Under the Banner of Heaven – Episode 7 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Blood Atonement

Is Ron Lafferty The One Mighty and Strong?

Episode 7 of Under the Banner of Heaven begins with Jeb being called to the dream mine. There, Onias tells Bill and Jeb about Ron’s failings. He had hoped he was The One Mighty and Strong, but he began to have his doubts.

In a flashback, Ron says Robin was called to go to Nevada and bet all of their money on race horses. Onias doesn’t believe this is the Lord’s voice.

Ron then asks Matilda about the missionaries that have been trying to sway their wives. Matilda admits that Brenda was behind that plan.

Onias says Ron brought forth a removal list that he himself did not approve. He casts doubts on Ron’s role as leader when his plan to bet on horses led to them losing their money.

Onias later heard Ron read a revelation to Dianna over the phone. Ron found out where his wife was, so Onias now believes she must be dead, with her children. Jeb and Bill find out that Dianna was last seen in Florida.

What does Jeb say to the General Authority?

Jeb’s General Authority shows up to speak with him in front of Allen and Bill. He says to Jeb that they don’t need any more public speculation connected to this case. He also mentions to Bill how the Mormons and Bill’s people, the Paiute tribe, once banded together. Bill says that’s not the story he knows.

The authority can see that Jeb is not going to be swayed, and he shakes the dust off his feet as he leaves the station.

Allen tells Jeb that good can grow from this pain. He once thought he had died with his testimony, but Brenda and Erica became his faith.

What is in Dan Lafferty’s journal?

Officers don’t find Dianna in Florida, but they do see footage of her at a store. She saw something or someone that scared her.

Jacob walks into the station, claiming the Holy Spirit sent him to find Jeb. He brings with him Dan’s journal. He learned what happened to Brenda, whom he calls his “angel,” and wanted to bring the notebook in. It will tell the detectives where Dan and Ron have been.

In the past, we see Dan surprise Brenda by sitting at her dining room table. He tells her that Allen and Dianna must return to them. If Brenda brings them back, she’ll be forgiven.

The journal also speaks of a woman named Sandy, as well as a Ricky Knapp and Chip Karnes–the two men Doreen mentioned.

Jeb thinks Dianna might still be alive. She called the prophet of the LDS Church four days ago–the day Brenda was killed.

Does Rebecca Pyre leave Jeb?

At home, Rebecca is disappointed that Jeb won’t be bearing his testimony. He insists his case is too important and rebukes her for calling the General Authority. Rebecca says her dad is coming up to get her and the girls.

Jeb says their own founders saw girls as “eternal servants.” Rebecca tells him she plans to raise her daughters with a man of faith, whether or not that’s him.

Who murdered Brenda Wright Lafferty?

The FBI locate Ron’s car at Chip’s brothers house. There, Jeb and Bill find Chip and Ricky, but no Ron and Dan.

Chip and Ricky say they left the brothers in Nevada. They started saying crazy things about heaven, and they went to Reno to get quick cash to finish their list. Chip and Ricky were with the brothers when they killed Brenda.

On the day of the murder, Ron knocks on Brenda’s door, but she’s scared to answer. She instead excitedly reads a letter from Dianna and starts to write her back.

Back in the car, Dan tells Ron he’s starting to lose it. He thinks God is now calling him to take Ron’s place as leader and set the church in order.

Dan knocks on Brenda’s door. “No, no, please,” we hear when Brenda answers. But Dan pushes past her and inside the house. Ron follows him and hands him blades.

Brenda pleads with Ron. To Dan, she says, “The selfish, the cowardly, the murderers and liars. Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which will be your second death.” She tells both of them, “God will make me whole again and send you both into everlasting darkness.” We then hear her screams.

Chip says Dan cut Brenda’s neck, and then her baby’s too. They then drove to the Lowes’ home, but they weren’t there. Ron convinced Dan they needed to go to Reno to get more cash before they did any more killing. But Ron still wanted to atone his wife and kids.

What is the real story about the Paiute and the Mormons?

Chip and Ricky say the detectives will find the murder weapons at the state border. Jeb and Bill get there, but only find luggage at first. Inside are blades, but not murder weapons.

Jeb says atheists like Ricky and Chip were put on this earth to lead them astray. Bill scoffs at this. He tells Jeb the true story behind the Paiute and the Mormons “working together.” The Mormons were behind the Mountain Meadows massacre. They framed the Paiute tribe; they didn’t band together with them.

