Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by PlatoofthePonderosa » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:24 pm

RedShirt, your comments... :thumbup Especially about Cochise and the thousand-yard stare.

Tahoe Lee, I agree that although Mr. Reardon was trying to help, the last thing Adam needed in his frame of mind was a dose of Thoreau's cynicism. Philosophy, maybe. That quote, no. :no He's got enough cynicism of his own without help!

This is, of course, ***just my personal interpretation.*** But as to him wanting to leave the Ponderosa, I imagine this as part of a long, slow process that ends in his eventual decision to go. This whole episode looks to me like underlying problems coming to the surface under great pressure. Here's one example: when Dowd & Co. steal the medicine, Adam responds with, "Because out here it's a jungle. For animals. And savages. Where one tries to destroy the other."

Is this simply a reaction to the situation at hand? I suspect not. For one, it's clearly an exaggeration. These men want an advantage; they're trying to use the Cartwrights as a cash cow; but they aren't actually out to destroy anybody, even if Joe's life ends up being collateral damage. Secondly, this doesn't sound to me like philosophy extempore. It sounds like something Adam's probably thought to himself in the dead of night more than once. (In fact, he may have been thinking it in dark moments ever since Kane, because this sounds exactly like something that monster would say. Wasn't his whole mantra that humans = beasts, and killing to survive is the natural way of the world? No wonder Adam responds with an almost pathological hatred; he's struggling to convince himself that people really are morally responsible and better than animals, and at the moment, humanity's doing a really bad job supporting his theory!)

"When all this is over, I'm going away somewhere where a man can live like a decent human being." There it is again. "Human being" as opposed to what? An inhuman beast forced to live among "animals and savages"?

While we're talking about K, I think it really scared Adam that he almost killed the guy. Really, there's no way he came through "The Crucible" without a little PTSD, and the idea that he's killed Joe brings that nightmare back with double strength. I think he's not only struggling with the natural feelings of a protective older sibling who's horrified at having harmed his little brother, but with all those doubts about his own nature. Adam always was one to adopt suspicious characters and give them a second chance at life, but toward the end of his time on the Ponderosa he becomes more prone to it, and his attempts seem increasingly desperate to me. In the last few ("Thanks for Everything, Friend," "Flannel-Mouth Gun," and "Dead and Gone"), you can almost feel the despair radiating from him when redemption doesn't take and these men fall right into traps of their own moral making. In a way, I think he was trying to prove to himself that there's such a thing as a second chance...that a man can rise above his former mistakes and be worthy.

After these repeated disappointments (and let's not even get into Will and Laura), I think he just can't take it anymore. He wants to run away, to get back to a "civilized" place where the difficulty of survival doesn't force him to stare the realities of death and evil constantly in the face. Sure, he wants to travel and see the world. But remember what he told Maria Ragan? "I put down roots on our ranch, the Ponderosa. My father's there, my two brothers." Adam knows where he belongs. When he leaves, I don't think it's that the Ponderosa isn't enough for him anymore so much as that he isn't enough for himself.

I did NOT mean to make this so long. But there are very few people outside of the Boomers community, I think, who would care to sit and listen while I ramble on like this about my theories on the inner life of Adam Cartwright. :laughing
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Joe: Hey, where's the Plato of the Ponderosa this morning?
Ben: If you're referring to your brother Adam, he left on TIME.

(Season 6, "Between Heaven and Earth")

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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by Sharry » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:16 pm

PlatoofthePonderosa wrote:(In fact, he may have been thinking it in dark moments ever since Kane, because this sounds exactly like something that monster would say. Wasn't his whole mantra that humans = beasts, and killing to survive is the natural way of the world? No wonder Adam responds with an almost pathological hatred; he's struggling to convince himself that people really are morally responsible and better than animals, and at the moment, humanity's doing a really bad job supporting his theory!)
:laughing
I think your ideas about Kane are likely, Plato. (Your other observations also. :thumbup ) I've always thought Adam could not be unaffected in some permanent way by his experience with Kane. It would be unavoidable. Something like the incident with Joe and the wolf would be traumatic enough to cause all of Adam's doubts and emotions about life in general to resurface. In this regard he was extremely vulnerable.
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by Tahoe Lee » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:21 pm

PlatoofthePonderosa wrote:RedShirt, your comments... :thumbup Especially about Cochise and the thousand-yard stare.

Tahoe Lee, I agree that although Mr. Reardon was trying to help, the last thing Adam needed in his frame of mind was a dose of Thoreau's cynicism. Philosophy, maybe. That quote, no. :no He's got enough cynicism of his own without help!

I did NOT mean to make this so long. But there are very few people outside of the Boomers community, I think, who would care to sit and listen while I ramble on like this about my theories on the inner life of Adam Cartwright. :laughing
Want to know what I just did? I printed out your entire post. I need to study it and reflect on it before I have a reply.

