Sunday, February 20, 2011

North and South, Book 2 (1986)

I am purposely avoiding miniseries sequels at the time I write about the originals because the comparisons are not fair, in most cases.  "Rich Man, Poor Man Book 2" is so unbelievably boring and "Lace II" completely lacks the cheesy charms of its predecessor.  However, "North and South Book 2" might as well be done alongside the first because they basically aired together.  "North and South Book 1" aired for November Sweeps in 1985 and "North and South Book 2" was ready for May Sweeps in 1986.  So, the second part is obviously not a rushed production to capitalize on the success of the first.  Most of the cast members revisit their original roles (no Liz Taylor, sorry). 

What I will not do at the same time is the third chapter in the "North and South" saga, which aired in 1994 and is pretty dismal.  We'll get there, but let's go through the quality before the crap.  For the most part, "North and South Book 2" is very consistent in quality like the first portion, though the final two sections go wildly off kilter. 

June, 1861, two months after Ft. Sumter.  The armies have amassed and patriotism on both sides is still at a fever pitch.  Genie Francis is looking for her husband in Washington and is told he's on sniper duty outside the city.  She's also harassed by some local gents and she has to literally beat them off.  This little scene, the first one, calls into question historical accuracy.  Though the seat of the Union government, sympathies of the ordinary citizen leaned decidedly Southern, especially among the rabble that poor Genie encounters here. 

Loving Genie eventually makes it her hubby, now being played by the supremely dashing Parker Stevenson, already a better choice then his predecessor.  In his new command, he will have the chance to "be a part of history."  "By killing Southerners?" Genie asks petulantly.  "I didn't mean YOUR family," he says, though I suppose neighbors and friends are fair game.  Maybe her Mary Pickford curls are on too tight, but Genie has somehow developed a spine since Book 1. 

Down in South Carolina, both Patrick Swayze and his cousin Lewis Smith are in uniform.  Patrick is way too old and way too injured to be of much help fighting, but he's the hero, so I won't say anything.  Also still kicking are Patrick's mother, Jean Simmons, pissed that the war is tearing apart her family and that of her dearest friends, and Lesley-Anne Down, Patrick's true love, under his protection from her drunken hellish husband.  She's recovered nicely from the drug-induced walking coma from which Patrick rescued her.  Patrick has a particularly difficult time wrenching himself from Lesley-Anne's cleavage and leaves slave Forest Whitaker "in charge of everything."  Off they go, with Lewis taunting, "race you to the war!"  The men soon part as they are assigned different war duties. 

Lesley-Anne's husband, David Carradine, sporting only a small scar from the sword he took to the eye, has been assigned a commission as a colonel to train new recruits. 

Parallel goings-on are happening in Pennsylvania, where James Read is putting on his old uniform, going back into service where he said he would never go again.  He will not be fighting, but rather on Lincoln's general staff.  To "celebrate the departure of this area's greatest hero," his family is throwing a big fete.  His mother Inga Swenson is worried that it's too lavish for wartime, but his sister-in-law, now played by Mary Crosby and her equally avaricious husband, Jonathan Frakes (now sporting a beard) use it as an opportunity to show off, since they will be running the family ironworks in his absence.  "Now isn't just a chance to profit from this foolish war, but for you to be the man you always wanted to be," Mary goads her husband, resting her chin on his shoulder to make it seem less offensive than it sounds. 

Patrick reports to Richmond, where President Jefferson Davis (Lloyd Bridges) and Robert E. Lee (William Schallert) are trying to make plans.  Lee believes both secession and slavery are wrong, but "I could not draw my sword against Virginia."  Lee wants to attack Washington, but Davis refuses.  Davis has summoned Patrick because of his expertise running factories, which the Confederacy has few of anyway.  Lewis and his pal James Houghton are sent on a reconnaissance mission, quickly encountering soldiers from the Union Army.  They chase a rider who gets by them and the Union soldiers chase them until a gunfight ensues.  The rider Lewis needs to protect turns out to be a woman, Kate McNeil, a Southerner who brings medicine to Confederate camps.  She's a feisty one, and both Lewis and James seem to dig her. 

Kirstie Alley, James' black sheep sister, has applied to be a nurse at a Union hospital run by Dorothea Dix.  She's not an ideal candidate, as far as they are concerned, because she spent time in a mental hospital and her outrageous views could be problematic. 

James, his wife Wendy Kilbourne, Parker and Genie are having dinner when in flounces Kirstie on the arm of Congressman David Ogden Stiers, whom she has refused to see since way back in Book 1 because he's married.  Parker goes to say goodbye to her, "since I might not see you before the end of the war," but Kirstie needs the Congressman's help, and is not concerned with her family.  She wants him to help her get the nursing position in Dix's hospital.  "My reward will be...?" the Congressman asks her, hoping for a tumble in bed, but she offers only her friendship. 

