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A real goodbye to TVs unfinished masterpiece – Rolling Stone

This column contains full [Ed note: like, VERY full] spoiler for Deadwood: The Movie .

Early in Deadwood: The Movie Former Lover Seth Bullock and Alma Ellsworth have an awkward reunion with Sol Star at the hotel, which owns Seth. Their feelings for each other remain intense, but Seth has long returned to his wife Martha, and no one really knows what to tell the other. As a middle-class woman, however, Alma has experience with small talk in the most uncomfortable circumstances, and she sincerely tells him, "If you've lived that way, Marshal, it's my great luck to see you again."

] In its original form Deadwood had little use for metacommications. However, this movie can not help but be aware of yourself. It's not just Alma's line, but the movie opening with Calamity Jane, who says, "Ten years passed," or Charlie Utter, who responds to the arrival of Alma and her daughter Sofia, with, "What a big surprise after such a thing Time." It's Al Swearengen asks Seth, "Where have you been, Bullock?" (Seth quips.) Everyone's thinking about the passage of time ̵

1; about Al, who's sick, about Cy Tolliver, who's dead and gone, about some characters like Jane stuck in emotional stagnation, while others like Seth have been stuck since last time When we saw them, they changed a lot. Deadwood: The film is all about the experience of bringing the show back to life, as well as this particular story. And this great show, so memorable, is a great pleasure to see again.

The film is not a flawless work – but that was not the show either. David Milch's improvisational approach to writing the series has often made her stronger at certain moments than a long narrative. As Timothy Olyphant told me, "My memory of what made the show great has never been the plot. What made the show great was to spend time with these characters. "This also applies to the movie.

The story feels hastily glued together in some places, as Trixie's scolding George Hearst, who alerted him to the fact that Al joked him back in the series finale. It is unclear whether Hearst is back in camp since he left the series final saying "tell him something pretty". But even if this is his first return visit, Trixie's outburst plays more as something that needs milk than anything to instigate an incident, rather than something that even the most impulsive character of the show (and at that time an extremely pregnant one) is imperative in would do this moment.

The desire to bring back as many former regulars as possible coupled with the logistical challenges of this contributes to this occasional sloppiness. Molly Parker was only able to fly down on Vancouver weekends (where she shot Lost in Space ), so Alma's presence seems more like a notable cameo than the entire arc that's so important to the show. Some of the minor players get moments that feel significant and characterful, like Mr. Wu (who now speaks a little more English), who tries in vain to get Al to try his herbal remedies. Others are more obvious than excuses to shoe in old favorites. Why is Con Stapleton now the city minister? Had to give him something to do here, and there is a historical precedent for a former Cy Tolliver henchman to become a man of God. Why is A.W. Merrick runs the auction for Charlie's Land? Because it would not have been enough if he had just done the perp-walk photo of Hearst.

But Olyphant's memory of what made Deadwood great is just right. That the story is thin – and in many ways a repeat of the series' episodes in which Charlie's murder stands for Ellsworth – is almost incidental. As for the plot, Deadwood: The film closes with little more certainty than "Tell him something pretty". We end with Hearst, who is detained in Bullock Prison. We know he's likely to skate all the complications of Charlie's death, but we do not know how. We have no idea if his next attempt to arrest Trixie for his attempted murder will be more successful than the one Seth defeated at the wedding, and what Trixie could do in freedom as the new owner of the Gem.

Olyphant and John Hawkes in "Deadwood: The Movie".
Photo: Warrick Page / HBO

And I do not care, because almost the whole movie and the scary fucking for the finale fascinated me half an hour.

Endings were generally not the strength of David Milk. Men plan and God laughs, so this man has historically decided not to plan far in advance. But the circumstances – first the suspension, then the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease – mean that he has been working on one or the other version of this script for years. As a result, the film has an incredibly satisfying, sometimes emotionally overwhelming final act. It's not a big conclusion to the story of Deadwood but it brings the experience of it as well as the bows of its two protagonists – plus notable support figures like Trixie and Jane – to rest areas, feeling the unusual and often difficult birth process to be as perfect as possible.

Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane in & # 39; deadwood: The Movie & # 39 ;.
Photo: Warrick Page / HBO

The film's self-conscious nature goes far beyond the notion that the entire ensemble reunites for the first time in years. Every moment that Ian McShane watches on screen is informed about the health problems of milk. Milk pours a bit of himself into all of his characters, but Swearengen has more of his creative genius than anyone else, and unfortunately this continues. All characters have visibly aged, but the others look like they've grown comfortably in their advanced years. The contrast between Seth and Alma in bed in Grand Central and the two talking in the Bullock and at the Star Hotel is striking, but both are healthy and largely in line with the decisions they have made in their lives. (Although Seth is more than Alma.) From the moment we see Al, he looks like death: jaundice and slow, and a shell of the Master of the Universe he was when the show started. (It's not just the years, but how he wears himself, compare McShane with him in American Gods where he plays a far older character, yet much more alive than Swearengen at the time. He can not keep track of the days of the week. This new problem with Hearst does not help at all. Where he used to be the man the camp looked at in times of crisis like this, he's now mostly a passive observer – or, worse, the man the others have to focus on to find a way out of the chaos, That Created Trixie

With Al in such a weakened state in his last days on this earth, Bullock's film is dominated in a way the show was only in its first episodes. I think Olyphant is harder than he should be in his performance in the series, but he has grown a lot as an actor ever since. The 2006 Olyphant may not have been ready for the complicated journey Deadwood: The Movie records Bullock. Today's Olyphant is spectacular. Where other characters have not evolved in recent years-or in cases like Joanie's falling back into a behavior they seemed to have gone beyond-Bullock felt well in his skin at the time the story resumed. He and Martha have had three sweet, adorable children in the years since William's tragic death. He is again a lawyer (more of a marshal than a sheriff, so he is not subject to any of Hearst's rigged elections). His business with Sol is flourishing. He has become a church leader in a way he never wanted or knew in his early years in the camp. He's the one Charlie goes to get advice on selling to Hearst, and if Hearst's thugs kill Charlie, it's Bullock who leads the funeral eloquently. (It's a clear distraction from how distracted and angry he was at the time of Wild Bill's funeral, his oratorio is the kind the late Reverend Smith would be proud of.)

But then old friends and enemies return to camp and Bullock's cozy little life gets upset. Alma's return is more of a surprise than a real threat to his marriage. He's scared to see her and still feels deeply connected to her, but he chose Martha all those years ago, and nothing shook him. (Even Martha seems to understand this for the most part.) There's a moment when she sees Seth hugging Alma after the auction, and she's also the one who insists that Seth brings the two Ellsworth women to the hotel.) Alma finds it harder to hide old feelings, but she is also embarrassed about that. She can do her great deed to keep Charlie's land away from Hearst – a reasonable feat in a world where money has always been a stronger weapon than weapons or knives – but otherwise she has to settle for the life she led with Sofia has and their business interests.

It is Hearst who most disturbs peace in the camp and in the life of his chief policeman. The film lasts only a few days (most episodes of the series cover only one), but during this time, Charlie, both assassins of Hearst, several bodyguards of Hearst and Harry Manning (*) shot while poor Samuel Fields is on the verge of dying from the injuries caused by the interrupted lynching of the assassins. Even if you omit Al's death for natural reasons, this is an astonishing figure for an allegedly assimilated, civilized American city. Seth is mocked from his balcony, even though the industrialist and the politician are responsible for most, but it is Seth who takes the blame ("not proud of it"). He believes that such a thing should not happen on his watch, but the fact threatens to undo his entire emotional maturity and send him back to the angry, oppressed, self-defeating, stubborn man he used to be. That Seth shoots and kills one of the potential lynchers to protect Wu's grandson Mengyao is an understandable, even controlled act. That he then brutally fights against the surviving assassin is that Bullock returns to an emotional place he has not been since the show, perhaps until his tooth-loosening shipment of Alma's dad at the end of the first season. (In both cases, it's Sol who has to break the spell – this time with an accidental elbow in the face for his troubles.)

