Underground shows no bridge over ‘Troubled Water’: Recap and Review

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Recap

We see John working tirelessly in remodeling their home to the narration of Elizabeth reading a letter that was sent to Mr. Still. Despite the general nature of the note, the subtle undertones of the very nature of their relationship add a bit of peculiarity to the words used in the message, ending with a valediction, and a lit lamp being placed at a window sill. To their surprise, Marshall Risdin has been waiting outside their home, on the hunt for some runaways. Due to the frequency of the slaves running, he has been given the authority to deputize anyone that can aid in the effort of finding the runaways, and without any notice, deputizes John to join in the manhunt.

As Rosalee relieves herself amidst some bushes, while in the middle of washing her hands, she is startled by the sound of a gunshot, followed shortly by the running of Cato, Noah and Henry. It seems that after so much time gone by without eating has caused some friction within the team, and Noah is now getting desperate. Their argument is interrupted by the sounds of laughter and frolicking, as the group peers over a hedge to see a large river raft with a handful of people. Thinking that they may have food on board, Noah and Cato decide to overtake the vessel, by any means necessary.

Underground, Season 1, Episode 106 Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television

We jump over to Ernestine pouring two drinks in Tom Macon’s office, very calmly and with poise, as the moans and cries of Suzanna going in to labor fill the whole house. Tom walks in along with the Reverend to show him the lighting for his painting, speaking about religion and the slaves. The Reverend asks Tom if he reads the Word to his family, as well as his slaves. When Tom wavers in his answer, the Reverend responds with a quaint “If you did, seven of them probably wouldn’t of ran away.” Tom assures the Reverend that he will find his missing slaves. All the while, Suzanna’s grunts and screams make for a comedic break amidst a tense conversation.

As Noah, Cato, and Henry overtake the boat, August and Ben catch up with the group, holding them at gunpoint. When August asks about the whereabouts of Rosalee, Noah jumps on him, throwing punches as Rosalee runs. Unfortunately, August gets off of Noah, and chases after her into the river, but she is quick to get away as she is surprisingly able to swim back to the boat. For fear that August won’t let up in the chase, Noah uses his only bullet to shoot him in the shoulder, causing him to slow down. As August and Ben reconvene by the horses, they are met with one of the girls that was forced off the boat, to whom Ben becomes smitten with. While on the road back to town, August and Ben’s group are met by the local Natives, to which he utters a phrase in their language, and after some slits that they make in August’s chest and back, they leave them in peace. Once back at a tavern, Ben gets to talking to this woman, who happens to be a call girl for the saloon. She later visits August, mentioning that she had already spoke to her son, but that she was a bit more interested in the man.

Underground, Season 1, Episode 106 Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television

John and Marshall Risdin’s manhunt goes well into the night, as they come upon a barn. As they are searching, one of the runaways comes out, attacking and knocking out the Marshall, and started heading for John, but not before he recognizes him by calling out his name, Clyde. Once the Marshall comes to, they are back on John’s property, with Elizabeth tending to him. John tells him that the runaway got him too, and was able to escape. The Marshall thanks him for his help, and for saving him. As soon as he leaves, they quickly release Clyde from a hiding place that was only inches away from where the Marshall was sitting before.

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While Cato is teaching Henry how to wield a knife early the next day, Noah finds that Rosalee had left the boat earlier that night, swimming off to somewhere. Noah instantly blames Cato, telling him that it was whatever he had told her the other night, but Cato assures him that he didn’t do anything, and that her conscious probably got the best of her. Meanwhile, the Reverend has begun to baptize Tom’s slaves in the river, asking them if they accept God into their hearts. As Ernestine prepares herself to be baptized, the Reverend whispers into her ears that he knows what she is doing, calling her Jezebel. She looks at him with fright, but not before he lowers her into the water, holding her under for a bit longer than the previous person. He then brings her up, as the fear on her faces says it all.

August is sitting on top of his horse, waiting at the end of the river for the group of runaways, but while waiting he ends up running into Jeremiah Johnson, a man who wants to capitalize on the bounty that Tom Macon has set on his runaways, punctualizing this point with the large group of men that he had brought with him. As the tense builds, Ben comes riding in quickly, proclaiming that they received a letter from the hospital where his wife is at, and that she is missing. August leaves in a hurry, and the men stand at the shore, waiting for the boat to come in, guns in hand. But as the boat makes its way to the shore, suddenly the cry of a wolf breaks the silence, as a group of Natives fire on the men, taking out a few and causing the others to run. With them, we see Rosalee stepping forward, showing that she is no longer to be considered fearful or without courage.

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Review

Underground continues to show fans that it’s not afraid to keep its viewers on the edge of their seats with excitement. Sadly, this show was not one of those times. The pacing of the episode felt a little too drawn out, as it lingered a bit too long on parts that were frivolous, yet feeling like we didn’t spend enough time in a scene that gave us either great action or intense dialogue. The show carried a sense of ambiguity in how the drive of the episode was going to be carried out, and unfortunately, didn’t fully deliver by the end of the episode.

The show was not without its high points, as the incredible acting continues to shine within the series. Jurnee Smollett-Bell is one of those rising actresses that you know has caught the attention of filmmakers through her portrayal of Rosalee, and her development of that character over the course of six episodes. Aldis Hodge is another one that has really come into his own from his days on Leverage. His ability to create a compelling character that strives for survival and freedom each week likens to the stellar performance of Andrew Lincoln’s portrayal of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.

The show, titled ‘Troubled Water’, had its high points, and overall, was a good show, but not what we’re used to each week. Despite this, however, I still sit in anticipation of what next week will bring, as the series, as a whole, has done nothing but impress. I’m excited as to how Underground will round out this series, and that WGN America, as well as the rest of the world, will see how much of a gold mine this series has become, and that it should – no, it needs to – be renewed for its second season already, so that the genius minds behind the series can get the ball rolling on unraveling another great story that fans will have no choice but to fall in love with.

What do you think of the series so far? Let us know in the comments below!

 Underground airs Wednesdays nights on WGN America.

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