Brother James decides to go see sister Kirstie, but she is cantankerous from the moment she lets him in the door.  He offers to help her get the hospital job and even offers money, trying to mend fences.  Kirstie doesn't give an inch.  "No one ever cared to know what I think," she says, because she's a woman.  He claims it was her views, not her gender, that he objected to.  It turns into a shouting match, with James, as ever, trying to make nice (even while shouting), but Kirstie does not want to be part of the family anymore.  "If you ever need me, you know how to find me," James says on his way out, a clue that at some point, she will obviously need him. 

Patrick's other sister, troublemaker Terri Garber, attends a party for Jefferson Davis with her husband Jim Meltzer, who has not risen in the political ranks of the Confederacy as quickly as he expected.  Still itching to be the movie's Scarlett O'Hara, Terri arrives at the ball in a bright red gown where everyone else is sporting muted colors.  Jim argues with Jefferson Davis because Jim believes in strong states, where Davis wants a mighty central government.  Terri berates her husband for daring to disagree with Davis and storms over to the punch beverage table where she meets Philip Casnoff.  The meeting of these two has been destiny waiting for years and years as they are two of the three villains of the piece.  Philip is a longtime Jefferson Davis critic, so he is drawn to Jim and has a proposal for him: blockade running, not for arms, but "luxury items" because the profit margin is so high.   Jim finds this all very unpatriotic and refuses, but Terri shows up in time to hear the end of the discussion and formally meet Philip.  These two are going to be trouble, but awfully fun trouble.  Terri wants to invest in Philip's scheme and has her own money with which to do it.  "Perhaps we should discuss it private," she tells Philip, which means the bedroom, where she does all of her best work. 

One of the men training under David Carradine wants to be released because his family misses him, but David gives the men a long speech about patriotism, though it's undermined by another soldier telling him he doesn't understand because he no longer has a family.  Yeah, like that's not going to royally piss him off! 

Prophetically, Lesley-Anne tells Jean that "I never want to bring shame to this family."  She starts to tell Jean some of her history, but Jean cuts her off.  Loving Patrick is all that matters.  Well, that's probably because she doesn't realize the story is that she was born to a quarter-black prostitute.  David sneaks into Patrick's plantation and abducts his wife with the help of some of his trainees.  For extra measure, he throws his lantern onto the roof of the cotton building, which would, of course, is the centerpiece of the family's fortunes.  The exploding building awakens Jean, who hears of Lesley-Anne's abduction before fiery beams fall on her.  She's alive, but she can tell from the fire that things are about to get really bad around the plantation.  Forest refuses to help extinguish the fire any further because he doesn't feel the family cares about him and he gets nothing from working so hard.  He's especially angered by the opulent house, which he's never seen before because all he gets is a shack. 

Lesley-Anne is returned to the room where David had her locked in for so long, and she seems to think she'll be rescued.  "There is no one," David tells her correctly, since all the men at Patrick's plantation are gone.  It's not a good time to be a Southern aristocrat.  First Jean is nearly killed, then she faces a slave rebellion and now Lesley-Anne is returned to her chamber of horrors. 

Only Terri is making it through the war with all of her dash and style intact.  She toys with Philip and he toys with her.  She dangles a check in front of him and he mentions her brother Patrick.  Terri hates all of James' family and even her own, so Philip can use that to his advantage.  He also inquires about Lesley-Anne, whose secrets he knows, only to be used at the time it will do maximum harm to Patrick.  After a lusty conversation, they start kissing, but the businesswoman in Terri wants to see money coming in before Philip gets more of what "he stole" by kissing her.  "Send your card round, sir, when your ship comes in," Terri states before flouncing out the front door.  Philip then goes to gaze at the painting of Lesley-Anne's mother that he somehow got from the whorehouse run by Elizabeth Taylor in the Book 1. 

Genie gets all the bad news from home and is determined to get back there, even if it means dodging battles happening all over the South.  Her husband Parker is riding and comes across a kid playing drums who wants to sound the call for the Army, so Parker takes him along.  Back at the camp, officer Kurtwood Smith berates Parker and then gets a chance to audition his drumming for Kurtwood. 

In Lincoln's war room, everyone has a different opinion of how to beat the Confederacy.  Lincoln keeps things light with jokes, but the odds are favoring the Confederacy since the bulk of the war is being fought on her land. 

As a great battle gears up, one of my personal favorite historical trivia points is highlighted.  Whole families come to watch the battles from a fairly safe distance, bringing games and picnics.  The First Battle of Bull Run is a slaughter on both sides (though the Confederacy comes out ahead in the end).  The fighting gets so spread out and so many bodies need attention that they spill into the spectators section.  It's the first big battle and now it looks like outcomes may not be so quick in happening.

Genie and her slave Erica Gimpel, good women who are about to have bad things happen as per this story's patterns, break their carriage and have to walk with whatever they can carry.  The army happens by and captures Erica, as Genie watches helplessly.  Genie shows up at night in a soldier's outfit and one for Erica.  This will at least get them out of the camp, even if it rips off Shakespeare and is almost too comic to fit with the movie's mood (though, to be fair, it's not played for laughs).  By the next day, they have finally changed back into women's clothing and come across two freeing slaves.  Erica talks to them and finds out "we are going the right way."

