The Pinkertons Episode 5: The Hero of Liberty Gap

Memories of the US Civil War have always haunted this show. Remember how the opening story was about a band of lethally disgruntled Southern veterans looking for revenge against Northern soldiers?

The Pinkertons Episode 5

Well, this episode was also rooted in the Civil War, although these new villains weren't spurred by any particular ideology. They were just scumbags greedy for cash and power.

It kicked off with Will being hired as the bodyguard of Captain Buckner, a self-proclaimed Civil War hero now running for mayor of Kansas City. His enemies were very apparent - one angry Southern veteran tried to shoot him dead at a rally.

But things soon became much murkier than expected (this is The Pinkertons after all). Closer inspection showed that the gun hadn't actually fired a bullet - it had just been rigged with gunpowder to look like it had. In other words, the would-be assassin had been given a dud weapon.

Meanwhile, Will had more problems to deal with when Captain Buckner, the man he was supposed to be watching like a hawk, was violently abducted from his hotel room. Not exactly a great advertisement for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and Will was desperate to redeem himself (and appease a very angry Allan Pinkerton) by getting Buckner back. But was Buckner's kidnapper the same person who'd given the redneck the dud gun? And if so, why?

This is where things got really twisty, even by the standards of this show. It turned out the two sub-plots weren't actually related at all. The dud gun was the idea of an ambitious newspaper journalist who wanted to create a big story (Assassination Attempt on Mayoral Candidate!). He had nothing to do with Buckner's kidnapping. In fact, nobody did... except Buckner.

The real twist was that a certain Mr Pierce was onto Buckner's scheme, and hatched his own plan to find Buckner's hideaway and kidnap him for real.

Yes, Buckner had staged his own abduction. Who saw this coming? Probably quite a lot of you, to be honest, because this particular twist was rather obviously telegraphed from the beginning. After all, Buckner was already being painted as a bit of a sleazeball politician, so it didn't come as much of a surprise that his plan was to go missing and then make a triumphant return to boast about fleeing his dastardly captors and drum up enough sympathy to win the election.

The real twist was that a certain Mr Pierce was onto Buckner's scheme, and hatched his own plan to find Buckner's hideaway and kidnap him for real. Why? Because if Buckner won the election, it would have ruined one of Pierce's business interests.

Pierce proved a wily adversary, even managing to take Will captive as well. It's here that we saw the full extent of Will's cocky fearlessness: even when Pierce was preparing to execute him, Will was happily making quips and smirking in the very face of death. Realistic? Probably not, but pretty darn cool. Anyway, Kate and Allan rode in to save the day. They make a good team, those two.

DID YOU SPOT?

  • The Pinkertons is proving to be a good crash course in 19th Century slang. We now know that "I don't chew my cabbage twice" was a Wild West way of saying "I refuse to repeat myself".
  • Allan came back! Newly clean-shaven, which we didn't expect. Plus he brought some haggis for his son. See, he can be nice to Will sometimes.
  • Kate spent some of the episode posing as a prudish anti-alcohol crusader, and then as a member of the early Ku Klux Klan. It's a glamorous life, being a Pinkerton.
  • Having violently elbowed Will in the face a few episodes back, Kate almost shot Allan in the head in this one. This is a lady who knows how to impress her colleagues.