‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Episode 5 Recap & Spoilers: Why Did Jackson Kill Neblett?

The fifth episode of Lawmen: Bass Reeves didn’t jump years ahead to show us Bass as an aging fellow. This was expected as each episode had been fast-forwarding to a new period in Bass’ life, but the fifth episode picks up from where the previous episode had ended. Bass was given the duty of getting his prisoners to Fort Worth for their trial, and he successfully managed to do so. The episode focused on Bass missing out on family life due to his job and his kids not getting to spend enough time with their father. Jennie was worried that Bass might be getting too obsessed with the job. Bass knew it but couldn’t overlook the responsibility. The stressed Bass learned something at the end of the episode that just might make him break his ethical code for the first time.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Bass Have To Leave His Family Again?

Bass had been out in the wilderness for over six weeks and was beginning to get fed up with the job. That didn’t mean he grew sloppy, but his patience was being tested as it never had been. Bass’ plan was clear: to hand over the prisoners to Judge Parker and then go straight to Jennie and the kids. Bass was on his way home after collecting his wages, but Deputy Lynn stopped him. Bass sensed there was going to be another job that Lynn was trying to dump on his shoulders. He declined to let him go, but it wasn’t Lynn who wanted Bass to go take another prisoner. The order had come from Judge Parker himself, and when Bass asked Lynn to take the job, giving him time to be with his family, Lynn revealed that he had been removed from the ‘field job’ and was now behind a desk moving papers. Lynn had grown old, and Parker found it more fitting to let Lynn be at the office rather than gunslinging out in the Wild West. Bass would have had to go against Judge Parker and explain to him why he wasn’t willing to do a job he had sworn an oath for. Bass took the job, visited Jennie for a day, and was off the very next day with Bill Crow. Jennie was upset, and more than her, it was Sally and the kids who felt that Bass wasn’t paying attention to the family. Sally was looking forward to going to the carnival with Bass, but when he went away, Jennie allowed her to go with Arthur, the porterboy.


Why Did Arthur Get Attacked?

Bass wanted to spend time with Jennie and the kids, but he took the oath too seriously. He wasn’t aware of the harm that could be lurking near his family. There was Jennie looking over the farm and the house, but she wasn’t enough to save the family from danger. This is where Edwin’s wife came in. She had met Jennie in the previous episode and had tried to build a rapport with her given that she could be significant in Edwin’s struggle for a ‘Black Nation’. She saw Sally roaming with Arthur at the carnival, and thinking Jennie would be undisturbed at her home, she showed up with the plan of telling her about the horror stories regarding the poor black folks in the Indian Territory. Jennie was a little apprehensive about Edwin’s plans, but his wife was adamant that black folks were in a lot of danger and the Black Nation solution was their only option. Edwin’s wife told a personal story about a man who had vanished in a nearby area, and nobody had been able to find him. There had been a lot of these mysterious disappearances, and somebody had to do something to stop them. Jennie wasn’t too interested in these ghost stories, but seeing Edwin’s wife’s concerned face, she did, for a moment, consider meeting Edwin, possibly to figure out a way forward. This may involve Bass, as Edwin was always after his support. The couple might coax Jennie into getting Bass on board.

Why Did Edwin’s Wife Visit Jennie?

While Jennie was busy chatting with Edwin’s wife, Arthur and Sally were having a great time at the carnival. There was an episode with a little girl who cut into the line they were in. The little girl had clearly been brainwashed to see colored folks in a certain way, and she told Sally that it was she who ‘ought’ to be at the back of the line. Sally grew furious at the audacity of the little white girl and deliberately tried to take her out of the line until her father arrived and took her away. While Arthur and Sally were leaving the carnival to head back home, the little girl’s brother showed up with his gang, and it seemed like he was in the mood to teach Arthur and Sally a lesson. Arthur fought back and taught him a lesson instead. But he was a little bruised, and Jennie found them on their way back. Edwin’s wife was with her and noticed how he was bruised, adding to her narrative of how black folks were in danger of getting attacked by the racists who were more in number than what Jennie was thinking.


Why Did Jackson Kill Neblett?

Bass had gotten hold of Jackson Cole and was on his way to take him to the authorities, but he had to take shelter at a Spanish couple’s home during the storm. Jackson had seemed like an authentic human being who had murdered James Neblett in a moment of rage. During their little night stop, Bass got a chance to talk to Jackson in a relaxed manner, and he told him why he had killed Neblett. It didn’t look like Jackson was trying to persuade Bass into believing that he was innocent. It was just a moment when Jackson had a man next to him who was willing to listen. Jackson revealed that Neblett was a powerful white man who had killed many of his slaves and gotten away with it. The Sheriff, too, believed his word that the slaves had stolen his firearms with the intention of killing James.

The killings were declared righteous, and as soon as the Sheriff left, James burned the bodies of the dead slaves, not giving a chance to Jackson and the other survivors to bury them. Neblett was going to run for the state legislature and had promised to roll back things to how they were before, indicating that he was going to bring back slavery. Jackson killed Nebltett before he could contest the election, as he felt that the law was never going to punish him for what he did. Bass heard his story with the utmost attention, but he couldn’t just let him go free. On his way to Fort Worth, a familiar face stopped Bass. It was Esau Pierce, the leader of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles, who had once killed the son of Bass’ close friend in the Indian Territory. Was this run-in just a pure coincidence, or did Esau have some unfinished business with Bass? Bass’ reaction matters most, and it could be a violent one given that his last run-in with Esau only gave Bass a lifetime of trauma.


Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.


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