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Early in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samantha Caine is suffering from amnesia and doesn't remember her past beyond 8 years ago. We see some establishing scenes of her new life. In one we see her at a christmas party with her boyfriend and many others.

After the party, in one of the first scenes to hint that her past was somewhat different to the "frumpy school teacher" she has become, she is driving one of the guests home when the hits a deer and crashes the car. We see her ejected from the car through the windscreen (always wear your seatbelts, folks!) but the old man she was with seems to still be in the car. She kills the injured deer, establishing she has some dark skills unexpected in a schoolteacher. While she is doing this we see the car catch fire.

What happens to the old man in the car? We never see him referenced again.

And are we supposed to read the scene as a reference to how ruthless her repressed personality is (she chooses to kill the deer rather than to rescue the old guy from the burning car)?

Is the old guy dead? Are we supposed to read the scene like that? Or is it supposed to be ambiguous?

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After the car hits the tree and Samantha is ejected, it starts smoking and then burning nearly immediately.

Next shot shows the old man unconscious inside the car (the deer's hoof hit him in the forehead and he is bleeding, head to the side), while the car is engulfed in flames. The flames actually "rise up" to cover his unconscious form.

So it is pretty clear the man dies when the car burns.

As for the meaning of the scene, in my opinion it's there to show that she is capable of killing with her bare hands - she has the strength and the skills to do so. She mercy kills the wounded deer, so it's not a representation of ruthlessness or malice towards the animal.

As for not trying to save the old man; she wakes up only after the car is in flames and is clearly in shock. The car is already burning and it's too late to try to save him (she takes a look at the burning car after killing the deer, then turns back and falls unconscious).

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  • While I agree with most of this, it also looks like Samantha had a choice to rescue the old guy or kill the deer. She chose the deer.
    – matt_black
    Dec 28 '21 at 19:09

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