“Oh I hate, all right. But not in general, my hate is as specific as my affections.” ~ Kevin “Corky” Corcoran
In ‘Husbands and Fathers,’ Corcoran’s situation escalates when Winfred Haverford hires the unscrupulous Pinkerton detectives to find Annie. After the detectives break his leg in their attempt to get answers from Corky, he realizes the only way to save Annie is to kill Haverford. With Annie’s help, Corky ambushes him at Contessa Pompadou’s cathouse, but when he drops the knife while struggling with Haverford on a broken leg, Annie must stab Haverford to death. Afterward, she quickly retrieves the Contessa whom Corky kills upon entering the room, effectively bringing an end to Haverford and any threat to Annie’s life.
‘In the Hands of an Angry God’ raises racial tensions when a white Irishman is lynched in his stables shortly after threatening to burn down an orphanage for black children run by Reverend Garland. With the reverend locked up for the crime, crowds grow restless as the investigation continues threatening to repeat history with another riot.
As Matthew Freeman checks on some sick children at Reverend Garland’s orphanage, his visit is interrupted by some Irishmen – Diarmuid O’Connor and Gerry Crotty – when they threaten to burn the orphanage down as they had done with the first orphanage during the Draft Riots. The following day, however, Diarmuid O’Connor is found lynched in his stables.
Fearful of another riot starting, the police lock up O’Connor’s friend, Gerry Crotty while Corcoran and Andrew head to the orphanage to question the reverend. When he refuses to talk, however, they have no choice but to arrest him under suspicion of murder.
Corky takes O’Connor’s body to Freeman’s home and notes that he believes O’Connor was murdered before he was hung and asks Freeman to determine the method of death. After examining the body, Freeman determines that Corky’s suspicions were correct and that O’Connor had been pierced in the back of the neck with a thin, sharp instrument into his brain that killed him and hung afterward.
When Corky returns to town, they find O’Connor’s daughter, Kayleigh O’Connor, attempting to form a lynch mob to hang Garland for killing her father. The police speculate on how she could have found out, but hopeful of thwarting the impending doom of another riot or possible lynch mob, it is suggested to hang Garland without a trial to settle the crowd. Corky steps forward, unsure of Garland’s guilt and asks to at least have the time to prove the reverend is guilty before hanging him.
With the Captain’s approval, Corky takes Maguire and Andrew to Garland’s home where Corky finds a rag covered in blood. Thinking this is proof of the man’s crime he heads to the Reverend’s cell to get him to confess to the crime, but finds Freeman there attempting to convince him to confess to his innocence. Freeman takes Corky to his home where he performs an experiment to prove the rag is covered in ox blood as the reverend had professed, proving that the rag is not evidence.
Without the rag as evidence, Corky decides to question Gerry Crotty about his friend’s death, so he heads to the tombs and after questioning him, learns that Crotty was having an affair with O’Connor’s daughter. With this new possible motive, Corky talks to Kayleigh O’Connor, who insists neither Crotty nor her committed the murder as they were in bed together the night it happened.
Meanwhile, as Freeman checks up on two of his patients, Bessie and Jasper, he becomes concerned that Bessie knows more than she’s letting on about the murder. When he leaves, he heads straight to Corky with his suspicions. With the new lead, both men return to Bessie’s to find she has left her “slow” brother alone and skipped town. Upon searching the house, Corky finds the murder weapon – a long, sharp needle – as well as O’Connor’s stolen suit.
With the new evidence, they ask Reverend Garland what he knows about Bessie and the murder. Worried that Jasper could hang for the crimes, the reverend tells Corky and Freeman that Bessie had got in a fight with O’Connor after he refused to pay for the suit she made. When O’Connor hit Jasper, Jasper hit him back and when O’Connor fell, Bessie stabbed him. After which, they hung O’Connor in a way to avenge their father’s lynching during the riots. With Bessie gone, however, Corky realizes that even if Reverend Garland were innocent, without a decent alibi from a trusted white man he would still hang for the crime. Figuring Robert Morehouse would be trusted to offer an alibi, Corky tells him about the dilemma and Morehouse quickly gives them the reverend’s alibi.
