Underground: Grave
April 27, 2016 8:46 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Ahh! Ahh! Arghh! Damnit!
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2016

I can't handle this show.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:30 PM on April 28, 2016

Yeah, I couldn't think of anything to say last night beyond "Holy Fuck." So brutal. Poor Ernestine.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:01 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

That scene with Tom Macon at the reception... All of that moralistic rhetoric overriding his own human moral instincts...(And I had thought they were going to pull their punches on the Achilles-cutting scene!) That says something true, I think, about how fucked up systems help create fucked up people... And yet it was stiil absolutely his own choice, his own selfish, monstrous ambition, making him absolutely responsible for that horror-show.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:54 AM on April 29, 2016

Choices that he clearly struggled to make, visually uncomfortable with the slavers whose support he was hoping to garner in the invite-only pre-presentation drinking session, then he returned to drink after his bold presentation, with fireworks and all.

On the Achilles-cutting scene - I wonder if they were going with a parallel to the binding of Isaac, with Tom about to (partially) sacrifice his (illegitimate son?) Sam at the bidding of (a servant of) God. Except it wasn't God's servant who saved Sam there, it was Tom. In fact, Ernestine was about to slice his Achilles tendon (not sever his foot, as mentioned in the Vulture recap - she says "Cut too deep, wound'll never heal." You wouldn't say that if you're about to cut off a foot.

Anyway, in the end Tom bows to the apparent desires of the God-fearing and kills Sam in the end. If Sam was indeed his son, his proclamation that "One will lead us to prosperity and a future where our children's children will want for nothing" is particularly grim.

He crossed that chasm, and his words now matched in his deeds.

By comparison, the trials and tribulations of Noah, Rosalee and Cato seem minor. Harrowing for sure, but never so trying as it was for Sam and Ernestine in this episode. (And still/again, this is grim material, but not done for shock value as is done in some other current shows *cough* Walking Dead *cough*.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

with Tom about to (partially) sacrifice his (illegitimate son?) Sam

Tom wasn't Sam's father - in Cradle he told James "I want to tell you something that my pa told me. Just 'cause you got to play dumb, don't ever let them make you think you really is.". (The Isaac parallel still holds though.)

(And still/again, this is grim material, but not done for shock value as is done in some other current shows *cough* Walking Dead *cough*.)

I think one of the reasons this death once again didn't feel exploitative/manipulative is because the emphasis was on the monstrosity of Tom's acts not on the suffering of Sam. The writers could have shown us Sam's final moments, beaten and lynched by the jeering mob, but to what purpose? It wouldn't illuminate Sam's characterization, we already know from the attempted-hobbling scene how he would face injury and death. So showing us could veer into torture-porn territory, and dilute the responsibility amongst the mob. Revealing Sam's body the way they did fixes the blame squarely and unforgettably on Tom.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:34 AM on April 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

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