“A sense of safety transforms the spirit.” —- Georgia
We return to the safe house and how come we haven’t seen the other ladies of the sewing circle in like a month of Sundays? If you recall from last week’s episode, Cato was taken in as a runaway slave and he’s there as a stowaway being sneaky AF. He going room to room checking every nook, corner, crawl space and cranny for evidence of the Black Rose’s whereabouts for his boss, Patty Cannon. I cannot wait for Harriet Tubman to pistol-whoop this fool and oh, who do we have here… it’s Black Moses!
Harriet does not trust Cato as far as she can throw him and really can you blame her? What with that perma-shit-eating grin Cato has? He is snooping through paperwork and ear hustling private conversations (that people keep having out loud for some reason) but when he presents it to Patty she doesn’t believe he has that tru-tru. She thinks he’s just stalling so he can get shipped up north with the other slaves. To prove his loyalty to her, Cato takes a knife and cuts his wrists open. This ensures he won’t be able to run and buys him some more time in the safe house while he recoups under the care of Elizabeth Hawkes.
While dressing his wounds the two strike up an interesting conversation about the particular flavor of fear subjugation creates in America. Cato posits that this kind of fear is purely transactional. You’re either getting or you’re giving it. He urges Elizabeth to use the fear as a catalyst instead of letting it consume her. To “become the monster that came to eat [her] and I’m just like Sure, Cato but let’s never forget we all hate you- k-thanks-bye.
Elizabeth is making moves in the middle of the night with Cato following closely behind her and dear lord does no one in that house pay attention to this creep creeping? It’s a good thing Cato did follow her, though, because he makes it through the woods and to a burning house just in time to save Elizabeth who is passed out due to smoke inhalation. He alerts Patty and her cronies that they have two days and then for some reason we Groundhog Day the entire series of events but from a slightly different perspective. While Cato was snooping earlier in the day, Elizabeth was having a terrifying encounter with a burly stranger who walks in looking for room and board. She asks for his name and he gives her the name of her late husband! Elizabeth recognizes the man as one of the men who kidnapped and tied her to a tree a few episodes back and she slaps him clear across his Steve Bannon-esque face and tells him to tell his story walking.
The conversation Cato overheard earlier was between Elizabeth and Georgia and the widow Hawkes is fired up. She doesn’t understand why they aren’t doing more to retaliate or at the very least to defend themselves. Georgia is just like bish, calm your titties because they can’t just be poppin’ off at the first sign of a threat. Elizabeth is angry and rightfully so however Georgia reminds her that her whiteness affords her the liberties to have a reaction unlike a black woman who is (barely) passing or the other black folk there who have literal skin in the game.
If Elizabeth wanted to she could turn around and go right back to a life of apathy and acceptance of slavery. A life of blissful ignorance she likely enjoyed before marrying her late husband. But now, as it turns out, Elizabeth has taken to Cato’s advice and as we replay the burning building scene from before we learn that it was actually Elizabeth who started the fire and the house belonged to the man who had threatened her earlier. The only reason she even went back into the building was because the guy’s son ran into the home to save his father. Who wasn’t even there. Georgia is worried about her friend becoming consumed by her anger but knows the heat she is bringing to their doorstep will undoubtedly burn them all so she tells her she’s got to roll bounce up out of there.
The audience gets to spend a little bit more one on one (well one on one plus gorgeous horse) time with Harriet this week since the infamous “Minty” episode that launched a thousand Emmy consideration think pieces. Harriet is taking a sojourner across the river and Aisha Hinds is powerful even when she’s just being a silent g (like lasagna) and tearing down runaway posters in a local town. She stops in a church and kneels down to pray. Tubman is torn between heeding the counsel of George Still and Frederick Douglas who want her to take more of a front seat as the face of the movement and following what her heart is telling her to do and not be prideful.
Harriet has been going at this thing alone for so long that she doesn’t feel comfortable being the Steve Jobs of the abolition movement. Or was Steve Jobs the Harriet Tubman of technological advances? As sure and confident as Hinds’ Harriet comes off it was uplifting to see her further humanized. Harriet Tubman was a hero, make no mistake. But heroes aren’t perfect specimens. They’re just people willing to do the right thing when the moment calls for it.
Rosalee Macon, Noah, Corra and James are staying at a safe house near the Macon plantation that is no more because it blowed up real good last week. The idea is that no one will suspect that they’d be hiding so close by to the scene of the “crime”. Corra is apprehensive about the riskiness of this plan but she’s outvoted. Also, Noah and Rosalee continue to behave awkwardly towards each other ever since they reunited and even more so since Noah found out that Rosalee is pregnant with his baby. Rosalee thinks the baby is a boy and my heart was breaking for these two people who have sacrificed everything to get back to each other and now that they are in the same room with each other feel worlds apart.
We don’t really get to digest this scene for too long because they are found out at their location in the middle of the night and Corra is unfortunately brutally shot in the back and dragged away while the others sit hiding in watch, powerless to do anything to stop it. The remaining three flee again and while they stow away in the bottom of a carriage through North Carolina young James complains the entire time like he just found out they were all sold out of those blooming deep-fried potato things they sell at Six Flags. Noah tells him that now that he is his “own master” he will need to figure out what that means for the type of man he hopes to become.
Later, Noah sits down with Harriet to talk about divine intervention. He finds it hard to believe in a god that would allow the suffering of the world to go on. Noah’s still holding onto the guilt he feels for four of the Macon Seven not making it out alive. Harriet urges him to find faith in the unknowable because according to her belief is what helps men do the impossible. She’s not wrong but every time Minty starts going in about her god she reminds me of my neighbor who condescendingly tells me she’ll pray for me when I tell her I don’t go to church because I am not a Christian. You’ll pray for me? Bish, what I just say?
Aldis Hodge does an excellent job in this scene again conveying his regrets however it’s his work in the scene between Noah and Rosalee where he confronts her about what she put him through for not telling him about the baby that really had my attention. I don’t know if I truly buy his character being that upset with Rosalee and seeming to have zero capacity in seeing things from her point of view. I also really had a problem with Noah telling her she was just like her father and treated him like her slave. I mean, bruh! But Aldis is so fine I’m gonna go ahead and give him a pass on straining credibility.
Lastly, we check in with Daniel who you’ll recall was punished by the overseers for teaching the other slaves on the plantation to read. He and his daughter are watching as some other slaves are being sold off and shipped further down south. I love Daniel as a character and I don’t care what anybody says, Bokeem Woodbine is a national muddacussing treasure! The way Woodbine is able to convey strength, humor and tenderness within one line reading, nah but let’s keep making the same three movies starring the same three white guys every year.
Daniel and his family are afraid they may be the next to be broken up and sold. The master is keeping their son in the big house to keep them tethered but Daniel knows that “freedom is the only answer”. His wife asks what she can do to help and Daniel simply replies, “Love me!” He’d also like for her to pray for him as he makes a solo mission to Ridley, Ohio, to find a cobbler who is the key to linking Daniel up to John Brown for help. His mission is improbable but what did Harriet say about believing? Daniel winds up on the doorstep of Georgia just as Elizabeth is preparing to leave.
I guess Daniel’s story takes place in the same timeline after all.
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.