Rob Henderson joins me to talk about Season 3 of Deadwood.
Rob and I decided to not do any research on the real life story of Deadwood or the making of the series until we finished all three seasons and the movie. So here we debate whether the Season 3 finale was meant to be the end, or there were loose threads that were meant to be picked up in Season 4.
I bring up the question of whether we should care about the survival of the town of Deadwood from the outside looking in. Objectively speaking, it’s a place that is controlled by criminal elements, filled with drunk men who brawl with and shoot at each other, and where family life barely exists. Nonetheless, the viewer does care about the survival of Deadwood against outside forces, for fundamentally conservative reasons. We sympathize with the residents because we’ve come to know them.
Once again, the theme of the show this season reflects mid-2000s liberalism. Degrees of racism or sexism aren’t what separate the good characters from the bad ones. Rather, the message is that too much concentrated capital is the enemy, reflecting normie Hollywood values of the time.
The series does an excellent job of showing complex, flawed individuals. Unlike most period pieces we might see today, the characters are unapologetically products of their time, and their shortcoming are taken on their own terms, not used to lecture the modern viewer. The fact that Deadwood ended after just three seasons makes me already look back on the show like I would a friend who was taken before his time.
Listen here or watch the video on YouTube.