"If we didn’t hate them too much to be curious about the world, we’d wonder what they’d had to say."
I mean, what can anyone of us ever really fuckin’ hope for, huh? Except for a moment here and there with a person who doesn’t want to rob, steal or murder us? At night, it may happen. Sun-up, one person against the fuckin’ wall, the other may hop on the fuckin’ bed trusting each other enough to tell half the fucking truth. Everybody needs that. Becomes precious to ‘em.
It’s funny that Deadwood is so often stereotyped as a boring dude show when I literally can’t think of a single show that regularly grants its ladies so much perspective and agency and development the way Deadwood does.
HAHA OKAY I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS THE OTHER DAY
how Al is what is shaped over the land, the community the people build and the things that community builds, Al is tents and saloons and business and scales to weigh the gold and a hand to weigh the scale, Al is that which is native to Deadwood, which is first nothing and then something small and then something great and thriving, and Al thrives by Deadwood’s rules, which are greedy and selfish but also predicated on caring deeply for your fellow man (your fellow Deadwood citizen), and not at all on what the world outside says is right or proper
and Alma comes from outside and Alma is all propriety, Alma didn’t even choose to come here, she came here as someone’s wife waiting to leave and “writing” what happened while she was there (to keep that distance of outsider/observer as much as to record it) and doping herself out of consciousness, and Deadwood is not kind to outsiders—outside forces are chaotic, outside forces are against the community, outside forces are the only villain on this show whose hero is the town above all—so how does Alma become part of it? by being given claim (the giving is important, it is important that she did not seek to take) of what’s under the earth. Alma gets the gold, Alma’s claim to Deadwood and tie to Deadwood and what makes the town warm up to her and what changes her to fit living here is the fucking bedrock, Deadwood’s (textual) veins.
and she makes overtures to civilization, but because she stays in the town and becomes part of the town she can do that, she can make the town look a little more like the world she knows and understands because she can pick and choose the good bits of the world, because she’s not going to run back to it, because she’s not looking to pack up or steal away, because her ties to the town is the same thing that makes its heart beat. and she learns the things that make Deadwood tick as a community—loving your fellow man, trusting the town above all—inorganically. (Alma is so bad at love, so bad at generosity, not out of malice—even though she’s a good woman, even though she’s polite and sweetvoiced, it just doesn’t come at all naturally. But she learns, she’s willing to learn, Deadwood teaches her to love and to sacrifice without forcing sacrifices the way her prior life did; it lets her set terms and thus allows her, incrementally, to learn kindness more than niceness. Where Al is a murderer and a thief and like, an old yelling prospector grump, but also so fundamentally easily unthinkingly furiously kind.)
and they’re the most powerful people in the town (business/finance) and the two richest (il/licitly) and that simply shouldn’t be true, Al as a criminal and Alma as a woman. (notably, when Hearst comes to town, they’re the two big names he immediately targets. and he can undercut the power immediately, as Big Outside Evil: can mutilate Al because that’s how criminal intimidation works, can ignore and without so many words threaten to rape Alma because that’s how patriarchy works. because outside of Deadwood, neither of them would have any claim on anything; it’s here and only here that everything belongs to them, that they have any means of shaping the world at all.)
(Bullock as third pillar striding up and down between them through the thoroughfare, the two of them watching carefully from their respective balconies, Al in the open and Alma behind her window.)
ps also WORDSMITHS and MONOLOGUES and AL’S ELOQUENCE DECEPTIVE BEHIND CRUDITY and ALMA’S LANGUAGE FLOWERY AND INSCRUTABLE and LANGUAGE AS A WEAPON OF WAR AND DÉTENTE AS THEY MEET because LANGUAGE CHANGES BASED ON CIVILIZATION AND THAT ALLOWS THEM TO USE IT AS A POWER AGGREGATE BECAUSE THEY BOTH USE IT SO DIFFERENTLY, Al likes that fucking black darjeeling, but please minimize your obscenities in the presence of Mrs. Garret whom you once attempted to kill