Warning: This post contains spoilers for Deadwood the Movie.
It was a powerful goodbye that was funny and exciting, moving and emotional, just like the series always was. Here are our favorite moments from the gorgeous farewell to Deadwood.
Charlie Rejects Hearst’s Offer
Charlie Utter never backed down from any man, no matter the situation, and George Hearst was no exception. Rather than give into Ellsworth’s murderer, Charlie decided to keep his land the only way he knew how, with a combination of politeness and defiance (with some vulgarity mixed in, of course). We don’t like what it led to, but seeing Charlie stand up for himself and the entire camp was a tremendous sendoff for one of Deadwood’s most honorable denizens.
Mr. Wu Visits A Sick Friend
“Hang dai.” We loved Doc yelling at Wu, and we loved seeing Al and Wu’s friendship as strong as ever. It was always one of the show’s best. Despite not speaking the same language, they always knew how to communicate and work together. Their bond only grew in the ten years the show was gone too, as Wu made sure to come by with some medicine for his visibly ailing friend. Not even Al could turn him down, as Wu stood defiantly until Al accepted his gift. And to make the scene even better, Wu now has a bilingual grandson who can translate for him, even though neither Al nor “Effing Wu” need it.
Bullock Calls Out Hearst (Twice)
A great hero needs a great villain, and Seth Bullock got his in George Hearst, who despite becoming a U.S. Senator from California couldn’t help but honor “his putrid f***ing nature.” He had Charlie Utter murdered, which led to Bullock calling Hearst out not once but twice in front of the whole town. The second time, after he saved Samuel Fields from a lynching, might have led to a bloody shoot-out with a high body count, but the first encounter in the middle of the night was even more intense. Bullock was even more fired up during that encounter after finding his friend dead, and angry Bullock was always the most exciting Bullock.
Bullock and Al Brainstorm
Deadwood’s two most important figures had developed an unlikely friendship by the end of season three (especially after brawling in the season two premiere). The return of George Hearst, who threatened Trixie’s life before murdering Charlie, brought the two old friends back together to deal with an old problem – how to protect the camp. Bullock asking, “What’s the move, Al?” and Swearengen asking him if he ever thought about “not going straight at a thing” were perfect moments true to the characters and their unique partnership. This powwow became even more meaningful later when we learned their partnership had been dormant over the years, when Al asked before the auction, “Where you been, Bullock?” and he replied, “Right up the f***in’ road, Al.” Good thing too, since Deadwood still needed both of them.
Deadwood came out to pay tribute to one of its best citizens, in a moving farewell that started with an incredible callback to season one. Jane couldn’t bring herself to attend, but Joanie reminded her that she once helped Charlie visit Wild Bill’s grave when she was heartbroken herself. That was enough to get Jane to go, and there we heard a poignant eulogy from Bullock before Charlie’s estranged old friend Jane spoke about the honorable man he was. It was a sad scene, but a powerful reminder of the life these people built together, through good and bad times.
E.B. Comes to the Rescue
Deadwood’s mayor, though still mostly an honorary title, E.B. Farnum was always one of the camp’s slimiest citizens, more concerned with his own pocketbook and position than being a good person. He certainly didn’t appear a more honorable person when we saw he had used needed renovations at the Grand Central Hotel to put in secret passageways where he could spy on guests. But it was a pleasant surprise when he responded to that ill-gained information by alerting Bullock to Hearst’s order to kill Samuel Fields. He might not have been made “for such complexities,” but it was a big step just to see a selfless E.B.
Jewel putting out peaches (but no “unauthorized cinnamon”) to start the auction was a beautiful touch, but the real action started when Bullock and Hearst got into a bidding war the Marshal was never going to win. Bullock went well beyond what he could reasonably afford, but he was no match for the deep-pocketed magnate. Alma Ellsworth was though, and her entry into the proceedings was a triumphant moment that gave us goosebumps (and some teary eyes). As a grateful Bullock said, after giving the woman he used to love but could never be with a hug that meant so much more than just thank you, she “honored” Charlie that day. She also honored Deadwood itself, by beating its greatest enemy at his own game.
Jane and Joanie Reunite
Every scene between the two former lovers was emotional, but none more than when they finally reunited in the livery as Joanie told Jane how much she wanted to die when she went back to the Bella Union. As much as we loved Jane yelling, “You give me a goddamn kiss and say, ‘I promise I won’t fold no matter how sad I get,’ Or just don’t say a word at all then just go ahead and give me a kiss and don’t say a word,” the kiss that followed said even more, as two broken people pulled themselves back together in each other’s arms.
The Gem Hosts a Wedding
From putting her and her unborn baby’s life in danger by publicly screaming at Hearst, to risking a visit to Al late at night, Trixie was still as feisty and reckless as ever. But after heartfelt talks with Al and Sol, she finally accepted she deserved to be happy. Her wedding was a moving moment that brought the whole town together for a party a long-time coming. It was filled with a bunch of great moments – Alma and Bullock’s dance interrupted by his daughter; Mrs. Ellsworth finding comfort in her daughter Sofia; Jewel dancing; a happy Jane and Joanie deciding to visit France; Merrick getting revenge on Hearst via his camera (“Smile Senator Hearst!”); Bullock arresting Hearst when he tried to ruin it all – that contributed to a joyous, emotional night for the camp and viewers.
Bullock Saves Hearst and the Camp’s Soul
If anyone deserved frontier justice, it was George Hearst. It looked like he would finally get it as the denizens of Deadwood beat him in the street. For a moment it looked like Marshal Bullock would let it happen, as he gave in to his darker tendencies, a sign Deadwood would never escape its true nature no matter how civilized it seemed. But then he saw his wife Martha scared and running away, and in that moment Seth remembered who he really is – Deadwood’s conscience. He fired his gun in the air and dispersed the mob before bringing Hearst to jail, like the proper lawman he is. Hearst might be a monster, but Bullock isn’t. By not caving into his worse nature he saved Deadwood’s soul too.
Samuel Acts as Witness
The camp’s most marginalized citizen, the “General” Samuel Fields was unwittingly put in harm’s way when he witnessed Charlie Utter’s death, but that wasn’t all he witnessed. He told Bullock at the end a singing and content Mr. Utter seemed like a changed man, as though he had finally found peace after standing up to Hearst on his own. As a dying Samuel told this to Bullock he quoted scripture about God’s witnesses and why they are chosen, bringing Bullock to tears as the two held hands. It was a beautiful, haunting, powerful scene that spoke to ideas much bigger than any man.
A Quiet Night and a Beautiful Goodbye
With Hearst in jail and Deadwood safe for the night, a calm came over the camp. Mrs. Ellsworth looked out on the place that had brought her so much joy and pain, Jewel cared for a dying Al as Johnny and Dan listened to them sing from downstairs at the Gem, and Sol held his son as his Trixie looked on. And then Marshal Bullock, having been saved by Jane and having done his duty with honor and grace, walked back to his wife and kids, where a worried Martha was waiting for him. “I’m home,” he assured her, and he was, both at the house he made for his his family and the town he helped build.
And on the other side of camp Trixie looked after a dying Al where she started to say the Lord’s prayer. But always defiant, steadfast, and beholden to no man but himself, even at the end, Al answered her prayers to “Our father, who art in Heaven” the only way he knew how: “Tell him to f***ing stay there.”
A perfect way to end Deadwood‘s perfect goodbye.