Shocking, gruelling and evil — episode 5 presents traumatic sequences of events that will horrify audiences.
This recap of Amazon’s Them season 1, episode 5, “COVENANT I”, contains spoilers.
So far, this is the most shocking chapter of the series, and it comes with a grave warning. The rawness and closeness to the truth in episode 5 are troubling — this was once America, and it’s a reminder of where we need to continue to progress.
Episode 5 opens up with a group of white men who own a portfolio of estates, mapping out where black families are moving in Compton. They discuss interest rates and what they should charge black people. It’s flagrantly clear that the executives are using black people to implement their monopoly plans. The estate agent (Helen) who sold to the Emory family claims that in the long term, they should implement competitive mortgage rates rather than swindle black families. The executives mock her, stating she is ambitious and she could have easily been a stay-at-home mom.
Sell, sell, sell
Episode 5 shows a horrific balance between systematic racism and the need for capitalism and how wealthy white men wanted to keep both.
Flashbacks show the same estate agent selling a property to the Mrs Johnson family — Helen tells them it’s a nice place to live and asks them to ignore “Negro Blood” in the terms and conditions. She describes how the world is changing and that they should take the opportunity. Once Mr Johnson signs, she tells them to move in at night to create “less of a stir”. Afterwards, she meets a police officer named Paul, who insists he’s maintaining war within the community and that he wants in on these illegal deals.
When Helen heads into her car, she’s threatened and grab by the throat by a white man — he tells her to stop selling houses to black families.
Attack on the house
The next scene should come with a warning right before it rather than the start of the episode. It’s sickening, and I hate to admit, but I had a strange reaction to it — I felt like throwing up.
Episode 5 flashes back to North Carolina, the same scene we saw in episode 1. A woman visits the house and gives the dog Sergeant attention before singing “Black Joe” to Lucky. She’s interested in the baby inside the house — Lucky calls her son Chester. The woman asks if she can have her boy. Suddenly, the house is surrounded by a few men, so the mother hides Chester. Eventually, Lucky is found by a couple of men, and she is raped repeatedly. The woman singing “Black Joe” finds Chester while his mother continues to be raped. The woman wraps the baby in cloth. They throw the baby between each other, swinging over their shoulders until the baby dies — Lucky had to watch her baby be killed while she was violently sexually assaulted.
What follows is a funeral, but Lucky’s state of mind becomes the centre of the story. Her daughters wonder if she will ever be the same — they believe she has gone crazy. Henry promises his children that they will help her and that she will be okay. Henry agrees to a new house and a job opportunity in Compton — a fresh start. He tells Lucky that he needs her and that he cannot do this alone — he swears that Chester will always be with them.
Shocking, gruelling and evil — Them season 1, episode 5 presents traumatic sequences of events that will horrify audiences.