Monday, May 17, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad: Season 1, Episode 7 “Chapter 7: Fanny Briggs” (B)

I was startled when I saw the length of this episode – just nineteen minutes. I know that some streaming series have featured much shorter installments because the content just didn’t need forty minutes or an entire hour, but it suggests that maybe this material could have been folded into another episode. That said, it is an important and somewhat standalone story of redemption, a brief hint of positivity in this truly horrific world. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see Fiona brutally kicked and beaten after she started the fire, something that ended up being far more destructive than I’m sure she intended and made the incident more directly impactful on the residents of the town. Ironically, it also enabled Fanny to make her escape since no one was looking for her and everyone was distracted by the fires. It was a very perilous journey, but she remained calm and determined, and made it to a station that wasn’t quite as elaborate as the one we saw in the previous episode. The conductor was just as friendly and full of energy, and it was interesting to hear her ask about Cora and receive no response, though that does serve as a reminder that there’s nothing magical about this railroad, which operates in the 1800s when advanced communication technology just didn’t exist. It will be good to check back in with Cora and her new friends in the next episode but it’s reassuring to know that one innocent person made it out and is on her way, hopefully, to a better and safer place.

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