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

You are watching: Roots season 1 episode 3

The exhilaration in the new Roots series has been tremendous, and also it to be especially good last night. The third episode, in i beg your pardon Anika Noni increased plays the adult Kizzy, choose up the story in 1816, practically two years after Kizzy gave birth come a baby that was developed after she was raped by her master. At the begin of the illustration Tom Lea (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is raping Kizzy again. This is a starting way to open the episode, however it makes it clear that sex-related violence to be an inescapable part of life for Kizzy and many enslaved women. Stare time has passed in between the two episodes and it is horrifying come imagine what Kizzy withstood in this years. As soon as Tom finishes and also leaves, Kizzy prepares to walk to work. This is a subtle scene and also the details the Kizzy washing her body, rinsing her mouth, and also steadying herself hint in ~ what everyday survival looks prefer for this character.

Much that the episode focuses on the relationship in between Kizzy’s son, Chicken George (Regé-Jean Page), and also his father and also owner, Tom Lea. Chicken George benefit Tom’s admiration when he i do not care a experienced trainer the gamecocks. Regé-Jean Page and also Jonathan Rhys Meyers play turn off each other well, and also this plotline explores family and also ancestry from a different angle. If passing the household story indigenous Kunta Kinta to Kizzy was around maintaining a sense of continuity between Africa and America, pass the household story from Kizzy come Chicken George requires acknowledging the ancestry additionally contains aspects of violence.


Alex Haley to be fascinated through cockfighting, so ns think he would have actually loved this episode. I was less enthralled through the cockfighting scene (of i beg your pardon there are several), but I appreciate how this episode offers cockfighting together Chicken George’s path to freedom. After ~ his bird wins a climatic fight, it looks choose George has won his freedom. This minute of joy quickly evaporates, however, when the English cockfighting competitor calls because that a rematch and also produces a larger bird the kills George’s bird and also with that his possibility of freedom. ~ losing, George is required to go to England to work-related as a slave for man whose bird winner the cockfight. The scene is ludicrous, especially because slavery to be illegal in England by 1830s as soon as this scene is set, however it speak to just how precarious freedom and also the hope of flexibility was because that enslaved people.

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There are powerful scenes between Chicken George and Kizzy, but too couple of of them. In one, Kizzy tells George the she practically drowned herself and him as a baby, and in another, Kizzy help George do the naming ceremony because that his son. Overall, this illustration felt rushed (there is, for example, a short scene concerning Nat Turner’s Rebellion). I wished over there was an ext time to discover this relationship between Chicken George and Kizzy. Or perhaps I just wanted to view two amazing actors, Anika Noni Rose and Regé-Jean Page, share an ext scenes. Looking front to the final episode ~ above Thursday night!

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