If some of you remember, in my very first post, I mentioned that nowadays I get more excited to see “Underground” on Wednesday nights than “Empire.” Don’t get me wrong, “Empire” still entertains me, despite the fact that it’s not quite the show it once was. The only difference is, now “Empire” can be DVR’ed if I have to do something when 9:00 PM rolls around. However, when “Underground” airs on WGN an hour later, please do not disturb me. I absolutely have to watch that show.
“Underground” is a drama that tells the story of four groups of people whose lives are intertwined in the Antebellum south. The primary group is the Macon 7, seven slaves that are forced to work the Macon plantation and make a daring escape. Two of the slaves, Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Noah (Aldis Hodge) are the main characters, who are bonded together by their thirst for freedom as well as their growing love for each other. The second group is a young Caucasian couple in the north, John and Elizabeth Hawkes (Marc Blucas and Jessica De Gouw). John is the younger brother of Tom Macon, the master of the Macon plantation. However, John and Elizabeth are abolitionists, and they convert their house into a station in the Underground Railroad. The third group is made up of August Pullman (Christopher Meloni, who’ll always be Elliott Stabler to me) and his young son Ben. August is a slave hunter that has his son accompany him on his hunt for the Macon 7. The thrill of the hunt and the reward that comes with it keeps August going, but Ben’s disgust for treating human beings like property mounts with each gaining week. Last but not least, there’s the fourth group: the slaves and masters that remain on the Macon plantation. The seven slaves that escape leave lasting ramifications for all the other slaves on the plantation, mainly Rosalee’s family. The escape also effects Tom Macon, who is running for the Senate, and is looked down upon for having so many of his slaves flee on his watch.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve seen this all before! If you’ve seen one slave show, you’ve seen them all! I can’t stand watching stuff about slavery!” I get it. If you’re uncomfortable with shows that depict slavery, this definitely isn’t the series for you, because “Underground” holds nothing back. However, there are certain aspects of this show that make it different than most movies/TV series that discuss the topic of slavery. All the slaves in the show aren’t heroes. There’s one in particular named Cato (Alano Miller) that runs with the Macon 7, and makes it clear from jump street that he has no loyalty to anyone. You don’t see your typical behavior from the house slaves and field slaves. There’s a few times that some of the house slaves say that they envy the field slaves, because the once the field work is done for the day, they can go back to their lives, whereas the house slaves don’t have that luxury. The protagonists as well as the villains are three dimensional. Cato has shown his human side many times as well as his devilish side. There is one slave that is generally good, but she kills another slave to protect her family. Although August is a slave catcher hell bent on capturing the Macon 7—Rosalee in particular—it’s still hard to completely hate him due to his extreme intelligence as well as the issues he has with his mentally ill wife as well as seeing that his son no longer looks up to him as he once did. Well no, I take that back. August still sucks. I like Elliott better. Even the way the show is set up is different. The slaves didn’t just start running on the first episode; they spent the first few episodes planning the escape. After a while, I started to wonder if when and if they were going to run. Also, when they finally ran, they didn’t all run together. Certain circumstances occurred that caused the group to be split up. Some of them didn’t even make it off the plantation. Not only that, but the Macon 7’s numbers have been dwindling week to week. I won’t mention how or why the numbers have been reduced.
I highly recommend this show. It’s full of action, drama and suspense, and it never disappoints. I know what else you’re thinking: “Nadiya, how can we watch the show when the season finale is coming up?” Please. This is the 21st century. If WGN is offered by your cable provider, you can easily go back and watch these episodes On Demand or on the WGN website (www.wgnamerica.com). The episodes are also available on Amazon Instant Video as well as VUDU (www.vudu.com). If neither of those options tickle your fancy, this coming Wednesday (May 11, 2016), WGN will air all nine episodes of “Underground,” leading up to the season finale at 10:00 PM. The marathon begins at 1:00 PM EST. I suggest y’all set your DVR’s or take a day off work. Just kidding about the day off work thing.
—Written by Nadiya
So what do you think about “Underground”? Is it an exciting show, or is it just the 20 millionth retelling of “Roots”? Give me your thoughts!