This article of the Paramount+ series Lawmen Bass Reeves Season 1 Episode 1 Recap, “Part I,” contains spoilers.
Lawmen Bass Reeves “Part I” opens in the midst of the Civil War, and Bass Reeves is dressed in all gray. He’s riding a horse next to Colonel George Reeves, who is also his master. As the Union begins to shoot bullets, including canon fire, Southern soldiers begin to run. Those who do are shot in the back for deserting.
Colonel Reeves gives Bass a rifle and orders him to follow. He also adds that Bass must fire. The Colonel takes off on his horse at full speed, and Bass follows. Reinforcements arrive, including Esau Pierce, who tackles a Union soldier. Pierce then scalps the back of the young man’s head. Bass stares at the crazed officer in shock and disgust.
What does Colonel Reeves promise Bass?
The Colonel promises Bass his freedom if he beats him with a hand of poker. When they arrive, the Colonel is sad that his family is not there. He tells Bass to come up to the house after he settles in. Bass goes to the slave quarters, where he finds the love of his life, a fellow enslaved person, Jennie (Lauren E. Banks).
They make love. However, after a while, Bass hears the Colonel signaling for him to come up to the house. He finds the Colonel drunk, who insists on giving Bass his freedom if he beats him in a card game. The gravity of the moment begins to take over Bass emotionally – you can see his eyes begin to water at the prospect of his freedom.
Reeves has a hand of four club cards and one heart, handing the latter back. Bass now has a flush of clubs in his hand. The prospect of his freedom being so close brings giant tears of joy to his eyes. However, his master has four of a kind, which beats Bass’s hand. Though, Bass notices something odd about one of the Colonel’s cards.
How Does Bass know the Colonel is cheating?
When Colonel shows Bass, he has four queens, one of them is the queen of hearts —the card that Bass gave up! That means the Colonel could have gotten that card. Bass’s tears of joy turn into rage. He accuses the Colonel of cheating. Bass then beats him unconscious. He then runs to Jenny, who tells Bass he has to leave.
When he does, Bass encounters four white men who are about to arrest him. Bass though, a quick draw and deadly with a gun, shoots all four dead where they stand. Bass leaves Arkansas and makes it to the “Indian” Territory in March 1862. He’s rescued by an Indigenous Seminole woman, Sara Jumper, after finding Bass suffering from dehydration and starvation.
She has a son, Curtis. Bass becomes a subordinate father to the young man. When they go into town to purchase supplies, they run into Union soldiers who are transporting Confederate soldiers as prisoners. One of them is Esau Pierce, whom Bass met during his time during the Civil War. Bass is shocked to see him and is afraid.
Who does Esau Pierce kill?
Esau kills Curtis, who was defending Bass. One of the Union soldiers pays Bass and Curtis to carry rations to their wagon. This is where Bass finds Pierce in shackles with other prisoners. Pierce gives Bass a warning that reinforcements are coming. An ambush takes place.
The Confederacy soldiers escape, and the Union soldiers are shot. Bass is knocked over by a horse. When he awakes, he finds Curtis pointing a shotgun at Pierce, who has a pistol in his hand. Bass begs Curtis to lower his weapon. The young man eventually does.
However, that’s when Pierce points his weapon at Curtis. He then shoots Curtis in the torso. Pierce escapes, and Bass holds Curtis in his arms as he bleeds out. Bass has to deliver the news to Sara Jumper.
Episode Ending Explained: Does Bass reunite with Jenny?
After Curtis dies, Bass returns to Arkansas to locate Jenny. She has a child. Bass assumes that Jenny is now married to someone else. Jenny tells Bass that the child is his, an infant daughter. They kiss and begin their lives together.
Lawmen Bass Reeves “Part I” is worth watching for the remarkable and deeply felt performance of its star, David Oyelowo. Grade: 7/10.
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