The first season of “Underground” wowed us all with its stunning characters and depiction of the harsh realities of slavery in the deep south. When we weren’t brought to tears by the struggle of seven escaped slaves to find the Underground Railroad, we sat silently with our hearts in our throats, as one by one they fell short of their goal.
In Season 2, “Underground” is taking on a much more political tone as it shines a light on Harriet Tubman and the silent rebellion she championed to help escaped slaves cross into the free North just as she once had. The tale of this incredibly dangerous act of civil disobedience is one that finds itself very timely in the context of modern day America, according to the show’s cast.
“I think Season 2 is very political,” Jessica De Gouw, who plays Elizabeth, says. “[It’s] a hundred times more relevant to now. When we were shooting this show, the political landscape was taking a massive turn. The election was taking place while we were shooting in Savannah, Georgia — which was quite an experience.”
Alano Miller, the actor behind Cato, had plenty to say on the recent election, and the what the outcome means for the country, with an important message at the crux of it all: Staying passive will not help anyone.
“If you want things to change, you can’t sit on the sidelines,” Miller says, “This season is political in that way. It is about citizens versus soldiers, and it is about saying that we should all be soldiers.”
John Legend also chimed in on the topic, saying that his belief in art and its purpose to speak the truth — even, and often especially, when facing new realities — is still unshaken.
“I think shows like ‘Underground’ help me feel hopeful,” Legend says. “You realize that America has been through some terrible times, and the courage and the wherewithal and the organization and the passion of groups like the Underground Railroad and the Abolitionist Movement defied the odds and brought us closer to freedom, brought us closer to justice. That means to me that the people still have power, and even when we’re discouraged by current events, we know that we have the power to make change happen.”
We expect “Underground” Season 2 to reflect a powerful dichotomy of hope and anguish, as we’re eager to see what kind of parallels can be drawn between the show and the political landscape facing America today.
“Underground” premieres March 8, 2017 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.