(*) Some of the returning characters have less screen time than Harry, but he does probably suffers most from the limitations of doing this as a movie. Where a whole season of television might have allowed Milk to introduce a seemingly loyal new deputy and then expose him as the Hearst Mole, there was no runway here that would have been possible. So instead, Harry – who was a decent guy on the show, whose biggest sin ran as a detour to setting up a fire department for the sheriff (who's still working and sent to extinguish the fire, starts with Hearst's wood) – Must be damaged without any real explanation for the action to work. It's not hard to imagine Harry becoming vulnerable to Hearst's corruption as he gets older and sicker (he always complains about gout), but it's a big gap to fill a relatively small number.

Because Hearst is more isolated than ever because of his elected office in the US Senate, Swearengen largely can not help, and friends of his are attacked or threatened by outside law enforcement officials, Bullock becomes ruthless in the story over time. When he has handcuffed the powerful Hearst again, he is far enough away to give a group of unruly fools the opportunity to practice a little self-discipline. Previously, Seth said, "My job is not to obey the law, Al, my job is to interpret it – and then enforce it accordingly." However, we know that the justice of the mob is beyond its interpretation of the law back to the very first scene of the series, in which Bullock himself executed a prisoner to prevent a crime lot of drunks who did it, that retiring for a few moments to allow the beating is a sign of how It's just the sight of a horrified Martha running the kids home, breaking the spell and reminding him of the kind of man and the lawyer he wants to be.

After Jane Harry Seth returns to Doc Cochran's house Be with Samuel in his last moments The two were never exactly friends (Jane was the one who enjoyed dating the man Rink, who was once known as General Ner), but they share a complicated bond. It was Seth who saved Samuel from lynching (with tar instead of a rope) by Steve, the drunk and his buddies, and it was Samuel's out-of-control horse that killed William Bullock not long afterwards. If Seth holds Samuel's hand and cries while the dying man speaks of God's witness, does he think of his dead son? The fact that he could not prevent the fate that Samuel had predicted from the moment Seth and Harry put him in a cell? Of the other failures this week or of his entire time in the camp? It could be one of those things and is probably a combination of all. Seth Bullock is a man conditioned to refresh his emotions – and if you can ever come out, it's usually anger. He rarely stops and thinks about what he has to carry. But in that quiet moment, having seen Alma's return, Charlie's funeral, Samuel's lynching, Sol's and Trixie's wedding, and the mob attack on Hearst in a short time, he has that quiet moment to think about everything he's lost and what he could not prevent, and grief flows out of him. It's an incredibly powerful scene and the way the lead actor in the series has evolved since we last saw him in that role. And it's the beautiful last moment for the character as he makes his way to the end of the thoroughfare and Martha waits for him on her porch. "I'm home," he says, kissing her passionately and reaffirming the decision he made in the second season to commit her as his wife rather than his brother's widow. Her marriage and her family are now palpably real. The events of the film throw Seth back briefly in the mud as in the bad old times. But he remembers who he is and he hosts this good woman and her good life together.

That Seth lives long enough to have that cry and then that kiss is due to the sharp instinct and keener marksmanship of the catastrophe Jane. Jane is the first character we see after all these years (and the first to comment on the passage of time), and she has one of the richest bows of all in the movie. Robin Weigert told me months ago when we spoke on the set: "She is allowed to travel from one boy to another because she is such a child in the original." Jane still looks childish when we catch up with her. She has a new hat and wore skirts instead of pants, but under the costume she's the same immature, unsafe, self-deprecating tragic figure she was when we met her when she traveled to Deadwood with Charlie and Wild Bill. The growth she has achieved through her relationship with Joanie has been abandoned (along with Joanie herself). She returns to the camp and hopes to do everything right with her ex. This happens, but more importantly, Jane's old friends help her finally recognize her own value.

