The closer we get to the Season 2 premiere of “Underground,” the more details emerge regarding the struggle being explored in the WGN America series. While the show’s freshman season focused heavily on the realm of freedom — and the life-threatening quest for it — the overall message of the new 10-episode run lies in a seemingly simple choice: Citizen or soldier?
Who better to encapsulate this motto, than the brilliant Aisha Hinds — who joins the cast as abolitionist icon, Harriet Tubman. “The identity of Season 2 is essentially asking the question: Are you a citizen or are you a soldier,” the actress tells Screener. “It’s engaging, basically, the community that is underground and calling them to a higher level of themselves.”
RELATED: ‘Underground’ Season 2: A determined, empowered agenda emerges
Tapping into that higher level of self is Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) — turning away from the freedom she tasted in the Season 1 finale to join the growing fight. As Smollett-Bell explains, Tubman “trains Rosalee up” to be a soldier — not only to rescue Noah (Aldis Hodge), but to guide as many slaves possible out of bondage.
The events that transpired at the end of Season 1 found Ms. Ernestine (Amirah Vann) murdering her former owner Tom Macon (Reed Diamond) — and to pay for her crimes, she is placed on the auction block. Needless to say, Rosalee’s mother faces multiple challenges in her new prison, both external and internal.
“There’s so many ways to be a revolutionary,” Vann says. “And, for her character, because it’s so intimate with the home — it’s not like she can read, and is running for government — it’s with the smaller microcosm of family. So, how does that affect the world?”
Jasika Nicole is another new addition to the cast for Season 2 — playing Georgia, the leader of a sewing circle Elizabeth (Jessica De Gouw) visits. Spoiler: These women are handy with the steel, you know what we mean.
According to Nicole, the emotional urgency this time around will be enough to shake even the most stubborn individual from complacency:
“What is it going to take? How peaceful can you be, and how much is somebody going to have to shake you, until you can’t be peaceful anymore — and you have to say, ‘This is no longer working. I have to do something different.'”
“Underground” Season 2 premieres Wednesday, March 8, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America.