A Constant Throb

Episode Report Card
Al Lowe: A | 7 USERS: A
A Constant Throb

Al follows Ellsworth out onto the Gem's front boardwalk as Alma begins her walk of defiance. "I'd not have you step one more foot forward, Ellsworth," he says as they watch. Ellsworth doesn't even look at him: "As I fuckin' understand."

Alma's walk is a thing of beauty. Shooting a devastating glare up to Hearst, who has just stepped out on his roof, she goes, head high, down the thoroughfare. There are Pinkertons everywhere, but there is also Adams, with his shotgun. And Johnny, with his. And Dan, further down, still wearing his tie and ready for anything. Ellsworth's eyes pierce through the haze of the camp as he watches, and Alma makes it almost all the way to the bank before her nerves overtake her and she has to jog the last few steps. Up yours, Hearst. She slams the door.

Hearst is back in his room now, scribbling a communiqué for the HB to deliver to Al. "Last man took a note for you to Swearengen wound up dead," the HB says, kind of worried. Hearst's head snaps up. "The man you refer to knew the note he bore might bring about that outcome," he says in defense of Captain Turner's bloated honor. "This note's import's more innocuous. Will it make you less afraid to read it?" FIRST of all, fucker, it wasn't you who faced down Al's scorn and then had your eye gouged out, okay? You're just the dick who thought up that brilliant plan. The HB quickly backtracks. "I ain't afraid," he says, gesturing that he doesn't need to read the note. "I guess I made a poor joke." But, you know, Hearst is on his high-horse now and can't come down. "You do read?" he asks, pissy. The HB says yes, he does. Hearst demands, evilly, that he read it aloud "to prove you are lettered and not a liar unfit for my employ!" The HB, for being so tough last week, is nervous with the boss man. It won't be the last time I feel sorry for him before the hour is over. "'Thanks from all for your rescue of Mrs. Ellsworth,'" he reads. "'Who could have shot at her? Do you wish her guarded at the bank with the sheriff away? I saw you let her walk alone. Answer via bearer.'" Finished, he nods at Hearst, who can't be satisfied with having his orders followed and has to make sure the guy knows who's boss. "You don't read easily, do you?" Hearst taunts.

The fellas are at the bar, chilling, while Al reads over the note. They all stay perfectly still when Al invites the HB up to his office to wait while he composes his reply.

The Gem girls are back in their common room, sighing over the greatness of Mrs. Ellsworth. They wish aloud that they could sit and talk with her and ask her questions. "I'd have asked Jewel ask her, if I thought to ask," Jen says. "If I'd foreseen in time." Dolly says (in a voice far more sophisticated than we've ever heard her use with Al) that Jen would have only put Jewel in a bad position. "She talks to Trixie, the bank woman," Jen points out. "Why wouldn't she talk to us?" Another of the girls points out that Alma and Trixie know each other. None of them would have anything to talk to her about, she says, though she supposes they could start by mentioning Philadelphia, where she's from. "Got beautiful gracious manners there," another girl says of Philly, causing me to laugh long and hard and duck out of the way in fear of flying batteries. "Philadelphia," the other girl says, sighing, "its many gracious attractions." Dolly dreamily thinks of other subjects: "Her dress, her comportment." Jen blows out a plume of smoke from her cig. "She'd have fucking talked to us." Aw. Alma fangrrls.

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