After Manassas, "it's Christmas in July," as Patrick tells Jefferson Davis.  Since the railroads are made of different size rails, the supply lines are forced to use carriages, the damn states' rights bullies refusing to help out on that account.  Patrick gets the news of his family's disasters and rushes home. 

"To one Union shattered at Manassas, and another union restored," David Carradine toasts to Lesley-Anne, a prisoner at the dinner table.  "I want my freedom.  You can't force me to love you!" Lesley-Anne rages.  David trots out his old lines about owing her and he even has guards stationed at the doorways to stop her from leaving.  Patrick races to Lesley-Anne's mansion and has a brutal fight with David that ends with David being thrown out a window to his death.  "It's over," Patrick says to Lesley-Anne proudly and comfortingly.  Jean accepts Lesley-Anne back at home with open arms. 

Terri throws a party, trying to smooth over the ruffled feathers Jim caused at the last big ado.  The Confederate Vice President and his wife are there, but as soon as Jim opens his mouth, he puts his foot back into it, Terri constantly having to rescue him from himself.  Naturally Philip shows up.  After all, the liquor being served at her party is due to his blockade running.  Philip snarls that "I have little patience where women are concerned," because Terri hasn't made do on her bedroom promises to him.  The double entendres are as thick as Mississippi molasses. 

Not to worry, Terri fully intends on becoming Philip's mistress and does so late one night so that no one notices her entering her house.  More puns are let loose from the cannon, though there are serious statements too.  "I want you.  I want you more than any other woman I've ever known.  I want you on my own terms," Philip says, pinning Terri's arms behind her back.  She tosses her dress over his chess set and once a very slow undressing is finished, he has her right there on the couch in a montage of bodies, roaring fires, jewels and lace stockings.  Typical miniseries sex, in other words. 

Philip has a special surprise for Terri, a room filled with luxuries from abroad.  Shallow Terri goes wild running around the room, but Philip has darker thoughts on his mind.  "I want you to be my consort," he says.  You see, he has a plan to unseat Jefferson Davis, "who has no stomach for war" and become the Confederate leader himself.  "When I've consolidates my power, we will Emperor and his Empress!" he bellows.  Terri giggles at the thought and he says if she ever laughs at him again, he will kill her.  She won't.  Power is an aphrodisiac for her, so she and Philip do it again, right there among all the luxuries. 

The more sober-minded Lesley-Anne is worried about marrying Patrick because of her racial make-up.  She worries that friends and neighbors will judge him.  "My happiness depends on only one," Patrick gallantly reminds her.  They light smooches are interrupted as Genie finally makes it home after her long torturous journey.  Genie and Erica have bonded like friends during the trip, and Lesley-Anne says, "I have my maid of honor."  Cue the wedding.  Lesley-Anne looks ravishing, happy and better dressed than at her first wedding.  They can finally kiss as husband and wife now.  Sappy Jean and Genie think of all those "who should be here today," but Jean says it's a happy day and they should just celebrate.  She forgets that no one in this movie is allowed pure happiness.  It always comes with worry.  "The day I met you was the day I was born," Patrick gushes romantically when they can finally  have sex in a bed and not that abandoned church.  Alas, Patrick has to get back to his duty.

In Washington, James is sad because he has access to the casualty list.  He suspects Patrick feels the same way because he's doing the same job in Richmond.  But, James doesn't want to be part of the "regiment of paper shufflers."  He wants to be doing something more important.  Wendy begs him not to return to the battlefield. 

In Richmond, Patrick is angry at the profiteering and has a suspect in mind, but can't prove it.  Bad battlefield news kills their conversation and brings out the latent hawk in Jefferson Davis.  So, Patrick has to continue his chase of the blockage runner by himself.  His agent tells him Philip "is the clever swindler I ever knew...and he's paying off all the right people," but there is no solid proof linking Philip directly.  The problem is that Philip works in code, but Patrick comes up with the idea (all by himself--our boy is maturing) of breaking the code and then intercepting the ships before Philip can get to them, thus smashing his illegal activities.  "We will keep this to ourselves," Patrick warns his agent.  As they leave their meeting, Union soldiers are there and shoot Patrick's agent dead, giving our hero chase through the rainy countryside.  Guess who aims a gun at Patrick to shoot him?  Yes, James, who is on a trip back to Richmond.  He misleads the soldiers, saving Patrick's life "again."  The two old friends decide to "find a dry place and talk."

In a dry farm house, they warm up by a fire and James spots the ring on Patrick's finger.  "I'll throw you the damnedest party you ever saw after the war," James says, rattling off guest names and Patrick informs him at least one is dead.  Then the North-South argument arrives, as it always does with these two.  "We both agree that slavery is an out-moded institution," Patrick reminds James, but there are too many other differences ideologically between them, so they part again, friends at heart, but enemies on the surface. 

Kirstie is still determined to get that job at Dorothea Dix's hospital and goes right to Dix herself (Nancy Marchand), who is overwhelmed by the rate of casualties she's having to treat, not to mention the squeamish nurses and lack of medication.  Kirstie's Congressman has spoken with Mrs. Dix and Kirstie promises to be the best possible nurses.  Dix tells her that she'll be looked down upon by staff and patients and she's not afraid.  She also does not fear the hell of war because she's seen it all in her previous work.  Dix makes Kirstie promise that she will treat all patients the same, Northern or Southern.

