The Good Lord Bird

The Good Lord Bird – Episode 2 Review

Onion learns all skinfolk ain't kinfolk on #TheGoodLordBird.
Courtesy of Showtime

Separated from John Brown and his band of abolitionists, Onion and a reluctant Bob find themselves alone and without a plan of action. Deciding to head deeper into Kansas territory, the two are waylaid by a white man named Chase and his brother-in-law. With Onion still playing a girl named Henrietta, he playacts that Bob is his servant. Chase buys it but insists they head across state lines to Missouri in order to “protect” Henrietta and her ‘property.’

Courtesy of Showtime

At the tiny town of Pikesville, MO-which Onion thinks is the most sophisticated he’s ever seen-Bob is shuffled off to an area called “The Pen” (which is exactly what it sounds like for enslaved Black people), while Onion is shuffled into service in a brothel. Trying to avoid actually “selling trim” in the brothel (which Onion thought meant cutting hair as a barber), “Henrietta” meets a prostitute named Pie. Pie is all about the almighty dollar, and she won’t let the new girl get in her way. It’s only when Pie tries to pretty up “Henrietta” that the truth comes out: Onion is Henrietta and Onion is very much male.

Courtesy of Showtime

Vowing to keep his secret in exchange for Onion teaching her to read, Pie convinces the brothel madame to use “Henrietta” as a chambermaid. Things are ok until Onion begins to search for Bob. Running into an enslaved woman named Sibonia in The Pen, Onion is caught up with being blackmailed a second time. Promising Sibby that he’ll teach her to read in exchange for finding Bob, Onion is getting it from all sides.

Sibby has an important reason for wanting to read: she’s plotting to free her people in The Pen and righteously kill their captors in the process. She is caught and the plan foiled by none other than Pie. It’s false to think that all Black people are rooting for everybody Black. Sister Harriet Tubman famously proclaimed “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Pie is most definitely that crab in the barrel that pulls other crabs down.

Courtesy of Showtime

In a powerful scene, Sibonia matter-of-factly tells the judge and local preacher that her plan wasn’t just to run to the freedom train; her plan was to cut down the pro-slavery population of Pikesville. In fact, she planned to kill the preacher and his family first, because although he espoused the evil of slavery, he also believed Black people should be resigned to their fate.

With the plot revealed, Sibonia and other enslaved persons were hanged without much fanfare. It’s only after this miscarriage of justice that John Brown and his crew roll into town and run roughshod over the pro-slavers. With Chase being ripped to shreds by a cannon, Brown and his band are once again in the wind with Onion and Bob in tow.

The Good Lord Bird airs at 6PM on Showtime.

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