The Catbird Seat

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

We cut to Sturgis, where Bullock and Harry wait to give their speeches to the potential voters. "I won't be lingering once we've finished," Bullock tells his opponent. "If you want to stay and politic, you'll have to ride back alone." Harry nods, and in the silence is overcome -- he wants to, he says, apologize for an, er, incident that occurred that morning in Bullock's house. "Your wife, good enough to ask me in for breakfast..." he starts. Oh, no. Harry! Farting in the House of Bullock! The sheriff tries to stop him from mentioning it, but Harry can't help himself. "That lovely woman," he frets, "putting her hand behind her for support when I feared she might fall to the floor." I pause the Tivo to shake off the mantle of superiority I have been feigning over these fart jokes. I mean, fine, I'm not made of stone. It's funny. To everyone, that is, except Bullock. Distracting himself by looking around, he spies a soldier leaning in through the window. The clench comes on pretty quick. "There's no Sioux around here," Bullock points out, all bossy. The soldier chooses this moment to crack wise. "Shall I go find some, ask 'em to join us?" he asks, and Bullock asks him again why the troops are bivouacked. "Seems like you got me confused for a general," the soldier jokes, causing Bullock's mustache to stand on end with anger. "Don't be grazing by the windows," he bitches. "Come in and listen or stay the fuck out of sight." The soldier, and rightly so, wonders where Bullock gets off with all these orders. "I guess," he says, "you got yourself mistaken for a general." Another soldier pipes up that they're there for the election, "maybe gonna exercise the franchise." Harry comes over to tell Bullock that the crowd is ready for them to speak, but Bullock is now in full clench. "Have they told you yet who you're voting for?" he spits at the soldiers, and nearly grinds his teeth to dust when the guy says "Not yet."

Back in camp, things are bad. Real bad. A wagon rolls by under a tight camera shot, and we see Ellsworth, laid out in full. Alma runs out to find her second husband dead and gasps in terror, barely pausing before hurling herself onto the boardwalk, calling for Charlie. He hurries to her side as the camera whips around them, illustrating the horror and frenzy of the moment. Charlie leads the sobbing Alma to the opposite boardwalk as the wagon carrying Ellsworth passes by the Gem. Al, on his balcony, looks down and sees the body and the look that crosses his face in that split second says it all: Fear. Sadness. Confusion. It's unbelievable. In three full seasons, Ian McShane has never let Al register a single moment of true shock. Because, what could surprise Al, really? But now, seeing Ellsworth, for one hair's space his eyes go wide. The long-anticipated bullshit has started. Just as quickly, he recovers himself and, as Hearst does from his own balcony where he, too, has been watching, goes quickly inside.

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