Friday, April 29, 2022

REVIEW: 'Under the Banner of Heaven' - Pyre Begins to Understand What the Lafferty Brothers Are Capable Of in 'Rightful Place'

FX's Under the Banner of Heaven - Episode 1.02 "Rightful Place"

With a lead suspect in custody, the investigation uncovers more ominous questions than answers as the hidden history of the once admired Lafferty family is exposed.

"Rightful Place" was written by Dustin Lance Black and directed by David Mackenzie

The Lafferty brothers killed Brenda because she dared to step out of her rightful place in life. That's the operating theory that makes the most sense to Pyre. He presses Allen for details about his brothers because he can see the violence they are capable of based on their ideology. Allen may even delude himself into believing strangers are responsible for the corruption of his family. That may only be a metaphor for his brothers no longer resembling the men he once knew. And yet, this extremist view of their Mormon faith was apparent throughout their entire lives. Allen only began questioning it because he could see how his family reacted to Brenda. She was never too much of anything for him. He was proud and inspired by everything she aspired to do. He wanted to be with her. In fact, he cherished the way she was raised. Her family showed him a new side of Mormon life. Of course, her father questioned if he was good enough for her. He wasn't exactly accomplished at anything. Moreover, he sets a tree on fire during the visit. Brenda loved Allen regardless. Sure, she was seduced by the Lafferty name. She saw it as a powerful political dynasty for her to join. Her aspirations could be appreciated in a family that was brought together by the idea of always building more. Any mistake or disappointment was a shameful act. Any member of this family not growing the business or their personal accomplishments is simply wasting time. They aren't utilizing what was given to them by the generations that came before. Instead, they are destroying that legacy. Ammon and his wife leave for two years. Dan was put in charge of the family business even though everyone knew he wasn't ready for that responsibility. Matilda couldn't handle the change in her role either. People are certainly eager to help them. Brenda wants to reassure Matilda that she can still hear God's voice despite the struggles she faces. Robin is devoted to the family business and wants to do anything to help Dan succeed. And yet, they lead with the expectation of greatness. They believe they will have their parents' loyal flock continue to depend on them. Instead, they make mistakes because they don't know any better. They believe they have righteously been given this success. No one can take it away from them. It's what they've earned. They are willfully ignoring the world around them. It's a clash of the laws of God and those of man. Ammon taught his children through parables about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church. His lessons have dictated their actions. That has only created more conflict between this family and the federal government.

Pyre serves as local law enforcement. He knows aspects of this community don't appreciate the government encroaching on their rights. Taba is told to tread carefully when he ventures up into the mountains. And yet, that's where the investigation must take him. That presents as the community where the killers would likely come from. He experiences strange things up there. But it's so deeply connected to the stories Pyre is told down below at the station. It's all an elaborate narrative of how one family became incredibly radicalized. Allen had the wisdom and grace to escape. He saw the temptation and refused to succumb to it. That alienated him and Brenda from his family. And yet, he was grateful for that because he could aspire for more for his daughter and wife. They could be more than whatever he ordered them to be. He received that clarity from his father-in-law. He lost his faith in the process. He couldn't reckon with what this version of Mormonism is in comparison to how he was raised. He's distraught because of everything he was made to endure in the name of scripture from his family. It was freeing to escape. And yet, that seems impossible now. His family targeted him even though he wanted to be estranged. He believes Ron faced a similar burden. He too was shunned as punishment. Ammon passed him over to teach a lesson. He had to learn to be better. That kept him on the outside as his siblings struggled. Allen and Brenda remained close with Ron and Dianna. They put in the work to foster this connection. It still resulted in clashes. Brenda had a gift of being able to read people. She could see what was coming on the horizon. Her opinions were never taken seriously despite her reporting the news. She accomplished that. Allen was proud. But they filled an insular void within this family. They were shunned and Pyre is horrified by every detail spoken. He's captivated by it. It forces him to challenge his own notion of faith. He is committed to his family. He hopes he is raising his daughters properly. But now, he's challenged to think about what they deserve in a world that may wish to condemn them to some cruel fates. He has to be protective. And yet, a killer is still on the loose. Robin has no clue what the police are talking about. He may be nothing more than the most ardent follower. He can't be trusted as the true mastermind. He will never step out of place. That's not afforded to him. It would only be inviting more punishment. And so, the mystery persists as Pyre fears for the safety of his partner up in the mountains.