To a certain extent, I knew from the beginning that Deadwood didn’t end where its creators meant it to.
Well, here I am at the end all the same.
So, what to make of the end of Deadwood? Hearst leaves the camp with what looks like a victory over Bullock in the ballot box (we never find out for certain, but Hearst is so damn smug), a defeat of sorts in that his demand that Al kill Trixie was skirted through Al’s killing of a different blonde whore and Hearst never gave Trixie’s face a good look, so that actually works. Tolliver feels swindled, Merrick is told Hearst will run him out of business with his own competing newspaper, and Alma agrees to sell Hearst her claim so she can stay in the camp.
And that’s more or less where it ends. Hearst thinks he won, and the camp holds its breath to see what comes next. No big shootout. Just a lot of tension.
And that’s appropriate for a show like this. This was always a show about characters, not action. It was a show where you got joy from hanging out with some Old West eccentrics. True, the characters spoke in something of a 19th century vernacular that sometimes made what they were talking about hard to follow as everything they had to say sounded excessively formal. But this was a show where the oddballs, criminals, and the excessively righteous were always holding our attention even as they very slowly tried to figure out what they were going to do, and a letter in a small local newspaper could rock the world of a greedy millionaire. These were human beings of all moral stripes trying to find a way to civilize the wilderness of South Dakota. This was a show where a murderous brothel owner and a righteous sheriff would be able to unite against a common foe, where the criminal and the lawman found their respective skills were needed not to win a physical fight, but a moral one.
Now, HBO says every so often that a movie wrapping up the story will be made, but with Powers Boothe dead and Timothy Olyphant (among others) saying that movie will probably never happen, it is with some good fortune that the series actually ends in a way that almost accidentally works as a series finale, showing Al Swearengen cleaning a bloodspot out of his hardwood floors, and not for the first time.
So, given that this wasn’t supposed to be the series finale, let’s say nine out of ten Chinese men whose English is limited to swearwords.
And so, let’s see what’s up next…see, when I started the weekday TV coverage, Wednesday was set aside for a show I always wanted to finish. It worked, and I got to finally see all of The Wire. With that in mind, let’s try another show I always wanted to finish, namely Orphan Black.
This should be fun.