Sunday, May 16, 2021

Take Three: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad: Season 1, Episode 3 “Chapter 3: North Carolina” (B+)

This show isn’t getting any less bleak, and it’s actually even more disturbing with each new episode. It’s reminding me a lot of the dystopian series “The Handmaid’s Tale” in which religious fervor so cruelly fuels people to treat others in a despicable and inarguably ungodly way. Christianity and devoutness was so present in this episode in all its forms, whether it was Martin reminding Cora about grace, presumably so that he could pretend to blend in, Ethel trying to educate Cora in the ways of the Lord once she decided to actually pay her some attention, and the horrific brutality that the townspeople justified by claiming that North Carolina was God-ordained to be rid of all Black people. That Freedom Trail of hanging bodies was truly terrifying, and things seem to get worse and worse as Cora travels from state to state. Martin was a kinder soul, doing what he could to protect Cora and the other inhabitant of his attic, and it was nice to see actor Damon Herriman, typically known for playing despicable or idiotic people in projects like “Justified” and “Judy and Punch,” portray a truly good soul in this evil world. I was also pleased to see Lily Rabe, who I interviewed recently about her role on “The Undoing,” as Ethel, who was less pure in her intentions and is likely going to bear the brunt of the anger from her neighbors for harboring these unwanted fugitives. It was interesting to note how Ethel’s daughter looked more favorably on the Irish servant her mother was talking down to and how Fiona’s hatred of the detested minority she had replaced. It was disheartening to see Martin so quickly give up his participation in the railroad, and it’s not a good sign that Homer was able to access the ruins of the tunnels, likely giving Ridgeway dangerous information about how to subvert what still remains of the railroad.

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