Underground Season 2 Episode 3 Recap » VSB

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Underground Season 2 Episode 3 Recap

Daniel’s learned a few more words since we saw him last episode. In addition to “love” we can add “strength” to his list of vocabulary words he’d choose to describe the black women in his life. He’s reading Sojourner Truths “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech to his daughter and she can’t believe northern black folk speak with such intrepidity. “Ache” borrows Truth’s words, dissecting the anatomy of not only the physical strength of black women but the emotional and mental mettle required to endure chattel slavery. The episode, directed by Anthony Hemingway who is one of the executive producers on the show, requires us to wallow in the suffering Rosalee and Ernestine experience for much of the episode, rewarding us with small moments of hope mostly presented in flashbacks between the two. Special shout-out to Angela Bassett who makes a cameo appearance this episode in a flashback scene with a young Ernestine. Does the woman ever age? No. The answer is no she does not.

Rosalee is still on the run from Patty and her gang. A very pregnant Jurnee Smollett-Bell delivers an Emmy-worthy performance this episode as she survives getting shot, having to remove the buckshot, cauterizing the wound in the most MacGyver way possible, leeches, a fistfight, digging herself out of her own grave and being bitten by a damn rattle snake. Let’s be real, folks. When Hollywood gives us a character enduring through the unendurable like Rosalee did this episode they usually write the part for a white man. And then that white man, like Leonardo Dicaprio in The Revenant or Daniel Day Lewis in Every Daniel Day Lewis Movie Ever usually goes on to collect all the awards and a nice big salary increase. Smollett-Bell is doing a wonderful job on the small screen and she turns in a performance that warrants movie producers attention now. Not merely once she’s put in a number of years a la Viola Davis.

Miles away at the Gullah plantation, Ernestine is still battling with the ramifications of her decision last week with Hicks and Clara’s pregnancy. The elder tradition of publicly shaming the unwed mother into naming the father is hard for Ernestine to watch so she goes back to dosing herself like Snuffy in Crooklyn. In fact, she’s hitting the smelling salts so hard that it even gives her physically abusive, cheating, co-dependent boyfriend pause. They are both due to sing at the master’s house later that day and he’s sick of covering for her because she can’t keep it together. She counters that going over to the master’s house is even more reason to turn on, tune in and drop out. I’m sure that will work out just fine.

Patty and her biographer are conspiring to build up the legend of the “Black Rose” and her supernatural strength to sell books and excuse how utterly inept she and her team are at actually catching slaves. Nothing like ignoring the humanity of others to excuse your own sub-human treatment of a group of people. So glad America learned to stop “othering” the black woman. Oh, wait! Patty LaFail allows the public to further her tall-tale about holding a black baby’s face to the fire in order to get some intel from the parents in an effort to create some almost-biblical mystique and I would really appreciate it if she could just fall boob-first into the open mouth of the nearest volcano. At least we’re spared any scenes this week of Elizabeth Hawkes being butthurt because her runaway slave friends can’t make it to her husband’s funeral…on account of them being slaves who are currently running away. Darth Beckalas, I tell ya!

Over at the master’s house Hicks is strumming a tune on his banjo while a couple of Brock Turners discuss the difference between slavery and bondage. Bondage represents a duality, a double-edged sword that maims not only the attacked but the attacker. Cool story, bruh. I’ll just be over here holding my breath waiting for whiteness to stop acting barbaric to people of color. Ernestine enters the room and begins to sing a lovely song about a white guy on a tall mountain when suddenly she starts breaking dishes and spitting the hot fire. I had the same face I had when I listened to ShETHER for the first thirty-seven times. Sadly (or maybe similarly) ‘Stine’s song has nothing to do with female empowerment. She’s just a wholly broken woman and I wanted so much in that moment to just embrace her and build her back up. Back at the slave quarters, Hicks lays into Ernestine about her display earlier. Harsh words turn into fists with the final blow only stopped by her pleading for him to finish the job. The toxicity of their relationship mutates into desire and they quickly switch gears as Hicks opts to give Ernestine la petite mort instead. Iyanla, fix this mess!!!