However, Kirstie still has a big mouth.  When her Congressman and other dignitaries come to visit the hospital, she requests the government move faster and get the hospitals medication faster.  He asks what he'll get in return, but he's still married so no sex.  This is the umpteenth time these two have had this conversation, so the Congressman barks at her, "the next time you need a favor, be prepared to do one for me."  He's obviously had enough of her attempts to keep him at bay. 

Lewis and James are on a scouting mission when they come under Union fire and have to split up.  Lewis is wounded, but he manages to get to Kate's farm where she can nurse him back to health.  Lewis is obviously now in love with her, even more when he finds out Kate's blacks are all free and she has taught them to read and write.  "I've never met a woman quite like you," he admits.  John Nixon, Kate free friend, confides in Lewis that he might want to stay away from Kate because she wouldn't be able to handle losing another person in her life after a stillborn child and a dead husband.  He has every intention of heeding the advice, but something compels him to climb the stairs to her door, the same thing that compels her to stand at the door.  However, instead of knocking, he leaves in the dead of night.  Oh, come on, like he won't be back?  It may take hours and hours to get them together, but it's miniseries destiny. 

Just as Jean is having the cotton house rebuilt, the Confederate Army comes to requisition materials, "three quarters of their supplies and almost all the animals."  Genie is worried about how they will manage to survive.  Parker doesn't get letters from Genie because letters get held up in supply lines.  His drummer boy is impressed with the love he and Genie share and hopes someday to understand it.  "North and South" does love its man-on-man fighting, so a fellow soldier taunts Parker about having a Southern wife and they go to fisticuffs, the rest of the men cheering them on.  Colonel Kurtwood Smith berates both men.  "We're all under a lot of pressure, from the Generals on down," is his response to Parker's problem of missing his wife.  Not particularly helpful. 

Back in DC, Lincoln decides "we must now put our fight on the side of human rights" and wants to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, but his staff argues over whether or not it's the right time for it.  "I need me...a Commander who can give me a victory and then I can free the slaves," Lincoln decides. 

After dropping Inga off at a meeting to decide about rolling bandages, Jonathan Frakes and his wife Mary Crosby go to a meeting with a man who has a reputation for shoddy materials, and if they use those materials in making war supplies, it could be disastrous.  But, Mary is the stronger personality of the two and she insists they make the deal.  It's a complex plan, but Mary has added a detail to it to assure they are never found out: they sign James' name to the contract.

Morgan Fairchild, Philip's original benefactress, surprises Philip and Terri in bed and she threatens to expose their affair.  Pulling out a pistol, she says she'll kill him over his treatment of her, but decides rotting in prison over him is not worth it.  Her own reputation makes it doubtful anyone would believe her story of Philip and Terri together.  "I do hope you both get what you deserve," Morgan says on the way out.  However, Morgan isn't finished with Philip.  She summons Patrick to her boarding house to expose all of Philip's secrets, not to mention the liaison between Philip and Terri.  Morgan claims she has a way to stop Philip's illegal activities and tells Patrick where the next shipment will be arriving.  So, he and a bunch of men are there as the ship is being unloaded.  A gun battle erupts, but Patrick is the best shot in the country and can kill four men in the time it takes one to cock a pistol.  The entire shipment of goods is destroyed.

When Philip finds out, he damns Patrick for ruining his business.  Terri doesn't understand why it's such a big deal, but Philip knows he's out of business.  Once again, Philip has a revenge plan in mind, and it means exposing Lesley-Anne's secrets.  He shows Terri the painting, telling her of the black blood and her mother's career as a prostitute.  So, Philip's plan is kill Lesley-Anne, which will destroy Patrick, but Terri does not think it's the best plan because Patrick will stalk Philip and kill him.  Terri has a more complex plan in mind that ruins her entire family, especially her brother.  Thus ends the the second portion of Book 2.

Part Three starts in September 1862.  The South is trouncing the North in the war.  Up in Pennsylvania, Mary Crosby is hopeful that the North will be fine and wants to plan a ball, which of course Inga finds in very bad taste during wartime.  "Business is thriving during the war, everyone knows that," Mary says, wanting to show off all their good.  Inga declares it will be a "modest affair," but Mary chirps that "I can still wear my emeralds."  At this point, Inga is so annoyed, she probably wishes shrieking Kirstie would come back rather than shallow Mary.  Mary finally admits to Jonathan that she forged James' name on all documents. 

Antietem is a particularly gruesome battle.  As Lewis puts it, "the damn Yankees have learned how to fight!"  Lewis and and his friend James Houghton are there, but so is Parker, way over on the Northern side.  Parker proves to be a particularly good shot, picking off Confederates with every shot.  He and Lewis literally come face to face, gun raised.  This is the kind of cheesy moment we've been expecting since the beginning of "North and South Book 1."  For ages, there has been talk of having friends and relatives on opposite sides, but now we actually get to it live, with two men holding guns to each other's heads.  What will they do?

