Underground returned to our television screens Wednesday night with it’s Season 2 premiere episode, “Contraband.” I was so excited to see this show back on the air because it wasn’t just entertaining, it gave valuable insight on the history of slavery in America – insight I’d never been exposed to through television.
Can you say…HERE FOR IT?!
Last season I reviewed a few of the episodes so I’ve decided to do it again. You can check out my recap and review video on Youtube by clicking here. If you like to read, just scroll on down.
First I’ll say that the music used in the show is still very lit. The show is known for having music so lit that they went ahead and created a track list of the music used in this first episode and posted it to their official Facebook page.
The inclusion of Beyonce’s “Freedom” at the start of the episode immediately got me hype to watch everything unfold from where we left off last even though I couldn’t quite remember the finale of last season.
Just a little warning: I’m going to jump around a little so work with me please.
I think many fans of the show were looking forward to the Harriet Tubman character (played by Aisha Hinds). After all the show’s namesake derives from the network of secret routes known as the Underground Railroad and as we all know, Tubman was one of the route’s most well-known workers. In my opinion there couldn’t be a better person to play Tubman and even though she didn’t get much time on the screen for this episode, she definitely depicted Tubman in a light that I think we all imagine her in.
It’s clear Rosalee has been under her tutelage and Tubman (aka Moses) gave her strict advice about going back in an attempt to free Noah, who was captured last season. Her advice rubbed Rosalee the wrong way, which resulted in a snapback at Tubman’s husband maybe? I liked that the episode made me want to research whether or not Tubman had a husband or significant other that wasn’t committed to the cause. Remind me to do that later.
I couldn’t remember what happened in last season’s finale but after watching Funky Dineva’s review, he cleared up my confusion about Ernestine. I was wondering how she ended up on a South Carolina plantation but apparently she was sold. But where is her youngest son that got put into the field after she was told he wouldn’t be? Someone let me know!
The absence of her youngest son (James is his name I think) is just a harsh reminder of the realities of slavery and how it tore black families apart, never to be reunited again. Yet through all of their hardships and pain, they still managed to sing and dance when they got together by the fire. Talk about strength!
Ernestine is now a field slave which is a huge switch from her role at Macon’s plantation. She’s being haunted by Pearlie Mae (Boo’s mother, the slave she killed last season) and is battling with her new life situation – to the point where she’s thinking about suicide.
Some people are saying that Ernestine is strong, which I agree, but in this episode she seems more numb than strong. We see how males slaves were repeatedly humiliated in front of the others and Ernestine’s new man got the brunt of it in this week’s episode. It obviously affects his self-esteem and behavior, so much that he puts his hands on her when she isn’t as compassionate or even shows that she cares. They’re both snuffing something in their scarves and getting high, but it’s not clear what it is. This is another moment in the show that makes me curious and want to research it, which is why I’m such a fan.
Moving on to Noah…
He’s been captured and Rosalee, Elizabeth and John are all working to get him free before he’s hung for murder.
Their plan was risky of course but much better than what the slaves Noah was on the stage to be hung with were trying to carry out. I don’t think the plan was realistic and could’ve actually been carried out successfully in the real world of slavery but I have to remember that this is a television show so there will be lots of dramatization.
Seeing John be killed at the end of the episode left me completely speechless. I’m surprised that his character was written off in the first episode of this season because of how much he contributed to the storyline. Seeing how Elizabeth adjusts to his death will be interesting. I wonder if she’ll abandon the abolitionist life or if it’ll drive her to become even more committed. I guess we’ll see as time goes on.
What were your thoughts on this episode? I’d love to hear in the comments section! Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch video reviews of the series every week.
Underground appears every Wednesday on WGN America at 10/9c.
Image credits: Underground WGN