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Underground - Grave - Review: "One More Down"




Well, the promos for this episode had me looking forward to a pleasant, maybe even lighthearted hour. How wrong I was.

Noah took several bullets in last week’s episode, and it was confirmed that Henry died saving their lives. Despite Cato’s expected shenanigans, Rosalee would NOT be intimidated into leaving Noah to die. I did find it interesting that he was not willing to walk away and go it alone. I know Rosalee pointed out that he didn’t know the location of the next stop on the railroad, but for some reason I felt like there was more to his willingness go along with her decision than not knowing the next step. Maybe that was just me? Did anyone else have that impression?

The three runaway slaves climbed into coffins (with crosses carved into their lids that were so HUGE that anyone willing to take half a glance could easily see into) and were transported to the next way station.

Later Jeremiah Johnson, the leader of the crew that tried to steel the job from August, caught up with the undertaker who helped Rosalee, Noah and Cato, and began to beat him in an effort to find out where the coffins were going. He died rather (or before) he could give up the information. I think the next stop is the Hawkes.

Rosalee comes up with a daring (and massively insane) plan to get medicine for Noah. They’ll pose as free and steal the medicine. But, they’re in a tiny town called Pappy Jack, Kentucky, not a northern city. This doctor barely tolerates their presence until Rosalee shows off some of the decorating sense she picked up from listening to Suzanna regarding the decoration of the Macon house. Surprisingly this gets them invited to dinner – thus buying them time to get into the locked medicine cabinet.

The biggest benefit of this sequence was for Cato to begin to appreciate Rosalee (or at least respect her a bit.) He looked positively smitten as Rosalee played the piano. The plan goes further astray when the doctor’s dinner guest turns out to be his brother, the sheriff, who is not an idiot. Two new black folks show up in town just as he’s told runaways are in the area? It’s all cool though, because Cato is carrying the papers Pearly Mae wrote up for them.

It’s not until he has to pick out two that he realizes he doesn’t know which is which. When the Sheriff wondered if something was wrong, Rosalee grabbed two and handed them over. As we see Pearly Mae’s name on one, I panic. I can’t remember what names they gave to the Doctor. Eep! Luckily, word that a delirious Noah has been spotted pulls him away before he can read them carefully.

Speaking of reading….August has a letter from the bank that has him concerned. He tells his son the last letter they received said they had 30 days to come up with money they owe or they’d lose the farm. When he asks Johnson to read the letter for him, learns that the bank is actually offering to buy his property for a premium. Hopefully, August will take the suggestion to hold out for the highest bidder.

One of the problems with leaving a fevered and delirious friend alone is that they have a bad habit of getting up and wandering around with no realization of the danger. It looked for a moment as though Noah were going to be easy to take down, but he rallied and took the guy out.

I had initially thought that August would immediately remove himself from the hunt. But when word went out that Noah had been spotted in the field he joined the chase. They lost Noah and Cato, whom Rosalee had sent to help Noah, but caught Rosalee. It appears that my impression that Cato is been smitten with Rosalee is accurate, because he was ready to throw his highly developed sense of self-preservation to the wayside to help her. Noah stopped him. They can’t mount a rescue if they too are caught.

The truly disturbing part of the episode was Sam’s fate. We get the answer to our questions about where John went. John is in Georgia to support his brother when he’s nominated to run for the senate. Tom is still trying to keep the fact that Sam ran from interfering with or derailing the nomination. Unfortunately, that ship sales when Sam is captured and returned; in front of the ever helpful Reverend.

This leaves Tom in a precarious position. His fellow slave owners strongly advocate using the dead bodies of runners to dissuade any other slaves from running. Tom has a better idea. He’ll hobble Sam instead. Unfortunately, he can’t. I fully believed Tom had had a change of heart; that he’d come up with another way to save face with the other owners. I thought, he must have come up with a great justification for a lesser punishment for Sam. Then it was revealed that he’d delivered his speech while, literally, standing over Sam’s dead body. (It’s swinging from the rafters under the balcony Tom delivers his speech from.)

I think I might have been able to take Sam’s hanging in stride if it had happened at a designated location like near the fields, but that image of him there as Tom delivers a speech was upsetting. Of all of the adjectives I’ve considered to describe Tom Macon, callous never once came to mind.

Tom fusses at John for not being there when he needed him. John’s only question is if his presence could have stopped Tom. John can’t even respond to Tom’s weak justification. John walks out with out another word. I suspect it is for the last time.

A devastated Ernestine, who thought her son was safe, is locked in the box. At least John was able to tell her that Rosalee had made it to Kentucky. But why lock her in the box? Was it just to keep her from making a scene? Or did she commit some crime?

This episode rocked my world a bit. I suddenly found myself wondering if Boo would be the only one of the Macon 7 to actually reach freedom. Only two episodes left. What did you guys think?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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