It feels like Westerns have have been around since the dawn of the film camera. That’s why it feels nearly impossible to shake-up the genre, which I grew up watching thanks to my father, who is absolutely obsessed with throwback-ish style. And, yet, Netflix’s new series Godless manages to do just that by giving us a story where the women outnumber the men in a landslide in the central town of La Belle.
While this fact is admirable, even the most feminist viewers are likely to wonder, “…Where did all the men go?” Did Wonder Woman’s Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) show up in 1800s New Mexico to craft each of the ladies of Godless’ dusty burg from the ample amount of sand lying around? Unfortunately, no. Instead, the answer is much more tragic, creepy, and mine-related.
In premiere episode “An Incident In Creede,” we slowly come to realize the town of La Belle isn’t simply filled with women, it’s filled with widows. We meet three of them throughout the opening: the reclusive Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), the newly more masculine Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever), and perpetually worried single mom Sadie Rose (Kayli Carter).
The latter two residents, along with the rest of La Belle’s women, all lost their husbands in a single massive mining accident. While that fact is obviously a major driving factor of Godless, viewers don’t actually learn this details of what occurred until about 58-minute mark of the series opener — and it’s during a conversation fans might not even be paying very close attention to.
We get this essential information when U.S. Marshall John Cook (Sam Waterston), who’s not from around these parts, strides into the La Belle watering hole.
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