“Chapter 7: Fanny Briggs” makes the most of its brevity by revisiting a key event and character from earlier in the season.
This recap of The Underground Railroad episode 7, “Chapter 7: Fanny Briggs”, contains spoilers.
“Chapter 7: Fanny Briggs” only runs 20 minutes. In a season where most episodes have comfortably cleared an hour, that’s a striking degree of brevity. We return, too, to North Carolina, to the immediate aftermath of Fiona having torched the house with Grace still inside. She’s dragged away and beaten for her trouble — “Grab the Mick!” is shouted just beforehand — while Grace covers her mouth and nose and makes her way through the burning building, to the back door, and to safety. The fire spreads among the houses, and that rancid town in North Carolina blessedly burns to the ground.
Fiona wakes to the ringing of fire bells and the whispers of Ethel echoing around her head. Ethel is hanging from the Freedom Trail by her wrists, which is all she deserves.
Grace, meanwhile, wanders alone. She takes a lantern to the railroad station that Martin damned and retraces Homer’s steps through the gap and down inside. Glowing insects chitter inside as she climbs deeper through the cave-in, where the tracks end. On the other side, the tracks take her to a train, its engine idling, a warm amber glow pouring through its curtained windows. Inside, the kindly conductor takes her testimony. Her real name is Fanny Briggs. Her anger at the railroad having closed the North Carolina station is still palpable. She isn’t sure where she wants to go, just wherever Cora went. Grace, or Fanny if you prefer, laments having had to leave the previous book of testimonies behind. “Don’t you worry about that book,” the lady tells her. “Our stories are always gonna be right here,” and taps her heart.
The Underground Railroad episode 7 ends with the train pulling out of the station, its destination unknown. Fanny Briggs, safe and comfortable, begins writing down her story.