*Tune-in tonight for a compelling episode of “Underground,” aptly entitled “Cradle,” which will take the viewer on an emotional journey with the four child characters – James (Maceo Smedley III), T.R. (Tobias Nichols), Boo (Darielle Stewart) and Henry (Renwick Scott). Through very personal circumstances, each child experiences a loss of innocence that forces them to understand the “racial, class and age challenges” of the world in which they live. It’s a must-see episode sure to spark further conversation about this enlightening series.
WGN America’s record-breaking, critically acclaimed “Underground” follows the life and death struggle for freedom for a group of courageous men and women. The series is the network’s highest-performing original drama and the #1 scripted drama on cable on Wednesday nights.
In the first six episodes, viewers were introduced to childhood friends James, the bi-racial son of the head house slave Ernestine (Amirah Vann); and T.R., son of plantation owner Tom Macon (Reed Diamond). We won’t spoil it for you, but these boys share a scandalous secret, one that threatens the legacy of the Macon family if ever exposed. They don’t view the world through race tinted glasses – that is until sweet little James is sent to work the cotton fields and quickly learns what it means to be a field slave. Much to his disappointment, T.R. learns that he is expected to view his friend as property, as his father starts to indoctrinate him in the ways of a hard, and unforgiving slave owner. For the fist time in their young lives, the boys’ relationship and perception of themselves and each other are forever changed.
This particular plot highlights generational racism and oppression through the eyes of children. It resonates with our current social climate because middle and high schools students across the nation continue to receive some form of racial and discriminatory indoctrination, whether directly or subliminally.
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Another reflective and teachable moment comes when little girl Boo experiences a tragic loss, and she finds comfort in abolitionist Elizabeth Hawkes (Jessica de Gouw), who is forced to take humiliating measures to protect Boo from a relentless slave catcher. It’s a dynamic that will make viewers ponder on the importance of white sympathizers during slavery, and why such people have been forgotten in history.
From creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and executive producer and Academy Award-winner John Legend, “Underground” is that slave revolt drama that surprises you at every turn because no one is what they appear to be, the plot twists play out better than an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and the suspense will keep your heartbeat racing faster than the slaves.
Get caught up on past episodes here, and check out the preview for “Cradle” below. Tune in tonight, April 20, on WGN America at 10/9c.