They will let a nearby cannon blast distract them and not kill each other, of course!  As quickly as the moment came, it went.  The cannons on the Union side are a product of Jonathan and Mary's business venture, and right as James Houghton gives a command to fire one of them, it explodes and kills him and several other men.  Mary had said the government would never come looking into their business, but with cannons that kill the men firing them, the people responsible for knowingly shoddy war materiel could be in big trouble. 

The Antietem sequence is the largest battle shown so far in "North and South."  It goes beyond looking like a cheap Civil War re-enactment, actually dripping with money spent on extras, not to mention time devoted to it.  After the battle, the camera surveys the carnage, which is considerable.  Lewis finds his friend's dead body.  "Nearly 25,000 killed, wounded or missing at Antietem creek, nearly half of them ours," Lincoln tells James.  Lincoln still needs a really excellent general and the choice seems to be Ulysses Grant (Anthony Zerbe), whom James had known at West Point (if you remember back that far, he helped James and Patrick survive Philip's hazing).  The problem with Grant is that he drinks...a lot.  James is dispatched to give Grant the news that he's Lincoln's choice.  "The President thinks you are the man to end this war," James tells him and then Grant offers James a drink, which turns out to be apple cider.  James requests to serve under him, which Grant would like as well.

Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, read to his cabinet with utmost sincerity. 

Hated overseer Tony Frank returns to the plantation, offering his services for a small piece of the profits, because word is trickling down to South Carolina and freed slaves are abandoning plantations all over the place.  Genie says they need to keep the slaves because the plantation would face ruin without them, but she understands Lesley-Anne's point that freedom can't be refused.  The sisters-in-law attend the funeral of a runaway Tony killed.  Genie tells all assembled that she wants them to stay, but if any want to leave, come to the family so they can give them the proper paperwork to avoid another unnecessary death like the current one.  Forest thinks the slaves should rush the plantation and kill their masters, but Erica is too loyal to the family to consider such a crime.  However, Erica isn't averse to the idea of freedom, especially since she has a crush on Lewis.  Forest sneaks into Jean's bedroom, knife drawn, but then spots her jewelry box and pockets everything he can carry. 

Patrick is up in the Shenandoah Valley praising local men and farmers for their efficiency with supply lines and then rides off just as the Union Army approaches.  He hears the guns and joins the battle.  The Union definitely wins the short scuffle.  Patrick decides to make a trip home, just in time to see the slaves leaving.  "But this is your home," never-bright Patrick says, but one of the former slaves says, "no, this was never our home."  Jean is so kind to the departing folks that she even gives them money for food!  Patrick still can't understand why anyone would want to leave.

But, he gets another shirtless scene with his beloved Lesley-Anne.  "Underneath that Southern gentility, your mother is a very strong woman," Lesley-Anne tells Patrick when he complains about how hard the war has been for all of them, especially his mother.  "We'll survive because of the strength we give one another.  Don't let go.  Don't let go," Lesley-Anne warns Patrick, having yet another bout of war depression, or perhaps cluelessness.  He and Jean share a very touching scene, lovingly delivered by both (but the kind that leads one to think it will be their last together). 

James and his brother Parker share some quiet moments the evening before a battle.  Parker hasn't had word from Genie in ages because letters can't get through.  It's been two years since they have last seen each other.  It's another gritty scene and the damage just seems to get worse and worse.  Parker survives, of course, but it's only the memory of his wife that keeps him going.  He decides he has to see her.  "It's desertion," he's told.  "Absence without leave," he corrects and then rides off.  The least he could do is take off his uniform, because that is too tempting a target. 

And, of course, right on cue, Parker is sitting next to a fire all by himself when a Confederate soldier, also a deserter, comes upon him.  "I told the Lord, I could sure use a horse...and look here how he's provided," the soldier says, devouring Parker's food and taking his boots.  Parker tosses a boot at the guy's face and they tussle (it's been a while since we've had one of "North and South's" beloved man-on-man fights.  A gun goes off and Parker is the one not killed. 

Things are so bad at the plantation that Lesley-Anne and Genie are working in the fields and Jean is keeping house.  The younger women try to get Jean to ease up on her workload.  "You treat me like China to protect me from the war," she yells at them, insisting on doing her share.  They have not been filling her in on the latest war news, but she insists on being told everything from now on.  She's the most realistic of all, knowing the heyday of the South is done. 

Into this world of destitution comes an enormous fancy carriage laden down with gifts and Terri Garber!  She's not out of the carriage ten seconds before she's insulted everyone.  She's horrified to think of white women working in the fields, but out Scarlett-O'Hara-lite just cares about dresses.  We know something is going on in her brain because Terri is kind to Erica.  Why?  Because she's hoping Erica can "answers some questions" about Lesley-Anne.  Alone with Lesley-Anne, Terri tells her she knows about her lineage, even about the prostitution, which is news even to Lesley-Anne.  "What worries me is Mother," Terri oozes, worrying about disgracing the future of the family if Lesley-Anne has a baby, one that would be 1/16th black.  "Hatred is like wine, it improves with age," Terri says to herself once Lesley-Anne leaves the room.  Hey, it's better than "fiddle-dee-dee." 

