Underground Season 2 Episode 8 Recap » VSB

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Underground Season 2 Episode 8 Recap

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Bokeem Woodbine’s Daniel has been blinded since we saw him running from the overseer raid from last week. As a skilled craftsmen who depends on his eyes in order to create intricate granite work, it’s particularly disgusting that he would not only be punished in this way for knowing how to read but have the thing he derives worth from stripped from him.

Okay, we’re off to a rough start because I’m already in my “I just watched Rosewood then went to hang out with my white friends” bag but let’s push forward. Cato sneaks up on Patty Cannon as she’s sleeping in her quarters to share a swiped excerpt from the piece that is being written about her. Unfortunately for Patty, she’s currently sitting at a dismal 13% rotten tomato rating in the whole “catching important slaves” category. It appears the history books will look back fondly on Harriet Tubman where Cannon will merely be an annoying footnote.

This doesn’t sit well with our raven-haired racist who expresses her frustration that there isn’t just some kind of map that would lead her to all of the safe-houses on the Underground Railroad but, as luck would have it, Cato knows of such a map. The map is actually a song and Cato is willing to share this information with Patty Mayonnaise because he ain’t shit. This leads to a breathtaking animated and scored opening credits sequence reminiscent of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman accompanied by Alano Miller’s surprisingly melodic singing voice which almost made me forget for a second how much of an opportunistic turncoat Cato can be. Almost.

Speaking of music knocking it out of the ballpark, I take back everything I’ve said earlier in the season about the modern music being a distraction from the series. The jazzy updates of classic Christmas staples that accompany this episode are pitch-perfect and only add to the melancholic tone of hypocritical glad tidings in the face of human suffering. Taura Stinson’s rendition of “What Child Is This” and “I See Red” by Truth Ali are standouts this episode.

Last week we saw that rescuing James was not going to be as cut and dry as originally planned and this week the series expounds on why. Young James is being dressed by one of the house slaves on Christmas morning and overhears his sister Rosalee being forced into her old servant dress which does not accommodate her very-pregnant belly. She is back under Suzanne Macon’s thumb thanks to little James dropping the dime. Damn (Damn, DAMB) James! Andrea Frankle plays the Macon matriarch as a perfectly sickening-sweet concoction of unhinged desperation and pure evil. As we watch her take favor on James while tormenting his sister right in front of him or play her own son T.R. against his newfound “brother” I made a silent wish on a set of birthday candles for her demise. Let’s put a pin in that for now.

August Pullman is transferring Ernestine via river to Patty Cannon and his loquacious “red shirt” of a partner let’s it slip that Rosalee is still alive. Ernestine is already aware of who Patty is because she be knowing things. They are being pursued by the men Ern escaped from and in addition to that they have to contend with Ernestine trying to escape at every turn. Shooters cause the trio to abandon the boat and opt for the woods instead on foot. Christopher Meloni does double duty this episode as director and cast member.

The fireside scenes between him and Ernestine where they talk of regret and parenthood are some of the best of the episode and forge a bond between the two (not to mention their shared struggle with addiction) that I am sure will be fortuitous for ‘Stine down the line. Oh, and Ernestine gets her arm broken by “Red Shirt” just before he gets “red-shirted” because it wouldn’t be Underground if Ern wasn’t suffering in some way.

Georgia is having an outdoor bake sale to raise funds for the cause and to be able to help Noah and Rosalee but nobody has the Christmas spirit. Plus, rumors have spread that Georgia is passing so nobody wants to help because racism. Elizabeth runs into an old friend who is all talk, no action as she disrespects Georgia to her face and makes toothless platitudes about the slave plight while not lifting a finger or her coin purse to help. Later, in a scene between Elizabeth and Harriet Tubman (who gets far too little screen time in this episode), the widow Hawkes expresses her frustration in “good people” doing nothing. This is the problem with white feminism. People like Lainey aren’t “good” and they will protect their whiteness above all. Elizabeth’s learning curve is too slow for my taste. It was nice to see Georgia finally get her Ocean’s 11 on though when they rob a church offering box on Christmas day. Plus Elizabeth blackmailing her friend made me snap for ol’ girl in circle formation while whistling The Schuyler Sisters (work, werk!)

