Sunday, May 16, 2021

Round Two: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad: Season 1, Episode 2 “Chapter 2: South Carolina” (B)

This show is certainly very intense, and this hour felt very different from the first one. Evidently, we’re just going to see the railroad itself operating in the final scene of each episode while hearing a good deal about it in quick mentions in the run-up to it. The life Caesar and Cora were experiencing in South Carolina as Christian and Bessie seemed at first glance to be far more comfortable, but that’s part of the power of this show, which is that it portrays characters who seem as if they might be well-intentioned or somehow less horrible than their peers, only to reveal that their aims are in fact much more subversive and destructive in nature. The doctor’s visits were particularly haunting, especially as they started to realize what it was that was being done. Making a show out of whippings and slavery on the plantations felt particularly heinous, especially since it was done as entertainment. Homer is a fascinating character, one very loyal to a man who claims not to be his master but certainly acts like it, even if he is looking out for being treatment for him than he would for the slaves he so mercilessly hunts. This show is definitely stressful to watch and any hopes for happy endings are grim, even if that railroad does seem to be operate far enough underground that it can go undetected, though rumors of its existence are clearly potent enough to make it a danger that it could be discovered or infiltrated.

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