ASSIGNMENT X – In Season 2 of WGN America’s UNDERGROUND, which concludes Wednesday, May 10, things have gotten even more dangerous for the main characters. Escaped slave Rosalee, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, is now working in the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman, played by Aisha Hinds, to help other slaves flee to freedom. Meanwhile, Noah, played by Aldis Hodge, who changed his own plans to help Rosalee, has spent time in prison and nearly been executed, all of which has a major effect on him.
Hodge and Smollett-Bell sit down to talk about their characters in UNDERGROUND’s second season, as well as what the show has to say to contemporary America.
ASSIGNMENT X: What would you say are the big differences in attitude for Noah and Rosalee in Season 2 from Season 1?
ALDIS HODGE: I would say for Noah, he has the same goal, different intention. It’s still freedom, but his idea of freedom is Rosalee, it’s no longer just being out of bondage, it’s Rosalee. So you’re going to see all these months of being cooped up in a prison cell [laughs] ferment through his actions and his choices. But he learns, he explores different situations. He’s put in situations emotionally that he never expected to be in. So we’re going to see his evolution over time with how he comes to understand life, because for him, life is very different in terms of trying to escape again, trying to understand what Rosalee means in terms of family and his overall goal of freedom.
JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL: I think at the end of Season 1, it really dawned upon Rosalee that freedom ain’t free, and that when she says to Noah, “We’re not free until we’re all free” – we lost everyone. We lost the Macon Seven comrades, I lost my mother and brother, found out my oldest brother was lynched, and then I end up losing Noah. So when we meet Rosalee at the beginning of Season 2, she’s trying to put the pieces back together. And she’s been on the run with Harriet, being trained on how to navigate this complex [underground railroad] network.