Upon returning to Five Points, Corky has Captain Sullivan tell Kayleigh O’Connor the reverend’s alibi and that it had been determined that O’Connor had hung himself due to his impending death from cancer. When Kayleigh questions how she will survive financially, Maguire who had earlier made a secret deal to purchase the stables for Robert Morehouse, quickly offers her the money and tells her that he and her father had made the deal prior to his death.
Meanwhile, as Molly perused some jewelry in a local pawnshop, she finds Corky’s wife’s locket. She immediately buys it as a surprise for Corky, but when Eva catches her wearing it, she tears it from her neck and tells her never to mention it to him. Eva goes to the shop to find out who had pawned the necklace and learns that a local abortionist, Madame Grindle, had sold it to him, but when Eva arrives at Madame Grindle’s, she finds nothing more than her cold, dead body.
Later when Corky returns home for the night, he sees Elizabeth Haverford’s chaise in front of his home. He enters, looking for Elizabeth, but instead finds Annie in her undergarments. She attempts to seduce him, which upsets Corky and prompts him to immediately send her away with a warning to the driver to never bring her there again.
‘In the Hands of an Angry God’ delves into the racial tensions that were prevalent in Five Points, NY in the 1860s. It was interesting to see how far those tensions go between Matthew Freeman and Kevin Corcoran and it showed a bit more how deep their friendship goes. It’s hard not to wonder what happened in the war to create such a bond between these men who are so often on opposite sides due to those racial issues. It also makes you wonder why Freeman was so quick to accuse Corky of his hate despite all of the things Corky has done for him? What hasn’t been mentioned yet? Is his wife’s paranoia rubbing off on him? Or is it simply the way of the times? Honestly, that wouldn’t be very surprising at all.
Obviously, racism was the main plot of the episode, but the intriguing issues that really lead to more questions were those that weren’t central to that plot and revolved around Eva, Annie, Mrs. Haverford and Robert Morehouse.
Robert Morehouse is confusing. One moment he’s proving his loyalty to Corcoran or Freeman or providing an alibi for a black man he doesn’t really know and the next moment he’s sneaking around behind Corky’s back to work with his father to buy up Five Points. What is Morehouse up to exactly? He is even going to the point of involving Corky’s best friend, Francis Maguire, but why isn’t he involving Corky? Is it because he knows Corky would object? Or is it some other reason?
Then there’s Annie and Mrs. Elizabeth Haverford. Okay, so Mrs. Haverford isn’t that intriguing…yet. She’s clearly an intelligent, fair-minded, strong and wise woman for the times, but she really hasn’t drawn much attention besides despising her husband for his crimes, adopting Annie and standing up for Reverend Garland. Her flirtations with Corky are kind of annoying. That’s not to say others don’t enjoy their “romance”, but this just isn’t that appealing. And what is up with Annie? Seriously. She’s ten and attempting to seduce Corky? That girl has some serious issues. She should probably join Mrs. Freeman in some therapy sessions. Those two need help. Not that either one can really be blamed for their problems, but still they could use the help.
Lastly is Eva. It’s hard to be sure about her. She seems to be on Corky’s side, yet when Molly finds his wife’s locket she insists that Molly doesn’t tell him. It’s almost as though she knows something about her disappearance, but what? Or does she? After taking the locket from Molly, she heads up her own investigation, which points to a lack of knowledge about Corky’s wife, Ellen. Is she trying to find Ellen first so she can keep Corky to herself? Or is she trying to somehow protect Corky? Or is it a desire to be the heroine who finds the missing wife? Whatever her reasons, it should at least be interesting to find out more answers…and gather more questions in the next episode!
‘Copper’ airs Sunday nights at 10/9C on BBC America.