Lesley-Anne leaves a Dear Patrick letter for her hubby, along with her wedding ring and leaves the plantation.  Terri reads the letter and then gives it to Erica to hold for Patrick.  Erica sends some hatred Terri's way, telling her "someday, you're going to know what it is to be alone," though Terri can only think of the revenge she's getting and laughs. 

Former slave Beau Billingslea creates an aqueduct system that will help the planting and Erica is so proud of him, though still not realizing he's hopelessly in love with her.  He forces her to talk about the hated overseer, which she has steadfastly refused to discuss.  "It made me afraid to really love somebody," she says, "but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to love."  Poor Beau.  The arrival of a Confederate soldier interrupts their conversation.  But it's not a soldier, it's Parker in the uniform of the dead Confederate soldier, which will present a problem because Terri is at the house and she'll turn him in the minute she sees him.  As Erica bursts in to tell them that Beau's water wheel works, Terri is trying to get her mother to live with her in Charleston, but of course Erica isn't really there to discuss seed corn, but to bring Genie to Parker.

The reunion comes with music and kisses and the two fall right into a pile of hay.  After all, it's been two years!  They have a lot of hay pile reminiscing to do.  Genie urges Parker not to go back, but he has to.  His little drummer boy would miss him.  "I don't want to go back, but I have to," Parker sweetly tells Genie, just as Terri rides by and sees him.  Terri threatens him, because no matter which side he's on, he's a deserter and she wishes him punished or dead.  As Terri goes to tell the authorities, Genie comes at her with a pitchfork, full of sass!  She tells Parker to take the horse and go and keeps Terri pinned inside the barn.  "You are going to stay right here until Billy is long gone," Genie tells her at the end of a triumphant speech where she rips into her detestable sister.  "If I never see you again, little sister, it would be too soon," Terri says as her carriage drives away.  Terri better not be gone from the miniseries because Scarlett-O'Hara-lite is the only person having any fun.

I say that and then Nurse Kirstie returns, after a long absence, ordering doctors, nurses and soldiers around, much to the dismay of Book 2's most precious slumming Oscar-winner, not to mention "Gone With the Wind" veteran, Olivia de Havilland.  She's the administrator of the hospital site where Kirstie is making such a fuss.  In her trademark soothing tone, Olivia has come to speak to Kirstie about her "insubordination."  "You must watch your manner," she tells Kirstie, who doesn't pay attention to a word she says.  Kirstie intends to continue berating the doctors and ignoring the Southern patients.  She also reminds Olivia that the morphine supply is due to her friendship with Congressman David Ogden Stiers.

We bathe in the warmth of Olivia's presence only for a moment before we're hit with another slumming Oscar-whammy, Hollywood's favorite son, Jimmy Stewart (and Olivia's co-star in "Airport '77")!  He's a lawyer to whom Lesley-Anne goes to for advice.  She wants to make sure she has a bit of money from her father's estate (but none from David Carradine's), but the real purpose of the visit is to get an assurance from her lawyer that he will never tell anyone she's in Charleston and when Patrick inevitably sues for divorce due to desertion, he will not contest it.  Dressed in widow's weeds, Lesley-Anne ends Part 3 hoping to spare Patrick and his family any humiliation. 

By May of 1864, the South has little hope left of winning the war, but they keep fighting.  James is still fighting with the regulars, but his supply train is ambushed.  He's a damn good shot and manages to kill a few of the Confederate men, but the Confederate men manage to overcome the train.  James and his men are to be sent to Libby Prison.

Lewis is surveying the damage of yet another battlefield when Kate arrives with drugs for the injured men.  They should be happy to see each other, but Lewis remembers the advice of Kate's friend to stay away from her to avoid falling in love and possibly dying on her.  He treats her roughly, she runs away from him and then he pins her to the ground where bright sunlight peeking through the trees tell us that the two are about to become lovers.  Yes, folks, it's another "North and South" sex scene, a montage of limbs, both on the trees and on their bodies, but these two are in the middle of a forest just off a battlefield, the most unlikely place to consummate a union.  They fall asleep where they have sex, but Lewis wakes up with horrible nightmares of James Houghton dying due to the exploding cannon over and over.  "You're a part of me now.  I love you," Kate says to calm him down. 

Parker is back in the Union Army, as sure a shot as ever, only failing to pick off a whole pack of snipers because he runs out of ammo.  According to Kurtwood, "you left here a deserted and you came back a fool," among other cute little motto phrases, but takes him back because the army is desperate.  Plus, he gives him a less-than-ideal assignment, "the forward skirmishers" and he will face a court martial at war's end.  To balance out the perceived of badness, we do have some saccharine to toss in with the Little Drummer Boy wanting to bury a found skull because, "he was a good soldier, I just know it." 

