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The Underground Railroad 1×01 Kapitel 1: Georgia (Chapter 1: Georgia) mit Episodenkritik

Synopsis of the episode The Underground Railroad 1×01: “Chapter 1: Georgia”

Caesar (Aaron Pierre) convinces Cora (Thuso Mbedu) to flee from the Randall Plantation in Georgia. It will change their lives tremendously. They discover the impossible Underground Railroad that takes them on a surprising journey and reveals the real face of America.

The so-called “Underground Railroad” (in German: “Underground railroad“) Is considered a glimmer of hope in the darkest time in US history. By 1850, the secret organization helped almost 100,000 slaves flee from the southern states to the somewhat freer north. Harriet Tubman, the face of the movement, soon even ends up on the $ 20 bill. Not only is she the first Person of Colorbut also the first woman to receive this honor.

The Underground Railroad seems more important than ever in the public perception, which is certainly also due to a bestseller by Colson Whitehead published in 2016. In his novel, the writer expands the historical facts with his own fantasies in order to depict the core of the truth. In reality, those to be liberated were at best smuggled in rickety carriages. Unfortunately, there were no real underground trains.

In his work, Whitehead answers the question of what a literal underground railroad would have looked like. In doing so, the author drifts almost into the science fiction genre in order to make it clear to everyone that he does not lay claim to accuracy. The book unfolds a typical error of children, which allegedly little Barry Jenkins was once caught. The director who is responsible forMoonlight“Was awarded the Oscar, is the perfect candidate to implement the series adaptation The Underground Railroad for Amazon Prime Video.

What’s the matter?

The ten-part miniseries is set on a slave plantation in the state of Georgia in the mid-19th century. The focus is on the young Cora, embodied by the South African high-flyer Thuso Mbedu. She has a special status because her mother once managed to escape in a legendary way. For the self-proclaimed slave hunter Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), this incident represents a deep scratch on his ego to this day. His level of malice fits into a Tarantino flick; He even forbids his suffering slave laborers to sing comfortingly.

The myth about Cora and her mother’s legacy can of course only boil down to one thing in terms of narrative: she too will soon have to flee, which in turn gives Ridgeway his second chance to win the hunt this time. Cora does not want to flee at first. A young man named Caesar (Aaron Pierre) tries again and again to convince her to go and find the Underground Railroad with him. He likes her, but she thinks he only sees her as a kind of good luck charm. A cruel key experience finally changes their minds and the escape begins …

The odyssey will take Cora and Caesar from South and North Carolina via Tennessee to the north. Every single station or episode offers new impressions that contradict the well-known historiography and thus expand the viewer’s horizons. The word Odyssey fits well because we actually have a little Homer (Chase W. Dillon) with us. The smartly dressed slave boy is Ridgeway’s henchman, who treated him like a friend and so washed his brain. A perfidious yet exciting dynamic.

Also in the ensemble: Justice Leak (“The Great Debaters“), William Jackson Harper (The Good Place), Damon Herriman (Justified), Will Poulter („Black Mirror: Bandersnatch“) And Lily Rabe (American Horror Story). By the way, Brad Pitt has behind the scenes with his production studio Plan B, where S “12 Years a Slave“Emerged, his fingers in the game. Also, the special soundtrack by Nicholas Britell (Succession) deserves special mention.

Regarding the production of Barry Jenkins it can be stated that the director is already from “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk“Let the notorious eye for aesthetics come into its own. In order to make it clear on film that The Underground Railroad is not a pure docudrama, it conjures up surreal effects and dream visions in the first scene of the pilot episode called Chapter 1: Georgia.

Stylistically, The Underground Railroad is less in the direction of The Good Lord Bird or Underground than, for example, Lovecraft Country or THEM. An ongoing, interesting trend from black serial makers, the worst chapters of the Black History Enriching it with supernatural elements in order to make the important events vividly tangible to a modern audience that is perhaps a bit dulled.


All in all, “The Underground Railroad“Immediately get our attention. The director Barry Jenkins has created a miniseries for Amazon Prime Video, which shines with film-ready production values ​​and a very relevant story creatively and artistically freely. Fans of counterfactual historical dramas such as The Man in the High Castle or The Plot Against America should be particularly interested in taking a look at the ten-part series.

Certainly one of the series that will be discussed at the end of the year. You should definitely see.

Finally, here is the Trailer to the new series The Underground Railroad on Amazon Prime Video:

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