We travel back to a young Ernestine, a yet unsullied girl, free from the misogyny, racism and misogynoir of her era. She is seeking out the mentorship of our guest star who owns a particular set of skills. Bassett isn’t on the screen for long but she puts in one hell of a performance as an elder woman in the community who knows a thing or two about the “birth control” of their time. Young Ernestine is already aware of the power that her body holds and how that power is seen as a threat to just about every man around her, white or black. Her hope is to harness it to her benefit however Bassett educates her that women have been trying to find a way to take back our power since Eve ate that apple and, “Your body ain’t never been yours, and never will be.” Welp.

The generational curse of suffering for black women has been front and center, be it the emotional rollercoaster that ultimately pushes Ernestine to attempt to end her own life or the physical hurdles Rosalee must jump through which lead her to a moment of defeat. But as one of the Gullah elders explains to Ernestine earlier in the episode, “the pain you feel thrives on isolation.” Rosalee is strong because she was raised by a strong woman who was intelligent enough to prepare her for the darkness of the world while reminding her that as we draw close to each other for inspiration, for hope, that we can weather any storm. ‘Stine currently has the community of Gullah slaves to lean on as they drag her back to the shore from the waters and Rosalee will be okay for now with the help of a horse and wagon right when she needed it the most.

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

    Lawd, only one word for last nights episode: POWERFUL. I love that throughout the show they haven’t sugar coated anything. So when they showed the naked, brutally whipped body, I was not shocked but deeply moved.I also think that this whole book thing the slave catcher has going on may actually be an abolitionist styled book. That guy doesn’t seem to like the slave catcher lady very much.

    • Shay

      The fact that he didn’t tell them where Rosalee was confirms that he is not a fan of slavery. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is accompanying the slave catcher under the guise of writing a book about her just so he can assist the slaves she is attempting to catch.

      I’m starting to wonder if Daniel, the slave learning to read, is Ernestine’s father – flashback?!?! I may be off base, or maybe he is Harriet’s father in a flashback?

      • MsCee

        I was thinking the one learning to read may be Fredrick Douglass (lol) maybe its the hair. I think the book guy is an abolitionist and will use the material gathered to write a horror story to stir Northern whites to action.

        • Shay

          John Legend is going to be playing Frederick Douglas so that reveal ruled that theory out for me lol

          • MsCee

            Oh, poo. I don’t think JL will make a good Fredrick Douglass. He better not mess up this good thing.

          • Mochasister

            John Legend the singer? I haven’t even seen the show but I don’t think he’s right for the part. He sounds about as well cast as Zoe Saldaña in that Nina Simone debacle, er, movie.

  • Ess Tee

    Last night’s episode, man! And when they were playing Ibeyi’s “Oya” as Ernestine walked into the water, I was like, “Hold it together, girl” (to her and to me, if I’m being honest).

    When Patti Mayonnaise and the journalist were talking about Black women’s high propensity to tolerate pain, I could only think about how that harmful and violent belief led to enslaved women being used as guinea pigs for obstetrics and gynecology.

    • PhDivaLife

      And like a recent study showed, Blacks still don’t get the treatment that they need because doctors STILL believe that we have the ability to withstand an otherworldly amount of pain.

      • cdj

        That happened to me. I stopped a Dr in the middle of a gyn procedure, bc I was in so much pain. If I hadn’t, she would be continued to treat me like a cadaver. Then she had the nerve to tell me I “shouldn’t feel pain, because there aren’t nerve endings” where she was cutting.

        I got off that table and told her I hoped she got what she needed, because I was done. It still makes me mad when I think about it.

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        • You should have filed a complaint against her license… FUKK HER!

      • PinkRose

        Yep, I cuss me a Dr out at least once every time I need to find a new one. Ditto for Dentists.

      • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

        I will stop a procedure (if I’m conscious) and tell ’em nope! My dentist mostly. He don’t like it but I’m not there to endure pain and make you happy. I’m there to get worked sans the pain.

    • MsCee

      Not Patti Mayonnaise lmfao

      • Mochasister

        Sigh. It would be nice instead of being treated like a damn workhorse.

    • wanderlust

      I just bought their album (Ibeyi’s) and it is Divine.

      • Ess Tee

        Oh my goodness, they’re just so otherworldly!

        • They’re father is Cuban and he was in the religion… HEAVY

          • Ess Tee

            Yeah! I have a Cuban friend who is heavy into music and culture, and I remember him sharing that detail on Facebook a couple years back when he first learned of Ibeyi. I also got to see them at the 9:30 Club a year and a half ago; it was a great show.

      • Vanity in Peril

        I bought it this morning and I am emotional af right now.

        • wanderlust

          My faves are Faithful, stanger/lover and River, but i can play the album straight through

    • Michelle

      Yes! I remember I went to my gyne last year. A new one. I have uterine fibroids that are a huge pain every month. As I was explaining to her how they cause ridiculous cramps, she began to basically dismiss everything I told her. I asked her about treatment (that I researched extensively) and she acted like I had no clue what I was talking about. Talmbout “it’s not that bad, you won’t need any treatment.” Then she parted her lips to suggest giving me a hysterectomy because I said that I had no plans for kids. Biiiihhhh! At the time, I was 32 years old. I wanted to kick her clean across her face. But your comment made me think of that day and how my pain was ignored, as well as so many other black women. It’s sad.

      • cdj

        Have you ever been to a male gyn? I’m just wondering, because the couple times I have, I’ve found them to have a softer touch and they listen better. The women I’ve been to seem to minimize issues. Unfortunately, I had to change doctors, and I’m still looking.

        • PinkRose

          I just can’t with men, like EVER.

          I HAVE found Black female Gyns to be fabulous!

          • cdj

            I definitely understand the feeling. The first time I went to a man, it wasn’t planned. I had an appointment, but my regular woman doctor wasn’t in, and they didn’t call to reschedule. They tell me I can see the other (substitute) doctor. I agree, because I’m in a hurry. So I get undressed and wait. He came in the room and he was so fine! He was around my age and he had a Caesar and a gold chain. Not a rope chain, tasteful.

            Anyway, I was mortified and ready to bolt, but he was really nice and professional. He was only there for that week, otherwise I would’ve gone back.

            The other guy I went to was a dorky white guy. Also very nice and professional, but not well versed in my issue (fibroids).

            My favorite gyn was a black woman, but i had to stop going to her. Other BW and WW gyns have been hit or miss for me.

            • PinkRose

              I’ve had 3 male OBs in my life all on the same day, and 2 of them were Black men on duty when I had my daughter. I have NEVER been more excited to have my cervix checked, they were BEYOND fine!! The fact that they were the co-Chief Residents at one of the top med schools in the US, made it extra special!

              • cdj

                I’m jealous! Obviously they gave you a top shelf epidural, too, if you noticed how fine they were:-)

                When I had my son, they had to run around and try to find the anesthesiologist. I was in so much pain I didn’t know who was looking in my stuff.

            • Fine and IN your nether region? Won’t he do it!!? lmao

              • cdj

                Ha! He did skip the breast exam, but I decided to just count my blessings and let it go :- D

          • Mochasister

            I had a bad experience with a male gynecologist and swore them off ever since.

        • PhDivaLife

          My favorite was an older white male who was close to retirement. I was wary about going to him, but a bunch of people that I knew recommended him. It sounds crazy, but he had posters with Bible verses right above his examination table. They were sort of comforting. I would focus on the poster and it would be over in no time and I always got my results right away. I’ve had issues with female doctors not getting my results back to me immediately or giving me bad advice.

