Some stories stay with you, and I think this one will stay with me for a long time.
Kino shoots rabbits with apparent cruelty. It isn’t actually cruel because she shoots them efficiently on the head. The episode takes on a remarkably graphic turn in depicting blood and violence. Later on we see Kino skinning and cutting up the rabbit on a board.
Kino is not cruel. She is efficient.
She finds a trio of traders huddled in a tent beside a snowed-in truck. They are almost starved to death. Kino spends the next three days hunting and cooking for them. She nurses them back to health, and helps them get their truck out of the snow. At night they gather around the fire, generally having the kind of conversation newfound friends have.
Hermes asks the pertinent questions, “Why do this for them? Who are they to you? If a situation like this were ever to happen again, would you do the same?”
Kino explains her altruism. She hopes that a passerby would do her a good turn as she does these starving men. So yes, she’d probably do the same thing if the time comes.
When the men were strong enough to get the truck moving. They reveal themselves. They trade slaves, and when they said they survived by eating their cargo, they meant they cannibalized the slaves they were to deliver.
Having no more slaves to deliver, they would take Kino into bondage. They would have been successful, had Kino been so exceedingly thorough in carrying weapons on her person. Her last weapon, after complying to the demands that she disarm herself, was a makeshift knife that also functioned as a revolver. With this she was able to completely surprise her would-be captors and kill all of them.
The whole scene was expertly portrayed. Kino was as efficient a killer of men as she is a hunter of bunny rabbits.
Kino’s rabbits are representations for the slaves who were supposed to be sold if not for this winter debacle for the slave traders. They were as hungry and helpless as the rabbits, but we are left to our imagination as to how cruel the slave traders were when the time came to kill them and eat them.
After all, we easily suspect Kino of cruelty towards the rabbit, but she was actually quite merciful. Is there any indication that the slavers would be brutal? None really. In any case I suspect that the actual act was far more desperate rather than malevolent.
Perhaps this is what’s horrifying about it. Take away intent, incentives, and options; the compromises that men make are truly awful.
What or where is the evil in this episode? Exactly what and exactly where?
But here is the question that I can answer for myself: Kino can afford to assist strangers the way she does because she is far better armed than the most cautious of good Samaritans.