The second episode of the second season of Underground, “Things Unsaid” opens with Daniel (Bokeem Woodbine), the slave we initially met in the season premiere, the one who was teaching himself to read. He enters his cabin to greet his wife and infant child. Excitedly, he reveals to his wife that he’s learned to read and write. His wife stares down at the small piece of parchment where he’s etched the word, “LOVE” and rips the paper to shreds, reminding him that this could get them killed.
Back in Ohio, Elizabeth sits on the courthouse steps screaming and wailing, staring down at the blood stain where John’s body once laid. Meanwhile, at the Hawkes’ home, Rosalee rushes through her tasks of preparing some herbs for some of the injured escaped slaves to take on their journey, tears steadily falling from her face. Pastor Grant, an abolitionist conductor, arrives to pick the cargo up. Seeing Rosalee in distress, he reminds her to focus on her family. He tells her, “Elizabeth is going to need you.”
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At Georgia’s boarding house, Harriet and Rosalee discuss a plan to move forward and help free more slaves. In the middle of their conversation, Harriet passes out, which alarms Georgia. Starring down at the scar on Harriet’s forehead (she was hit in the head with an iron as a child), Rosalee assures her new friend that these episodes are normal. She also asks Georgia to send Elizabeth a wire apologizing for her absence. It looks like Rosalee isn’t taking Pastor Grant’s advice to stay back and help Elizabeth through her grief. When Harriet comes to, she announces, “The plan has changed.”
Later on, Rosalee stands in the mirror binding her breasts and dressing herself in men’s clothing. As she stuffs her pockets with turkey feathers, herbs and her gun, her heavy breathing reveals just how anxious she is. Something is obviously troubling her, and I have a feeling it’s not just John’s death. Harriet enters the room telling her not to fret over Miss Ernestine and her brother James. She assures Rosalee that after this journey she’s about to embark on, she’ll be more than ready to return to Georgia to steal them away. It looks like this is Rosalee’s first mission without Harriet. Harriet hasn’t forgotten about Rosalee’s feelings for Noah, though, and she again urges the her to forget about him and focus on what she has to do for her cargo.
Somewhere between the North and the South, Rosalee is leading three escaped men through the woods. She’s visibly disturbed and not quite sure she’s on the right path. Harriet’s voice reminds her to seek out the notches on the trees to determine her location and just when she’s about to give up, she discovers a hidden horse and buggy.
Finally reaching the safe house, Rosalee leaves the men in the woods while she approaches the front door. After knocking on the door and giving the white lady inside a password, she’s told to usher her cargo around back. But, Rosalee senses that something is wrong and runs. Thank God she did too! Sure enough, inside the cabin, the woman is being held a gunpoint by slave catcher Patty Cannon and her men. Patty looks outside just in time to see to Rosalee sprinting through the trees.
In Ohio, a grief-stricken Elizabeth, helps Valentine, an injured escaped slave dress in some of John’s clothing. (She’s still wearing the dress she had on when he was murdered.) Rosalee enters the room to try and comfort her. It appears that she has turned back with her cargo after encountering the shaken woman at the safe station. Tearfully, Elizabeth tells her that she keeps thinking about children. She says perhaps if she and John were able to have children, she would at least have something left of him. (Brb, going to sob now.)
Later, dressed in widow’s black, Elizabeth is being given a tour of Georgia’s boarding house, its only occupant the injured Valentine. At the end of a tour, Elizabeth enters one of the rooms in the house. She tells Georgia that Rosalee has embarked on her journey. She’s disappointed that even though Rosalee was the only family John had left, she couldn’t even be bothered to stay behind. Georgia suggests that perhaps saying goodbye was just too much for Rosalee.
That evening, Valentine and Elizabeth sit by the fire at the boarding house. Valentine tells Elizabeth about some of the suffering he endured during his time in slavery. He also tries to leave Elizabeth with a little bit of hope when he returns John’s jacket to her. His words don’t seem to soothe Elizabeth, though. Instead, she lifts up a hidden passage under the mirror in her room revealing three pistols. Elizabeth is obviously out for blood.
The next day, Elizabeth sits on the courthouse stairs clutching her purse, which probably has her gun in it. She sits, looking around desperately for the man who shot John. Georgia finds her there and reminds Elizabeth that there is a lot to do for John’s funeral, but only if they leave now. Elizabeth is pissed, she’s disgusted that no one cares that her husband was murdered in broad daylight. Georgia reminds Elizabeth that if she does something senseless, it wouldn’t be for John, it would be for herself.