“Is that the way you see me?” Bill asks Jeb if he wants to trust in Mormon myths and lies or trust facts.  He picks up the murder weapon, where Chip said they threw it from the car. The atheists weren’t lying. That’s more a habit of Jeb’s ancestors, Bill says.

Is Dianna Lafferty alive?

Bill and Jeb go to Reno, where Bill keeps watch outside Sandy’s house. Jeb has a dream that Dan claims he is the One and slits Jeb’s throat. After he wakes up, he gets a call that Dianna and her kids have been found alive.

But Dianna didn’t know that Brenda had already been murdered. As the FBI escort her out of her house, she picks up Brenda’s last letter to her. In it, Brenda says Dianna is doing the right thing by protecting her family. After Dianna reads the letter, however, she disappears.

What advice does Bill give Jeb about morality?

Footage at a casino in Reno shows Dan and Ron winning a lot of money. They get on their knees and pray. Dan turns around and mimes slitting his throat. Jeb knows this was a message meant for him.

Jeb and Bill leave to look for Dianna. On the drive, Jeb asks Bill how he can live without a moral compass. But he does.

Bill gets out of the car and looks out at a canyon. He tells Jeb to look, and he wonders aloud why people can’t simply appreciate nature without calling it a sign from God. He suddenly punches Jeb in the gut, but then tells him where to breathe from. “Be here and listen,” he says. “The gut is wiser than most people think. It’s a compass. It’ll give you all the wisdom you need.”

Does Dianna save Matilda?

Dianna, meanwhile, returns to Utah. The words from Brenda’s letter replay in her mind: “We must stand up to those who lead us astray.” She convinces Matilda to come with her to safety.

As Dianna and Matilda are gassing up their car, Sam shows up and tries to take Matilda away. Dianna tells him he is small and weak, and Matilda breaks away. Dianna pleads with Sarah to come with them to safety. She nearly does, but Sam drives away with her. Dianna and Matilda leave Utah.

Do Jeb and Bill catch Ron and Dan?

Jeb suddenly remembers his dream, in which Dan called himself “The One.” He thinks if the brothers happen to have both made this claim, one of them had to have killed the other. After all, there can only be one. The detectives decide to return to Reno and call all the morgues.

Jeb and Bill don’t find bodies, but they do catch sight of Dan on security footage. They then call in the FBI to scour the place for Dan and Ron. Jeb wants them alive so they don’t die thinking all they did was God’s plan.

Ron and Dan are in the bathroom at the casino. Ron tells his brother he received a revelation that Dan is a false prophet. He must perish, and he won’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Dan says they should pray about this. He kneels down, but Ron tries to strangle him with his belt.

Jeb approaches and hears them struggling. He apprehends Ron and Dan gasps, still alive–though some of his blood spilled to the ground. 

As the FBI escort the brothers out, Dan calls out that he hasn’t broken the laws of heaven. He turns to look at Jeb. “I am Elijah,” he says.

Bill informs Jeb that Dianna and Matilda are safe, and that Allen is now with Brenda’s parents. Bill says a prayer of hope that his ancestors prayed when colonists were wiping them out. He doesn’t think it holds power, but it reminds him of home–maybe something Jeb can now relate to.

How does Under the Banner of Heaven end? Does Jeb lose his Mormon faith?

Jeb returns home, where he hugs his daughters and kisses his wife. They all have evening prayer.

Later, he walks with his mom to a lake. Josie remarks that the lake is a miracle. Jeb says that being with her is miracle enough–alluding to Allen’s statement after losing his testimony. It’s safe to assume that Jeb, too, has lost his own testimony.


The Episode Review

The suspenseful crime drama comes to a harrowing conclusion with “Blood Atonement.” Wrapping up with a realistic and chilling message, Under the Banner of Heaven shows us that criminals such as Ron and Dan will go to every length to justify their actions, even after they have been caught.

Andrew Garfield’s character remains compelling, and his end mostly satisfying. Just like with Allen, Jeb’s family seems to become his faith.

Just like with Bill, it seems he’ll be able to say his prayers not because of their power, but because of their connection to home. Ultimately, Jeb comes to a complex and interesting place in his Mormon community. And yet, he isn’t held accountable for his own toxic ideology and role in the patriarchy. In this very episode, he gave orders to his wife, so the implication that Jeb is no longer a believer does not quite convince.

But Daisy Edgar Jones’ Brenda, despite her tragic end, is given a powerful voice in the series finale–something she was owed by the creators of the show. If anyone could be considered “One Mighty and Strong,” it’s Brenda for the way she led other women to safety.

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