Lawmen: Bass Reeves, in the previous episode, made us privy to the heavy conscience of our Deputy Marshal and how doubt clouded his mind after he had a conversation with Esau Pierce. The gang members of the fugitive, Jim Webb, attacked Reeves, and he was lucky that Billy came at the right time and saved his life. Reeves’ wife started feeling distant from him, and she told him that every time he came back from a mission, she felt that the rift between them widened. Bass knew that if he kept on going like he was, there would come a time when his children wouldn’t even recognize him. People told him to take time off and spend some time with his family, but Bass didn’t listen to them. He had reached a phase in his life where he had started feeling directionless. He was questioning his own motives, and he was trying to decipher if he was delusional enough to believe up until then that he was the flagbearer of justice. At the end of the previous episode, it was revealed that Esau Pierce was Mr. Sundown, the infamous slave catcher, and it made Bass Reeves even more confused about the current state of things. So, let’s find out if our protagonist is able to get over his guilt or not.
What was going on in Bass’ mind?
Esau told Bass that they were alike in a lot of ways, even if the latter didn’t agree to it. Esau said that under the pretext of duty, Bass also killed a lot of people, and that made Bass rethink the kind of man he was. After he took the position of deputy marshal, all he cared about was catching the fugitives and maintaining law and order in society. He knew he had blood on his hands, but he never, until that moment, felt like a murderer. But he just couldn’t get over what Esau told him and, moreover, the conviction with which he did that. After the death of Curtis, Bass thought that if he ever crossed paths with Esau Pierce, he wouldn’t leave him, but when the man came in front of him, he didn’t know what to do. Esau told him that the look in Bass’ eyes told him that he was going to come after him, but the latter did no such thing. He handed over Jackson Cole to Esau Pierce and left the scene. There was a lot of contemplation happening inside Bass’ mind, and he was seeking answers to the questions that haunted him. Bass still couldn’t make up his mind if he wanted to go after Esau Pierce or if he wanted to forget about the altercation altogether. With a convoluted mindset, Bass Reeves embarked on yet another mission, hoping to lessen the burden of guilt on his shoulders.
Why did Bass shoot Willy Leach?
Bass was given the order to catch a criminal named Moody O’Neil, and he was quite taken aback when he realized that she was an old woman who was waiting for the law enforcement authorities to come to arrest her. Mrs. O’Neil had resigned to her fate, and she told Bass that she was not going to cause any sort of trouble for him. That old woman reminded Bass of Jackson Cole, and the burden on his shoulder suddenly started feeling heavier. The old woman had no qualms about murdering whoever she had, and it felt like she had done it out of necessity to free herself from the shackles. Bass didn’t know if he was doing the right thing by arresting her; he didn’t know if he was going to go to heaven or hell, but he knew that justice came at a cost, and he was ready to pay it.
Earlier in Lawmen: Bass Reeves episode 7, Billy introduced Bass to a man named Willy Leach, who was an exceptional cook. Bass hired him for the position as he always craved good food while on a journey, but it turned out that the cook had a stronger conscience as compared to Bass. After arresting Moody, they all took a halt somewhere midway, and Willy released Moody and let her escape. When Bass found out about it, he was infuriated. He called Willy a coward, but the man retaliated by saying that it was Bass who lost his moral sense since he was putting a white man’s noose around a black woman. Bass was not thinking straight, and he was getting visions from the time when Curtis was killed by Esau Reeves in front of his eyes, and he couldn’t do anything about it. The argument got heated, and Bass shot Willy, who died on the spot.
In Lawmen: Bass Reeves episode 7, the Deputy Marshal had a conversation with Judge Parker, who wanted to know about what he thought about his own actions and if he wanted to take any sort of defense. Bass Reeves told Judge Parker that it was not an easy job to maintain law and order, and at times, hard decisions had to be made so that justice would prevail. Judge Parker found Bass Reeves not guilty and acquitted him of the charge of murdering Willy Leach.
Will Bass take revenge on Esau Pierce?
Sally decided to run away from her house, as she probably wanted to start afresh with Arthur. She left a note for her parents, and in the subsequent episodes, they would get to know where she went and if, apart from being with Arthur, there was any other reason that made her take that decision. We saw that even after having a deputy marshal in their own house, Jennie worried about the safety of her family and she told her daughter that she had done the wrong thing by snapping at the white girl at the carnival. Jennie knew that they could harbor all sorts of delusions, but a black person had to be subdued in order to survive. They were no longer slaves, but the fear was still there, and we saw it in their eyes when someone burned their scarecrow down.
During the ending of Lawmen: Bass Reeves, we saw that the Deputy Marshal, after getting acquitted, resolved to hunt down Esau Pierce and avenge the death of Curtis. He told Jennie before leaving that when he was on the run back in the day, there was a boy named Curtis whom he loved like his own son. He told her that Curtis was murdered by Esau Pierce in cold blood and things were never the same after that. It would be interesting to see where Bass’ vengeance leads him and if he is able to achieve what he set out for.