A Good Way to Hear God Laugh

Album Cover: The Open Door EP

"Pretend every slot machine is a robot amputee waving hello."
Death Cab For Cutie / Little Bribes

Posted on June 14, 2004 5:24 PM in Television
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I meant to post this last night, just a few minutes after the closing credits of the season finale of Deadwood rolled to a finish. However, things have been so hectic for me that this is my first opportunity, so what I write is almost guaranteed to be lackluster in comparison to what might have been. You're just going to have to deal with it.

Last night's episode, Sold Under Sin, was far and away one of the best season finales I've ever seen. All season long, character arcs have been building to a head all over the place, and last night most of them exploded in several big balls of colorful glory. Need examples? How about Al's snuffing out of the Reverend, whose mental and physical deterioration had worsened week by week. Or how about Seth's long overdue acceptance of the position of Sheriff, or the fruition of his and Alma's ever-intensifying relationship?

There were so many changes that took place in Deadwood over the course of the season, and yet some things remained as consistent as stone. Seth remained loyal and steadfast throughout, Sol and Dan remained true and loyal allies, and Deadwood kept its status as an unpredictable place full of less-unpredictable happenings.

One of the show's strongest metaphorical roles was played, in my eyes, by little Sophia who started off in a ditch with her entire family mutilated before her eyes and eventually reached a point of stature and importance. As she was growing, learning, and becoming familiar with her surroundings, the Deadwood audience was watching its inhabitants grow, learning how each fit into the grand scheme of the camp, and becoming increasingly more aware of the beautiful chemistry created by such a diverse group of characters.

The most poetic and pertinant metaphor, though, came from Al Swearengen's lips in the final episode. After the doc had proclaimed his plans to "drink in" after hearing of the Reverend's death, Al replied "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh." Whether applied to the course of Deadwood or the fate of its citizens, nothing could be more true. I'm already looking forward to season two.


James on March 03, 2005 at 6:07 AM:

Forgive my long-overdue comment on this, but as I just watched the season finale last night (for the second time), I thought I'd share my feelings, as well.

Deadwood is a terrific show, no doubt about it, and Sold Under Sin is a prime example of why I think so. Unlike some programs, which oversell their character and story arcs, Deadwood has been content to let things simmer, the intensity slowly building. So slowly, in fact, that oftentimes we in the audience didn't even consciously realize what we were seeing until the payoff in the last episode. And that's good writing.

As I mentioned, I watched the finale for the second time last night, and for the second time I actually got a little teary during the final moments, where Jewel and Doc dance and we see the vulnerability on Al's face that reveal his deep love for Trixie. Like you, I can't wait to see what happens next.


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