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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.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • Based on a recent NPR interview with the on-set therapist brought in by the director to help the actors process the difficult scenes, one episode, and sometimes even just one sequence, at a time might be enough. Her recommendation is to watch it at your own pace. I highly recommend listening to the discussion before watching. I believe it was on 1A. The series is brilliant. But realistic. Deserving of much thought and attention.

    • I listened to that interview on NPR too and agree. Be prepared to feel some difficult emotions

    • You always have such good things to watch. Thank you for the heads up on shows.

      • Stunning TV; good advice to pace the viewing. Re-reading the novel…

  • Thanks soooo much for something that’s on amazon (vs netflix)! We don’t get netflix (yet) and are always on the lookout for episodic recommendations. Always enjoy your reviews, though, even when I can’t enjoy the actual show!

  • Our country is at such a crossroads about how we “treat” each other. Love and understanding of each other comes from learning and not being afraid of our differences. We should be celebrating our differences as much as we embrace our love of colors and different knitting and craft projects and designers.

  • the title is knit to this: and yet you tell us not to knit to this. bit confusing, but yeah, important to watch.

    • Most of the entertainment (TV, movies, books, etc) heads-ups from us get corralled under this heading. Luckily, it’s just a loose grouping and not a strict law. 🙂

  • I haven’t seen Underground Railroad but it’s on my list. I have seen Mare which has taken the world bY storm. I am on a FB group constantly discussing the possibilities of the ending. We are waiting with mixed emotions because we hate to see great TV end. Why can’t we have more of these incredibly wonderful TV dramas – just love the story and the outstanding performances!

  • I started watching “The underground Railroad” and the show simply does not reflect what the REAL underground railroad far. It literally shows an actual railroad, tracks, engine and all that runs underground. That is not true. The underground railroad was a group of people trying to save the slaves and help them get north to freedom. If they are going to do it, do it right! Don’t change history. It also infers that Black were not even allowed in North Carolina. Again, not true. North Carolina had slaves also. I’m afraid to watch much further to see what else they changed.

    • I started watching Mare’ and I will probably finish it, the acting and production basis are good but I don’t find it compelling.

    • Mary Ellen, definitely give the book a read. It is not a history, more as Megan says magical realism/imagined past. But it’s beautifully written and a compelling read.

    • The book the show is based on includes some magical realist or SF elements, like the actual railroad. It’s not meant to be a purely factual history of the experience of slavery and escape.

  • Wow. I haven’t seen an image as lush as that shot of the hands since the opening scene of Howards End (movie) when Vanessa Redgrave trailed her dark blue peau de soie train through wet grass.

  • I was so excited for this series, until I discovered it is surrealistic fiction with an actual railroad under the ground. Nope. Maybe if it were more completely and obviously FSF…maybe, or perhaps a momentary dream sequence set in a more historically accurate tale. As it is, I’m from Maryland, the state that produced Harriet Tubman, who found her way to freedom on the real Underground Railroad, of which there’s still much to learn and tell. This series/book has loads of fans, but I’m not among them.

  • Wish I had listened to the NPR interview before tuning in on Amazon. I couldn’t even make it through the first episode.

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