In the sixth episode of Under the Banner of Heaven, we focus our attention on the aftermath of Jeb Pyre and Bill Taba’s encounter with Bernard Brady, who informs the detectives of Ron Lafferty’s travels and preaches to them about the Prophet Onias. As the detectives focus their efforts solely on finding the eldest Lafferty brothers, Ron and Dan, Jeb has to face a life-altering challenge.
A Purer Mormonism
As the detectives continue their search for Brenda and her daughter’s murderer, they find themselves at the home of Ron Lafferty. Pyre questions Doreen about her eldest son’s decision to allow Ammon to die without proper medical attention. Brady, Pyre, and Taba investigate the home’s basement, which was used by the School of the Prophets as an office. Jeb seems to continually grow impatient with the hypocrisies of the church to which he has devoted himself.
Brady informs the detectives that Ron became interested in fundamentalist Mormon ideals after traveling to visit John Bryant’s polygamist camp in Oregon. While at the camp, Ron experiments and expands his mind to new ideals — allowing himself to try wine, bask in another woman’s affections, be baptized by John, and even be kissed by John. Returning to his parents’ home, Ron tells Dan this excursion is only the beginning of his journey. The detectives also learn how Prophet Onias persuaded Ron to think that God chose one of them to carry out Heavenly Father’s true wishes, and that the eldest Lafferty brother was led by the Prophet to the Dream Extract. Due to the Prophet convincing Ron that he could be the chosen one amongst humans, the Lafferty brothers become increasingly interested in the school’s activities.
Pyre and Taba decide that Taba should take a shot at interrogating Doreen. Taba accuses the once matriarch of the Lafferty family of harboring the men responsible for murdering her 15-month-old granddaughter. Taba threatens the woman with multiple charges for being an accessory to murder, informing her that should this happen, she won’t even be allowed to see her sons be executed. Doreen asks the men why they blame her sons for the murders of Brenda and Erica and not the other two men who were present at the crime scene. Jeb asks her to tell them who the other men with beards were and finally gets a name for the remaining two murderers — Chip and Ricky. Brady has no additional information for the detectives on Chip and Ricky, but does inform Jeb that Ron and Dan are likely at the Dream Extract, and they can expect to be fired on when they arrive.
The Affects of Fundamentalism
In a flashback, we see Brenda struggling to console a crying baby Erica as she uses the phone to attempt to find a ride to the pediatrician. When Allen returns home, Brenda berates him for spending time with his brothers in the mountain while Erica is sick. They argue, as Allen does not wish to take his daughter to the doctor and feels Brenda is overstepping, resulting in Allen slapping Brenda. Realizing his error, he apologizes, but Brenda is obviously upset and leaves the room with Erica. Brenda’s father, Bishop Wright, and sister Betty arrive at the youngest Lafferty home.
Bishop Wright stays with Allen at the home while Betty and Brenda take Erica to the doctor. Allen opens up to his father-in-law about his behavior, saying he only wishes to follow Joseph Smith’s teachings as much as possible so he can truly spend forever with Brenda. Allen also tries something new in the episode that is generally forbidden to him — chocolate. Brenda tells her sister that she is going to leave the town with her daughter to live with her parents and work in broadcasting because Allen and his brothers’ behavior is scaring her. Betty urges Brenda to remember her vows to Allen and to her responsibility to take her fears to the church before giving up on her marriage.
Pyre interviews Bishop Wright and Betty at his home, which offers a further look at his mother, Josie’s, current mental state. After convincing Betty that he is not under the thumb of the Lafferty family, Pyre receives the letters Brenda wrote to her sister, expressing all of her worries. Betty warns the detective that reading the letters will put him in danger, as he will know “too much” in the eyes of the Lafferty family. Reading through the letters, Pyre and Taba hope to find additional information that will help them solve the case and understand why these brutal murders happened. After asking Allen about one of the letters, Pyre informs the man that he isn’t being charged with any crimes and that he is free to go. As Allen now has nowhere to go, he asks the detective if he would be allowed to stay in the station for one more night, trusting the man and viewing him as the only person who understands the youngest Lafferty.
It is also revealed that Brenda tried to help her sisters-in-law away from this terrifying family dynamic — she purchases bread and butter for them, sends missionaries from the church to speak with them rather than their husbands, and she even assists the Lowes when they smuggle Dianna (Ron’s wife) and her children to safety. Matilda warns Brenda of interfering and reminds her of Blood Atonement, which Dan seems pretty keen on trying out. Dianna attempts to warn Brenda that she isn’t safe staying in the family, either, and that she should also get away — but Brenda feels this is her calling, and the sisters-in-law part with the promise to write one another. Pyre, learning this information, begins to fear that Dianna and her children may have already been found by Ron.
Bear Your Testimony
Seeking advice as to how this family thinks and feels, Pyre returns to Allen, who does not have comforting words for the detective — they should be worried about Dianna and her children because there is no way Ron would ever move on from her abandoning him that way. Allen informs the detective that he will find a red book hidden within a woodworking book in evidence that will tell a more accurate story of the Mormon people. After reviewing robbery footage and coming to the conclusion the robber was Jacob Lafferty, Pyre returns home while Taba drives to the Dream Extract. At the mine, Taba meets Prophet Onias who promises the detective he will speak with him in his home — only if he leaves his gun behind.
Pyre reads Allen’s textbook in his car as his faith crumbles around him. His wife, Rebecca, joins him in the car to ask him why he’s out of bed. Pyre shares the book with her and tells her he is struggling, and the pair begin to pray together, though Pyre cannot finish the prayer. Rebecca asks her husband to bear his testimony before their congregation to prove he still believes in their one true religion, to which he agrees. Alone again, Pyre breaks into tears and tries to pull himself together.
Under the Banner of Heaven premieres weekly on Hulu, with episodes 1-6 available now. You can find all of our previous recaps for the series here.