The Catbird Seat

Episode Report Card
Al Lowe: A | 6 USERS: A
The Catbird Seat

What follows is a lovely scene between Claudia and the Countess. I mention this subplot only to highly praise Cynthia Ettinger, who I find to be really fabulous as Claudia, but...again, with only one episode left, these characters are relegated to this confusing backlot of a story that might never be explained and, you know, we ain't got time. Allow me to put it lightly: she's upset that Langrishe is moving the dancer into the theater and dramatically mourns the loss of Langrishe's romantic attentions. The Countess persuades her, through flattery, from leaving the troupe. On her way back to her own room, Claudia passes Richardson, who is still praying, antlers held aloft, on the stairs. "I juggled at amateur night," he says as she goes by and in her frustration she snaps back at him, asking what he's doing now. "Praying for my loved ones," he says. She can't help but be moved. "How nice," she says, beginning to cry. "Lucky them."

Ellsworth is in his tent, talking to his old friend, the terrier. As if this scene weren't emotional enough, they have to throw in his buddy, the cutest dog ever? The dog listens, attentively, as Ellsworth discusses his concerns about Sophia's reaction to his absence from the house. He's afraid all this recent hullabaloo with Alma getting shot at has caused her to remember the trauma of her original family being murdered. His pal nods appreciatively. "When I've left, have I given the mother more calming down to do before she gets the child asleep?" he asks. "Them's the sort of things is what you have to consider." Suddenly, the dog whips his head toward the back of the tent and growls. Ellsworth sees the Pinkerton's gun just seconds before the guy shoots him right in the forehead. He falls to the floor of the tent, dead, and the dog runs away where, I hope, he plots rabid fantasies of revenge against Hearst. I promise you, my own terrier is doing just that right now. HATE. Hearst you cocksucking bastard. Endless kudos to Jim Beaver. I loved every second Ellsworth was on screen.

The group at the Gem are hanging out silently -- like a bunch of kids trying not to disturb their hungover dad while he reads the morning paper, as Al does now. He feels Merrick staring at him. "Must you hover, fucking Merrick?" he snaps, and Merrick admits to wondering if Al has any further thoughts on his article. "Didn't I tell you how well it wafted?" Al asks, clearly over Merrick's need for reassurance. "Merrick, it's a good article," he sighs. "It'll no doubt irritate him, fucking Hearst, but I'm wakeful wondering who he's likely to shoot at next, so with regard to that I've gave your article all the thought I need to." The ever-bumbling newspaperman never knows when to count his blessings that Al has not stabbed him, and can't shut up. "Who do you think he might shoot at?" he asks, suddenly nervous. Adams and Johnny cringe, knowing what's coming. That's one too many questions and Al loses it. "I have no fucking idea, Merrick," he says, irritated. "I doubt it'll be long before we find out, and in the fucking interval until we do, I guess I'll just have to abandon any prospect of finding respite in any part of your rag I could just fucking READ without having to evaluate how it fucking WAFTS!" He lunges up from the table to stomp upstairs, no doubt looking for a little peace and quiet. Except, you know, now that he's mad, he might as well jump all over that telegram bullshit from earlier. "Oh, which leaves me the solace of contemplating the journeying hither of the intrepid fucking Hawkeye," he snarks, evilly, "and his twenty-three fucking reprobates to even the odds in the coming combat." Adams cringes again, much worse this time. "Didn't tell you that, did I, Adams? Hawkeye's wired to announce he's on his way. Does that sound likely to you or does it confirm our deepest doubts about his incompetence and veracity? And mine, in turn, about you that I allowed to fucking vouch for him!" He slams into his office. Under his (beautiful) beard, Adams is pale. Dryly, he turns to Merrick: "Couldn't let him read his fucking paper."

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