Under the Banner of Heaven: Surrender
May 5, 2022 11:13 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The ongoing investigation leads Pyre and Taba into untrod woods where they unearth information that challenges Pyre's own faith, and draw more Laffertys into suspicion and custody.
posted by porpoise (4 comments total)
Andrew Garfield is not being given a lot to work with here, is he? Most of the dramatic range is for the Lafferty brothers and family or for the flashbacks (informative but a real drag on the storytelling of the present day). I'm not an expert on how someone behaves when they find their wife and daughter gruesomely murdered, but Allen Lafferty laconically giving history lessons is not believable. Also -- why in the world did Taba and Pyre not question him more aggressively about his actions (even if innocent) upon finding Brenda and the baby? And what are all those flashback images Pyre has where he's in a white room? They were peppered in Ep 1 then disappeared.

Not sure I'll stick with it, which is too bad because I read the book and was looking forward to the show.

(By the way, give the young actress playing Jolene Lafferty an Oscar for her performance.)
posted by cocoagirl at 12:11 PM on May 8, 2022

I'd love to hear thoughts about people from the Mormon faith (of any orthodoxy) about what they thought of this so far. My googlefu is failing me.
posted by porpoise at 10:05 PM on May 10, 2022

Not Mormon, but grew up with scads of Mormons, including my best friend, in 90s Denver. Upper middle-class families in the suburbs. White, mostly (naturally). So, take these observations with all of that in mind.

I don’t think the series does a very good job of differentiating mainstream Mormons from the fundamentalists. The Laffertys were originally a mainstream Mormon family, and didn’t get “turned” until late in the game, so to speak. And yet there’s this weirdly subliminal portrayal of the family as ruled by a Warren Jeffs-like patriarch who sits in power at the family seat in the countryside. The Lafferty women all wear prairie dresses and sport long, sister-wife hair. (Even Spiderman’s daughters have the prairie dress thing going on). This doesn’t exactly jibe with my memory of the book, and it certainly doesn’t jibe with my personal memories of Mormon family life. I get that prairie dresses were in fashion in the early 80s; I get that things are a little different in Utah; and I get that Papa Lafferty created and ruled over a rigid, patriarchal minor kingdom that was vulnerable to radicalism. Still, there’s a way to portray the Laffertys (and the 80s and Utah) with greater subtly than this. I don’t think the Laffertys were 99% of the way to being fundamental and then just slipped on over into radicalism.

Idk. I had more to say, but I lost my train of thought and have to go make dinner. The show is just less interesting to this American because you look at these characters and go, oh yeah, they’re wild! And I think the book worked hard to say that the radicalism of the Lafferty boys was both sudden and tragic and incomprehensible and totally, totally, totally American and foreseeable.

Also, what was that business about Hacksaw Ridge sneaking fries? Mormons eat fast food. Da fuq?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 4:28 PM on May 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I feel like there's a lot of sincere effort put in to this show, but centering it on Garfield's character was a mistake. It means they have to do some clunky stuff to create a whodunnit. Maybe it would have been better as a courtroom story. From my memory of the book, the lawyers for both sides had trouble lining up the cult-like religious views with the claims of standard LDS values without admitting there was a lot of misogyny and violence inherent in those.
posted by harriet vane at 6:02 AM on September 5, 2022

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