It's so deep and rich.

Your rambling is wonderful!!

As Adam would say.... "MORE"

:thankyou
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by Tahoe Lee » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:05 pm

Here's a bit of backstory on this episode....
writer...Seeleg Lester

Adam quotes Thoreau...."The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What one trusts to be truths--turn into compromises and what is called resignation is confirmed desperation."

This quote comes from a book written by Thoreau...titled Walden....Life in the woods. (Adam had this book)

This book came from Thoreau spending 2 years in the woods to see what it was like. He was thinking about his brother who had died 3 years earlier from lockjaw. He was reflecting on a boating trip they had taken together. (hunting trip) He started the first draft of a book in memory of his brother John. (Joe)

As you pointed out Plato...it was a very cynical way of looking at mankind.
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by Tahoe Lee » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:24 pm

The title
My Brother's Keeper

The phrase come from the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

After Cain had murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered.."I know not..am I my brother's keeper?"

Cain's words have come to symbolize people who are unwilling to accept responsibility for the welfare of others...their brothers.

Adam did feel responsible and he told Joe so.."I didn't mean it" I don't know what got into me. Just saw that wolf and let go."

And as soon as they got back to the ranch, before they were even out of the rig, Adam didn't him-haw around, he admitted to Hoss "I shot him."

Adam was his brother's keeper.....
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by Tahoe Lee » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:42 pm

Great thoughts on this episode.

Very insightful to weave The Crucible into this. I absolutely agree that he had PTSD after the Kane incident. And there was no help back then either.

Crucible...a pot in which metals are heated to a high temperature or melted.
a sever test
a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause change.
cross, trial, fire

I think Adam was struggling with "fight or flight" in this episode and the Crucible.

Oh yes.....definitely having flashbacks. Kane's words echoing "You still think you're a better man than me, Mr. Cartwright?"

Adam seemed to internalize the stinging jab from Mr. Reardon even though he wouldn't look at him. To paraphrase Mr. Reardon....most men lead desperate lives and you're no different.
Kane said something similar...Most men can be found to kill and you're no different.

So Adam finds his book by Thoreau and reads out loud a portion of it to Hoss. By doing this he is making this his own.

Notice what chair he was sitting in....Pa's chair.

Hoss doesn't like the way Adam is looking....a listlessness is settling in, weariness...a dullness in his eyes. A teary distant gaze not up to the ceiling but out into the universe.

I wonder if Hoss has seen this distant gaze before? Perhaps after they got him home from the Kane incident? Did Adam waffle between periods of utter silence and simmering anger like when he snapped the response to Shelia about it being a jungle here. Savages and animals. Did this sound familiar to Hoss and is this the reason Hoss tries to reel Adam back in with...."Ease up a bit"

As in The Crucible this was a battle for his soul and spirit...the very essence of who he was.

Within the flashbacks had Adam remembered that it was Joe's persistence and devotion to his brother that finally led them to finding Adam and ultimately saving his life.... instead of him dying on that hot and dry ground with Kane.

He had been protective over Joe and now it wasn't going to be the outlaws or bandits who were going to hurt Joe....but his own bullet...his carelessness that would eventually bring Joe down.

Smart and dependable Adam. the one who always knew what to do. The educated cowboy...the avid hunter in the family...and it all comes crashing down'

And Kane's haunting words come back so vividly..."I win!! I Win!!"

Another quotation that mirrored what Thoreau was saying.... "We have met the enemy and he is us" by Walt Kelly
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by RedShirt » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:10 pm

Let me turn that photo on its head. What d'y'all reckon Cochise is saying to Adam, there?
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A gun is only a tool, like your jackknife; no better 'n no worse than the man who handles it. Any man can pull a trigger. It's not hard. But it takes a big man not to pull one. -- Adam Cartwright

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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by patina » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:41 pm

I should’ve come straight home. I promise I’ll be good if you don’t let those dudes take me back to their place.
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by PlatoofthePonderosa » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:25 pm

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to lose him!"
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Re: Episode 128 - MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Post by PlatoofthePonderosa » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:38 pm

Tahoe Lee wrote:Cain answered.."I know not..am I my brother's keeper?"


Intriguing thoughts, Tahoe Lee! I find it interesting that these two episodes both contain allusions to the biblical Cain (at least if we're correct; I've always assumed that Kane wasn't named randomly).

I think it's telling, too, that the phrase "my brother's keeper" comes from the scene in which God exiles Cain. Cain's punishment for killing his brother is leaving his home and family, which is exactly what Adam considers.

The episode title puts Adam in the role of Cain (/Kane?), which is, of course, his greatest fear.
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