Noah and Corra are staking out the slave quarters to select a potential slave to bring into the fold for their mission to rescue Rosalee and James. The plan is to attack during the nice dinner in the big house that one lucky slave is invited to. While James is playing with the new horse he received for Christmas, Noah confronts him and tells him he needs to choose his real family and get on board with the plan. James thinks the Macons are his real family and blames Noah and Rosalee for ruining everything.

Oh, James.

Blood is thicker than water but I say leave that lil guy where he is since he knows so damn much. On Christmas night the plan finally comes into focus. First things first, Noah goes to see the overseer responsible for branding Rosalee last episode to serve his ass with some ice cold payback. The two men struggle but was there ever really any question who was going to get got? Next up, we head back inside the big house to play guess who among the guests who’ve been invited into the big house to partake of the fatted goose. Who can we trust? Turns out nobody as Noah runs up in the house with guns blazing. Rosalee knocks James out to take his old stubborn behind anyway. As they exit T.R. makes chase with a gun of his own and ends up getting him and his mother shot! Oh, young Calvin Candie! You and your mama had it coming!

And that’s not even the best part.

Earlier in the episode Rosalee can be seen dusting in a room she did not have permission to be in which sparks a confrontation between her, T.R. and James. Rosalee was really there to lay down the foundation for the final stage of their plan: to light that entire muddacussah up and burn it down. She must have borrowed some of that wildfire Cersei Lannister had last season because that place goes up like the Fourth of July!

As the Macon plantation burns (um, did they tell the other slaves to get out of there first?) to the ground and Suzanne Macon wails one could be forgiven for thinking this was the happily ever after to this tale but alas that’s not how America works. While Noah and Rosalee are getting their Django on, miles away Cato has just weaseled his way into Georgia’s safe house as a stowaway.


Jordan Kauwling

Jordan Kauwling is an early thirties Philadelphian but she tells everyone she’s in her late thirties because she doesn’t understand how math works. When she’s not busy writing, singing, eating all the falafel or unsuccessfully finishing another craft project you can catch her talking junk on Twitter.

  • MsCee

    Yassss…finally. My key things this week: I like to had DIED when Rosalee hit James upside his dead with that metal plate @NWT wanted him chocked out last week lol . So they just gone rob the church house with no mask or nothing and go back to the safe house like they ain’t already hot? Cato, WTF you doing at the safe house?

    • Madam CJ_Skywalker

      Yea. I can’t eff with Cato no more.
      He’s evil, just like his girl said. SMH

      • PriceIsRightHorns

        What is his angle? He’s always doing the most.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Cato is looking out for #1 while stepping on everyone else. I can see him trying to use the freedom fighters against OG Darth Becky and trying to free Desi. Those free men that got caught up would be collateral damage.

          • PriceIsRightHorns

            I watched it in bits and pieces, so I was wondering why he went to the safe house. I should’ve known Desi was at the root of it.

            • Madam CJ_Skywalker

              Is Desi the reason tho?
              I’m not willing to give Cato the benefit of the doubt anymore. I think he’s just evil at this point.
              Only looking out for himself.

              • PriceIsRightHorns

                Who knows with him, lol. At this point I’m just waiting for him to mess things up.

                • MsCee

                  I’m just ready for him to get offed.

                  • PriceIsRightHorns

                    He’s insufferable.

                • Yeah I can Imagine that he didn’t give her the real words…

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Cato has a kindness to him that’s buried deep……REAL deep so his actions come off as $ hit y.

                I think back to when the Macon 7 was in the field and wanted water; Cato smashed the water buckets. In the moment it came off as some bull but that move kept massa from putting out the fire to the field which aided their escape.

                When Cato was trying to make Noah choose his freedom or the slaves, he knew he had already put things in motion to free those folks.
                Cato is the type to serve you Kobe beef on a cockroach infested plate.

