Al knows when he's been beaten. "Yeah, right," he says, taking up his box and heading back to the Gem, "let me get this address put on..." Walkin' away, he makes a quiet aside to his silent partner: "Every fracas ain't a victory, chief."
Now, you know the man just wants a little quiet time with his...severed Indian head in a box...is that too much to ask? I guess so, because E.B., seeing him in the thoroughfare, nearly knocks himself out rushing over to kiss his ass. These two don't have to mince words, and E.B. gets right to it. "Why, Al?" he asks. "Why, E.B.?" the boss answers. "Because bein' present at that meetin', and made as you are, blackmail would have proved irresistible, and pursuin' it, would have gotten you murdered." E.B.: "Thank you, then! Am I still the mayor?" Al: "For all of me, in perpetuity!" E.B. smiles. He just wants to be included, you know?
I am liking the way this episode was directed, by the way. It's less scene/scene/scene than usual. In most instances this week, a character will pull through two adjacent scenes, giving a sense of continual arc that we don't get every week. For example, Al now leaves E.B. in the street and walks into the Gem to be greeted by Johnny: "Full fuckin' day, eh boss?" Al says every day is a full fuckin' day. "Still got that package, I see," Johnny says. "Nothing gets by you, Johnny," Al answers, but not quite as mean as usual. Despite being rebuffed by Charlie, Al is really enjoying his night. Dan is there, and tells Al he'll be heading to Cheyenne tomorrow to round up that "muscle" Al wanted. "Don't think that's the idea, anymore, Dan," Al tells him, to Dan's obvious surprise. "What happened to Tolliver," Al explains, "illustrated 'til it's fuckin' finished, never mark the fuckin' wager paid." Dan doesn't follow, and Al is only too happy to explain. Cy woke up this morning, Al says, all mobbed up with these Hearst people, thinking he had Al and his crew "by the balls" and assuming he would soon gain power in the camp. "Whatever sick fuckin' business that geologist has transacted," he continues, "you can bet [Cy] had his wrists in it, before, after and in the fuckin' middle, too." There is true beauty, here, watching Johnny and Dan try to figure out what Al is talking about.
"Underwriting whatever sick business that fucking geologist was involved in," Al goes on, "guarantees [Cy's] fuckin' position... but what fuckin' happens, Dan?" Dan's eyes get big and he takes a crack at it: "Fucks himself up the ass, Tolliver." Al raises his glass to this correct answer: "No mean feat. Yet, how often we bring it off." Johnny also looks terrified, listening to Al -- he's just trying to hang on and understand all these words. I feel you, Johnny. And Al's still not finished. Al says the person who impressed him the most at the meeting today was Bullock, who avoided putting his pet interests ("innocence, so forth, guilt, fuckin' who did what to fuckin' who") above the needs of the camp. "It shows fuckin' progress," Al says, nodding and throwing back another shot or two. "Anyway," he says, picking up his package once again, "that's why Cheyenne's cancelled." Dan, at this point thoroughly confused, says, "I...I figured as much."