Review by Christine Thompson
WGN’s original drama UNDERGROUND: SEASON TWO has released season 2 on DVD today by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The series, which portrays a young America in the throes of unrest and change brought about by brave abolitionists is a reimagining of Harriet Tubman’s (played by Aisha Hinds) Underground Railroad along with historical figures such as the renowned Frederick Douglass (played by John Legend, also the executive producer). America is on the brink of civil war, and as the series follows one of history’s greatest escape stories, (the Macon 7) we are treated to the lush imagery of the land juxtaposed fiercely with the anguish of the people brought to it against their will. As the modern soundtrack skillfully sets tone and helps draw parallels to the modern racial tensions in the United States, it begs the question: how far have we really come?”
We follow the tribulations of Rosalee, a former house slave who uses The Underground Railroad to return to the south to find and free her family and her beau Noah (Aldis Hodge), one of the Macon 7, as they navigate a divided America on the brink of Civil War. An appearance by John Legend as Sir Frederick Douglas reminds us once again that the fantastic soundtrack is no accident.
Season two contains fourth wall breaking monologue in episode 6 performed by Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubman that is nearly an hour long. It’s a gripping, fascinating account of how she came to her raison d’être, while addressing a crowd of mostly white abolitionists in Philadelphia. She relates that the recounting of slavery in the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe doesn’t compare to what she’s experienced as “it’s the next thing to hell”
To tell you how I came to be free first you need to understand what bondage was like. It attacks the senses. The smell taste and look of it the before and after. scar has something to do with her spells. First step to freedom is to see past all you think you know to something better. Violence without cause is brutality. That’s the way of the slaveholder. – Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubman
UNDERGROUND: SEASON TWO stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (TV’s “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton), and Marc Blucas (Necessary Roughness) alongside Jessica De Gouw (Dracula), Alano Miller (TV’s “Jane The Virgin”), and Christopher Meloni (TV’s “Law & Order: SVU”).
The DVD contains all ten episodes in a three-disc set with a gag reel and deleted scenes.
UNDERGROUND: SEASON TWO was created by Misha Green (TV’s “Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (TV’s “Heroes”) who also executive produce alongside Academy Award® winner Akiva Goldsman (2001, Best Adapted Screenplay, A Beautiful Mind) of Weed Road Pictures, Joby Harold (Edge of Tomorrow) and Tory Tunnell (Holy Rollers) of Safehouse Pictures and Anthony Hemingway (TV’s “The Newsroom”).