The previous episode ended with Jeb and Bill finding out from Sam that there is a list for the “destroying angels” to eradicate. They also found out that Bishop Low’s and Stake President Stowe’s family are in the list and so, the two officers headed out to find these families.
Under the Banner of Heaven is a crime series based on the nonfiction novel of the same name by Jon Krakauer. The story revolves around Inspector Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield), a devout LDS believer as he investigates the murder of a mother, Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and 15-month old daughter from a big, conservative LDS family.
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Under the Banner of Heaven- Episode 4 Summary & Recap
A letter for help
At Bishop Lowe’s place, Jeb and Bill found no one in the house but the place has been turned upside down with broken glass everywhere. As the checkbook and jewelry are still around, it did not seem like a burglary. Jeb then found a letter written by Rob’s wife Dianna to the President of the church asking for some intervention due to the Lafferty brothers’ behaviour. The same night, it was reported that Stake President Stowe is still alive.
The next day, Jeb traced the letter to a man named Leconte Bascom who was tasked with Dianna’s case. According to Bascom, when Rob found out about the letter, he did not blame his wife but was very angry at Dan because Dan’s political work affected his business and loan approvals. When Jeb questioned Robin about the letter, Robin believed that Brenda had a hand in helping Dianna write the letter. He then told the officers about how Ammon taunted Dan after Dan’s political parade. Ammon told Dan that devils can respond to prayers too and implored Dan to search deep in Mormonism.
Meanwhile, a police officer named Morris was tasked to look for the Lows as they were last reported heading to Granddaddy Mountains.
Dan and the FLDS
As a result of Ammon’s taunts, Dan turned to fundamentalist Mormonism (FLDS group) who believes in polygamy and goes against government laws that goes against early Mormon beliefs. Jeb likens FLDS group to mafias who sell 13-year old daughters to 70-year old men to be raped and enslaved. Dan bought the holy book called “The Peace Maker” and immersed himself in it. He the later told his wife Matilda during a car journey about these beliefs but Matilda was taken aback that her husband wanted to practice polygamy. They got into a heated discussion but ended up being caught by the police for speeding.
The brothers then visited Dan in jail where Dan continued to preach Mormon fundamentalist beliefs. He admitted that he was wrong and that Ron should be the patriarch of the family because he was the eldest. Dan implored Ron to help the fight against the government and their tax laws as these are against “their religion”. None of the brothers disagreed and so Ron gladly accepted that position, believing it was God’s will. Jeb theorized that a man who can take up fundamentalist beliefs like polygamy can easily take up the concept of ‘blood atonement’.
Church gets involved
Robin used his one phone call to call his stake president, Orton Ballard. President Ballard came by and told Jeb that he wants Jeb to release the Laffertys under his custody. Jeb refused and tried to diplomatically handle the situation despite the president using Jeb’s private talks with his bishop on him. Before he left, the president reminded Jeb to not embarrass the church and not to share what is Heaven’s duty to judge, indicating not to reveal any Mormon’s involvement in the murder.
Ron and Dan
Later on, a few boys who were at Bishop Low’s home reported to have information. When Jeb headed over to meet them, the boys told Jeb that they saw two men with long hair in a green Impala outside Bishop Low’s home the night of Brenda’s murder. Jeb realized that Ron had a green Impala in the photo Dianna sent to the prophet. Jeb then questioned Allen on Dianna’s letter and Ron’s car. Allen was sure the letter was written by Brenda as it sounded like her. He was also unsure whether Ron’s car was stolen but did not seem to conclude that Ron might be involved.
After that, Jeb asked Robin whether Ron was attracted to Dan’s views and Robin said that Ron was initially not of the same belief. But, Ammon eventually swallowed his pride and begged Ron to get the family back in place. Ron tried to have a conversation with his brothers but instead Dan kept on preaching that the government had changed their rules on them. Ron also revealed that his business was having major issues and eventually succumbed to the same ideals.
Jeb was a tad confused because Allen made it seem like Ron did not buy into Dan’s beliefs at all, but Robin confirmed that Ron was with Dan till the very end, and that the event take place before Dan’s political parade and before Dianna’s letter. Then, Jeb put the pieces together and realized that Ron had been involved all along. The letter Dianna sent to the church was about her husband Ron, and not about Dan. Jeb then called Bascom again asking him to tell the truth about Ron. This time Bascom confirmed that Ron was actually furious at Dianna for sending the letter, and not at all angry at Dan.
Jeb and Bill’s chief then came back to the police station, in time for a media questioning about Brenda’s case. The chief, who was also an LDS member, reminded them not to tell the public their is FLDS involvement. He believes that the public cannot differentiate between fundamentalists and non-extremists. However, when Jeb was questioned personally during the press conference, Jeb revealed that the involvement of FLDS groups cannot be ruled out yet. This was difficult for Jeb, but Bill told Jeb that he’s proud of Jeb for doing the right thing.
Meanwhile, police officer Morris found Bishop Low fishing in the mountains.
Additional Observations From Episode 4
- Allen told a flashback in history on Joseph Smith and his acts of polygamy. Emma, Joseph’s wife did not want to accept Joseph’s continuous marriage to multiple women, some young girls. She confronted Joseph and accused him of falsifying divine commands to take more wives. When she wanted to leave Joseph and threatened to take more husbands, Joseph appeared to pray and said God told Emma to abide by him or be destroyed. This story shook Jeb when he heard about it.
- After the press conference, people at church avoided Jeb and his family. Sister Doreen told Jeb she was asked by President Ballard to clear his doubts and implored him to get his daughters baptized.