I just finished watching this episode, and I noticed that when Joe is talking to Seth, but before he finds out it was just cold-blooded murder (that is, he still thinks it was a "mercy killing,") he says, "I promised, but I was wrong, just as I believe you were wrong in what you did." I think that was Joe's conclusion, agreeing with Pa and Adam.January wrote:Did we ever find out what Joe concluded regarding mercy killing? That wasn't addressed once the episode turned to Joe finding out that it was murder.
What's your thoughts?
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- Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Little Joe
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I won't say they do a good job on this script -- they took the easy way out in more than one respect, you ask me -- but that part didn't bother me. I thought from the first the actor was playing Seth as a psychopath, and the 'he made me' argument somewhat supports that. Seth says that like he means it, not like he's trying to convince himself of it. Then when Sara talks to Little Joe about their childhood, she says Seth wanted to kill the mama bear who was just protecting her cub, which sort of sealed it for me. I didn't think that was unrealistic that Joe didn't know. Psychologists estimate that something like 4% of Americans are psychopaths -- people who have no conscience. Most of them won't commit a criminal act because they can't get away with it, or are otherwise never in a situation where it makes the most sense to them, and most of their friends and neighbors don't realize what they're really like.Adamant wrote:One thing that bothers me about this episode is that Seth who Joe has known all his life, would suddenly become capable of murdering out of avarice; that stretches all credibility in my book. No one turns into a cold-blooded murderer over one incident.
And doesn't Seth say something that implies the three of them may have drifted apart a bit as they got toward adulthood? If Joe knew Seth best when they were kids, then I'm not at all surprised that he wouldn't be aware of that part of Seth's personality. I have had problems with other episodes where Ben or Adam are oblivious to the fact that someone they've know well, or have worked with a long time, is a seriously bad guy, especially if they were supposed to have met as adults, but this one doesn't bother me. Even when he gets older and more savvy, I don't see Joe questioning someone he'd grown up with unless his friend does something serious to shake his faith. Which is what happens here -- Joe's dreams are telling him that Seth did something wrong pretty early on, it seems, and I think it reasonable to assume that some part of him kind of recognized what had really happened practically from the git go. It's just his conscious self values friendship and loyalty so highly he didn't want to believe it.
To me, Joe wasn't just wrestling with a moral issue of "what's good and what's bad" -- he was wrestling with the fact that a friend he loved and trusted wasn't the person he'd thought he was. Even though the story itself kind of copped out, on the one hand, they do state a strong opinion through Ben and Adam, which I didn't entirely expect, and on the other hand, I felt that Michael Landon's acting portrayed confusion over the friendship as much as confusion over the moral issue. And the plot supports that -- Joe's going to flee the situation, which kind of pushes home the idea that Joe's struggle was as much over friendship and loyalty as over the moral issue of euthanasia.
As others have mentioned, I, too, would have liked to see what Hoss had to say on the subject.
One thing I wanted to know was, why did Joe accept Seth's diagnosis that Sara's father's back was broken? It's true people did more of their own doctoring in the nineteenth century, but not when it came to that sort of thing. Not when it comes to a life or death thing. And Joe, living on a ranch, would probably know that pain and damage are not always that closely linked -- sometimes non-lethal injuries are much more painful than lethal ones, for instance, which is something no one really says (Ben gets close to it when saying people in pain are, in a sense, out of their minds, but he doesn't make the point that people who are feeling excruciating pain at the time of the accident can potentially survive and heal).
For example, if Sara's father was in extreme pain, then whatever his injury was, it wasn't a broken back that for sure meant permanent paralysis. Pain with a back injury was in one sense a positive sign -- at least the nerves haven't been severed yet (paralysis might still be a possibility, what with swelling at all, but hadn't happened yet). Doctors would know that, back then, although I don't know who else would. But I think most people, whatever their thoughts on euthanasia, would have frowned on Seth "acting the doctor" by diagnosing Sara's father and then acting on that diagnosis by killing him.
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