The previous episode had Creeley saving Seth from a hitman and, at gunpoint, demanding his brother confess to the murders he framed him for. Episode 106, “In Wyoming Fashion,” opens with a flashback to explain how it all went down. That and more below.
Creeley kills his first man.
We already know that Seth and Lew used to tease Creeley with the nickname “Squeeley,” and we got a taste of why with the series’ first flashback to their days together in 1924 Wyoming. Working for their father, the three boys are tasked with getting a local homesteader, Gordon, off the land he and his family settled so the oil companies can come through and drill. Known upon their arrival as the Turner boys, the homesteader refuses to leave, especially after Creeley’s threats weaken once he sees the farmer’s child calling from inside the house. But Seth doesn’t flinch. He cocks his gun and demands the farmer choose his life or the land, and he eventually goes with the former.
Back at home later that evening, Seth lies and tells their pa, Gram Turner, that they did as he said and Creeley stepped up to the plate in getting the farmers up and out, but their father (after feigning pride) beats him to the ground and kicks him senseless for lying, not finishing his job, and for standing up for his “soft-ass brother.” Pa then demands Creeley join him for a ride after supper, and they return to the homesteader’s property. From afar, they shoot the farmer’s friends and defenders dead off the porch then rush Gordon into the house. At Gram’s behest, Creeley cocks his gun, puts his emotions aside, and shoots Gordon dead. It’s a full transformation from Squeeley to Steely. Later, we see Creeley sitting beside his bloodied and bruised brother and cutting a hash mark into his side. It seems as if this developed as a self-punishment for his softness.
Creeley ends up behind bars.
Though last week ended with Creeley having the upper hand over Seth, Lew comes in this week in the knick of time and forces the strikebreaker to surrender his gun. Together, Lew and Seth must knock him unconscious because he awakes the next morning bootless and in the chicken coop. (Lew and Seth also took care of the hitman, Studs, tying him up and shooting him dead before getting any real information out of him.) He rushes back to the brothel to find Bessie, and is in a straight panic, saying that he needs the banks to foreclose on the farms or it will be his neck. “Tell me what’s going on,” Bessie demands, “because I’m the only person who cares whether you live or die.” He takes pause before telling her that Seth framed him for murder in Colton Creek seven years ago, and now he lives by the wish and whim of Martin Eggers Hyde after being bailed out of jail and put to work as a strikebreaker. Bessie says that his “damn brother” needs to clear his name. “But first I have to stop this farmers’ strike,” Creeley says, and he leaves the brothel... just to be apprehended by Sheriff Berryman and two armed patrolmen.
He’s arrested and thrown in jail alongside Sam Riley Jr. for putting the corpse on the Ferris wheel (the carnival worker ratted him out for the bribe). From his cell, Creeley successfully plants the idea in the Sheriff’s head that there are more bodies dead by the hands of Seth buried around his church.
Berryman gets nervous for his job.
Rewinding a moment to the night of the carnival, Berryman is shown very unsuccessfully quelling the concerns of the agitated crowd surrounding the Ferris wheel and the unidentified corpse. That’s when food grocer Melvin Stubbs steps up to the plate and throws his hat into the ring to run for Sheriff of Holden County. Berryman has a feeling that someone has put Stubbs up to this and calls in Rumple just as he’s about to get out of dodge. Rumple, visibly shaken, says that he has no choice but to leave town; the strikebreaker is demanding he foreclose on all the farms, for which the farmers would surely have him dead. Berryman sets those concerns aside for the time being, however, saying that if the DuBois family really wants to have a stake in Holden, they can start by funding his reelection campaign. The fact that the DuBois family are the real benefactors behind Martin Eggers Hyde is news to him: “I need to do more than get out of town. I need to sprint.”
Berryman finds bodies under Seth’s church, but blames someone else.
So Creeley’s plan worked... somewhat. He convinced Berryman to go searching for anything amiss in, around, and under Seth’s church, and he finds it. Arriving just after Seth’s farmer congregation has announced the bank’s plan to foreclose on all their farms, Berryman makes a grand speech and mocks the town’s previous preacher while knocking around the floorboards to see if anything is loose. Sure enough, he comes upon what he’s looking for. “If you can really call down miracles, Preacher, now is probably the time.” While it looks like it could be the end for Seth and Amelia’s work in Holden, Amelia is thinking one step ahead, convincing him to give them until tomorrow to find the true culprit of the crime by saying that he’ll need the farmers’ vote to beat Stubbs.
The next day, Berryman arrives to the Davenport residence to find Amelia sitting there with Studs’ dead body on the floor. She claims that he entered and tried to kill her and she had to shoot him dead. With the three ID cards of the dead Chicago men sitting on top of the body, she poses that he may be responsible for all the killings. While it’s clear to Berryman that this man was knocked out some time ago and tied up at the wrist before being shot dead, he plays along with Amelia’s story with the promise that their relationship could be mutually beneficial. They exit the Davenport home together to find DL Sullivan at the ready with camera and notepad, and they relate a story of how Berryman and his deputy were on their way to the Davenport’s for a hot meal, but when he arrived, he found the killer accosting Amelia, shot him dead, and found the missing persons’ IDs. So everyone wins: an arrest for the killings was made, and Amelia (who’s beloved by the farmers) was saved by the Sheriff. The vote is as good as his.
Seth and Lew go to extremes to save the foreclosed farms.
While Berryman is paying Amelia a visit, Seth and Lew know from their seasoned days of crime that that’s the best time to rob the Holden bank since the Sheriff’s department would be empty. And that’s just what they do, with the intention of giving the money back to the farmers so they can buy out their foreclosed property. A gunpoint hold-up ensues with hostages, a damsel who swoons for Lew, and dynamite to blow up the state-of-the-art vault. It’s a classically rousing western showdown. And they pull it off! Both Lew and Seth make it out alive by episode’s end, a sack of money in-hand and Creeley watching them from behind his bars, fuming. Also inside the vault, Seth finds permits for factories to come build on the land, which has been getting bought up by an out-of-town buyer. We imagine that will have a hand in future episodes.
- Seth’s congregation seems to get increasingly suspicious of his practice but still supportive of his mission. Here it’s seen in Martha when she’s tasked with tending to Lew’s bullet wound; she knows he’s not a real preacher because he’s not howling in pain. It’s also seen in Preston Riley’s brief moment of drunken recognition in the bank while Seth, a bandana over his face, demands him to the back of the room.
- Seth is beginning to want to leave Holden behind, but Amelia is adamant that they should stay. “We’ve never gotten this far in any other town,” she insists, but Seth is worried it’s coming at too high a cost. Amelia also alludes to prior tragedy that may have inspired her current profession: someone named Sal and events that took place in Arkansas. Perhaps keep that in the back of your mind…
- Bessie reveals her true identity to Creeley, saying that she’s Berryman’s “dirty little secret,” and if he needs to use that information against her father as leverage for his cause, he has her permission. He then gives Bessie a silver locket that belonged to his mother and asks that she hang onto it until he’s out of jail; he speaks of simpler times when he wanted to be a schoolteacher. It’s the softest we’ve seen present-day Creeley let himself become since his arrival to Holden. Bessie has that effect on him.
- Creeley is later let out of his cell, but before he can get his locket back, he’s picked up at the brothel by Eggers Hyde. He’s simply told it’s a lovely day for a ride and gets in the car, as ordered. The episode ends as he gets in and looks back at Bessie as he’s driven off the premises.