Under the Banner of Heaven Episode 1 and 2 Recap and Ending, Explained

Image Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Based on a true story, FX on Hulu’s crime series ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ follows Detective Jeb Pyre, who investigates the murders of Brenda Lafferty and her daughter Erica Lafferty. Pyre takes Brenda’s husband and Erica’s father, Allen Lafferty, into custody to solve the case. The first and second episodes of the true-crime series, titled ‘When God Was Love’ and ‘Rightful Place’ respectively, depict the interrogation of primary suspects, Brenda’s life before her death, and the presence of Mormonism among the suspects and their family. Intrigued by the cliffhanger at the end of the second episode, we have taken a detailed look at the same. Let us share our thoughts! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Under the Banner of Heaven Episode 1 and 2 Recap

The first episode begins with Detective Jeb Pyre inspecting the crime scene of Brenda Lafferty and her daughter Erica’s murders. After the primary inspection, Pyre comes out of the house to see Allen Lafferty in clothes soaked in blood. Pyre arrests Allen and interrogates him with his partner Detective Bill Taba. Bill shares his doubt that Allen is the murderer, only for the latter to deny it and accuse a group of LDS Church members of murdering his wife and baby. He also adds that his brothers could be in danger, in case the group is targeting his family.

Image Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Allen also warns Pyre that the LDS Church is perpetuating the spread of dangerous beliefs among its believers. Before Brenda’s death, she got together with Allen and the latter introduced her to his family. The Laffertys, a pious Mormon family, fail to outrightly accept Brenda’s free spirit and ambition to become a television news presenter. Detective Bill goes to Allen’s brother Robin’s house to confirm his safety. However, he walks into an empty house with several materials burning. Upon getting suspicious, Bill and Pyre decide to arrest him. They find him at a motel, chase him, and finally arrest him.

The second episode, titled ‘Rightful Place,’ begins with Pyre and Bill speaking to a neighbor of Allen and Brenda. She tells the detectives that she had seen four suspicious men, who resemble the description given by Allen, in and around the couple’s compound on the day of the murder. Before the murders, Dan Lafferty becomes the head of the household as the father and mother of the Lafferty brothers leave for a church mission. Robin warns Allen about building a life with Brenda since her life doesn’t seem to align with their familial values. Matilda, Dan’s wife, tells Brenda that she is not able to hear voices and see visions of God anymore, perplexing the latter.

Under the Banner of Heaven Episode 2 Ending: Did Robin Kill Brenda? Why Does He Warn Pyre?

No, Robin did not kill Brenda. Allen’s suspicion that his siblings can be involved in Brenda and Erica’s murders makes Pyre realize the need for interrogating all the Lafferty brothers. He goes to see Robin and enquire whether his policemen would be in danger if they proceed to interrogate the brothers, only for him to reply affirmatively. He warns Pyre that his brothers may harm his officers if they continue to bother the Lafferty family. The Laffertys consider any law enforcement entities, like the police, as opposition forces of God’s wishes and the believers’ covenants. For them, government rules — whether it be concerning murder, taxation, or even traffic — do not apply to the Mormons, who follow the rules of God.

Image Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

When Pyre and his officers start the investigation against the Laffertys, they consider it an intrusion into their religious lives. They do not believe in the man-made law’s authority and plan to discard them to uplift “the laws of the heavenly Father.” As far as Robin and his brothers are concerned, even the investigation is a way for the government to harm their religious order and beliefs. Thus, they believe that they have the right to harm anyone who stands against their rules, “made in heaven.” Citing the example of Joseph Smith, Robin explains how the government and their laws have hurt their faith, for them to retaliate.

Robin’s aggression and his justification of the potential harm his brothers can inflict on policemen solidify Pyre’s suspicion that they are involved in the crime. The detective thinks that the liberated life Brenda had lived, which did not align with the family’s religious beliefs, might have instigated Robin to kill her. However, in reality, Robin did not kill her. Robin’s aggression towards Pyre is his reaction as a fundamentalist rather than a murderer. His rage is against the police’s efforts to disregard “God’s rules” and aspiration to implement their laws.

Who is in the Cabin in the Woods?

After arresting Robin, Bill continues his investigation individually in the nearby woods. The reports of gunfire in the region, which is extremely unlikely, make the detective curious and he starts inspecting the region for any possible clues or leads connected to the murders. He eventually arrives at a cabin and sees a hole in the front wall, with a gun pointed at him. Bill confirms that a person is hiding in the cabin, expecting threats. The person in the cabin can be one of the Lafferty brothers, hiding to escape from the law as Robin does. Most likely, the person can be Ron or Dan, Allen’s brothers.

Image Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Since Robin is arrested, Ron, Dan, or both of them may be hiding in the woods to avoid further arrest or arrests. Ron and Dan possibly know that the police will come after them, especially after Allen’s arrest. Since Allen is aware of their dislike towards Brenda, the eldest son and the head of the family must be expecting their brother to reveal the same to the police. Robin’s arrest may have confirmed their doubts regarding the possibility of their capture.

Ron and Dan are the two most powerful and influential people in their family, making a police investigation against them inevitable. Like Robin, they must be trying to hide from “man-made laws” that hunt them. If that’s the case, Pyre and Bill may realize that Brenda and Erica’s murders aren’t the results of Allen’s supposed jealousy.

Read More: Where Was Under the Banner of Heaven Filmed?