‘Manhunt’ Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: How Did Jefferson Davis’ Arrest Help The Case?


The cat-and-mouse chase finally came to an end in the penultimate episode of Apple TV’s Manhunt. After planning the elaborate hunt for John Wilkes Booth, Edwin Stanton fell sick during the most crucial phase of the chase. Meanwhile, David lost hope of survival, seeing how delusional Booth had become. While at one point David looked up to his hopeful words and dreams, as the end came near, he realized how unreal their expectations were. Richmond was Booth’s mirage, and all he knew was that his life would change the minute he got there. Booth never stopped dreaming about the love and fame he would eventually receive, refusing to accept that death was at his doorstep.

Spoiler Alert

Is Booth shot dead?

Booth begged Garrett’s daughter, Julia, to allow him to spend the night at her house but she refused. As much as Julia admired Booth, she was not ready to have her honor questioned by her father, who was not in town. Booth was tired, and the pain from his broken leg became unbearable. While David suggested they leave, Booth did not wish to spend another night in the open. He was hopeful that after Julia’s father returned home, they would be allowed to ride their horses. From his conversation with Julia, Booth concluded that the Garretts were Confederate supporters and that they would happily help the man who assassinated Lincoln. Julia offered them to spend the night at the barn, and Booth agreed to it. David suspected Julia’s intentions. He had not seen a stable on the farm, and he doubted that there was one. David feared Julia would hand them over and claim the reward, but Booth refused to accept it. He was convinced that Julia was a supporter, and even if she tried to be clever, he was experienced enough to find his way out of the barn.

With the Civil War coming to an end, Booth already knew that the risk did not change the fate of the Confederacy. It was all over, and the minute he was found, he would be killed. It was obvious that there was no happy ending to his story, and perhaps that was all the more reason why he kept on lying to himself about a better tomorrow. Booth chose to look away from reality and live in his dream. He felt safe and happy there. He was a respected man in his dream, and people admired him. Booth could never get over the fact that his father did not think he had it in him to become an actor. The constant need to prove himself to his family, to the world, and himself contributed to his taking such a drastic measure. Even though he was a decent actor, he was not as great as his father and brother. He was desperate to be talked about, and he relished every second of the assassination. Booth took pride in the fact that he got away even though there were 1500 people in the audience. He believed it proved that he was lucky, just like his mother had predicted. Booth was closer to his mother than any of his family members. He particularly resented his father for calling him “useless.”.

Booth was confident that luck would find a way to help him get away from every trouble. David tried to warn Booth, but clearly, the man was too delusional to get a grasp of reality. Through the crack in the barn door, David saw soldiers on horses arrive at the barn. At that moment, David knew it was all over. Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger requested Booth surrender, but he refused to do so. Booth wanted to fight as long as he lived, but David did not agree with his plan. When the barn was set ablaze, David surrendered himself, and Booth vouched for his innocence. David was sent back into the barn once again to convince Booth to surrender. David reminded Booth that his birthday was just around the corner, and if he surrendered, he could have a chance at life. Booth was about to consider his advice when Sergeant Boston Corbett shot Booth at the back of his head, citing that he was about to shoot. Corbett was a religious man who believed that Booth did not deserve a fair trial. He was content, thinking that he had brought justice to Lincoln.

What happened to Booth’s body?

Even though Booth was shot in the neck, in Manhunt, it is said that the bullet hit the back of his head, perhaps for dramatic emphasis. There was no chance that Booth would have survived the injury, and he was dragged to the porch of Garrett’s farmhouse, where he spent the last few hours of his life. Booth cried for his mother in pain. In his final moments, he realized that the prediction made by the soothsayer was right—he was born with unlucky hands. Booth’s last words were “useless, useless,” words that his father used to describe him and that he, in the end, accepted he was. Everything he did, the dream he saw, and every risk he took turned out to be useless in the end.

Stanton reached the farm the next morning. Booth was dead when he finally saw him in person. Stanton knew how desperately Booth wanted to be recognized, and he decided to deny him any respect, even in death. Stanton advised his son to dump the corpse in the water after the coroner identified the body. He asked Eddie to never disclose the location to anyone, including him. Stanton wanted Booth to dissolve from the face of the earth as a nobody.

How did Stanton plan on building the assassination case?

Edwin Stanton planned to establish a grand Confederate conspiracy theory in court. He met President Johnson, who was eager to be done with the case as fast as possible. Stanton assured that punishing the accused was the goal, but a criminal trial could turn out to be long-drawn and might not yield the result they hoped for. The plan was to hold a military tribunal for the conspirators under the Department of War. Military judges were more reliable, and therefore, faster action could be expected. Moreover, the judges would be handpicked by them, which meant that they could control the verdict before the hearing. After facing severe backlash as president, Johnson agreed that a military tribunal was the way to go. He wanted people to be afraid of ever attempting to assassinate a president, and he agreed with the method suggested by Stanton.

The secretary of war went on to suggest that they accuse Jefferson Davis of being involved in planning Lincoln’s assassination. Stanton reminded Johnson that Davis could pose a threat to his presidency, and this was their way of cornering him. The president allowed Stanton to proceed with the grand conspiracy theory and get hold of Davis. He suggested that they get a star witness whose testimony would play a decisive role in the trial. Stanton realized Mary could be an important witness to establish the doctor’s connection to the Confederacy and to also connect him with the other accused. Mary initially was hesitant, but Stanton encouraged her to speak against the man who abused her for ages. He believed her presence in court would help them take a step forward to the future they envisioned for free people. The ending of episode 6 makes it evident that Mary will speak against Samuel Mudd, and her testimony will be crucial in tying all the accused to the assassination conspiracy.

How did Jefferson Davis’ arrest help the case?

Jefferson Davis was hiding at his camp in Irwinville, Georgia. He was planning on escaping to the United Kingdom from Savannah, and he proposed the idea to his close associates. Davis was tired of living like a fugitive, and with his resources drying up, he needed to find an alternative. While he was planning an escape, Stanton’s men had already surrounded his camp. Davis attempted to make a sneaky escape when he realized what was going on, but he was ultimately arrested. Stanton made sure that the fact that Davis was wearing his wife’s shawl made it to the news. He wanted to humiliate the Confederate president the same way Lincoln was once treated.

The grand conspiracy was ambitious. Stanton’s advisors warned him that proving the grand conspiracy in court would be a challenge. They did not have enough evidence to tie Davis to Lincoln’s assassination, but Stanton refused to aim for any less. Eddie trusted his father’s argumentative skills, and even though they lacked strong evidence, he believed that Stanton would somehow convince the judges about the connection. At the end of Manhunt episode 6, Stanton pulled out a few pages from Booth’s diary, suggesting that he removed evidence that could discredit his claim about the involvement of the Confederate President in the assassination of Lincoln. This indicates Stanton’s desperation to punish Davis and his associates. In Manhunt‘s final episode, we can expect to witness the legal battle that ensued, in which, as we know, Davis’ connection to the assassination could not be proved. It will be interesting if slight changes are made, and an alternate history is produced.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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