                His card is going to get pulled because his path is going to cross some of the folks from his freedom parties. Those folks are definitely going to ask how you going to be raising funds in your big house for the cause one minute and be in rags looking for freedom the next??

                • Madam CJ_Skywalker

                  Peeeerrrrrrrrrrhaps. I just don’t like how he has to burn everything down, just to do one “kind” thing. Kind things that only benefit him, and cause massive collateral damage.

                  Plus him going to Georgia’s tunnel, prob means that that tunnel can never harbor any future runaways…

                  • PhDivaLife

                    When he sang the song, I was furious. He pretty much prevented any future runaways from using any of those stations…the most notorious slave catcher and all of her goons now know that route and the signs that slaves were using to guide them along the route.

                    • ?Lauren?

                      He actually gave Patty the wrong words to the song.

                    • PhDivaLife

                      Oh wow. I need to look back at episode 1 from last season and hear the original song again. I have no faith in Cato whatsoever lol.

              • L8Comer

                Yeah that’s been his mo

          • Madam CJ_Skywalker

            Right? I can def see him doing that as well.

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    • Lil Black Fauntleroy had one mo’ ‘gin to cut his eye and proclaim, “he ain’t goin’ nowhere!”
      Enter serving tray.
      **clap hands like Kev Hart**
      “Night night!”

      • Zil Nabu

        James needed that wack upside the head. He forgot that he’s still a slave no matter how comfortable his bed and fancy his clothes.

      • MsCee

        I laughed and laughed and laughed at that scene.

      • Lil Black Fauntleroy? YOU WIN, SIR!

        I would’ve ended him that night he got Rosalie caught! Lil summabitch!

        • Dude caught a silver service for one on the back of his head.

          • I know and I HOLLERED!!!

          • Sigma_Since 93

            It was required on so many levels.

    • Listen…. I’ll take this..lol

      • MsCee

        Girl, I thought about you as soon as she hit him upside the head…lol.

  • Lara

    What do you guys think of the Michelle Obama mural? I think it looks exactly like her.

  • JennyJazzhands


  • Sigma_Since 93

    I know Dwights don’t look at the help much but how did Elizabeth not realize Cato when he came through the railroad station??? Your brother in law owned dude 7 months ago!

  • JennyJazzhands

    I can’t with Cato. I know whatever he’s doing is going to end well but his ways are just so trifling. If he hadn’t been so Vicky he could have killed Patti mayonnaise at that party with the guests in the other room.
    If the free man he kidnapped doesn’t end up free, I’ll never forgive him. And desi too. Even though, kind of her bad for coming to america to give him a 2nd chance after he ghosted her the first time.

  • Lara

    Does anyone have an opinion on the Michelle Obama mural?

  • Robbery, murder, kidnapping… we got all the crimes this week and it was awesome.

  • Pillows McGee

    James was making me so mad ..I was thinking somebody knock him upside then head..then she did ..The introduction of the other slaves when they were trying to figure out who to trust..is that next season? like the next runaways.. but my main thought on this episode IS CATO GOTSTA GO !!! he done habitually line stepped too many times ..This was the final straw for me

    • He is going to redeem himself. Just watch.

      • Madam CJ_Skywalker

        “We don’t believe you, you need more ppl!”

      • Is it just me or do you lowkey love him to? I want him to do right!

        • He’s a genius that just can’t seem to bring it full circle. It’s like watching Pinky and the Brain.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          I wanted him to clap back on ol boy that got his brother hung. He’s not quite ready to do ‘tine’s work but there’s hope.

  • menajeanmaehightower

    This show would have my blood pressure through the roof. Also why I’m not watching Handmaiden’s Tale.

    • Alessandro De Medici

      I thought that book was like the Color Purple for white feminists? I’m surprised so few people have actually heard about it before. i saw it all over the college bookstore when I used to go there.

  • It takes me 98 minutes to watch Underground. I’m constantly pausing to brace myself from some fuxkery that will ensure. I wasn’t with you on the music tip last week and glad you came around. The modern music connects me to the now of this past show. I’m just waiting for DNA to be used on the opening of season 3 as Rosalee births this greatness.

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