The sixth episode of “Lawmen: Bass Reeves,” a Western series onParamount+, opens and closes with Bass Reeves seeing Esau Pierce, a Confederate soldier who served beside him in the Civil War against his brothers. While the first meeting takes place in real life, the second occurs in his dreams, particularly following the deputy marshal’s investigations into the identity of Mr. Sundown, a kidnapper and murderer of Black people. Pierce has complete control over the lawman’s thoughts, causing him great psychological distress. The sixth episode reveals another vision that has been hinting at vulnerability in Bass’s mind. Pierce’s strange presence in the same room draws attention to the deputy marshal’s disturbed mental state! Warning: This contains spoilers.
After learning that Esau Pierce is actually Mr. Sundown, who kidnaps and murders Black people at night, Bass Reeves begins to see visions of the latter. After learning about the disappearances of Black individuals from Edwin Jones, Bass urges Ramsey to tell him the truth or reality about the enigmatic killer. The psychopath replies that the murderer he is searching for is a “Cinco peso.” Because Cinco Peso is used to make Pierce’s Texas Ranger badge, Bass quickly makes the connection between the two and determines that Pierce is a murderer. Bass begins to feel helpless when Jackson Cole vanishes from Pierce’s hands, confirming his belief.
Bass intends to uphold the law in a just manner as a constable in order to respect the same. As he ought to, he sets out to protect “black, red, and white people.” As a lawman, he believes that his badge gives him the power to uphold the rule of law, but when he learns that Pierce is a murderer, his views on the subject are called into doubt. Sherrill Lynn first tells Bass that there is nothing he can do to stop Pierce, even though the latter is a killer. Bass feels weak and powerless since he cannot arrest a Texas Ranger because Judge Isaac Parker will not allow it.
Second, Bass finds it hard to face the fact that his brothers are being killed by the very law meant to protect people. Pierce has a badge that grants him the ability to commit murder, therefore he is able to kill Jackson and apparently a lot of other black guys. Bass understands that the law he supported in order to aid others is being used to remove those who have been hand-picked, undermining its sacredness. When that occurs, he starts to question the wisdom of his decision to support the law in order to safeguard those in his immediate vicinity.
Because of his feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness, Bass sees Pierce in his visions. His presence serves as a reminder to the constable that the law he upholds has been nothing more than a death warrant for his brothers, and that the latter’s authority prevents him from protecting his own village. Pierce stands for the laws that harm black people in addition to relinquishing them. In order to honour the victims’ memories, the deputy marshal may not be able to let the Texas Ranger go from his mind until he discovers a means to bring the former to justice.
Bass is haunted by Pierce because the former persuades the latter that he is merely a pawn in the legal game played by white men. When Bass discovers the truth about Pierce, he realises that he hasn’t truly been free as a black man attempting to follow the norms. Bass keeps Pierce in mind through these realisations and ideas.
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