Review by Andrew Bloom

Deadwood: Season 1

1x04 Here Was a Man

7.3/10. A character study on Wild Bill, showing just how hollowed out he is by all of his fame and withered fortunes over the years makes this the best episode of Deadwood yet. I have to admit, it's hard for me to see Keith Carradine as anyone but Lundy from Dexter, which hinders my immersion a bit, but this episode in particular, Carradine brought the combined genteel qualities and world-weariness of Hickok to life in impressive fashion. It's a nice swan song for the character, between his respectful heart-to-heart with Bullock, to his means of helping Alma to the kind of dead-eyed decency he sleepwalks through til the end. There's something [Spoilers for The Wire] Omar-esque about how he goes out, with this living legend being taken out not by the machinations of some grand chessmaster or another sporting rival but by some punk with a gun and a grudge.

That said, I still find the proceedings a little slow and hard to get into, even if this was one of the better turns the show's had so far. Alma isn't particularly compelling to me, and the whole conflict over her deceased husband's claim feels somewhat stretched out and overexplained. Similarly, the diseased guy wandering into the high class saloon across the street will surely be going somewhere (maybe a way for Swearingen to scare away business from his new competitor?) but seemed like kind of an odd inclusion for the time being.

Still, the Hickok stuff carries the day well enough, and I tend to go in for these episodes that are basically character studies. Sorry that Carradine won't be plying his trade for longer on the show.

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