Episode 6 of Under the Banner of Heaven begins with Jeb and Bill paying a visit to Doreen. She denies that Ron refused Ammon care to save his life.
Brady shows them where the school met in Doreen’s house. He says Ron was seeking a pure Mormonism, to which Diana would want to return. So, he headed to Oregon to look for Brother John Bryant.
Bryant started his own LDS community that was accepting of polygamy. When Ron visits, he is told he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t wish to do there. He wants Dianna to experience this peace.
Bryant then claims to be the One Mighty and Strong. He baptizes Ron, and the two men kiss.
Ron returns home to tell Dan that Oregon was only the beginning of his journey. He may also go to Canada.
Ron then meets Prophet Onias, who has been leading and prophesying to everyone in the school in his absence. He preaches plural marriage and white supremacy, claiming he was called to restore a school for God’s work. Dan insists Onias is only guiding them in Ron’s absence.
Onias says God told him he singled out six to help build a city of refuge. He thinks Ron and his brothers are those six. Ron tells him to get lost.
But he later goes with Onias to the dream mine. Onias maintains that the city of refuge is to be built under the mine, but the treasure won’t appear until The One Mighty and Strong appears with the scepter of power in his hands. His job is to teach this man when he appears.
Onias says Ron is “The One.” He wants to teach him to receive God’s revelations.
Back at the Lafferty house, Doreen wonders why the detectives blame her boys for this evil. Why not the two men who were with them? They ask her to tell them who they are to clear the family name. She says one was called Chip and the other was Ricky.
A scene from the past shows Brenda berating Allen for hanging out too much with his brothers. He tells her to shut up and slaps her. He immediately apologizes, but she calls her dad. James has a talk with Allen.
James tells his son-in-law, “sometimes being a Mormon is like guesswork.” He says that living just like Joseph Smith is going to be a challenge, and that the church is called by God to evolve. He persuades Allen to eat a piece of chocolate, despite such going against his doctrine.
Meanwhile, Brenda speaks with her sister Betty. She wants to leave Allen, scared of how he worships his brothers. Betty convinces her to take matters to the church before she does anything.
Jeb later speaks with Betty and obtains letters she and Brenda exchanged.
He takes care of his mother that night. Josie won’t rinse her hair until he gives her a blessing. So, he fakes one.
Jeb muses to Bill whether Brigham Young lied to his saints just so he could marry as many wives as he wanted. After all, it was so easy to lie to his own mother just so she would rinse her hair.
Jeb reads Brenda’s letter to the General Authorities. She and Allen speak to them, but Allen says he doesn’t want to listen to men who can’t reconcile their history with their faith. Allen stands up and tells Brenda to leave with him. She stays behind.
Brenda tells them she feels there isn’t anything that can stop the Laffertys. She can’t wait for it to become worse and appeals to them to grant a divorce. They offer a priesthood blessing instead. In the blessing, they direct her to not abandon her husband. She’s been chosen to shepherd the family back to the fold.
Jeb shows this letter to Allen, who becomes distraught. He says he should have been a more attentive husband.
Jeb says he’s not going to charge him. He releases him, but Allen says no one will have him. Jeb grants him one more night in his cell.
Brenda says in another letter that the church sent missionaries to help guide the Lafferty women back to the right path. Sara and Lin send Matilda to rebuke Brenda. Matilda warns her of something called blood atonement. She says a wife who alienates her husband from his children could pay with her life.
Around this time, Brenda and the Lowes smuggle Dianna and her kids out of town. Dianna tells Brenda she thinks she’s losing her testimony. Brenda encourages her to stay strong in her faith.
Jeb worries that Ron may have gotten Dianna’s whereabouts from Brenda before her death. She may not be safe.
Jeb struggles with everything he’s been learning, and starts to cry in front of Allen. Allen says he went through the same thing. He looked at the church’s history and found men calling their desires the voice of God. He directs Jeb to a book in their evidence that tells a truer story of their church history.
Another flashback shows Ron reading a letter in front of the school. It calls Dianna to repent, lest God remove her from his saints.. The school votes that these are God’s words. “You, Ron, are our one. The One,” says Onias.
Jeb gets his hands on Allen’s book. The scene cuts back in time to Brigham Young leading his people, claiming they will slay any who attempt to throw them over again.
Later, Jeb and Bill are shown a video of Jacob Laffery robbing a store. He was last seen going into Jeb’s neighborhood.
Jeb and Bill split up duties among policemen. Bill goes to Onias’ mine. Onias derogatorily calls him a Lamanite and says he will only talk to Bill in his house, if he leaves the gun in his car.
At home, Jeb takes Allen’s book out to the car to read it secretly. He cries. Rebecca finds him like this. He shows her the book. “I’m struggling, honey,” he says. She cries with him. She says she loves him, but she can’t struggle through this with him.
Rebecca needs Jeb to bear his testimony before their congregation. She wants her girls to see their father say he still believes. She leaves, and Jeb’s face crumples as he sobs.
The Episode Review
The most emotionally compelling of Under the Banner of Heaven’s episodes so far, this penultimate instalment digs deeper into the psychology of two men. There’s Ron, whom the School of Prophets manipulates into becoming the religious leader who will advocate for White men’s desires. And there’s Jeb, whose own religious leaders and family refuse him the right to question his faith and his place within the church.
The show also comes to refocus, refreshingly, on Brenda. The pressure on Ron and Jeb is huge–but shrinks next to the general authorities’ exhortation to Brenda.
The episode is full of subtle manipulations and veiled power moves. A powerful scene–apart from Andrew Garfield’s stunning performance in the conclusion, of course–is between James and Allen, as James holds out a piece of chocolate to his son-in-law in a chilling display of authority.
With Jeb facing critical doubt, Brenda acting despite the threat of blood atonement, and Ron taking position as The One Mighty and Strong–Under the Banner of Heaven perfectly sets the scene for its final episode.