The Rifleman
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The Guest
Episode 165

How would you interpret the ending to this episode?
I'm not saying an alternate ending, this is different, I'm saying 'interpret'.

If you had to write your 'interpretation' of what you believe (just for pretend) really happened when we see Mario Rosati 'appear' as though he was going to kill Lucas. In other words, without changing the episode in any way, could you interpret the ending differently?
I have a fan that did just that, his name is The Rifleman aka .....


The Guest

I believe that Mario knew that there was no way he could go through with killing Lucas, Mark's father. He obviously became very attached to Mark, and could not do to him what was done to him so many years ago when someone had taken the life of his own father.

The Night Mario goes into the room while Lucas is sleeping, he knows even before entering the room that he can't go through with it. But he goes in and sure enough, he proves to himself that he simply can't. He throws down the weapon of strangulation, knowing he cannot carry out his deadly mission. But now, how can Mario go on? Does he even want to go on? I think it is actually at that moment that he realizes he has nothing more to live for.


So, we know Mario is pretty 'sneaky' and that he plans everything he does so well and is so thorough and meticulous. So, I think he set up and planned what happens. He plans to die.

You know how the previous morning when Mario heard Lucas outside firing off his rifle? Mario was going to go out the front door, then he stops, and goes out the back door instead. See how 'sneaky' he is? So he goes out the back door and walks (sneaks) up to Lucas. Lucas says, "Oh, Mario, I didn't hear you come up." Mario says, "Sorry Lucas, but I guess I have the old country habit of walking to quietly." It looks like everything Mario does is carefully calculated. Remember, he is a professional assassin who takes great 'pride' and 'pleasure' in his work.


So, what I think happened was, like I said, he realized the night he threw down his 'garrote' that he could no longer go on. So, he began calculating what he was going to do. Maybe he wasn't exactly sure, but two things he was sure about. He could not betray his friendship with Mark, and he also knew he could no long go on living. Maybe Mario even despised the man he had become. Maybe he was spending a lot of time thinking of his father. He said his father was a beautiful man. I'm sure his father was a God fearing man like Lucas was, and that his father raised him that way also. Maybe Mario reflected about Sunday morning with his father at Church. Maybe he realized that his father would have hated to have seen what his son had turned into. Maybe it just made him sick inside, and that further made him want to destroy himself.

So the next morning Mario gets up, has breakfast with Lucas and Mark. Now, I am not sure whether or not Mark goes to school. I don't think so because he would have rode his horse to school. Also, the morning when Lucas is out shooting his Rifle, Mario said, "I just remember I can't. I promised to help Mark as soon as he came back from town). So I am thinking that maybe it is the weekend or something? Spring recess? Not sure but I don't think Mark is going to school in these episodes.

So, Maybe that day (the day Mario dies) Mark is around and is hanging out with Mario. Then Mark tells Mario that he has something to do and will be back at lunch time. Maybe he even asks if he wants to go with him but Mario says no. So Mark goes off. Mario notices exactly what direction Mark walks off to. He knows what his path will most likely be when he comes back.


Now that Mark is gone, Mario starts thinking of what to do. Lucas is outside working. Mario starts thinking. He 'sneakily' walks outside and observes that Lucas has his rifle resting against the barn. Mario starts carefully calculating a plan. He knows that Mark will be coming that way when he comes home for lunch. And he knows that his father's rifle is right there. He knows. Maybe he goes outside and is talking to Lucas and Lucas says to Mario, "I'm going to keep sawing these logs until Mark gets back for lunch."

So, when it is almost time for Mark to come home, Mario, sneaking around outside around the back of the barn, sees Mark coming off in the distance. Just as expected, Mark will be walking right where Mario expected.

So, Mario sneaks back in the house, and grabs his bag and waits. He is carefully calculating in his mind the exact time to walk outside. He determines Mark's distance and the pace of his walk.

Mario then goes out the front door, and confronts Lucas. Mario makes sure he stands so that Mark can clearly see he is holding a gun at his father. Mario also angles himself in such a way that he can see Mark coming up out of the corner of his eye. The whole time Mark is approaching and moving closer to the rifle, Mario is completely aware of him.


Mario talks to Lucas and times it just right. When he cocks the hammer and says, "Now..." Mario pauses and waits. He waits either for Mark to pick up the rifle and shoot him, or, he waits for Mark to throw the rifle to his father. We know that Mark was bragging about his father to Mario, so maybe Mark had told Mario about times when he had to throw his rifle to his father. Maybe he even told Mario about the very recent time when his friend was accidentally shot by his father's rifle, and how what snapped him out of his mental torment was when he had to throw his rifle to his father to stop Vantine from shooting that dress salesman. So it is possible Mario knew precisely what Mark would do.


So Mark throws the rifle to Lucas, and Mario doesn't do a thing, and allows Lucas to shoot him.

Notice how Mario does not have to turn his head much to look at Mark and say goodbye to him. I think it is obvious that from where Mario was standing he could have definitely have seen Mark coming up alongside the barn out of the corner of his eye.

Notice that it looked like Mario was not surprised at all. It looks like he was totally expecting it. He smiles at Mark, kind of like letting him know this is exactly what he wanted to happen. Letting Mark know he did not betray his friendship. His smile was kind of like telling Mark that everything was okay. Everything was okay, because this is exactly what Mario had wanted.


Now, to interpret the ending the way I did, we really do not need to change anything to the show. We can watch The Guest exactly as it is, and simply pretend that this was Mario's plan.

We can even keep the scene with Lucas and Mark at the end of the show the same also. Don't need to change anything.

But, we can pretend that the next morning Micah stops by to have breakfast with Lucas and Mark. They are at the table talking about Mario. Micah found out a lot about Mario and starts telling Lucas and Mark how he was a top assassin from New Orleans. Micah also says that a wire has been issued for Hayden's arrest. So they are talking and Micah says, "Lucas, when you dropped off that derringer in my office, did you empty it?" Lucas says, "No, why?" Micah says, "Well, it wasn't loaded". Mark looks surprised, "Wasn't loaded?!" he says. Then Lucas looks at Mark. Mark says, "Pa, he knew your rifle was where it was and that I'd be coming back up that way? Why did he wait until that moment when he knew I'd be back? Pa, do you think Mario set the whole thing up?" Lucas says, "It's starting to look that way son." Mark says, "That explains why he just paused, as though he was waiting. Waiting for me to toss you that rifle. And the way he smiled at me..." Micah says, "Well, Lucas, if you didn't empty his derringer it had to have been unloaded when he pulled it on you. As soon as you dropped it off I put it right in my desk drawer. No one else could have touched it." Mark smiles, "I guess he didn't try to kill you after all Pa." Lucas smiles. "No, I guess not son."

The Guest

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