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October 10, 2015

Deadwood: Tell Him Something Pretty (season finale)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 27th 2006 11:16PM

Deadwood S03E12 Tell Him Something Pretty

(S03E12) Maybe I sit alone with this belief, but I was royally disappointed with this finale. This entire season has been building up to this episode. It was supposed to be a magnificent explosion with guns a blazing as Bullock and Swearengen delivered Deadwood from the clutches of Hearst and his Pinkerton pistoleros. There was none of that. For the most part it was calm. It's clear that this finale was written with a full-length fourth season in mind and I only hope now that the remaining four hours of this wonderful series can do it the justice it deserves.

Following Trixie's attempt on his life, Hearst has requested that Al take care of her. Hearst wants to see a body before he leaves camp, as it will surely put his mind at ease. That and the assurance that his purchased votes are placing his selections in office. They seem to be working. Harry Manning beat Bullock by over 800 votes in Sturgis. So Seth probably won't be sheriff much longer assuming Hearst's influence makes it's way through the entire county.

The entire episode, we were only left with two real questions though. Will Swearengen kill Trixie and will a giant gunfight between Hearst's men and Al's men break out? The answer was no to both. Al slit the throat of one of his whores (she looked very much like Trixie) and Hearst bought it when he saw the body. After that he left town. Granted, it was tense. The Pinktertons on one side of the town square. Hawkeye's men and Wu's chinks on the other side. Guns were drawn all around, but no shots were fired as Hearst rode off in his carriage. I thought it was pretty anti-climactic.

Elsewhere, Cy seems to finally have gone nuts now that Hearst has screwed him and he no longer plays a role in the day to day affairs of the camp. He went as far as insulting Joanie's new preferences and then he mortally wounded Leon.

At one point we were led to believe that Langrishe might take care of Hearst himself. He feared that the imminent fight might cause the postponement of the theater opening. That never happened and it left a sour taste in my mouth about the whole Jack Langrishe storyline. I feel like his character could have been left out and it wouldn't have affected this season all that much.

Random Thoughts:

  • I love that Al still talks to that Indian head in the cedar box. It's like he's going to confession every time they "speak."
  • E.B. walking out onto Hearst's makeshift balcony and standing tall? Might have been the funniest moment of the season.
  • Was it just me, or did anyone else think that Tom and Harry's fire engine should have come in a bigger box?

But that was about it. Hearst certainly left an impact, but I was really hoping for a bigger exit. Hopefully we'll see him back when the series (sort of) returns.

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DEADWOOD is a MASTERPIECE. There will never be any thing like it again. We are all in mourning, that's all. Remember, Milch didn't know that this was to be the last season. I LOVED GERALD MCRANEY as HEARST.
I hope he gets recognized along with Ian come awards time.

November 09 2006 at 1:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt James

Yeah, i agree with all the masses of people who said the last episode of Deadwood was a big let down. I know that the real George Hearst went on to other things, so there was no way he could go down in a hail of bullets, but surely there could have been a better way to end it; one that involved at least some action. I mean, we've been told constantly for the last five or six episodes about how Hearst is totally bearing a grudge and is gonna have his revenge on Bullock for dragging him by the ear through the street. And how he's been bidding his time, building up his forces to finally wipe everyone out. Then suddenly, this brooding, rageful guy has decided that, actually, he doesn't really care that much afterall, and he's gonna go back to mining somewhere else. I mean, What the f*ck?
All of the above said, i do still love deadwood, and if its true that there's not gonna be another season, then i'm really disappointed. I just wish that the finale had lived up to the promise of the rest of the series.

September 24 2006 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff Mac

I stand alone as the lone dissenter against a chorus of voices dissapointed with the finale, if not the entire third season.

Yes, it had it's low point.

I don't know what most of you were expecting. Those who know history knows George Hearst does not die in Deadwood, he fathers and raises William Randolph Hearst, most famous for his newspaper and his role in starting the war with Spain.

The period in History is not documented well thanks in part to the multiple fires in Deadwood. So yes, Milch could have given all of us what we wanted with bloodbaths and more dead nameless pinkertons. But would it have been worth it? Milch does have creative control of a historical fiction, but it sets reality as it's base. To kill Farnum or Hearst or those which continued to have a presence throughout the years in Deadwood would completely negate all that it is founded upon. Also keep in mind that when this was written many were counting on a fourth, so all the closure can't possibly be expected.