Finally, Grant (whose beard seems to be falling off wisp by wisp) is put in full command and he's decided to "raid behind the lines" while Sherman handles things in Georgia.  "People are tired of war.  If we don't destroy Lee's Army, Lincoln could be defeated in November and the Union gone forever.  Only unconditional surrender will give us a lasting peace," says the Union's best hope (and Reconstruction's Greatest admirer--some last peace!).  Even when battles are lost, he seems to have a plan in his mind as to how he'll win the war. 

There's something important to note, something most people probably would not even bother to see.  At this point in the movie, start taking a look at the extras.  On the Confederate side, they are getting older, weaker, fatter, in essence less soldier-like.  These are men conscripted into a dying Army.  "North and South Book 2" does a good job of portraying the soldiers as they really were late in the war. 

When a Southern soldier is brought in, Kirstie not only refuses the request for his bed, but even for water, causing Olivia to scold the exhausted workaholic.  Olivia warns her that if she follows the current pattern of giving inferior care to Southern soldiers, "I'll do my best to have you dismissed from the nursing corps." 

In Richmond, Patrick knows the war is lost, but he has bigger problems with his wife having disappeared.  He hires Detective Michael Champion to find her since he can't leave his post.  Lesley-Anne gives birth to a son. 

Patrick is shot but snipers while riding alone and he ends up in Kirstie's hospital.  Well, this is going to be a test for her!  Not only is he Southern, but her sworn enemy.  She gives him a bed, so far, so good.  She sends him to surgery immediately, also good.  As he improves, Patrick recognizes Kirstie.  He goes to thank you, but she retorts, "all wounded in this hospital receive the same care" with the hiss of an asp.

Upon seeing a Southern soldier attempting to conscript a black boy, she stops her carriage and puts a stop to it, threatening to use influence we know she doesn't have.  But, between that and the boy's ruse of coughing to appear sick, they get him from the clutches of the Confederate Army.  Lesley-Anne volunteers to take him home, which turns out to be a shanty town too deplorable for human life.  Since Bumper Robinson's mother is sick and they can't afford food or medicine, Lesley-Anne turns them into a pet project.  "Sometimes, the best way to forget someone you lost is to help someone else," Lesley-Anne gives as a reason for helping Bumper and his kin.  Unfortunately, three men stop the carriage and try to take the supplies, but Lee Horsley arrives on the scene and shoots one dead, scaring off the other two.  Lee has the hots for Lesley-Anne immediately.  A woman at Lesley-Anne's boarding house tells her that Lee "left the Army under very mysterious circumstances," and he should not ever be received.  Lesley-Anne sees a fellow black sheep in him.

Patrick suggests to Kirstie that they "swap stories of our families," and eventually Kirstie softens a little bit.  She tells him she has not seen Billy's name "on any of the casualty lists," but has no knowledge of anyone else.  Kirstie is told that Patrick is going to be sent to prison, being a General after all.  With this news, they wish each other well and he even kisses her hand.  He then knocks out a soldier, steals a horse and makes a dash toward freedom.  Kirstie flashes a hint of a smile to know he's gotten away.

Libby Prison is James' new home.  It's run by, I can't believe I'm writing this, Wayne Newton, perhaps the only guest star in a miniseries every to slum upwards!  He orders the new men to strip for cavity searches, as he brandishes a walking stick with a fist on the end of it.  There's symbolism for you.  "Now that we have finished with materials things, it's time we got to work on the spiritual.  You boys got to learn you ain't officers and gentlemen no more.  What you are is are lower than scum, you are lower than dirt, so why don't you boys get down on your knees in the dirt and show me what you are now," Wayne sadistically notes, slapping his palm with that fist walking stick the whole time.  James refuses to let his men knee in front of "trash," as he refers to Wayne, so Wayne beats a soldier and most of the men end up kneeling.  James feels they should be treated better and asks for Wayne's superior.  He's the top there is and "there are no rules."  He then beats James up a bit.  It could only be goofier if the men all yelled, "danke schoen, sir" as he left the room. 

It's been a long time since we've caught up with Terri's husband Jim, who angles for states' rights from Jefferson Davis.  Davis is much smarter, knowing that they have to win the war as a block of states and then they can worry about the individual states.  When he tells Terri of his failure to persuade Davis, she's not sympathetic.  He's frustrated that no one listens to him.  "Not half as frustrating as you are to me," she snaps at him and leaves the house.  Naturally, she's off to Philip's.  She wants to be rid of her husband, but Philip won't hear of it.  He's planning a coup against Davis and Jim would be a useful figure head in "my new government."  Terri convinces Jim to go see Philip, though he's wary of him.  Because Jim is so malleable, it takes a few compliments to get Jim to listen to him and to convince him overthrowing Davis' government is the right way to rebuild the Confederacy.  He drops in that he would Jim Vice President.  "You make it sound almost patriotic," Jim says.  "It's more than that, it's your destiny," Philip shoots back and Jim is had.