          • cdj

            That was nice of him. I have anxiety about those exams too, but only once did I ever have a Dr who addressed it and tried to reassure me.

            I sometimes think about going to an older Dr, because they’re more experienced, but then I think maybe I should go to a younger one, who might be more informed about the latest studies/treatments. I don’t know. For me, bedside manner is number 1.

        • Michelle

          I haven’t been to a male gyne. Idk why I’ve always been nervous to try lol. But I may take your suggestion and look for one. It doesn’t hurt to try.

          • cdj

            Depending on the practice, you might have a female nurse/tech in the room with you. Maybe that would help ease your nerves.

        • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

          I had a male gyn for about 18 years. He was good but his personality left much to be desired. Well, I’m that patient that won’t see any other physicians in the practice but my own. A few years back he was booked up to like 8 months. So, I reluctantly went with a doctor he bought in to load level. She was THHHHE best. I’m mad I didn’t switch to her sooner. Her personal doctor did my hysterectomy. She was even better than her.

          The male doctor grew bitter and cynical over time. Marriage busted, went through a few women and came in to an exam with a bunch remarks. Naw dude, you barking up the wrong tree.

          • cdj

            See, that’s my thing — if you work with people, especially as a medical professional, leave your personal problems at home. Or learn to compartmentalize and go cry in the car at lunchtime.

            I hope I can find someone decent soon. The last woman I went to was okay as far as the exam, but she was rushing through my questions, then the pharmaceutical salesguy showed up, and she sent me to the lab so she could flirt with him. >:-(

            • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

              I would drop the doctor’s name tThe that I switched to from the male doctor but she don’t take insurance. Gotta pay for the visit out of pocket. That just started when she moved into her own office/practice. I have insurance. I won’t be going back. I did my annual exam but DASSIT.

              Her doctor (that did my surgery) left one of THE biggest practices and moved on her own. I’m hesitant there as well. I have to see how folks bode on their own. Sometime thangs change and not always go the better. I think I’m going back to that doctor.

          • Mochasister

            I am jelly. I never get the cute doctors! Lol!

            • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

              Just keep living. :)

              • Mochasister

                Nah, no such luck. The few times I do see a cute man he’s either taken, pitches for the other team, or has a ‘situation.’ ;^(

        • Mary

          The women OBs I’ve seen have been unpleasant and rough. Counterintuitive, right? I’ll be going to a male next time.

      • Ess Tee

        We really do have to be our own advocates at all times.

      • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

        I had a pretty decent experience with my fibroid issue. I had lots of small fibroids and a single one the size of a small baby. Was in surgery 5 hours. I had to have an ultra sound every year for about 3 or 4 years. My doctor kept a close eye on it. For a long time I didn’t have pain but super heavy periods. Finally she said its time, it has to go.

        • Mochasister

          Sadly, I am at that point now.

          • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

            If you’ve had kids or know for certain, REEAAALLYY know you won’t have kids, I say do it. My doctor was super cool. She would always ask “how’s the fibroid treating you?” She always said if it’s (the One big one) bothering you we won’t bother it, having in mind the older you get the likelihood fibroids will shrink. The supply to increased growth is blood. And if you’re nearing menopause the issue should decrease. Well I wasn’t in menopause but I was over 40 and it was getting bigger each year. I have pictures from the surgery. There were sooo many veins and blood being supplied. She told me the morning after my surgery that when she cut it open there were veins everywhere. it was going to only keep growing.

            Do your due diligence and decide. Think about everything, from where you want to have it done to making sure you’re able to pay what needs to be paid upfront and the bills that will come post surgery to how you’ll manage being incapacitated for awhile. I was fortunate that I was about to take medical leave as well as pay my portion upfront and each bill in full post surgery. The doctor, the hospital, the anesthesiologist all gon want their cut. LOL

        • Michelle

          See, I’m the opposite. I have horrible pain but my periods aren’t too heavy. I have four fibroids right now. I’m looking for a new gyne again because I didn’t like that lady. She was rude and I know that there are options for removal that don’t require a hysterectomy. Did the surgery help you?

