Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Take Three: Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven: Season 1, Episode 3 “Surrender” (B+)

There’s a certain gravity to this show that made it seem like Bill might be dead, but instead the standoff in the woods ended up not being anything too dramatic and instead just showed the resolve of the Lafferty family to resist being policed by law enforcement. Just as he has so far, Jeb was able to relate to a particular perspective the family might have about how they might see it as a siege like the one Joseph Smith had to endure. It’s jarring to learn that the people being questioned have no idea that Brenda is dead and are therefore more than willing to say terrible things about her, like that she is an “ugly shade of gray” within a mold of black-and-white laws. Flashing back to her becoming a queen and priestess to her husband certainly showed a ritual that from the outside feels outdated and problematic but does have a great power for true believers. Ammon giving Dan lashings in public was disconcerting, and seeing how Brenda pointed out the absurdity of Dan running for sheriff so that he could repeal all the amendments to the Constitution helped explain they might have felt that she posed a threat to them. This is spilling into Jeb’s own life as he’s thinking about postponing his daughters’ baptisms so his heart can fully be in it, and Rebecca had her hands full frantically searching for her mother-in-law. He seems to be getting closer to full confessions, but that’s only going to intensify the way the remaining family members still out there feel.

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