There are so many moments in this amazing episode so let’s get to it. This episode takes place in both the past and present, where we see Angela lucid dream after overdosing on Nostalgia. Angela experiences some of the most important moments in her grandfather’s life. From the moment Will Reeves becomes a police officer he is seen as other, which is an interesting take considering most people would think that police officers would stick together because of their job. After attempting to arrest a white shopkeeper, for setting fire to a Jewish deli, for a moment you think that his peers have his back but when he sees the same man he attempted to arrest back on the streets he gets attacked, hooded and lynched by his fellow white officers, for getting involved in white people business. I mean this is 1921 so racism is to be expected but it is disappointing that Will refused to acknowledge it until that point.
After Will dons the same hood, that was used on him, to help a couple from being robbed Will finally admits that maybe he is harbouring anger after the Tulsa massacre. What I found surprising was how his wife encouraged him to embrace the role of a vigilante. I mean it is definitely not the first time that we have seen a vigilante become one just to get rid of their demons but usually, the people in their lives don’t encourage it especially considering how dangerous it is. After his exploits are covered in the newspaper, he is seen as a hero and takes on the vigilante name ‘Hooded Justice’. I am not going to lie I did not see the fact that Will was actually Hooded Justice coming, I mean the way he is depicted in all the media is of a white guy and in my hope, the hood and the rope was a point to maybe suicide, not lynching but again I was disappointed. Obviously, the whitewashing of Hooded Justice is not surprising and honestly, this show working on all levels of racial injustice on both the big (lynching) and small (whitewashing history) scales, is truly remarkable.
Will continually investigates both the shopkeeper and his fellow police officers when he finds them belonging to “Cyclops” but what is not surprising to find out is that same group is actually a front for the Ku Klux Klan. Will attacks them and the same scene that was in the American Hero Story, where Hooded Justice was supposedly stopping a robbery, it turns out he was just trying to stop the operations of the KKK. Hooded Justice is invited to the Minutemen by Nelson Gardner AKA Captain Metropolis. Nelson says how Hooded Justice started the vigilante movement and that its members would be excited to have him. After Nelson and Will sleep together, it becomes clearer and clearer that they just want Hooded Justice there as a figurehead and that every time Will tries to push his thoughts about how a crime syndicate, known as “Cyclops”, is roaming around, the more he gets shut down. I thought we were going to see how Hooded Justice got backed up but instead, we see Will become a pawn, again, to further the agendas of others. You know what was funny to me? How the filmmakers of the American Hero Story, had no problem showing us that Hooded Justice was gay but god-forbid you show us he was also black, I mean people can be both.
Anyway, you would think that Will would slow down being Hooded Justice after having a son but he continues onwards even though his son can see him engaging in vigilante activities. When Will discovers that “Cyclops” has created a hypnotic-like device, using film projectors, that gets black people to attack each other, he tries to get Nelson to get the rest of The Minutemen to come down and help him break up the group. Was anyone even really surprised that Captain Metropolis turned him down? That he made it seem like Will was crazy for thinking that the KKK could actually be a part of the bad things that are happening to black people in his city? No. Will then gets mad and takes down the organisation on his own, burning down their warehouse but still keeping one of the projectors, first I thought as proof but later on we see that he used an upgraded version to get Chief Judd Crawford to hang himself because Will thinks he is a part of “Cyclops”. I think that when Will first become Hooded Justice he thought that it would help him combat his anger and maybe it did, at first, but from the moment he joined The Minutemen, he was pushed to the side and ignored and I think all of that just made him angrier.
Well when Will finally brings that anger home with him and takes it out on his son, his wife decides to move back to Tulsa with their son, without him. I want to be on Will’s side 100% but I find myself wondering why he killed Chief Crawford. Was it because he really was a part of “Cyclops”? I mean that would fit into the narrative that maybe he was a part of or a plant by the Seventh Kalvary. Did he kill Chief Crawford because this white guy, with a father that was in the KKK, had a better relationship with his granddaughter than he did? We know with the clear dangerous effects of Nostalgia, Will is doing a hell of a job to make sure he remembers his terrible past, but why? A little bit of context into his life was given but it doesn’t answer how he even got involved with someone as powerful as Lady Trieu, in the first place, and what they have planned and where does Angela fit into all of it. I mean Angela is now in the care of Lady Trieu but is that because the police handed her over or because Lady Trieu got her on her own?
Without a doubt the best episode of television I have ever watched. You even forget that it is black and white for most of the episode, the imagery and the parallels between Angela and her grandfather are amazing. The fact that Angela’s Sister Night mask is merely an inverse of her grandfathers is so powerful.