      • Blueberry01

        No bueno. I hope that you left her.

        • Michelle

          Yup! Looking for a new gyne. I didn’t like her at all. Smh

      • Mary

        A hysterectomy at 32 years old? That woman has no business giving medical advice. She obviously doesn’t want black folks breeding. Plus, solving fibroids with a hysterectomy is just lazy. Shooooot!

        If you’re open to it consider Chinese medicine or herbs ( Herbalist Susun S. Weed has excellent books with loads of advice on how to deal with fibroids through nutrition, food and simple herbs)

        • Michelle

          That was my first thought when she suggested the hysterectomy. Smh. Thank you for this info. I’m gonna look into it asap.

    • OMG… Thank God somebody else peeped it!! I was in my feels HARD. Oya leading her to her death and Yemaya sparing her life (and the serenity of the drowning scene)…. The blue bottles at the water for eggun! And them waiting for her by the beach.

      Her struggle dealing with her natural spirituality and not believing in anything… Maaaaan, this entire episode had me in tears… and the way my Daddy has been coming through all weekend.. it just really made me emotional.. This show is so brilliant. and there is truth to everything that they say.

  • This show is wearing me out. I may have to wait and binge watch the rest.

  • PinkRose

    Just gotta share, the bill is dead for now! #KillTheBill

  • BrothasKeeper

    *pokes head in* I heard someone say Angela Bassett.

    • Ess Tee

      Yup! I was like, What fountain of youth is she drinking from?!

    • rikyrah

      I shouted when she came on screen. No leaks about her cameo.

  • “A very pregnant Jurnee Smollett-Bell delivers an Emmy-worthy performance this episode as she survives getting shot, having to remove the buckshot, cauterizing the wound in the most MacGyver way possible, leeches, a fistfight, digging herself out of her own grave and being bitten by a damn rattle snake…”

    While its not even remotely funny, I’m sitting there watching like, “damn, what else are they going to do to her?!”…I was waiting for someone to yell, CUT!
    That’s when Robert Townsend’s sketch came to mind…
    “Black Acting School” (somewhere around the 2:40 mark)
    https://youtu.be/aXvTyk9kPsQ

    • That movie will never not be relevant.

    • Janelle Doe

      Oh wow, this would be a goid sketch to be done by new people for the new era
      Or maybe it could just go viral on another Oscar controversy *insert evil laugh
      (Sad also how relevant it will continue to be)

    • Valerie

      Jive Talk lol

  • PunchDrunkLove….my boo

    Ain’t nobody told me Angela was in this? She’s one of my spirit animals.

  • I’m SO, so tired of seeing Ernestine getting slapped by ole boy, every episode.

    • Janelle Doe

      Does she get to slap back? That’d be fair

      • fedup

        She does, and it’s satisfying on some level to see her get “some” get back, however, it’s still a bit much. Sometimes I feel like there’s an overabundance of female suffering and violence on this show, but then I have to remember that what we’re watching is allot less horrifying than the real s h i t most of our ancestors endured.

        • Annalise Keating

          “Sometimes I feel like there’s an overabundance of female suffering and violence on this show”

          True. But there is also so much about the resilience, cunning, intelligence, smarts, power, strength and resistance to forces that try to break them.

      • Cheech
  • I really want Corey Booker and Mindy Kaling to be a thing.

    • Valerie

      Me too. Corey was shooting his shot lol

    • Ess Tee

      Does Cory…does Cory Booker date women?

      • Ya know, there have been rumors but apparently he’s willing to date this one, at least.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        I never once questioned if he was straight or not. Just figured he was.

        Now if he’s a Black person I can give a damn about…that’s one question I do know the answer to.

        No.

      • cyanic

        Glass closet case.

      • *spits out water* lmao

  • rikyrah

    Really enjoyed seeing the old Ernestine. Loved Black Rose.

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