‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Comes To An Explosive, Emotional And Entertaining Conclusion

Photo Credit: Lauren "Lo" Smith/Paramount+

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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This article contains spoilers from the Paramount+ series “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.”

The series finale of “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” aired Sunday, and boy was it the most brilliant episode of the entire limited series.

Even though we were only invited into a short chapter of Bass Reeves’s life and career throughout this limited series from Chad Feehan, Taylor Sheridan and David Oyelowo, amongst others, it sure was a fascinating, agonizing, full-circle journey.

When we first met Bass, he was a slave, not yet a father, husband, or the U.S. deputy marshal who would change the course of American history. In the opening episodes, we watched as a child who he thought of as a son was horrifically murdered by lawman Easu Pierce (Barry Pepper), who claimed self-defense.

Though years pass, and Bass becomes a father of five and a good, but often complicated husband, he never forgets what Pierce took from him. By the middle of the season, we learn a man called Mr. Sundown is destroying other black families west of the Mississippi and throughout the South.

The big twist in the finale chapters of the series is that Pierce is Mr. Sundown. And while he’s alleged to have slaughtered former slaves and black men throughout his career, the truth is actually more haunting. It turns out, Pierce has been kidnapping the men he’s been paid to hunt for the law.

The men are transported to Pierce’s plantation, where they are tortured and given the option to work for free or die. One of those men is Jackson Cole (Tosin Morohunfola), who Bass believed was dead until he saw him hanging in the stocks. As Bass releases Cole from the stocks, Pierce tells the title character to place the shackles on himself. Pierce says Bass is one of his slaves now.

But obviously … that wasn’t going to happen. Pierce and his men are met with a hail of bullets from Bass, Billy Crow (Forrest Goodluck) and Sherrill Lynn (Dennis Quaid) in the most epic shootout I’ve seen in a hot minute. You’ll have to watch the full episode to see what happens next, but I highly recommend it. (RELATED: Apparently A Shocking Real-Life Story Is Ignored In ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’)

I think this whole series should be recommended viewing by every school district in America.