Every passing day, investigating the curious case of the Lafferty brothers, Detective Pyre was coming out of his befuddled state and getting more clarity. Though he upheld the sanctity of the religious beliefs of the Mormon community, he had started to question the obsolete norms. The investigation was moving in a sluggish manner, as there were multiple loose ends, and each one brought with it a string of revelations. Robin, Sam, and Allen Lafferty were still in custody, and Pyre knew that they were withholding information. Jeb Pyre had an intuition that, though Brenda had met her fateful end, the other women of the Lafferty family were also in extreme danger. He had no clue whether they were still alive or not. Dianna and Matilda were living with men who had completely lost it and were ready to stoop as low as possible in the name of religion. It felt like in order to fulfill their personal vendettas; they were taking the shield of their religion and validating their regressive actions. They were resorting to ways of fundamentalist Mormons that were not only oppressive but extremely patriarchal, where the women were always in a downtrodden condition. Jeb Pyre had understood the power dynamics between the church and the state. It was the 20th century, but if anybody from outside the Mormon community heard the Lafferty brothers talking and expressing their ideologies, then they would have definitely thought that they belonged to a rudimentary stage of evolution and civilization.
Bishop Low had finally been found at the end of “Under The Banner Of Heaven” Episode 4, and the detectives took a sigh of relief. It meant that nobody else who was on the holy list had been hurt. It rekindles a hope that some significant information would be revealed through Bishop Low and the killers of Brenda would be found.
Who Was Bernard Brady? Why Were Dan And Ron Excommunicated From The Church?
In “Under The Banner Of Heaven,” Episode 5, Jeb and Bill get a forensics report that suggests that the blood found on Sam’s body was not of Erica or Brenda as he was told it to be. It was a squirrel’s blood, and Sam was taking the blame and trying to hide the real facts for some unknown reason. Sam shouts in a fanatic fervor that the School of the Prophets has restored the one true church. Apparently, the Lafferty brothers were part of a commune that they had named as The School of Prophets. Jeb warns Robin Lafferty about the consequences of hiding facts from him. Robin gives him two more names of people who were part of the school of prophets. Bernard Brady, a businessman from Provo, was a friend of Dan’s, and he talked about a dream mine near Salem where he believed there was hidden Mormon gold. It was a fundamentalist Mormon folklore, and Jeb knew there and then that these men with unhinged minds were capable of doing something extremely dangerous. Another man named Onias was also involved in the proceedings.
Jeb and Bill Tada went to visit the Lows in order to get some valuable information out of them. They came to know that Dan and Ron Lafferty were excommunicated from the church. But a more surprising disclosure was that they were not excommunicated because of their anti-government movements but for certain horrendous actions that sent shivers down the spine of the detectives. At first, Bishop Low tells Jeb that he could not break the sacred trust that existed between a bishop and his people, but Pyre is quick to remind him that this was a murder investigation and it didn’t matter what the church prescribed him to do. Bishop Low reveals that Dan wanted to marry his stepdaughter. Fundamentalists had always vouched for polygamy, but this was an extreme action that was unheard of before. Matilda wanted to save her daughter from her husband, whose fanaticism had turned into insanity. She gets uneasy when he asks her to take her own daughter to be her first “sister wife.” Matilda provides a diversion, and her daughters seize the opportunity and escape from the premises as decided. The girls went to the old church, and that’s when the Bishop got to know about everything. He never called the child services and, without disclosing the facts to the authorities, relocated the girls to another Mormon family. Bill Tada is stunned at the uncompromising fanaticism of the Mormon community. Maybe he didn’t understand the culture and the religious beliefs, but he was prudent enough to differentiate right from wrong.
It was the naming ceremony of Erica, Allen, and Brenda’s daughter, and that’s when the issues of Dan Lafferty came to light. Ron started asking questions about Dan’s ex-communication from Bishop Low, and the latter refused to tell him in detail the grounds for doing that. On the other hand, Mrs. Low was having a conversation with Dianna and Brenda. Dianna was being subjected to domestic violence, and Brenda was asking her to inform the authorities and call for punitive measures. On the other hand, Mrs. Low advised Dianna to stay dedicated to her priest holder, i.e., an abusive husband, and continue supporting him. Brenda wasn’t able to comprehend whether they were living in the 20th century because the kind of things she was being told was beyond regressive. Dianna came once again to the Bishop, with more bruises on her face. Bishop Low gave her some monetary assistance and asked her to get to safety. That was the last time he saw Dianna Lafferty.
Jeb and Bill visit Bernard Brady’s home. He tries to hide his intentions at first, but then, realizing that the detectives knew way too much, gives into it. He only requests them to not say anything about the issue to his wife. Bernard tells them that the “School of the Prophet” was a group of fundamentalists who believed in the old ways. He told them that Dianna acted as if she knew more than her husband (which clearly was not possible according to fundamentalist Mormons) and stuck her nose into matters that didn’t concern her. He compares the situation with that of Emma Hale, wife of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. She had come out in support of a publisher who had defied the “holy principle” of polygamy. Joseph Smith was on the run, and Emma wanted her son to succeed her husband. But the members of the community had devised another plan. They wanted Brigham Young to take the mantle. Bernard told the detectives that when Dan came out of prison, he wanted to build a compound that would become the center of their fundamentalist activities. He called it the Farm, and he had told Bernard that as kids, he and his brothers often vandalized the house. Jeb Pyre and Bill Tada decided that they would immediately go to the Farm and unearth the secrets of this convoluting case.
‘Under The Banner Of Heaven’ Episode 5: Ending Explained
Allen tells Jeb Pyre that if there was one true church, then there had to be one true Prophet. He says that in the earlier times, too, the saints had split into camps, but the Prophet’s seat was always reserved for “The One.” With Joseph Smith in hiding, the ship was being steered by Brigham Young, and in contemporary times too, the Laffertys were adhering and complying to only one brother.
In “Under The Banner Of Heaven,” Episode 5, Jeb Pyre and Bill Tada reach the Farm and find 3 Canadian girls from a place called Bountiful. Prophet Onias had brought the girls to the Farm. Jeb asks the girls if they know anything about Ron and Dan Lafferty, and the girls say that they used to sleep there. Both the brothers had been sleeping with the young girls. Jeb sees a cupboard in which he finds a shirt with a note in the pocket. The note was a direct threat to Dianna and said that if she did not adhere to the ideologies of her priest holder, she would be exterminated. It also contained the “Holy List,” in which the names of the people who were the targets were mentioned.
Ron had gone to meet his mother, where she told him that he was always the one who was meant to lead their family. Through her words, he got an epiphany and decided to reclaim what was rightfully his. It didn’t matter to him if he had been excommunicated from the church or not. He considered himself to be superior to any bishop. Ron refuses to provide medical aid to his ailing father and lets him die because he believes that there could be only one Prophet. He believed that the spirit of Joseph Smith was with him and nothing could stop him. And just like Brigham Young, Ron took a vow to lead his holy people to a new and greater Zion. At the end of “Under The Banner Of Heaven,” Episode 5, we saw Ron Lafferty transforming into the proud new lion of the lord. Jeb knew that Ron had left the list intentionally, challenging the authorities and that there would be more bloodshed in the coming days.