Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2 Review: The Rattler

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So that's how and why Billy McCarty honed his skill with a handgun.

Apparently, the Old West was brutal to grow up in, especially with a pretty mother, as Billy learned on Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2.

It's getting easier to understand how Billy went from being a caring mama's boy to a feared outlaw in six years. He went through some things during that span.

On the Move -- Tall - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

Billy's biggest problem was that he was now the man of the family after his father died. As such, he had to protect his mother from her unrealistic expectation of civility being the norm everywhere.

Maybe that New York City tenement where the McCartys first lived in America was somewhat civilized.

Adjusting to a New Life - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

But as Kathleen was all too slowly learning, civility didn't reign in either of their new homes, Coffeyville or Santa Fe, and on all the trails along the way.

That isn't to say that Kathleen was remarkably naive. She instead was an unfortunate blend of hopefulness and practicality.

That latter quality probably led to her ill-informed choice of her second husband, Henry.

Kathleen should have been wary when she was approached by a gentleman in Santa Fe, that cesspool of toxic masculinity. But instead, she was swept up by his manners and charm, which should have been warning signs to her.

Billy's Stepfather - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

Billy saw the other side of Henry when Henry led the lynching of three Mexican "thieves." That didn't sit well with Billy, whose closest friend in Santa Fe was the Mexican boy Carlos.

Billy transitioned quite well to his latest home, making friends with the locals and learning passable Spanish. As he later learned, not all of the Americans were so well disposed to the territory's former owners.

That probably explains why Henry's meeting with Kathleen's sons went so badly since Billy had already been introduced to Henry and his fellow racists.

Henry's condescending explanation of why it was essential to indoctrinate the Mexicans to American laws didn't help matters, leading Billy to question who had made Henry judge.

Helping Mother - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

So, yeah, that introduction could have gone better since Billy doesn't hesitate to say what he thinks when it comes to protecting Kathleen, oft-times from herself.

Billy had already saved her from one predator, holding the driver Hurley's gun on him much of the way from Coffeyville to Santa Fe. One look at Billy's cold eyes, and Hurley knew he meant business.

That likely reinforced to Billy the importance of being able to handle a gun in the West. That would explain why he later kept practicing what would become his profession -- gunman.

Billy saw another predator in Henry. But Kathleen justified her choice to him by practically pointing out the lack of potential suitors willing to take on a widow's offspring. To her, Henry was a calculated risk.

Mother's Keeper - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

Instead of scraping to make ends meet, Kathleen should have joined her unlikely friend Hattie as a prostitute.

She would have been able to identify potential husbands with money to burn, and she would have seen them at their worst instead of when they're putting on a front. But the Catholic in her would keep that from ever happening.

So Kathleen settled for a man she didn't love but who had the resources to keep her and her sons in a better state than they currently were experiencing. That compromise would come back to haunt her.

Five years jump cut was effective, showing that Billy had settled comfortably into his new life in Santa Fe. But then tragedy struck.

Fateful Game - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

He and Carlos were at their usual haunt, fleecing their fellow gamblers. But one took offense at losing to a Mexican and gunned down Carlos. 

That was when Billy got his education in Western politics, thanks to Ash Upson, a journalist to whom his mother introduced him. In real life, Upson was the person who created the legend of Billy the Kid.

Upson kept Billy from doing something stupid, attacking the shooter who wasn't charged with Carlos's death. The shooter met with a judge who was very influential in Santa Fe.

That was when Upson explained that he was investigating the Santa Fe Ring, a corrupt network of the rich and powerful who he hoped to bring down.

Bigger Picture - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

Any bet that Billy will wait for the wheels of justice to slowly turn? Or is this just another reason that he became an outlaw? Surely future episodes will continue to detail what led him to go rogue.

Fortunately, Billy found another target for his frustration -- his stepfather, Henry.

A beaten-up Hattie confessed to Kathleen: Henry had long been her regular customer, long before Kathleen came on the scene.

Henry had beaten Hattie because a business deal had gone wrong, and Hattie came to warn Kathleen about it.

Difficult Changes - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

Once Billy saw his stoic mother crying, he tracked down Henry at the whorehouse and gave him a well-earned beatdown.

Henry didn't even dare mention Billy's thrashing, instead informing Kathleen they would have to move somewhere that he could find a job thanks to his business reversals.

Ash, who was heading to Silver City ahead of death threats, encouraged Billy to take his family there.

Henry threatened Billy en route. But after marksman Billy shot the head off of a rattlesnake, it was clear that the tables had turned in their relationship.

Surprised Driver - Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2

To revisit Billy's evolution, watch Billy the Kid online.

What was Kathleen thinking?

When will she learn to listen to Billy?

What did you think of Henry?

Comment below.

The Rattler Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Billy the Kid Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Hurley: You'll need a man to look after you.
Kathleen: I just recently lost my husband, Mr. Hurley. I need to take my family somewhere that has better opportunity. So right now, I don't need anything but a good job and a new home for my boys and me.

Billy: What's that?
Hurley: I don't know. Looks like a dust storm coming?
Billy: Dust storm: What'll that be like?
Hurley: Well, let me just say, if it comes, you'll wish it never came.