Directed by: Dan Attias
Written by: David Milch and Regina Corrado
Swearengen spends a sleepless night as a drunk wanders the deserted streets. "I am not the fine man you take me for," shouts the man as he climbs the hustings and proclaims his sorry lot - then topples to his death.
Preparing for the day, Martha and Seth Bullock discuss whether the speeches will take place that night. He teases her about her tea, admitting he actually likes his "unusually strong." The teasing is sexually charged. "It's an easy thing to fix," she replies.
Doc warns Alma that she needs surgery if she wants to avoid a miscarriage. Ellsworth is frightened for her, having lost his first wife and child in similar complications. Alma acquiesces and she and the doctor make their preparations.
At the Gem, Dority bristles against Swearengen's strategy with Hearst. Dority wants to strike first, he doesn't like change. "Change don't come looking for friends," says Al. Turner delivers Swearengen an envelope from Hearst. Inside is a cryptic diagram of X's and lines.
Tolliver quizzes Joanie on why the speeches were cancelled. He tells her the bible brings him peace: "Getting gut-stabbed by a minister of God will bring you to examine your path." She confesses to putting a gun to her head the day before. Tolliver urges her to come back and work at the Bella Union, she's turning away from her "gift and training." "When you speak, I feel like it's the devil talking," she replies, rankling Cy. Stapleton busts in with news that Lila's in a bad way. Joanie rushes to her rescue, taking her to Shaunessey's to get through her withdrawal.
Jane's all swagger as she brags to Mose she slept inside the Chez Ami the night before. She elicits his help in lugging water for a tub. As she bathes in the empty school room, Mose asks can he listen when she tells her story to the children. "From outside, at your post near the shitter," she accedes.
After poring over Hearst's diagram, Swearengen proposes an interpretation: the X's are murderers and the lines are the door and bar of the Gem. Al sends Adams off to sell his home to "the Jew" while he prepares Dority and Burns for the ambush.
Richardson tends to Farnum's wounds while E.B. vows not to mince words in his speech. "Bullock should be murdered! Thank you very much!" he recites.
On the morning walk to school, Sofia runs to join Mr. and Mrs. Bullock so Ellsworth may return to Alma. "My mother's sick" reports Sofia. Seth takes notice.
At the Gem, two of the men who murdered the Cornishman the day before show up with others and deploy themselves in the foretold pattern of X's. Before they can stage their argument, Swearengen slits one man's throat. "Debates are on for tonight," Swearengen announces. Deputy Utter, walking in as the man goes down, turns and leaves, "I'll drink after I've et."
Prior to her surgery, Alma recites her last wishes to Ellsworth and Trixie. When she makes it clear that Sofia should inherit her properties, and Bullock is to remain guardian of those properties, Ellsworth, wounded, insists he fetch Bullock to accept.
Jane stands before the children to tell her story about being an Indian scout for Custer. Nervous at first, she soon warms to her audience, and they to her.
"Uh oh" says Richardson, reporting to Farnum that Sheriff Bullock and Utter and Hearst have arrived (apart) at the buffet. E.B. is nonplussed. Bullock and Utter start to untangle the latest murder mystery at the Gem but Bullock is called away by Ellsworth to Alma's bedside. She wants Sofia's interests protected and fears Hearst would go after Ellsworth and Sofia if her first husband's family were to challenge the girl's title in court. "I understand," agrees Bullock. "I regret nothing," she says as he takes his leave. Alma asks Ellsworth to remind Sofia the full moon is in two days. "We three will watch it together," she promises. Outside the window, Sol calls out to Trixie that he bought the house - but vows no pressure to move in together.
Dority and Burns clean up the blood bath at the Gem as Dority explains the intrigue to Burns, who's still having trouble following. Meanwhile, Adams complains he feels shunted aside having missed the murders at the Gem while he was signing papers with Sol. Al assures him he's not shutting him out. Turner arrives with another envelope. Al opens the message: "Come watch the speeches with me on my veranda." Al, Dority, Burns and Adams head to the street to see workers at the Grand Central busting a hole through the top floor wall onto the roof below- Hearst's new veranda.
Al confronts Merrick on publishing news of the morning's gunfire when he wanted it kept quiet. "Has the press not a duty, Merrick, qualifying its accounts in time of war?" He urges Merrick to publish an extra edition that the speeches are on again that night.
Bullock asks Charlie Utter if he'd stand watch outside Alma's place while he gives his speech that night. After Alma goes under, Trixie and Doc argue as they see to her. "When you've done with hers Doc, why don't you f**king kiss mine?"
Martha stays with Sofia while Bullock delivers his speech. "And we'll both pray for Mrs. Ellsworth," Martha assures him.
Tolliver is tormented by Joanie's calling him the devil as he hugs his bible to his chest. Stapleton announces, "Andy Cramed that stabbed you" is arrived. When the Reverend comes in, Cy feigns an invalid's restless fever dreams. Cramed asks for forgiveness but Cy prostrates himself, insisting "I denied you'd been called - treated you like the sh**back f**king operator you used to be." He rises up, feeling the strength of spirits moving through him, a shaking gun in his hand. Leon interrupts and Cy orders him to his knees to beg for the Lord's forgiveness. Unnerved by the drama, Cramed makes his escape and Cy's salvation abruptly ends with his departure: "Get the f**k up Leon."
Swearengen heads to the Grand Central to watch the speeches with Hearst, leaving Dority, Burns and Adams to watch over Al from the Gem balcony.
Waiting on word of Alma's surgery, Utter consoles Joanie, who confides her poor feelings about herself. He asks her if she liked Wild Bill the one night they met. "I thought he was a gentleman," she says. Utter agrees and yet reveals, "Bill thought of his old self as you do." He urges her not to judge herself, but to give credit to the good opinions others have of her.
As Hearst and Swearengen watch the speeches, Hearst lays bare his intentions - he sacrificed men at the Gem today "to show the virtue of consolidating purposes." But Swearengen doesn't agree. "Purposes butt up against each other, and the strong call 'consolidating' the bending of the weak to their will." Turner escorts Al inside for further discussion. As Turner beats Al, Hearst insists he will acquire Alma's claim and demands his help. When Al refuses, Turner knocks him out.
The nervous candidates stumble through their speeches, largely ignored by the crowd. As Bullock gets a thumbs up from Utter on Alma's surgery, Al emerges from the Grand Central, straining to stay upright. Bullock offers to go after Hearst. But Swearengen refuses, leaning on Bullock to make his way home on his own two feet - as Hearst surveys his domain from his veranda.