A Constant Throb

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

Upstairs, Al is spelling it out to the once again corseted Alma. "Them shots were meant for maybe rethinking your tenure here, huh?" he suggests, as they calmly take tea. "Maybe too, in the aftermath, the shots' author had designed Mr. Ellsworth would be moved to take steps -- or Sheriff Bullock would -- that would justify a violent answer." Alma sees all. "The author," she notes, totally nauseated with rage, "being Mr. Hearst." Al nods. He says that it's either Hearst alone or in conjunction with Brom Garret's family, with the Pinkertons thrown in to make it all worse. He brings her up to date on his plan, and I must say, this is possibly my favorite Alma scene ever. I love, for one thing, the way Al talks to her, with the utmost respect, and secondly, how quickly she processes it all. "We've wired Bullock to counsel restraint," Al tells her. "We've Ellsworth trussed up downstairs." He pauses, seeing that she is worried. "Little in the past commends me to your trust," he goes on. "I'd ask you, accepting the premise that you were bait, not quarry, [to] complete your walk to the bank." She looks past him, considering the implications, but Al's on a roll. "Get that fucking angler fulminatin'," he rallies, shaking his fist, "tanglin' his fuckin' tackle and the fuckin' like." Even lost in thought, Alma is present enough to whisper an admonition for his cursing. "Mr. Swearengen," she breathlessly says, and Al says he's sorry. And the thing is, y'all, he is. Can I just... I mean, you know, why is this show cancelled? Is anybody at HBO actually watching it? Is that the problem? Because these performances are unparalleled. It's simply the truth. Who do I have to blow to get every single person on this show, down to the extras, nine Emmy's and Golden Globes each? I mean, I won't do it, myself, but I'll send my proxy. Who's willing? You do not want to see the veins in my head bulge out whenever I see those Entourage ads, man.

Alma thinks for another second, expels a big sigh and nods. She'll do it. Moments later, she steps out of Al's office, fully rearranged in her jacket and hat, to see Ellsworth standing at the foot of the stairs. She smiles very sweetly at him and walks down. I am reminded of their wedding. Al watches, thoughtful. He lets her handle the whole thing with her husband.

Ellsworth's face is a mass of emotions. "I'm quite all right," she tells him, smiling. He sighs, very serious. "I thank God for it," he says. "And I'd be glad to keep you company the rest of your day." She takes a quick breath and tries to get through this next part without upsetting him. "I'd be glad if you'd join me at the bank in a few minutes' time," she says, to his great confusion, "having made my way to the bank alone." He asks, frustrated, why she'd want to do that. Now, she was trying to be nice, but Alma is in no frame of mind to be second-guessed. She takes a tone. "To demonstrate," she explains, "his tactics' failure, and to bid defiance to him who shot at me." Ellsworth says he has an idea who it was that did this, and wouldn't mind killing him for it. Her patience is at its limit. "If the shots meant not to harm me but to provoke certain others," she asks, "wouldn't attempting that be playing into our adversary's strategy?" I agree with her, of course, but man, it kills me that she's telling off Ellsworth, who just wants to protect her. You know if this was Bullock swinging his dick around she'd be all about it. "If it ends with one between Hearst's eyes," Ellsworth says, "let me play to his strategy, and welcome." Well, you know, I see his point, too. Alma, however, is exhausted by all of this, and isn't backing down. "I hope instead you'd have dinner tonight with Sofia and me," she says, firmly, "all of us having passed the interval uneventfully." Ellsworth, very upset, shoots a look up to Al, who pretends not to be listening. "In any case," Alma goes on, strong, "please accede to my walking to the bank alone." She walks away, leaving him to stand there with his mouth open. She passes the Gem whores on the way out. They all stare after her, spellbound.

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