Sunday, June 12, 2022

What I’m Watching: Under the Banner of Heaven (Series Finale)

Under the Banner of Heaven: Season 1, Episode 7 “Blood Atonement” (B+)

I’m not sure what I expected to see in this finale, but it was unnerving how simple everything was and how easily it happened. Brenda saw Dan coming in and tried to stop him, and then she was helpless to do anything else when he overpowered her. The fact that no one even tried to step in when Dianna was crying out for help as Samuel tried to take Matilda aware to face her own divine punishment was very disturbing, and that explains how the brothers were able to get away with all this, since no one bothered to do anything and they just marched on with their alleged religious orders. Dianna demanding that he bear his testimony was an important indicator of how she, like Pyre, still believes after all this in the tenets of their religion. Bill rejected efforts to make his people’s history one of cooperation since that wasn’t the story he had heard, and didn’t appreciate the lies they had been told and the way it had been spun to make it seem like they weren’t manipulated victims. After some prodding from Bill, Pyre was able to realize that Ron’s next move would be to kill Dan, or the other way around, and it was telling that, when they were finally arrested, Ron remained stoically silent and Dan once again cried out to those around him to ask what laws of heaven he had broken. Ending on Pyre coming back to his family was a strong choice, emphasizing the heart of this harrowing but very well-told series.

Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Andrew Garfield as Pyre and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Brenda

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