Roush Review: ‘Deadwood: The Movie’ & ‘Luther’ Season 5

deadwood luther split
HBO & Des Willie/BBCAmerica

O ye of little bleeping faith who doubted we’d ever see a final chapter of Deadwood.

It’s somehow been 13 years since David Milch’s profane Western masterpiece abruptly ended, and while telephone poles signal progress in this South Dakota backwater awaiting statehood in 1889, the old depraved behaviors continue to rule. (Yes, pigs continue to be well fed on corpses.)

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From Sarah Paulson and Titus Welliver to Kim Dickens.

And the language! Milch’s gift for raw frontier poetry, with Shakespearean soliloquies filtered through X-rated doggerel, is as entertaining as ever in a violent yet appropriately elegiac (and oh-so-satisfying) two-hour farewell. Deadwood’s Machiavellian antihero, Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), may be “half a stride short of fully fit” as he defies doctor’s orders by drinking himself into an early grave, but even a diminished Al exerts a mighty influence.

He’s the Don Corleone of this bloody, muddy yarn, providing counsel to friend and former foe alike when noble sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) makes a stand against the murderously corrupt prospector-turned-politician George Hearst (Gerald McRaney).

(Credit: Warrick Page/HBO)

No single movie can do full justice to this series’ astounding bounty of terrific actors and colorful characters, but I’ll single out Robin Weigert’s spectacularly earthy Calamity Jane, pining for local hostess Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens) while continuing to grieve for her beloved Wild Bill Hickok. Consider her a soul sister to Game of Thrones fierce warrior Brienne of Tarth.

I bet Jane would get a kick out of Luther, too. We’ve only had to wait four years between seasons of BBC America’s relentlessly brutal crime drama, starring the electrifying Idris Elba as rugged, gruff London detective John Luther.

He keeps on ticking after so many lickings, he must have Timex in his DNA. Luther’s got plenty of demons, but also a devil on his shoulder, as alluring psychopath Alice Morgan (The Affairs sly Ruth Wilson) reenters his life.

(Credit: Des Willie/BBCAmerica)

Alice’s vendetta against an equally lethal gangster keeps distracting poor Luther from a lurid case involving a fetishistic serial killer. It’s all a bit much, but if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be Luther.

Deadwood: The Movie, Premiere, Friday, May 31, 8/7c, HBO

Luther, Season 5 Premiere, Sunday, June 2, 8/7c, BBC America