Television Tuesday :: Deadwood and relationships, part four.

21 Oct

Right now I would like to talk not about individual relationships but about leadership styles, namely the differences between Al’s (Ian McShane) and Cy’s (Powers Boothe).  Becuase that affects how they relate to other characters and to the camp.

The instances of smallpox are a good example of this: Cy’s reaction is to send his sick, Andy (Zach Grenier) into the woods to die, then send another man (Joey [Everette Wallin]) to get a cure without telling him that’s what he’s getting and without informing the rest of the camp.  Al’s reaction is to send for Doc (Brad Dourif) and call a meeting of the town’s influential folks.

Both of them are businessmen, but Cy lets his ego gets away from him.  He wants to be the important person.  Al cements himself as the important person by actually doing things.  And Al is not a sterling kind of guy.  He does a lot of terrible things, that’s not up for debate, but he also builds relationships.  His relationships with Dan (W. Earl Brown) and Johnny (Sean Bridgers) have definite notes of problematic and abusive behavior, but there’s also more loyalty there than he has toward others.  The relationships are developed.  It’s not just a vaguely distrustful business arrangement like Cy’s relationships with all of his people, where he doesn’t trust them and they don’t trust him and nobody gets much done.

Another point: Al and Trixie (Paula Malcomson) versus Cy and Joanie (Kim Dickens).  Both relationships are unhealthy, but the nature of the unhealthiness is different.  While Trixie doesn’t trust Al, Al trusts Trixie more than he will admit, treats her more like an equal than he would be willing to admit; Cy tries to be kind to Joanie but not often enough and instead winds up patronizing her and not treating her like an equal.

The two saloon keepers run very parallel, is the point.  And it’s an interesting study in contrasts.

–your fangirl heroine.

valid optimism

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