Swearengen two episodes ago, he was a man concerned with profit and with protecting his territory, and it seemed the most expedient way for him to do that was through violence. Anyone causes a fuss, anyone goes against Al's way of doing things(*), gets stabbed, shot or thrown off a cliff by Dan Dority or another of Al's people. No fuss, no muss, and no law to get on his back about it. But as E.B., of all people - obsequious, cowardly, obtuse E.B. Farnum - points out, that approach has a limited shelf life. It's worked for Al so far in the camp's early, wide-open days, but gentrification is already coming with the arrival of Cy Tolliver's more upscale casino. A stopped clock is right twice a day, and E.B. is right for at least once in the series when he suggests - admittedly, out of naked self-interest - that Al can't just go on killing everyone, can he?  Read More...



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