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Synopsis

Directed by: Gregg Fienberg
Written by: Bryan McDonald

A new day in Deadwood, but the air is far from fresh, and Al Swearengen wrinkles his nose at the stench of smoke from across town. As Lee stares on impassively, the bodies of dead Chinese whores are burned unceremoniously, and Wu is apoplectic at the sight. Stomping, spitting and cursing, he assails Lee, but a henchman knocks him to the ground without effort.

Bullock is at work on a coffin for William, and Al is delicate about approaching him. Offering condolences, he asks if he could walk beside him, at a distance of "twenty paces or so." Yankton's man is among them, Swearengen reports, and Al is hoping Bullock will maintain the impression that he and Bullock are allied. The sheriff moves as if in a daze, but nods in agreement.

Mose Manuel still draws breath, nursed by Jane at Joanie's place. Appearing more sober than she has in a while, Jane cusses out the sleeping Leon and Stapleton and sends them off to tell Doc "he's got a live one."

With a combination of pictographs and coarse communications, Wu solicits Al's help against the "San Francisco c**ksucker" Lee. Wu indicates to Swearengen that the bones of the dead girls must be returned to China; it is a spiritual matter. Al is brusque with his old ally and sends him back to the Alley. Drinking afterward with Adams, Dority and Burns, Al queries them on strategy. Johnny volunteers that "Hearst is backing the other Chink," but Al muses that backing a loser against Hearst and letting him "pick me up from the canvas after," might not be the worst thing. At the end, however, Swearengen's decision is more visceral. "Hearst's chink bossing that alley ain't to my f**king taste."

Trixie visits Alma and, in her own way, apologizes for butting into the widow's affairs with Ellsworth. She also spends time with Sofia, who has been nearly silent since William's accident.

Preparations continue at the Bullock house, and Martha has packed her things. Seth tells her that he had hoped she wouldn't make a decision in the throes of such a terrible day. But Martha says she can't bear to stay. They receive a visit from Andy Cramed, and the funeral plans are made; the service will be brief and largely private.

At the Bella Union, Jarry wants Tolliver to cash a $50,000 check intended to bribe Cy's main rival. Although he is offended, Tolliver realizes that there are advantages to cooperation.

The Gem whores are wailing and despondent over the tragedy that has befallen the town, and Trixie asks Al if they can attend William's memorial. "I won't object," Al says. "But it's yours to keep them she-apes from disgracing me." As to the idea that Swearengen himself might want to attend, Al is appalled. "What the f**k would I want to go there for?"

At the Chez Amis, a landmark event is taking place as Calamity Jane opts for a bath-something she seems not at all comfortable with.

Sol is distressed that Trixie has again found her way back to Al, and she explains that a lifetime of habit is hard to change. But, she says, she is willing to learn another way.

Jarry pays a visit to the suddenly mournful Swearengen and Adams, and the magistrate apologizes perfunctorily about "the sad day on which commerce must intrude." Al feigns indignation, and refuses to conduct business on the "day of his godson's passing." Jarry senses that Al is negotiating and insists on an opportunity to counteroffer, but Al insists that a new offer must be no richer than the current one. "What a type you must pass with that you do not fear a beating for such an insult," he says. Jarry leaves with the message clear: he is to suggest a counter-offer, but one not involving money.

Tolliver accuses Andy Cramed of running a dice game in his territory and warns him that he will nail him to a tree if his reformation turns out to be a con. Nearby, Swearengen calls Lee into his office and insultingly tells him that there will be no body-burning or violence while the grieving goes on in town.

Wolcott offers to buy Grand Central from Farnum, who is so overwrought by the idea he begins to hyperventilate. "C**ksuckers!" he wheezes. "Think they can take away everything."

As Trixie tries to make the whores presentable for the service, Alma talks to Sophia about how she has lived with things she thought she couldn't live with and asks the girl to share her sadness with her. "I know we are as much in the world in our pain as in our happiness," she says.

Very nearly the entire town of Deadwood gathers outside the Bullock house for the service, and Cramed does his best, droning through Psalms. The awfulness of the words overwhelms Martha, and she rushes back to the house to look at her boy, in his coffin, another time. Returning to the memorial she tells Bullock to let the people come and say goodbye to William.

The townspeople file through, and Dority and Burns return to Al to let him know that the whores will be awhile. Swearengen tells the crew to grab Wu and put him on ice.

Ever gentle, Ellsworth carries Sofia up the stairs of the Grand Central, and Alma takes to opportunity to tell him that the answer is "yes, to that question you've asked me."

At the Bella Union, Tolliver baits Wolcott, telling him that he has a strange look on his face, a look reminiscent of Wolcott's murder spree at the Chez Amis. Wolcott accuses Tolliver of being desperate over losing power. "What I do in a situation like that, instead of murdering helpless women," says Cy, "is I get on my hind legs and fight."

Seth Bullock carries coffin with Al Swearengen behind

23: The Whores Can Come

Season 2

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Photos Seth Bullock and Martha Bullock

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