In the fifth episode of Paramount+’s Western series ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves,’ Bass sees the apparition of a boy in his vision while taking a prisoner named Jackson Cole to a Texas Ranger. The appearance of the boy unsettles the deputy marshal severely, which makes him seek comfort in smoking with Cole.
Bass sees the boy after listening to a Spanish woman, who provides him, Cole, and Billy Crow shelter amid a raging storm, talk about death. Bass’ unsettling vision can be the reflection of the guilt he is carrying in his heart. While associating the same with death, it is possible to figure out who the boy most likely is! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Apparition of Guilt
The boy in Bass Reeves’ vision seemingly is Curtis, the son of Sara, a Native American woman who looks after the former when he is on the run after beating up his master George Reeves. When Sara finds Bass, the latter is heavily exhausted with several wounds. Sara nurses him to good health and provides him with water to drink, food to eat, and a house to stay. Sara lets Bass live at her house believing that he will be of help for her and Curtis. However, he fails to protect the little boy in his time of need, leading the woman who saves his life to immense pain.
In the first episode of the series, Bass takes Curtis to Turkey Creek Trading Post, only to encounter a wagon filled with captured Confederate soldiers, including Esau Pierce. While Bass and Curtis are at the place, a shootout ensues as a group tries to free the Confederates in captivity. Curtis, who ends up in the middle of the shootout, gets scared of the people involved in the same. He then takes a gun and points at Esau without knowing what he should ideally do. When Bass asks Curtis to put his gun down, the boy looks at him, only for Esau to kill the distracted child. Bass is seemingly feeling guilty for causing Curtis’ death indirectly and the haunting guilt must be getting projected as the boy’s apparition in the lawman’s vision.
Bass sees Curtis when a Spanish woman associates Bass with death. Rather than thinking about his own potential death, the lawman must have thought about the deaths he caused. Whenever Bass kills outlaws, he has the justification of maintaining law and order in his jurisdiction as a deputy marshal. He can, without remorse, shoot down lawbreakers because his badge makes the same his obligation. In Curtis’ case, Bass doesn’t have a justification. He knows that he failed to safeguard the boy when he was supposed to do. Bass must be feeling that he failed and hurt Sara, the woman who saved his life, by not saving her son’s life.
Bass must be punishing himself internally for repaying Sara’s kindness with the dead body of Curtis. Since he is immersed in guilt, his encounter with Esau, Curtis’ murderer, may have severe repercussions.