When she asks Charlie what to say to Joanie, he tells her that she already knows what to say and asks her, "Go and find your girl! Go and get her! "Joanie, who has fallen back into bad old patterns after the heir of Bella's heir to Cy, is not happy to see her, but Charlie's death is bringing his mutual friends back together for honest talks about their past and possibly their future And in the moment of the movie, when I had to roar more than Al's death, more than Charlie's funeral, more than the wedding or the embrace of Seth and Alma after the auction or anything else, Jane tries to rescue her from Bullock Wild Bill's mind, watch over her. "No, Jane," Joanie says simply, but emphatically. "That's what you were." This is an idea that Martha Jane Canary had to understand for her entire life: Charlie, Joanie, and others have already tried to tell her, but she was not in the mood to hear or believe those words, but right now she is, she's not just the buddy, not just the pathetic one drunk, not just the butt of jokes. She has done good in her life, even great things. She is also a damned heroine and Joanie finally helps her see that. Bravo, Joanie Stubbs. Bravo, Calamity Jane.

The film's other journey into adulthood comes courtesy of Trixie. She has also found a degree of peace in recent years. She and Sol are still together, and, as she colorfully puts it, "swim in the whore of a whore that my year is even pregnant." But Jens Murder – the final bloody business necessary to secure the camp in America – puts more strain on them than anyone else. Even Johnny, who is still beaten by Jen after all this time, does not feel so guilty because he is not the reason why she was killed. Trixie is still ruthless and regretful to have this breakout before Hearst. After all this time, she still refused to marry Sol, and even her promise to wait until the baby's birth, Joshua, seems a bit hollow. It is only her awareness of Al's impending demise that is causing her to move forward on this front.

Paula Malcomson as Trixie in & # 39; Deadwood: The Movie & # 39 ;.
Photo: Warrick Page / HBO

But in the course of the film We also see a trixie that has grown and learned to understand its true value and how the world should function. She is, as always, stubborn when we return, but late in the story she speaks quietly and even shows respect to Bullock when he asks her to protect herself from anger. The film spends quite a lot of time with Caroline Wooldgarden, who has just arrived in the city and wants to become Al & # 39; s new favorite. (And naive enough not to understand that any favors she brings him does not last long enough to help her.) It's hard to turn a new character into a story. They all have a lot to do. In her presence, however, it's less about Caroline herself than about what she represents for others. For Johnny, she has a chance to compensate for his failure to protect Jen. ironically, instead, she wraps herself to protect him and sew the bullet wound that one of Hearst's guards give him. For Al, it is a reminder of what he once had with Trixie before his abusive behavior (and the fundamental awfulness of being a prostitute in the Old West) drove her out of the jewel forever. And she is a reminder of the way Trixie could go. After Caroline holds the baby during her wedding planning, Trixie asks if she was born to a whore. Caroline embarrassingly suggests that it's the only thing she's suitable for, to which Trixie replies, "How hard does the bastard you figure out to work on him believe?" It's one bit of wisdom that Trixie might have understood during the events of the series, but not something she would ever want or would be able to articulate with anyone else. That she does it shows a degree of maturity and kindness that will serve her well in her new role as owner of the gemstone, even if she decides to turn it into a dance hall. The handing over of the torch is therefore ultimately not by Trixie to Caroline, but by Al to Trixie, who even wears a trademark pinstripe coat while standing on the balcony looking at her husband and child. The ghost of Hearst may continue to emerge, but for the moment she achieves the happy ending, she begins to accept that she deserves it.

This brings us back to Al Swearengen. In many ways, his character sheet was over long before the end of the series. He had already transformed from an unscrupulous crime boss to a pragmatic but largely benevolent church leader. He had made peace with Trixie, who left him for Sol, while Alma retained the lucrative gold demand he foolishly sold to her first husband, with the idea that the success of the camp was more important than the size of his own fortune. The film is less about giving it emotional closeness than giving it the opportunity to say goodbye to its many loved ones, and vice versa. And since many viewers regard Al and Deadwood themselves as interchangeable, it is a chance for us to say goodbye to him and almost certainly from this wondrous experience.

