Oh. My. God.
You know, I usually hate when I have to wait an entire year before a new season returns but Creator Misha Green (hey Black girl) and her amazing writing team did not disappoint. The first episode of season two was chock full of surprises.
Let’s walk through a few of them.
Introducing Bokeem Woodbine.
Most known for his roles in Riddick and Jason’s Lyric, Bokeem joins the cast as Daniel, a slave on a Louisville plantation. Like most, his character is meticulous and extremely smart (he’s seen taking scraps of newspaper, anything with words on it). At the end of a long days work, he returns home, lights a candle and teaches himself to read. The first world he learns — soldier. All to the backdrop of Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar‘s hit Freedom. Chile. That bass. Those lyrics. It sets the scene perfectly.
Rosalee is still running.
This is no surprise because, Underground, but our fearless girl has some help with her this time around. The kind that’s female (how did you celebrate #InternationalWomensDay yesterday? Leave a comment below). Aisha Hinds makes her much-anticipated debut as Harriet Tubman and if there was ever a time where sistahs were doing it for themselves, this is it. After trying to escape, Both Rosalee, Harriet and another slave find themselves trapped in the forest with two bounty hunters on horses. The women (Harriet is holding an axe in one hand and a gun in the other) both try to bargain with the men before things turn violent. A series of ni**a bit**es get thrown around, Rosalee pulls out her weapon and the stand-off ends.
We’re only a few minutes in and Harriet has already captured my heart during this scene. My favorite line: “My Daddy taught me how to carve up a tree real good. I imagine your skin be a bit easier to handle.” Girl.
We move to the courthouse where John Hawkes (the white abolitionist lawyer from season one that made his home into a safe place for slaves on the run – we love him) tries to persuade a judge to release Noah (Aldis Hodge) into his custody. The motion is dismissed and fine ass Noah must remain in prison until further notice. While in jail Noah bears witness to two fellow prisoners planning to escape but says nothing.
Back at John’s house, Rosalee and Harriet get some girl time in (while cleaning weapons of course) debate on what’s more important, stealing Noah from an armed chain gang or reuniting Rosalee with her family, a plan that Harriet feels is more realistic.
Meanwhile somewhere in South Carolina, Earnestine (Rosalee’s mother) has settled in to her role as a field worker quite well (can you read the sarcasm?). She’s disoriented, hallucinogenic (remember Pearly Mae? She’s haunting Earnestine something serious) and addicted to some sort of narcotic. On the upside, if there ever is one in the 1800s, she’s made quite the bed fellow with Robert Riley (Hit The Floor, For Better Or Worse). I know you remember the scene in the grass, right? Yes, Lord.
Let’s pause here to look at how gorgeous Amirah Vann is outside of her character Earnestine.
Okay, back to the episode.
Back at the jail, Noah is naked. Okay, okay, he’s being inspected by the guard to make sure he’s fit for transfer (he really is naked though. And very fit for transfer. Just in case they needed my opinion.). John’s wife, Elizabeth, joins an all-female support group that helps slaves escape masked as a sewing circle. She learns to shoot a gun.
Remember those two prisoners trying to escape? Noah quickly stops the plan, revealing that theirs will interfere with his own escape efforts. John’s motion to free Noah is dismissed indefinitely and the charge to hang him is in play. But so is Rosalee, John, Elizabeth and the sewing circle’s move to break Noah out of jail.
In South Carolina we see more of Earnestine’s volatile home life with Robert Riley’s character. He beats her. She takes away the pain with the scented narcotic and the hallucinations begin again.
Dooms Day arrives for Noah. He’s being hanged publicly for the murder from season one. Rosalee, dressed in men’s clothing appears in the audience and begins to set the trap for his escape. After she starts a fire to distract the crowd, Noah jumps in the carriage with John and the two try to escape to safety. After a shootout, Noah is viciously captured by bounty hunters and taken away.
Earnestine is still being haunted by Pearly Mae’s ghost and the horrible decisions she made in season one. Rosalee breaks down after yet another failed attempt to rescue Noah. And before you can blink John (our favorite) is shot dead on the court-house steps.
Dead. Point blank. In the head. Like, there’s no wondering if he makes it to episode two.
Enjoyed the recap? Meet me back here next Thursday and let’s chat about episode two. Season two of Underground airs every Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.
(Photo Source: WGN America, PR Photos)