Ethan’s family arrives, but Ethan doesn’t mention Kate lives in town. Teresa and Ben get the wrong idea and trouble ensues.
We open where we left off last week, with Sheriff Pope’s sermon to the townsfolk in front of Beverly’s body still chained up on the clothing rack after he’s slashed her throat. A little girl leaves a single flower on the stage. It’s not for Beverly, but the real victim here, Sheriff Pope, on whom the burdens of office do not rest lightly. He drops the knife and picks up the flower, as he talks about the “naysayers” who say no one appreciates him. He extols his people to “BE HAPPY” and “Accept each other for who we are now, not who we were.” Then there’s the call and response as he gets them to shout out the rules, the first of which is “Do not try to leave.”
Give it up for Terrance Howard, who infuses blackness into his performance. This is the most original scene so far – the racial optics of the lynching of a white woman (for trying to escape) by a black man in a leadership role who is warning the mostly white crowd – in the manner of a pastor leading his sometimes unruly flock – that this is what happens when you break the rules. (Please read the rest of this fascinating and insightful recap at HNTP — the people who bring you TV real good, even when the shows are very bad.)