Lawmen Bass Reeves Episode 1 and 2 Recap: From Slavery to Deputy Marshal

The first two episodes of Paramount+’s Western series ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves,’ titled ‘Part I’ and ‘Part II’ respectively, end with a major turning point in Bass Reeves’ life as Deputy Marshal Sherrill Lynn offers him a position in law enforcement. Bass convinces himself that he can handle the weight of the badge. Lynn offers him the job after a life-threatening adventure to capture “One Charlie,” an infamous criminal from an Indian community. The second episode concludes with their journey to find the wanted man, which exposes their approach to justice and life in general, leading Bass to become a deputy marshal.

Freedom From Slavery

‘Part I’ begins with the Confederates fighting against the Union Army during the Civil War. Bass is forced to fight in the War as a Confederate since his master George Reeves is a major in the Confederate Army. After a battle, Bass accompanies Reeves to their home. Bass is affected by the notions of freedom, which is acknowledged by George. The major then proposes freedom to his slave but only if the latter beats him in a card game. Bass plays well and ensures his and his family’s freedom but George cheats the former to continue “owning” the black man. Bass gets provoked by his master’s actions, only to beat him up.

After turning against George, Bass meets his wife Jennie Reeves, who urges him to run away to safety. On his way, he meets a few people who stop him. Bass attacks them and continues his journey. Bass’ journey takes him to Sara Jumper, an Indian woman belonging to Seminole Nation. Sara nurses and offers refuge to the man on the run. Meanwhile, he also encounters Major Esau Pierce, a soldier who is a part of the Confederate Army. Pierce spearheads an attack, which hurts Sara’s child. Bass eventually returns to his wife and family as they become free.

The Search for One Charlie

‘Part II’ begins with the depiction of Bass’ life as a farmer three years after he escaped from George’s estate. He burns down his crops as he realizes that he is not a good farmer. Sherrill Lynn, a deputy marshal, meets him and seeks his assistance to capture a wanted criminal named One Charlie. Lynn wants Bass because the latter knows how to talk to Indians in their language. After discussing the job opportunity with Jennie, Bass accepts the same and joins Lynn. On their way, they get into a fight with a group of gunslingers who attack a prayer group.

Arthur and his family move to a house near the Reeves. His eyes strike with Bass and Jennie’s daughter Sally’s, only for the latter’s pregnant mother to be worried about their budding romance. Bass meets a relative of One Charlie to learn about his whereabouts and continues accompanying the marshal to arrest the criminal.

Episode 2 Ending: Do Bass and Lynn Capture One Charlie?

Bass and Lynn do capture One Charlie. Their journey to hunt down the wanted criminal leads them to the latter, who locks himself up in a house to avoid his arrest. Bass then tries to convince Charlie that the wise thing to do is to surrender. He promises the criminal that his right to be brought in front of justice will be secured hoping that the latter will not fear getting killed. Since he has given his word to Charlie’s relative, Bass doesn’t want to abandon him. Lynn, however, has other plans. While Bass talks to the criminal, Lynn starts a fire inside the house, only for Charlie to catch fire.

Charlie slowly dies due to the fire that spreads throughout his body. To put an end to his agony, Bass then kills him. While the former slave believes in justice and the rules of law, Lynn ignores the same to become Charlie’s judge and executioner at the same time. He doesn’t care that Charlie has rights. In his eyes, the wanted man is just a deplorable criminal whose existence not only threatens the law but also the lives of innocent people. Lynn doesn’t want to protect such a person, which leads him to kill him upon make him suffer.

Lynn cannot see Charlie beyond his murderous impulses and crimes and as a victim of the same, especially after getting shot by the criminal, the marshal just wants the world to deal with “one less Charlie.” Bass, on the other hand, immerses himself in guilt since he fails to grant Charlie the minimum human and legal consideration. The black man is not a cold-blooded hunter like Lynn but an empathetic person who believes that every condemnable man deserves a chance to redeem himself. Bass bids adieu to Lynn when he fails to convince himself that what his companion did is ethically right.

How Does Bass Become a Deputy Marshal?

Bass and Lynn part ways on worse terms, especially since the former smacks the latter for being as murderous as the people he tries to hunt down. Still, Lynn admires Bass’ strength, courage, and resilience in the face of danger, which leads him to introduce the latter to Judge Isaac Parker, who offers the farmer the job of a deputy marshal. Lynn knows that irrespective of the goodness in Bass, which makes him vulnerable, the latter has a calling to enforce the law. The marshal doesn’t want such a man to limit his life to crop failures one time after the other.

Bass then accepts the job because he feels that the law of the region lacks someone who values the concept of justice. After witnessing Lynn’s condemnable actions, Bass must have realized that he could bring a change to the force by not becoming another typical marshal whose actions always end up in bloodshed. He decides to become a deputy marshal to implement the biblical notions concerning justice in the community he is a part of, which currently denies people like One Charlie a deserved day in court. By becoming a deputy marshal, Bass may try to stop Lynn and others’ murder spree to ensure that justice will be prioritized over his fellow officers’ barbarity.

Read More: Is Sherrill Lynn Based on a Real Deputy Marshal?