Violence begats violence in the aftermath of a tragedy.
We’re offering a list of five takeaways from every episode of The Son aired during the drama’s premiere season on AMC. Warning: There will be spoilers a-plenty in each of these overviews. Here are five takeaways from Episode 106, “The Buffalo Hunter.”
Takeaway No. 1
Pete sounded a note of despair during the graveside service for poor Tom Sullivan — who was killed last week during the Sediciosos’ assault on the McCullough family — but the real dramatic fireworks didn’t begin until the scene shifted to a gathering at the McCullough’s spacious (and now bullet-riddled) mansion, where Charles, Pete’s all-too-impressionable son, was egged on by the crafty Niles to upbraid Ramon for guiding the Mexican guerrillas to the McCullough homestead. Never mind that Ramon was forced at gunpoint to do the guiding, an excuse that Pete and Eli have already accepted. Angry words were exchanged, punches were thrown — and in the end, Eli told Niles to go home, and Pete told his son to apologize to Ramon. But, of course, it didn’t really end there.
Takeaway No. 2
In 1850, Young Eli led his Comanche … his Comanche ... well, what’s the correct term in this context? It’s probably not entirely precise to keep calling them Young Eli’s captors, seeing as “Pathetic White Boy” has gone sufficiently native to lead the Comanches to a bunch of paleface buffalo hunters, most of whom are slaughtered before Young Eli’s eyes. Back at the Comanche camp, however, PW-Boy appeared by turns mortified and regretful when he interacted with Ingrid (Kathryn Prescott), a young white woman taken prisoner by his … his … well, OK, his companions. (Young Eli said he was really, really sorry for his role in the massacre; Ingrid, not surprisingly, did not accept his apology.) And he was greatly discomforted by the incessant screams of another captive, a buffalo hunter whom the Comanches mercilessly tortured because, hey, that’s what Comanches do. No joke: As far as Toshaway is concerned, all palefaces — yes, even Young Eli’s mother and siblings — deserve agonizing punishment and/or death sentences for stealing land from Native Americans. (“Did you not think we would fight to take it back?”) Once again, Young Eli felt torn between cultures. This time, though, he split the difference and, while everyone else in camp was asleep, put the buffalo hunter out of his misery by feeding him rattlesnake venom.
Takeaway No. 3
Niles isn’t just crafty, he’s downright Machiavellian. And he proved it tonight by getting Charles drunk in his bar, and encouraging the young man to mete out rough justice — “The kind your paterfamilias lacks the stomach for!” — on Ramon. Unfortunately, Charles naively went along for the ride when Niles and other vigilantes grabbed Ramon off the street, drove him to a secluded spot, and proceeded to use enhanced interrogation techniques in an attempt to make the unfortunate vaquero confess to complicity with the Sediciosos. “You said we were just going to scare him,” Charles whined when Niles tightened the noose around Ramon’s neck. “Oh, he’s plenty scared,” Niles replied. “There’s no doubt on that front.” Just before his death, Ramon forgave Charles. It remains to be seen whether Charles will be able to forgive himself. Maybe, just maybe, he’s more like his dad than he wants to admit.
Takeaway No. 4
We got a few bits of backstory for some characters in this episode. After the graveside service for Tom Sullivan, Eli told his granddaughter Jeannie about the time several years earlier when Apaches killed his wife and one of his children while he was away on business. (Sullivan, bless his soul, managed to take young Steve and Phineas to safety.) Later, Eli and his men tracked down the Apaches and killed almost every one of their group. Eli spared the sole survivor — a boy — as a sign of respect for the young warrior’s determined but ultimately fruitless pursuit of the palefaces who killed his people. (“As far as I know,” Eli noted, “he’s looking for me yet.”) Meanwhile, back in 1850, Prairie Flower told Young Eli that she is the sole survivor of an attack by brutal whites who slaughtered all the other women and children in her camp while the men were out hunting. (Which may explain why, much like Toshaway, she didn’t feel sorry for the tortured buffalo hunter.) And before Young Eli said the wrong thing at the wrong time to Ingrid, she told him that, like him, she had been abducted by Indians who killed her family. Subsequently, she was traded to the buffalo hunters — who were taking her back to civilization when they had their fatal encounter with the Comanches. All of which raises the question: Will Pathetic White Boy wind up transferring his affection from Prairie Flower to someone with whom he has, ahem, more in common? (And speaking of affection transfers: The longer Sally is away with their convalescing son Jonas in Austin, the more Pete appears likely to rekindle his romance with Maria.)
Takeaway No. 5
The good news: Eli and Jeannie locate the spot where Jeannie’s horse was stained with oil seepage. The bad news: “It’s a mile on the wrong side of my neighbor’s fence,” Eli noted. I’m going to go way out on a limb here and predict Eli will seriously reconsider just how grateful he should be to Pedro Garcia for saving his life.