And what a farewell! We saw Al deep in the early second season, when he almost died of kidney stones. And in the same arc we saw Doc, Trixie, Dan, Johnny, and Jewel gathering around him. However, this is different. It is a calmer, more resigned situation. Al is older. The city is more peaceful and prosperous. It is important to the emotional lives of its past and present employees, but it is no longer as important to the well-being of the camp as it used to be. And where the crisis with the annoying gleet was agonizing and temporarily crippling, Al is only much slower here than the lively bustle that we used to know. His time is running out and everybody understands it – most of all. There is a wounded dignity for McShane's performance, but especially in this half-hour when Doc's medicine gives Al the power to survive this last glorious day. This is Al in full Santa Claus mode. He gives the bride away in his bar after promising to give his bar to the bride. He encourages Sol to re-enter politics (which the real Sol Star did at this time and held various local and national offices for the rest of his life) and confirms that Trixie eventually made the right decision for a man. He tries to leave his remaining money to Dan and Johnny, although Dan does not want to share in profiting from the death of his friend and mentor. He makes fun of Jewel's vocals, but their relationship has long been based on chop busting. when she actually starts singing "Waltzing Matlida", he takes part in some of his last breaths.

The song is an anachronism written in Australia in 1895 and not published until 1903 Al & # 39; s death and many other events of the story. The real Al Swearengen died destitute, far from Deadwood and years after the movie took place. The circumstances of Charlie Utter's death were also much later and very different. Sol Star never married. And so on. This happens when you tell a story that mixes historical figures like Al and Seth with fictional ones like Alma and Trixie. This has never been a simple factual account of those years in Deadwood. It was rather David Milk who used some of these people and events to tell a story about many of his own interests, such as drug addictions or the compromises necessary to live in a legal community. Unfortunately, milk is sick itself. He discussed his condition in emails with me and in more detail with Matt Seitz and Mark Singer. He was able to complete the script while managing this terrible disease and changing it slightly throughout the production. But he was no longer the milk of that time as Al the Al of that time in the movie.

Swearengen is milk. Milk is Swearengen. Hopefully the real version will have many more years and many good days (or even good moments) in those years. But it's not hard to understand why milk in this script would focus on mortality – to open it, while Jane prepares to "lie down and not get up" and dies with Al, while Trixie dies Hand holds. This will almost certainly be the end of Deadwood as we know it. And milk manages to give almost everyone a perfect final grade, like Jane and Joanie walking arm in arm through the falling snow. He of course preserves the best for the character that is close to his heart.

As Al's life slips away, Trixie decides to finally call up a higher authority and pray, "Our Father, who is in heaven …" Al thinks he has just enough strength for a last reply: "Let him … fuck … stay there." Al Swearengen has no more benefit for God than the Lord for Al. But the almighty creator of this great TV show and this great farewell film gives his greatest creation here at the end of extraordinary kindness and generosity.

That was damned Deadwood . Could be combative, but the parts I remember most were those of deep beauty, compassion, and poetry.

William Sanderson as E.B. Farnum.
Photo: Warrick Page / HBO

Some Other Thoughts:

* Jane, Alma and others refer to the fact that 10 years have passed, though the third season's events took place a dozen years before the movie's set to have. However, this is not difficult to reconcile, since most of these characters still lived in the camp at the time of the series final. (Alma explicitly sells her claim to Hearst so she does not have to leave the city.) So they could have moved away a few years later to fill the gap that had lasted for decades. That or milk liked the sound of "10 years later" and we should not question him too closely.

