Roots: The Complete Miniseries

Season 1 Episode 3

Part 3

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 25, 1977 on ABC

Episode Recap

After 4 months on the Reynolds plantation, Kunta Kinte is still in leg chains, despite having learned English and what was required to be done in the fields. But because he refuses to accept and answer to the name "Toby", he is considered un-broken and dangerous. This puts Fiddler in a bad position, as owner John Reynolds had demanded that his new property be fully broken and trained within 6 months. Meanwhile, Mr. Ames, the overseer, was itching to make an example of Fiddler about who should have been put in charge.

One day while working in the fields, Kunta finds an old ax head buried in the soil and hides it away. Shortly afterwards, when Fiddler is asked to entertain Reynolds and his guest Sir Robert Calvert, who was ironically the owner of Kunta's friend Fanta, Kunta makes the connection between Calvert and Fanta, finds out where Calvert lives, and begins working on a plan to run away by using the ax head to slowly cut through his metal chains. Fiddler eventually stumbles upon Kunta just as he breaks free and soundly dresses him down about the consequences of what he has done and the extraordinary odds against successfully escaping. But Fiddler realizes that he has to let Kunta go because of the severed chains and he knows that he will have to face his own punishment because of Kunta's actions.

Kunta's freedom is short-lived as he is eventually hunted down by Ames and his pack of hunting dogs. And thanks to an overnight snowfall, something that Kunta had never seen before, Kunta's tracks were easy to find and follow. Kunta is captured, brought back to the plantation, and is subjected to a whipping ordered by Ames to occur in front of the rest of the plantation's slaves, until he answered to the name "Toby". When Kunta finally succumbs to the whip, Fiddler is left to pick up the tragic pieces and care for a now-broken and severely injured young man.