Jen the Damned is back at the Gem, coaching one of the other girls on how to treat what I assume to be a yeast infection. There is a crude bottle/tube instrument to be employed, and... well, let's say no more about it. Johnny comes in as the other whore is leaving and says he wants to talk to Jen. Well, she's been around long enough to know what that means, I guess, and hikes up her skirt before starting to bend over a piece of furniture. "No, I mean it, Jen," Johnny says, hurriedly. "I wanna talk." Surreptitiously, he takes the knife from his belt and hides it behind his back. "Pure conversation," he says, putting his arm around her shoulder and turning her to face the wall with him. "Nothing for you to be alarmed about." They stare at the wall together for a moment before Johnny asks her what it is. "A wall?" she answers, as if it's a trick question. Johnny takes a big breath and tries his best to instill a deeper meaning. I wish this keyboard had about fifty extra keys on it that would make it possible for me to phonetically describe what he says and how he says it. He tells her that yes, on the surface, it's a wall. "But inside, many creatures go about their lives, such as ants," he adds. Jen stares in confusion as the lesson continues. "They got a whole operation going," Johnny says of the ants, gripping the knife behind his back, trying to steel himself for what's to come. "They got soldier ants and worker ants and whore ants to fuck the soldiers and the workers, right inside that wall, baby ants. Everyone's got a task to hew to, Jen. You understand me?" When she nods, he realizes he just can't do it. Poor, poor Johnny. "Jesus Christ's fucking sake," he says, nearly breaking down again. "We'll talk about this later." With that, he steps out into the hall where Al is waiting, and emotionally reports that he's not up to the task. Al is not surprised and tells Johnny to give him the knife, then. Johnny's clearly taken leave of his senses, and says no. "Give me," Al growls, his patience at an end, "the fucking knife." Johnny again says no -- "She ain't stole or been quarrelsome or set the bedding afire." All good points, Johnny, but Al's not having it and demands that he get out of the fucking way. "It ain't fair to fuckin' kill her," Johnny pleads and Al looks him dead in the eye. "Since when," he asks, "did that begin entering in?" Johnny understands, finally, that he's not to be reasoned with. Summoning all the courage in his tiny brain, he stands firm. "I won't let you pass, boss," he says, and I nearly burst into tears, because for a split second, Al looks proud. "You're willing to die in her stead?" he asks, incredulous, and Johnny sighs that he will, if he has to, preferring of course that Al handle things differently. Yeah, no kidding. Al, though frustrated, is moved. He strides to Dan and under his breath tells him to make sure that Jen doesn't leave, and to "let Johnny cool down, then knock him the fuck out." Dan asks what's going to happen. "What's gonna happen is," Al sighs, "I'm gonna go look and see if, perchance, I mightn't be the owner of another fucking knife." I pause the Tivo to give Sean Bridgers the slow clap because, if this is indeed the last time we're ever to see these characters, it's heartening to me that Johnny, Deadwood's most realistic Everyman is going out on a strong note. He may not get his way, but for once he's standing on principle.
Episode Report CardAl Lowe: A+ | 1578 USERS: B
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