Leonard Smalls really is a demon of vengeance unwittingly summoned by Hi when he kidnaps Nathan, Jr.
This is how Hi sees him when he dreams about him, but after that point the movie treats him as just a really scuzzy bounty hunter, and we're led to believe that Hi's dream was exaggerated and tinged with metaphor. However, consider that there is no way
for Smalls to have tracked down Hi and Ed — he's seen investigating the hole in the ground where Gale and Levelle emerged, but no logic could link that prison break to the kidnapping — and when he goes to their house, having never even seen the place before, he goes straight across the messy room and picks up the newspaper clipping that tells him where he needs to go, even though it's partially buried
. He's clearly exhibiting some superhuman qualities here. That and his motorbike seems to growl and roar at times, and he has the same Mr. Horsepower
tattoo as Hi, and other vague hints.
Leonard Smalls is Hi's father.
They share a tattoo, and it explains why Hi was dreaming about him.
- Given that Smalls hints he was a baby in 1954, that would make him around 33 y.o. by the time of the film's setting and some 5-10 years older than Hi at most.
Leonard Smalls is Nathan, Jr. had Hi not given him back
He's the Worst Case Scenario of what could happen to Nathan Jr., and, as such, is in the back of Hi's mind. He's not REALLY there, he is a symbol of Hi's guilt, haunting Hi.
Dot is the mother of Hi's future children.
Ed allows Hi to have sex with Dot so they can have kids of their own. We already know that Dot is willing and wants more babies of her own. We also know that the reason Dot and Glen couldn't have more kids was that Glen was unable to.
- Or they circumvent the emotional hang-ups of extramarital sex by using artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.
Well, he sure looks like a Norse fire god.
After getting shot by George, he didn't die, it "cured" him of his mental problems. But at what cost? It left him bitter at life, angry, so he turned to body building, he turned to violence, and he turned into this.
H. I. McDunnough and Lt. Terrence McDonagh from Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans are distantly related.
Obviously, their branches of the family just spell the last name a little different from each other. I mean there's a very clear Uncanny Family Resemblance
Hi and Smalls are both black-market babies
Smalls mentions he was born and sold on the black market, maybe the tats are a form of branding.
- Hi probably got his tattoo after his first arrest if we consider that he has to show it for the mug shot after his second or third arrest.
Smalls is a Horseman of the Apocolypse
Leonard Smalls was really from hell, as was Hi AND the Snoats Bros.
The brothers didn't escape from prison, but from the fiery bowels of Satan's kingdom. Hi destroyed Leonard Smalls, the agent that the devil sent to return him back to his home. Because Hi and Ed tried to do good towards the end, God gave Hi a vision of one possible future for them - a place in heaven - provided that Hi agreed to have his memory wiped and atone for his other sins...as Smalls' replacement.
Hi and Ed moved to Utah to become Mormons
In Hi's final dream, they have children and grandchildren and live in Utah. Consider this: Since Ed is barren, they become Mormons (in name only) so Hi could get a second wife to impregnate and bear children for them. Considering that Ed is desperate enough for children that she's willing to resort to kidnapping, she may be willing to resort to this as well.
H.I. suffers from asthma, which kept him out of the police when he was younger.
Ed and Nathan Sr. are able to get close to Smalls without a problem, but H.I. starts gagging and choking, suggesting asthma. It would also explain H.I.'s instant rapport with Ed, and his seemingly genuine desire to go straight.
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