* Not all surviving regular characters could return. For example, I imagine Titus Welliver was filming Bosch and Adams always felt enough as an outsider in the Swearengen crew, so it's easy to imagine him moving on since we started last seen him. But it feels very satisfying and accurate when Garret Dillahunt returns as the first drunk to throw something to Hearst after Seth has arrested him. Dillahunt had already played two roles in the series. This performance (under a heavy beard and other make-up) felt like a tribute to both of them: like Jack McCall, he is an enraged fool who feels bitter about the fame and fortune of others in the camp; and like Francis Wolcott he is tied to George Hearst.

* Movies and TV shows are not usually shot in the right order. As luck would have it, I visited the set on consecutive days as successive scenes were shot: Seth and Sol prevented Samuel's lynching and Seth confronted Hearst on the thoroughfare while Dan and Johnny supported his play. Nach den ersten Einstellungen der letzten Szene gab der Regisseur Daniel Minahan Olyphant die Freiheit, alternative Versionen von Bullocks skriptgesteuerter Antwort auf Hearst zu testen, die drohte, für ihn zu kommen: „Erwarten Sie, Senator.“ Olyphant versuchte einige, die keiner von ihnen mochte Ähnlich wie in der ursprünglichen Zeile wurde darauf hingewiesen, dass Raylan, wenn dies gerechtfertigt wäre, sagen würde: „Lassen Sie es mich wissen, Senator. Ich werde das Datum umkreisen. "

* William Sanderson ist wie immer eine komische Freude wie der verrückte E.B. Farnum. Er ist wieder Bürgermeister, auch wenn er zugibt, dass es sich um eine „weitgehend titelmäßige Position“ handelt. (Seine Aussprache erinnert an EBs damalige Verachtung gegenüber dem Mann, den er nur als „Tit-Licker“ bezeichnet hat.) Farnum ist für die Verschwörung nicht unbedingt notwendig, da Bullock auf andere Weise von der Bedrohung für Samuel erfahren hätte können. Aber Milch wollte eindeutig, dass Sanderson seine Sachen stolziert – vor sich hin murmelnd, während er Peeping Tom innerhalb der Hotelmauern spielt; sein Entsetzen und sich dann wundern, zum ersten Mal ein Telefon zu benutzen; mit der Phrase "mutwilliges Durchsickern" – und das zu Recht.

* Bree Seanna Wall hat nach der Originalserie (noch davor) nie wieder auf der Leinwand gespielt, also tritt Lily Keene als Teenager-Version von Sofia auf. Es ist interessant zu sehen, wie Sofia ihre Mutter bei Bul lock beobachtet. Zur Zeit von Alma und Seths Affäre war sie ein sehr kleines Mädchen und ein sehr emotional gezeichnetes. Aber damals war sie sich dessen bewusst, und sie versteht das jetzt genau, wie sie Alma immer dann beschützt, wenn ihre verlorene Liebe in der Nähe ist.

* Im Jahr 2019 waren die 3.500 Dollar, die Charlies Land angeblich wert war, wert nahe an 100.000 USD sein, während die 5.000 USD, die Hearst ihm anbot, ungefähr 140.000 USD betragen würden.

* Es wäre nicht Deadwood wenn nicht A) jemand (Jewel, in diesem Fall) die eingemachten Pfirsiche ausstechen würde, und B) jemand (in diesem Fall Dan), der Einwände gegen seine spezifische Verwendung in dieser Umgebung erhebt.

* Schließlich wäre ich, obwohl ich in diesem großen Wal eines Aufsatzes größtenteils das Lob von Olyphant und McShane sang, nachlässig, wenn ich Ich habe nicht gesagt, dass jeder in der Besetzung fantastisch ist. Diese Show hat allen Beteiligten viel bedeutet. Für die meisten von ihnen wären dies die reichsten Charaktere, die sie jemals spielen würden. Niemand schläft durch diese Rückkehr, und diese Energie ist bei Molly Parker, Robin Weigert, Dayton Callie und Brad Dourif und allen anderen spürbar. Dieser Film war eine Belohnung für uns, aber es war auch eine Belohnung für sie. Ich bin froh, dass wir es alle verstanden haben.

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