Directed by Thomas Carter
Written by Charles Murray
Based on the novel by Alex Haley
Starring Laurence Fishburne, Regé-Jean Page, Chad L. Coleman, Shannon Lucio, Anika Noni Rose, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Michael James Shaw, and Malachi Kirby
The History Channel | A&E | Lifetime
Air Date: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016, 9:00pm
Last night on Roots, time passed and Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) still dreamed of running away. He almost made it too, joining the British against the rebels for his freedom. That didn’t work out well, and soon he was back at the Wallers minus 5 toes. Doc Waller (Matthew Goode) took him in, and the beautiful Belle (Emayatzy Corinealdi) nursed him back to health. They married and had Kizzy (E’myri Lee Crutchfield), and Fiddler (Forest Whitaker) died saved their lives. Kizzy grew up friends with the Wallers’ daughter Missy, as much as a slave and an owner’s daughter can be friends. After the boy Kizzy loved was shot to death, she was sent away because it was found out she could read (and betrayed by her “friend” Missy). She was brought to Tom Lea’s (Jonathan Rhys Myers) farm, and he raped her. She had his baby and named him George the Mandinka way.
Roots “Night 3” review: Lea Farm 1816 – 10 Years Later – 10 years of rape. But Kizzy will stay strong for her father. Tom Lea takes their son (unbeknownst to the little boy George), cockfighting. His wife Patricia (Shannon Lucio) is kind to Kizzy (now played by Anika Noni Rose) and Kizzy is kind in turn. Tom makes “Chicken George” help Mingo (Chad L. Coleman), the bird man, and George has stars in his eyes. Kizzy is not happy, and neither is Mingo because he hates everyone.
12 years later: Tom and Patricia Lea are looked down upon by the rest of the folks. But Chicken George (Regé-Jean Page) is a charmer, and in love with a preacher’s daughter.
Mingo is sick and trusts no one. George trains the Red and then begs to use him in one fight. Tom says if he loses, he won’t buy his girl. Chicken George puts on the show of his life. I cant bear to watch, but he wins. He wants to save up and buy his freedom, like his new friend Marcellus (Michael James Shaw). Kizzy meets George’s girl and her dad, but the Kunta Kinte in her comes out.
One of the snooty guys wants George, but Tom won’t give him up. They are invited to a fancy holiday, but another insults Tom and there is a duel. It is so bloody, and I really thought everyone was gonna die. But Tom doesn’t die, and gives George a clue about his parentage. George marries, and promises his son will be named Tom.
Kizzy: “Some time I look at you and I see Tom Leah. I can even tell y’apart. And it break my heart.”
Marcellus loves Kizzy, and wants to buy her freedom. Although Tom Lea needs the money, he doesn’t want to let her go. She chooses George and their family. The scene where they say goodbye is so heartbreaking,
1831 Three Years later: They go to a big cock fight, but all the white people are running scared because of the Nat Turner rebellion. It had white men hunting any slaves, fueling the frenzy with gruesome stories. Tom turned on George. Mingo died as a result, but Kizzy had brought everyone to safety in the woods while they were gone. George wanted to kill Tom, but Kizzy pled for her son to survive. For her he agreed, and had babies. Finally, he agreed to name one Tom, after going back on his promise after the rebellion, but in the way of Kunta Kinte.
George: “This is the only thing greater than yourself.”
Four years later, and Tom and George go to Charleston to win big. Tom is sad that George and he used to be best friends, and now he won’t talk to him. Well Tom, you don’t put your best friend in chains. He promises freedom for victory and I’m very afraid. But they win! And it’s sweet for a the minute of George’s freedom, but then Tom Leah bets twice as much. That’s when I close my eyes for the entire length of the 2nd fight. They lose. Tom gives George to the Englishmen, and our hearts break with his for his lost family.
There was slightly less violence this night, but George’s need for his father’s approval hurt so much. This family loves fierce and they keep getting ripped apart. I can’t take it. I will stay with them until the end of their story, and I will hurt far longer than that.
Regé-Jean Page is going to be a gigantic star with his looks and chops. The relationship between George and Kizzy felt like true mother and son (as the mother of a son – I felt what she did). My particular favorite this episode was Mingo. George may have been seeking his real father’s approval, but he actually earned his surrogate father’s approval through Mingo, all the more sweet because of his massive trust issues.
Another fantastic night. And by fantastic, I mean heart-wrenching, soul-searing, punch you in the gut despair.
Roots: Night 4 airs tomorrow night at 9:00pm ET on A&E, Lifetime, and The History Channel.
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