The most recent episode of the Watt O’Hugh radio drama, which dropped last night, sees the 19th-century gunman and dime novel hero finding his way in the Wyoming Territorial Prison, and wondering, can any prison really hold the famous, heroic Watt O’Hugh the Third?” before answering his own question, drily: “It sure looks like it!”
The prison, it turns out, is a hotbed of insurrection, filled with followers of a utopian movement known as Sidonism, based on a starry-eyed worship of an impossible settlement in a Montana valley, a place, as one old grizzled miner tells Watt, “where my old joints still work, where my head don’t throb day-in and day-out, where the weather is always temperate.”
And everyone is above average!
“It’s either Heaven on Earth,” Watt observes. “Or not.”
This episode, which was produced by Danielle Wu, also introduces us to “deadlings,” which are kind of like “zombies,” but not actually zombies, as Watt’s cellmate Billy Golden tells him, confusingly. Billy Golden, incidentally, is kind of like Bobby Darin (and, as a matter of fact, probably is Bobby Darin).
This episode also offered tantalizing hints about the identity of the very unfortunately named Master Yu Dai-Yung, whom Watt, played by Sal Rendino, has not met, but who he suspects will play a significant role in his life, sometime in the indefinite future. Meanwhile, Emelina, whom Watt hired to play a starring role in what he incorrectly thought would be a record-breaking Wild West Show, is tracking him from her room at a Manhattan house-of-ill-repute, using some kind of not-yet-defined black magic, a sort of wizardly 19th-century version internet.
Then, of course, there’s the attempted jailbreak.