Monday, May 17, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad: Season 1, Episode 8 “Chapter 8: Indiana Autumn” (B+)

This episode was a return to the regular hourplus format and also the main narrative of Cora, now far enough away from Ridgeway but not able to escape the memories of what she’s experienced and knows could continue to be possible. Seeing how life was on the farm was so interesting, and their system was an entirely cooperative one that helped to foster community and sustain what it was that they were doing. Finding out that they were able to protect runaways because they fed the judge plenty of wine so he would hand over warrants to them long before he signed them showed that they were merely being clever in how they manage to eke out some form of coexistence, using trade and bribery to protect themselves from a discriminatory and violent nation. Royal and Cora flirting was a nice bit of levity, though that didn’t last when he wanted to go back and join the fight and she wasn’t okay just existing in the way that she was. The scenes of a thriving Underground Railroad with hundreds of passengers all dressed up for travel and an entire board of destinations was exactly what we haven’t seen so far, especially as we saw her board just one car again this time, and this episode delved far into her imagination and her deepest fears related to what might be possible. I’m not sure where the last two episodes of this limited series will go, but I’m not sure that Cora is going to continue her impressively long trek or, like Royal, risk her own life to go back to even more dangerous territory.

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