Roots: Episode 2

In 1775, Kunta is working on the Waller farm and still desperate to escape his situation when he meets English Redcoats encouraging slaves to run away and join the English governor’s ‘Ethiopian Regiment’ and are promised freedom for their service. However, when the English refuse to give them guns, disregard Kunta’s skills as a warrior, and use them as human body shields, Kunta realizes the English are little better than the Americans and flees during the chaos of battle. Running for his freedom, he is taken by slave catchers who have heard of his previous attempts to run. They amputate half his foot to deter him from any further attempts at self manumission.

John Waller’s seemingly less brutal, younger brother, William, is outraged at the mutilation and buys Kunta. Kunta is attentively cared for by William Waller’s enslaved cook, Belle. After a lengthy, awkward courtship, and a battle with depression, Kunta marries Belle. Soon after, a daughter is born to the couple. Belle is frightened, having had children previously that had been sold away from her. Hoping to keep his family together, Kunta gives the baby the Mandinka name of “Kizzy,” meaning “you stay put.”

Spirited and sharp, Kizzy (portrayed by the effervescent Emyri Crutchfield) is designated a playmate by William Waller to his daughter, Missy. Kizzy mistakes the attention for true friendship, despite the fact that we're introduced to Missy as she takes a cup of lemonade from Kizzy's hands that was clearly meant for Kunta. Missy teaches Kizzy how to read and write. These illegal skills allow her to actively resist and later Kizzy forges papers in a plot to help another young slave, Noah, escape during the chaos of a hurricane. When her conspiracy is discovered; Missy cries betrayal and William sells Kizzy off to a poor, white farmer, Tom Lea. Lea immediately rapes Kizzy as she screams for him to kill her. Kizzy gives birth to a son, George. In isolation and despair, Kizzy wanders to a nearby river with the intention to drown that baby and keep him from the miseries she's been forced to endure. Instead, she raises him to sky, as Kunta did when she was born, and says, “Behold; the only thing greater than yourself.”

See below for our full coverage on Roots:

Episode 1 Review

Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
Follow her @ Twitter
Friend her @ Facebook