"Tell him something pretty" was a tense ending to a class struggle that was all of season three, and probably extends well into the Second season with Wolcott and the Garret families subordinates.

In my opinion, What Al said to Johnny at the end was geared at us, the viewers. It doesn't always turn out the way we want it in real life or fiction.

We all wanted to hear something pretty.

September 13 2006 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mj green

I miss Deadwood. I look at my DVDs and sigh. IF the movies get made, will 4 hours be enough? HBO offered 6 hours and Milch said no. He could have said yes and we'd have at least 1/2 a season. I miss Al.

September 08 2006 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just my 2 cents! i agree with most comments except that Langrishe was not important. he was very important in this last episode i thought. it was his talk with Hearst (about his higher purpose, etc.) that kept Hearst from killing anyone else and trying to get even with Bullock. i think Hearst changed his mind and moved on (without further violence or revenge) because of what Langrishe said.

September 06 2006 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hate HBO, Ive cancelled my service and wont be back unless Deadwood is. Those idiots cancel the best show on T.V. in years and keep garbage like luck louie? Sopranos needs to end, whats left of Rome with Ceasar dead?, Entourage is a metrosexual mtv headache. Big love can't hold Deadwoods jockstrap. I am amazed at the decisions being made at HBO and I am done with them!

September 03 2006 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a huge fan of the show. I shout its glories everywhere I go. I too was dissapointed with the final episode.

Yes, I understand that when the third season was shot,the 4th season excpected.

And yes, I understand that the whole point of this season was NOT to let the Hearst situation boil over.

Its not that I was upset with the lack of "showdown" or the lacking of a nicely wrapped up ending like we had with season's one and two.

I do feel robbed of the unresolve of so many rich, well written characters.

Yes, I want to know what happens with Elections, I want to know Seth, and Sol's fates. I want to know how Doc is feeling. I wanna know How Merrick and Blazenov fair post bullying. And for heavens sake, Lets ambulte so we can hear about the girl Blazenov met in Chicago. Heck, I even wanna know if Hawkeye is gonna get his shit together and make good where promised.

The biggest character/plotline I felt let down by was the death Of Ellsworth. This was a character that we've known from the start. Ellsworth was a solid tertiary character, who was one of the only foreces of pure good in the story. Through the last three seasons Ellsworths personal character was the source of laughter, smiles, and pure do the right thing with a twinkle in your eye and kindness in your heart.

Perhaps the point is, to let us in on the harsh realities of the world by reminding us once again, nothing is fair, especially in Deadwood. All that being said, I fully expected, anticipated, and wanted to see Sophia say her goodbye's.

The lack of that bothered me most.

September 02 2006 at 2:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John C. Crowder

To say the show was a let down is an understatement. There was no conclusion two the build up from the earlier episodes. As if the sub plots created did not even exist. No conflicts, no justice, no revenge, just like none of the personal conflicts established in the show existed. Hearst steals the gold, has some else killed, and leaves town. He did not even take action on his ear pulling, Bullock did not take action on his murders, one guy gets spit on in the face and does nothing, one saloon guy gets screwed and does nothing, the other one looses a finger and does nothing, but they all said they where going to do something we all saw their anger. I am no history buff but I was not watching a history show. However, I am sure if all these things happened more action would have been taken. Why take me off in certain directions just to let the plot die? No conclusions just a waste of my time. I love the characters but I also watch the show because of the on going plot which was terminated as if it never existed. Why do we see he build up of so many men with guns and nothing happens? Why did we see the build up of conflicts and nothing happens? Why watch the show?

August 31 2006 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nate Grey

I think that all of the people complaining that the finale was bring or anti-climatic are missing the entire point of the show. Deadwood is a story about the inevitability of "progress". The Wild west did not go out in a blaze of glory, it was gradually and subtly replaced by the business and political interests that are the hallmark of our modern society. The finale displayed that perfectly and added a fitting end to a great season.

August 31 2006 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Al and Seth are satisfied with the way things turned out. There goal (especially Al) was to prevent the destruction of the camp by Hearst. They achieved their goal! Al's development through out the series has been awesome to watch. In the first few episodes I hated him, but then all the sudden he won me over. I especially loved his conversations with the Chief. Al has been slowly moving away from violence throughout the series and for that reason the finale made sense. It hurt him to have to kill the whore, but he did what he needed for Trixie and the camp. Also ... Charlie Udder is the balls. I loved the way he spoke to Hearst and the guy threatening the Nigger General. I can't wait for the two hour movies!

August 30 2006 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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