The title for this episode refers to how pretty much everyone keeps mayor and hotel owner E.B. Farnum out of everything. By episode’s end, Swearengen explains it was all done due to Farnum’s potential to be blackmailed. And, well, Farnum is fine with that.
Makes sense. What was the rest of the episode?
Essentially, while advancing the whole Alma’s pregnant and wants to put together a bank plots, plus some stuff involving Charlie and Wolcott doing something with Hickok’s last letter, we mostly see here how Swearengen is really good at being a manipulator and how Tolliver is so very bad at it.
See, Tolliver goes to Joanie’s and does get the bodies disposed of, but that’s about all he does right. He doesn’t really offer much comfort to the distraught Joanie, so she goes to Charlie and tells him what happens. Charlie then acts as a man and her friend and not Bullock’s deputy, makes up a grievance with Wolcott, and beats the crap out of him in the street, breaking a few of Wolcott’s ribs in the process. As it is, for all that Charlie won’t tell anyone the real reason, Bullock figures there’s something more to it and Swearengen watched Charlie run the other whores from Joanie’s out of town. Heck, Wolcott more or less figured out what happened.
But then Tolliver really screws up at a meeting of the town’s bigwigs when he causally suggests that Wolcott, as Hearst’s head geologist, could get away with murder due to his powerful connections.
No one had said anything about a murder, but that allows Bullock and Swearengen to both independently figure out why Charlie really smacked Wolcott around.
But as for Al, now that he is back on his feet, we see him buck up a demoralized Merrick, confide with Alma that her adopted daughter’s former tutor is a Pinkerton detective looking to frame Alma for her husband’s murder, keep Trixie at Sol and Seth’s to spy on them for anything connected to Charlie or Wolcott, and generally keeps things going more and more in his favor, even observing that Bullock is acting in the camp’s interest now instead of his own righteousness.
Basically, it was really fun watching Al rise back to his usual position.