What an intriguing, frustrating show this is. I want to give it the same kind of deep analysis that "Sopranos," "Deadwood" and "The Wire" merit, and yet I can barely make heads or tails of it at times. There's obviously something about it that's compelling me to keep watching (and it's not just loyalty to Milch, as "Big Apple" lost me around here), yet I'm hard-pressed to explain why I'm watching, or what the hell this show is about.
In fact, I'm so flummoxed by the damn thing that I feel the need to go straight to the bullet-points, rather than attempting any kind of rigorous analysis. Maybe I'll be more in the flow in a few episodes time, but for now let's take it piecemeal:
- I'm not sure which irritates me more: the Luke Perry/Emily Rose long con that no one can be bothered to explain (shades of Wyatt Earp's "brilliant plan" that Milch never got around to telling us about on "Deadwood"), or the incoherent goings-on at the motel that lent this post its subject line. I don't know whether the motel stuff would be more or less appealing if the characters used plain English instead of Milchspeak; I have a sneaking feeling that the only vaguely interesting thing about Luis Guzman and company here is that they're hard to follow.
- And the extended "Deadwood" reunion continues. Last week gave us Jim "Ellsworth" Beaver as Vietnam Joe and, of course, Austin "Morgan Earp" Nichols as John. This week we have Dayton "Charlie Utter" Callie nearly unrecognizable as Steady Freddy, Butchie's Hawaii-based drug dealer; and Garret "Jack McCall/Francis Wolcott" Dillahunt as Dr. Smith, who's going to have a whole lot of 'splaining to do after he discovers what Zippy did to Shaun. Not that I expect "John" to get a second season, but it would be amusing, in an in-jokey way, for Dillahunt to come back as a new character sporting a new hairstyle (maybe one of Butchie's junkie pals?).
- Speaking of Zippy, is it coincidence that the bird can resurrect both itself and others at the same time that John and his magic pockets have arrived, or are the two phenomena related? Between the resurrection stuff and Cissy telling Dr. Smith that he'd get to crucify Shaun with more tests, this week would seem to put John's identity more in the Jesus column than the space alien column.
- Cissy and Mitch are, on paper, the main characters of this show (John's more of an inciting incident in human form than he is a character), yet it wasn't until their fight in the hospital that I really felt like I understood them, or like they were that important.