Sunday, May 29, 2022

What I’m Watching: Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven: Season 1, Episode 4 “Church and State” (B+)

It’s always jarring to see fundamentalists or extremists of any nature run for political office, since they have to inherently abide by certain rules and laws during their campaigns that they then plan to overturn if they are in fact elected. Dan saw how those who didn’t want him to be in power reacted when he was pulled over by the sheriff and almost physically pulled out of the car, and he went on about the tyrants when he was finally cornered after a lengthy chase. Both Ammon and Ron disapproved of what Dan was doing, and while Ammon was cruel in the way he spoke down to his son, it was Ron who, through physical force and subtler intimidation, was able to get through to his brother. The role of polygamy in Mormonism had a central showcase here, as Emma Smith expressed extraordinary displeasure at the idea of her husband coming up with a new tenet that would make her less significant, and his response that he as praying for heavenly father to destroy her if she didn’t obey his commandment made the situation even worse. This is a draining case for Pyre, who understands full well the implications of his refusing to rule out fundamentalist Mormonism during the press conference and saw the reach of the church when he was asked to release murder suspects into a priest’s custody, a move that would be very unlikely to lead to any form of justice or accountability for the Lafferty family.

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