In South Carolina, on the Roe rice plantation, Miss Ernestine doesn’t attend church service with the rest of the slaves. Instead, she sits in her cabin humming while Hicks washes and kisses her feet. They sing and get high together. It’s all very intimate and tender until he kisses her battered face. Hicks promises Ernestine that he never meant to hurt her. #Boybye. He tells her about a girl that’s going to need her help. He says, “You gonna help her for me?” I’m holding my breath here because who knows what kind of nonsense this man is about to drag Ms. Ernestine into.
Later in the field, the preacher’s daughter, Clara approaches Ernestine. She says, “Hicks says you can help me.” Stine nods toward her basket, which has a glass bottle in it. She tells the young woman to drink it all. She says that there will be some pain, but Clara will pass the baby later. (MY GAWD) She also warns her that it will be bloody. Clara tries to assure Ernestine that she was only with Hicks one time. (Oh y’all, I almost had to pause my TV! The nerve of this man! The audacity!!!) Miss Ernestine is aggravated, but Clara has to make her own choice. The preacher’s daughter walks away without taking the abortion mixture.
Later, Ernestine walks with some other ladies back toward the cabins. and spots some raspberries and hallucinates seeing the man she spotted outside earlier. It’s Sam’s father, French. (He fine!) It’s a small moment of happiness for her.
From their conversation, we get a bit more detail about Ernestine’s back-story. The death of Sam’s father broke something inside of her. Even though she did what she had to in order to survive, she still feels guilty for being in Master Tom’s bed for all of those years. We also learn that she can’t have any more kids. She made it that way. In reality, her children were the best and worst things that ever happened to her. They brought an overwhelming sense of fear into her life.
That evening, Ernestine watches quietly from a corner as Hicks drags Clara into their cabin. He screams, asking Stine where the abortion mixture is. Clara begs and cries; she wants her baby. Almost indifferent to what she is witnessing, Ernestine points to the medication. While choking Clara, Hicks shoves the medicine down her throat. Has Ernestine become this monstrous, or does she feel like she’s saving Clara from something? Later, she awakens in the dead of night to find Clara bleeding on a tree near their cabin.
And, just when we thought Underground forgot about Noah, we find him where we saw him last, shackled in the back of a wagon. Though his head is covered, the ever-determined Noah runs his hands along the wood of the wagon finally happening upon a nail. He picks the lock to his shackles before winding them back around his arms. He still wants to “appear” defenseless.
Later, the wagon stops so that Noah can go to the bathroom. Now able to move about in the back of the wagon, he breaks it from the inside out and makes his escape. Just as I was about to get on my feet and cheer, the men catch up to him; a man in a fancy carriage has cut off his path. Noah taunts the men who’ve stolen him as they try to fix the shattered wagon. They find the object that Noah has been crafting since his time in jail. It’s a ring for Rosalee! Of course one of these garbage humans snatches the ring from his hand.
After finally getting back on the road, the men arrive at their destination. Throwing down his shackles, Noah, engages his plan, grabbing the overdressed man and his gun. Just when we think Noah has the upper hand, someone laughs from a distance. Noah quickly realizes that the white man he has underhand isn’t actually in charge. Looking up toward the balcony, he sees Cato whose gleefully grinning down at him. Listen, I don’t know what kind of nonsense Cato is into, but he needs to leave Noah alone!
Meanwhile, Patty Canon and some white man are getting it in. A man knocks on her door, and Patty throws her lover out like yesterday’s trash. A man named Mr. Donahue enters Patty’s cabin. Apparently, he’s recording her legacy (insert side eye here.) Patty is real gleeful about Donahue interrupting her smash session until he says, “To be the most notorious slave catcher, one would think you would have caught the most notorious runaway.” BLOOP! Donahue asks Patty why he shouldn’t be writing his book about Harriet Tubman instead of her. Patty is pissed! The next day, one of Patty’s men gives word about spotting Harriet, and Patty heads out in search of her.
Back at the abolitionist’s house, Patty and her henchmen are threatening the woman and her son. They are desperate to know who Rosalee is. The abolitionist says they call her, “The Black Rose.” In the woods, Rosalee is trying to determine when to run with the three escaped men. She’s resolute in waiting until the time is right to continue on their harrowing journey. Trusting her gut and Harriet’s training, she gets the men to their boat in time, only to be shot while standing on the dock.
At this point, I need a moment because my pressure is up!
Putting her gun down across the river, Patty tells her henchmen, “Go retrieve my Black Rose.” I actually can’t bear to look right now.
Soon, we see Rosalee pull herself from out of the water (Thank God!) She’s bleeding, but the turkey feathers in her shirt have saved her life. She strips off her shirt, and as the camera scrolls down, her pregnant belly is revealed. This is what’s been bothering her all along!!!! She and Noah are going to have a baby!!!
Underground, y’all play too much!! I didn’t think things could get even more stressful from last week.
Underground airs Wednesdays at 10 PM ET on WGN AmericaShare :