Here Was a Man

Episode Report Card
Al Lowe: B | 3 USERS: A
Here Was a Man

Back at the hotel, Mrs. G is laying out her troubles for Wild Bill and Jane. "I suggested to my husband just last night," she says, playing the grieving widow for all she's worth, "that we should try to view our time here as one experience bought at a single price." Man. How hard would you fight at the customer service counter for a refund if you'd purchased a "Deadwood experience" for twenty large? Bill and Jane look on grimly as Mrs. G explains that taking money from Al, since she thinks he's the one responsible for her husband's death, would make her an accomplice in that death. "I need to know what I'd be selling them," she says. She doesn't think they're offering her the money to keep the Pinkertons at bay. Why wouldn't they just buy it back from Brom as he wanted in the first place? Bill agrees to try to figure out what's going on. Mrs. Garret offers him a hundred dollars for this service, and he politely accepts. E.B. watches as he leaves the hotel and heads straight for the Gem.

Arriving there, he orders a whiskey from Dan and waits for Al to appear. When he does, bidden by Johnny, all eyes are on the two biggest badasses in town. "I'm Al Swearengen, Mr. Hickok," Al says. "For the last few days, I've been locked in my room, weeping. Searching my memories as to where my path might have crossed your previous -- and as to how I might have given offense -- that you'd stay in this camp not fifty feet from my joint and never once walk in." Bill answers this flood of language with an easy explanation: "No poker." Haaa! Good one, Bill. "Is it that simple?" Al asks, mockingly incredulous. "Dan, dismantle the titty corner and set up a poker table." Bill says that's not necessary, and Al nods. "I always felt poker slows a joint's action," he says. "Been a liquor, pussy, and faro man my entire fucking career." Bill doesn't bother with any more small talk. Straight to the point, he explains that the widow of the man who fell off the rocks has had an offer on his claim "by that innkeeper sitting in the corner," and that she is reluctant to sell until she understands what is behind it. Al plays the innocent, asking why Bill's asking him about it. "She believes you'd know," Bill says. Al takes a swig of whiskey, pissed, and launches into his whole Pinkertons excuse. "I do not need the Pinkertons here," he says, "swarming like locusts." So, he tells Bill, he bent over for Garret, telling him to fully reconnoiter his claim, and if he still wasn't satisfied, he'd give his money back. Well, yeah, that is technically what he told him, sure. It's just that he's leaving out the part where he then told Dan to kill him. It's all just too unfortunate that the dude died, Al says. "Up jumps the widow in righteous indignation," he closes. "Wants the doc to examine him for murder wounds. My vision of locusts returns." He goes on to say that he recognizes that Mrs. G is grieving, and tries to flim-flam Bill into believing that E.B. was the underbidder on the original sale, and that is why he's making all the offers. Y'all, it's fucking complicated, okay? There is so much double-crossing going on, James Bond would throw himself on a fountain pen grenade and just be done with it. In spite of Al's absolutely brilliant lying, Bill ain't really going for it. However, he says he'll take all this information back to the widow. "I only hope you'll show it to her in a favorable fucking light," Al says. Showing his own talent for the double-double-cross, Bill takes a swig of whiskey and asks what that's worth to Al, who is in disbelief that the gunslinger is now trying to play him and, almost demurely, grins: "Why, Wild Bill."Back at the hotel, Bill arrives to inform Mrs. Garret of his opinion on the matter. He tells her to defer a decision on the whole situation until someone can do a second reconnoiter on the claim. She asks if he'll do it, but he says he's not qualified. "I do know someone I trust to ask," he says. "Name's Bullock. I'll go talk to him now." As he goes to do just that, Jane asks how he left things with Al. Bill smiles. "In terms he'd understand," he says.

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