Shouldn’t the real question be: “That’s terrible, Tess! How could your parents (or the zoo management) put you in that no-win situation!?” It doesn’t sound like Tess volunteered to put down Mama Elephant. But it also looks like lover boy Rex has some kind of absolutist morality which doesn’t discount age or maturity. Oh, poor Rex, moaning and condemning, like some upper-class snob discovering that his date does not a family pedigree equal to his own. Go ahead, Rex. Start casting stones.
I am curious to see how Rivera develops this scenario: Will she put forward the notion that this pachyderm put-down formed the basis for Tess’s current alleged animal mistreatment? Will Rivera try and show that Tess is a victim of circumstances out of her control? Or will Mark suddenly pop up as a voice of wisdom, and come to Tess’s aid, rebuking Rex for his unrealistic moralizing? Or do we go down the usual path where Rex disavows Tess and walks off into the night, a disillusioned and broken shell of a man?