The Buffalo Gun
In episode 5 of The English, Kills on Water and Eli continue their conversation. When Kills on Water asks why Eli fought in the war, he claims he was fighting for his enemy’s enemy. Kills on Water tells him it’s folly for him to believe he has a home to return to now. White men took his rights to his land–just like they took his loyalty.
He then tells Eli he has a job for him before he can go on his way. There’s a woman named Black-Eyed Mog looking to take over Captain Clegg’s line and kill any Native American she comes across.
Kills on Water wants Eli to kill Black-Eyed Mog. Only then will he return the bird skull.
Speaking of Black-Eyed Mog, Cornelia sits across from the woman to have a chat about her violent methods. Black-Eyed Mog shows her why she hates Indians. In ‘68, the Cheyenne scalped her and took her eyelids. She’s scalped at least 50 Native Americans as revenge.
Cornelia thinks she’s done enough to “even the score.” She then tells the woman she’s had a chat with John Clarke. He said that Black-Eyed Mog’s enemy, Kills on Water, is planning to send Eli to kill her.
Black-Eyed Mog says Cornelia has made a mistake in warning her, but Cornelia disagrees. She wasn’t warning her, but getting a jump on her before Eli could get hurt.
Cornelia shoots Black-Eyed Mog, burning her own leg in the process. She then kills one of the sons. But the last son is taken care of by the boy Mog was keeping in the barn to later kill.
Cornelia retrieves Eli, having completed his mission for him. He takes her hand, noticing she’s warm–but she insists her injury isn’t infected.
Eli decides he’s going to take Cornelia to Wyoming. He wants to pay Billy Myers a visit after all.
Back at Powder River, Sheriff Marshall finds it curious that Martha is more concerned with her cattle than her dead husband. She then implies to him that Billy abused her.
Still upset over her stolen cattle, Martha takes her gun, breaks into Trafford’s corral, and shoots one of his cows. She tells Thin she will take what’s hers, and he says he’ll let her off with a warning. This leads the sheriff to pay Martha a visit. They need to have a talk.
At the Colorado/Wyoming border, Eli and Cornelia look at the constellations. When Eli asks her why she wears gloves, she deflects. She says a lady is never supposed to take them off until she gets home.
He tells her his home is “with you,” and they kiss. But Cornelia abruptly pulls away, apologizing. She tears off her clothes as she runs away, then rubs dirt all over her arms and face and lies down.
A gunshot brings her back to reality. When she returns to Eli, he tells her he saw three riders with the boy. They have to go get him.
They find him with Major Mackay at the Western Magnetic Cable Company. He believes himself to be doing a service to Native Americans by taking them in and putting them through school to make them more “American.” He tells Cornelia he’s only taking inspiration from her people, the nobility in England.
Mackay directs their attention to two Native American women beside them; he’s training them to serve him.
Eli recognizes one of the women as Touching Ground, the widow of Running Hawk, whose execution Eli witnessed. He also recognized the boy as her son. When he whispers to Touching Ground that her son is near, she runs out of the room.
Eli notices that Cornelia is burning up with fever and decides they need to leave quickly. Touching Ground asks that they take her son, White Moon, with them.
They ride off, but Mackay shoots White Moon’s horse as they leave, causing the boy to fall. Touching Ground then kills Mackay with one of his own rifles. She and Eli take care of the rest of his men. But others soon approach, and will kill Touching Ground.
Eli then returns to an unconscious White Moon and to Cornelia, who apologizes before passing out from her fever.
The Episode Review
Emily Blunt is breath-taking in an episode that explores Cornelia’s complex motivations and the deep hurt she’s carrying. She’s hiding something, and Blunt beautifully portrays the hurt and desperation boiling just under Cornelia’s surface–just before she pushes it back to be able to get things done. And she certainly is a go-getter.
Cornelia’s outsmarting Black-Eyed Mog makes for the most satisfying kill of the series yet (even if too-quickly resolved the fate of a character just introduced). The entire interaction was largely satisfying because it was selfless–as has been everything Cornelia has done.
The interaction shows the difference between Mog’s and Cornelia’s quests for revenge. Mog pursues senseless, impersonal killings for something done to her years ago. Whereas Cornelia’s mission is on behalf of her son. It’s personally motivated and targeted on the specific, responsible person. Her disgust with Mog isn’t hypocritical, then, but rather betrays her nobler motivations.
The motivation remains by the end of the episode, but Cornelia isn’t exactly in a good position to carry out her revenge. Will Eli be able to save both her and White Moon?