With just hours to go before the thunderclap reveal on Mare of Easttown (all of us here at MDK World Headquarters have Various Theories and have worn out our thumbs texting the specifics of each theory to one another; look for a future review of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), I’ve been mulling over why this specific show seems to have taken hold of our collective minds and water coolers so thoroughly.
Honestly, I think it’s because we’ve been getting a single episode per week, in good old-fashioned episodic television-style, rather than all at once. While some things are supremely bingeable (hello Great British Baking Show!), some things are richer when we have time to think about them a bit.
Which brings me to Amazon’s The Underground Railroad. I’m urging you to watch it—it’s all the things you expect it’s going to be and much, much, almost dizzyingly much more—but whatever you do, don’t binge it. It’s Amazon’s MO to dump things for us to binge and be done with, but I can’t imagine a series less fit for that treatment.
I’ve only been able to manage an episode every two or three days—and a few of them I could have let marinate a bit longer. Some are over an hour long; one is just twenty minutes. But they’re all detailed in ways that just can’t be glossed over in a multi-episode sit-and-knit (don’t even knit while you watch! Yes, I said it: no knitting!).
The Underground Railroad is absolute old-school Appointment Television, and while I think it’s getting a little bit lost in the glare of Mare, I’m fairly confident that as we all spend time with it—one episode at a time—it will take its rightful spot in the cultural conversation. It’s the straight up real deal.