This is the third of four daily recaps by Matthew Delmont, writer of Making Roots: A country Captivated (coming respectable 2016) around the work again, please again of Alex Haley’s Roots television miniseries airing on history Channel. If you have actually not seen the very first three episodes yet, you might be spoiled.

You are watching: Roots season 1 episode 3

The acting in the brand-new Roots series has been tremendous, and it was especially good last night. The 3rd episode, in which Anika Noni increased plays the adult Kizzy, choose up the story in 1816, practically two years after Kizzy offered birth to a baby that was developed after she was raped by her master. In ~ the begin of the episode Tom Lea (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is raping Kizzy again. This is a starting method to open the episode, however it makes it clear that sexual violence was an inescapable component of life because that Kizzy and also many enslaved women. Stare time has actually passed in between the two episodes and it is horrifying to imagine what Kizzy endured in these years. When Tom finishes and also leaves, Kizzy prepares to walk to work. This is a ethereal scene and the details of Kizzy washing she body, rinsing she mouth, and steadying herself hint at what everyday survival looks choose for this character.

Much of the episode concentrates on the relationship between Kizzy’s son, Chicken George (Regé-Jean Page), and also his father and owner, Tom Lea. Chicken George benefit Tom’s admiration once he i do not care a skilled trainer the gamecocks. Regé-Jean Page and also Jonathan Rhys Meyers play off each other well, and also this plotline explores family and ancestry native a different angle. If passing the household story native Kunta Kinta to Kizzy was around maintaining a feeling of continuity between Africa and America, passing the family members story indigenous Kizzy to Chicken George calls for acknowledging the ancestry additionally contains aspects of violence.


Alex Haley to be fascinated by cockfighting, so i think that would have actually loved this episode. Ns was less enthralled through the cockfighting scenes (of which there are several), yet I appreciate exactly how this episode supplies cockfighting together Chicken George’s path to freedom. After ~ his bird wins a climatic fight, the looks favor George has won his freedom. This minute of joy conveniently evaporates, however, as soon as the English cockfighting rival calls for a rematch and produces a bigger bird the kills George’s bird and also with the his opportunity of freedom. ~ losing, George is required to go to England to occupational as a servant for male whose bird winner the cockfight. The scene is ludicrous, especially due to the fact that slavery was illegal in England through 1830s as soon as this step is set, yet it speaks to just how precarious freedom and also the expect of freedom was for enslaved people.

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There are an effective scenes between Chicken George and also Kizzy, but too couple of of them. In one, Kizzy tells George that she virtually drowned herself and him together a baby, and also in another, Kizzy helps George do the specify name ceremony for his son. Overall, this illustration felt rushed (there is, because that example, a brief scene about Nat Turner’s Rebellion). I wished there was more time to discover this relationship in between Chicken George and Kizzy. Or probably I just wanted to see two impressive actors, Anika Noni Rose and Regé-Jean Page, share much more scenes. Looking front to the last episode on Thursday night!

Matthew F. Delmont is associate Professor of history at Arizona State University and the writer of Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the nationwide Resistance to college Desegregation and The Nicest youngsters in Town: American Bandstand, absent ’n’ Roll, and the struggle for Civil rights in 1950s Philadelphia.