The redemption of Billy the Kid appears to have begun.
Billy remained naive, but as he looked around, he started to wonder if maybe he was on the wrong side of things on Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 7.
He had just left his Mexican brother, Segura, behind after rescuing him from jail on Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 6. That was the right thing to do, after all, since Segura had been convicted of a murder that Billy committed.
Billy still has a conscience, even if his temper sometimes overcomes it.
Really, other than the crooked card dealer Ortiz, most of Billy’s killings would fall under self-defense. But when you’re an outlaw on a wanted poster, no one is giving you the benefit of the doubt.
Now Billy had decided that if someone wanted to profit off of his notoriety, they would pay him to lease it.
After riding into misadventure after misadventure, Billy decided to be the mercenary he was perceived to be. Only that costume just didn’t fit him.
Billy wanted to like Major Murphy and his lieutenants Dolan and Riley, Irishmen like himself.
Only they were just as slimy as those corrupt officials in the Santa Fe Ring that Billy was attempting to leave behind. They staked their claim in an area first and therefore ruled it.
Billy should have realized what Murphy was like when he bribed Billy with a new gun to make him put on a shooting demonstration to entertain partygoers. Only they came away frightened instead of amused after seeing the dark side of Billy.
Murphy brought in the 7 Rivers Gang not to protect his businesses against Indians or bandits but competition. And something about that rubbed Billy the wrong way.
Murphy wanted Billy and the gang to scare away Brit John Tunstall, who has built his own store in Murphy’s town.
Jesse and Pat strode into Tunstall’s store, breaking things and threatening his worker. Billy called them off because he didn’t feel right to bully someone just trying to make a living.
What got Billy was what Murphy was doing to the local Mexican farmers. Billy had a soft spot for Mexicans as he has had Mexican friends throughout his short life.
So it made him think when Mexican farmer Manuel explained that he’d moved his grains contract to Tunstall because Murphy was cheating him and didn’t pay him enough to feed his family.
And what was Pat thinking, shooting Manuel just because he picked up a piece of wood to defend himself against Jesse?
Pat appeared to have been one of the gang’s more intelligent, philosophical members (granted, that’s a low bar). So, if he felt the need to protect Jesse, why not just wing Manuel?
It was interesting to see that there was fallout from Manuel’s murder. Apparently, the Mexican farmers were such an essential part of the local population that Sheriff Brady felt compelled to jail Pat even after hearing his weak alibi.
Then Murphy made that problem disappear by having Pat shipped to a faraway court for trial. We know from history that Pat will get off, not hung as Murphy suggested.
Tunstall took a page from Murphy’s book, creating his army from farmers who would benefit from competition in town.
But these weren’t hired gunslingers but men who were protecting their homes and families against those they perceived as paid interlopers.
Billy could see that difference, which was why he thrust himself and his horse in between the two sides just as a gun battle was about to break out.
That was also why Billy, despite the hostility he knew he would face as part of Murphy’s enforcers, came to Manuel’s funeral to pay his respects. It was the right thing to do.
Because of Billy’s willingness to do so, Charlie Bowdre and George Coe, two of Tunstall’s men, approached him about considering switching to their side.
Being a loyal guy, Billy couldn’t betray Jesse and the rest of the gang, whose job with Murphy depended entirely on Billy’s reputation, even though he felt what they were doing was wrong.
The final straw for Billy was the wagon full of whiskey that Murphy sent to the gang’s camp to celebrate their intimidation of the Mexican farmers. It was evident that soured Billy’s stomach, leading to his agreeing to meet with Alex McSween.
But before that meeting takes place, Billy had another significant encounter. After rebuffing the advances of Dolan’s wife Irene, Billy spied the mysterious Dulcinea, a member of a Mexican gentry family.
There can’t be much room for romance here with only one episode left this season, but it will be intriguing to see where this goes.
McSween, Tunstall’s lawyer, who was formerly Murphy’s attorney, knew where all the bodies were buried.
McSween was an essential person for Billy to meet. Like Billy, he was disgusted with Murphy and left town until Tunstall convinced him to return.
The question is whether the dirt he knows will be enough to put Billy on the right side.
To follow Billy’s development, watch Billy the Kid online.
Will Billy switch sides?
Can Billy and an army of farmers overcome the 7 Rivers Gang?
Will Bill get together with Dulcinea?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.