Monday, April 11, 2016

What I’m Watching: Underground

Underground: Season 1, Episode 4 “Firefly” (B+)

Events are progressing much faster than I expected them to on this show, with a large group of runaways far from the plantation by the end of this episode. Seeing them all show up was a powerful moment, and there’s really no turning back at this point. The death of the overseer meant big changes, namely selecting his replacement, who at first came off as a backbreaking enforcer, before he started a fire so that he and a handful of the other slaves could make their getaway. Pearly Mae not making it out was a sad development, but she managed to ensure that the others got away safely while she distracted August and drew all of his attention to her sacrifice. Tom reacted particularly interestingly to his first-ever runaway case, seemingly delighted by the excitement of it all and happy to slowly negotiate with August about the value of his skills. John and Elizabeth’s latest experience with the Underground Railroad was particularly harrowing, and Elizabeth was especially distraught by the accusations their guest turned captor was making about what John had done to his wife. I had thought that John thinking on his feet and telling a half-true tale would really upset Elizabeth, but it seems to have spurred her on even more to feel like they need to make the most of their lives and help to right the wrongs to which they have been party. Making a good name for their race seems like a pretty strong motivator, and it’s good to have their pure intentions contrasting the awful actions happening on the plantation.

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