Kirstie, exhausted and petulant, mechanically ties a tourniquet to a dying Confederate soldier's leg, but he unties it so he can die.  Olivia has had it with Kirstie.  "I believe you are capable of anything.  Even the murder of a Southerner," Olivia says in measured tones and then adds a further piece of good news, that she intends to see Kirstie tried for murder!  Hold on for an unexpected moment, readers.  Not only is Kirstie probably capable of killing a Confederate soldier, but also of killing Olivia de Havilland.  She comes at her (or rather the camera, the way it's filmed) and pushes her chair over, for some reason causing instant death, with the requisite trickle of blood from the mouth.  Kirstie has a mini breakdown (her hands twitch) and she leaves the hospital.  She makes it to Congressman David Ogden Stiers' house.  He tells her that Olivia isn't dead (PHEW), but she has filed murder charges.  The Congressman considers it "political suicide" to get help her, and then reminds her that the last time he helped her, he told her the "next time would not be free."  This time, she has no choice but to agree.  He watches her undress with a cigar and brandy.  Kirstie Alley is not one of more erotic actresses, so I'm not sure what he's getting to excited about, but to each his own.

The last time Lewis was around, he and Kate were engaging in afterglow, but things have changed.  Lewis goes to pay a visit and finds her black friends tied up outside by three men who have Kate hostage inside.  When he peers through the window, he finds the Union soldiers about to rape her.  Lewis bursts inside shooting.  Two are killed and the third escapes.  Defying all rules about such situations, not to mention offending good taste, Lewis and Kate have sex.

Wendy goes to Lincoln in the hopes that he will help get her husband released, but he can't.  Not only has he made it policy that there are no prison exchanges, he cannot do it for just one man.  "I don't run this war, it runs me," he tells her.  He says he'll try to help and thanks her for "your sacrifice."  When Wendy brings the news home, Jonathan and Mary agree with the President, that James should stay in prison.  After all, they would lose everything.  Wendy, with Inga's agreement, wants to get a message to Patrick and maybe he can help.  They better act quickly, because Libby Prison is a hell hole.  James tries to defend a boy being beaten and actually does knock them all out, but Wayne and his fist walking stick arrive.  The prison guards tell Wayne James was attempting to rape the kid, so Wayne decides to punish him badly.  One of the guards remind Wayne that the man actually in charge of the prison is due to return in a week and doesn't believe in violence.  This gets Wayne even angrier.  James is tied to a pole and left out in the rain to give Part Four a gloomy ending.

The war is nearing a close in December, 1864, but James may not have that long in Libby Prison.  "You're only half dead, stop being so shiftless and lazy," Wayne scowls at James, who has tried making a hole in the way.  As a general warning to all the prisoners, Wayne claims to have gun powder hidden. James may not have that long in Libby Prison.  "You're only half dead, stop being so shiftless and lazy," Wayne scowls at James, who has tried making a hole in the way.  As a general warning to all the prisoners, Wayne claims to have gun powder hidden under the floor and if anyone thinks of escaping, he'll simply blow them up. 

Lewis shows up in Richmond, bearing bad news for Patrick (who is suffering from laryngitis) that James is in Libby Prison.  Patrick wants to get him out, but Lewis "doesn't care too much for Yankees these days," but agrees to go with Patrick.  General Patrick goes to Libby and the guards try to stall as long as they can, eventually presenting the shell of a man James has become.  "I intend to report this entire detachment gross neglect of duty," Patrick threatens, but Wayne steps in as they try to leave.  He will not abide by the order, so the men have to fight their way out. 

CONTINUITY CHECK: during the fight, Patrick is able to kick with both legs, just like ran at top speed across railroad tracks one time with that terribly mangled leg.  Okay, I know it looks good to stage "Batman"-style fight scenes, but so much care has been taken to see that "North and South" is true to itself that moments like these can really weary a viewer's patience.

Wayne has a knife hidden in his boot and he draws it, only to be pushed against a way and into the knife, dead.  James can be taken out safely.  They are already on horseback by the time one of Wayne's men tries to stop them.  James is in too much pain to travel easily.  "You saved my life," James cries to Patrick and Lewis.  They put him in a tiny boat with some supplies and send him back to Northern safety.  "Can I ask one more favor?  Tell Jeff Davis that if he stops this war, I'll buy the champagne," James jokes, even in his condition.  "You best make that offer to Lincoln," Patrick retorts, their playful banter omnipresent.  "We kill Yankees by the hundreds and save one man.  It doesn't make any sense, Lewis opines.  He doesn't understand the bond these two men have. 

Don't underestimate the power of Inga Swenson's Great 1864 Christmas Sing-a-long.  It charms her young granddaughter, but Mary isn't so easily full of Christmas cheer.  It takes a massive diamond necklace from her husband to do that, though the rest of the family thinks it's ostentatious.  Inga misses her sons, but Wendy puts it in some sort of perspective, telling her that there are families who know for sure their loved ones will never return.  Cue the Christmas miracle: a knock at the door reveals James, now safe at home with his wife, mother and daughter. 

And what of our Southern women?  No finery or Christmas trappings for them.  Genie is digging in the garden when hated Tony Frank arrives, bearing food.  "We have enough," Genie says defiantly.  He tries once again to slither his way into her plantation, but Erica shows up toting a gun.  The first shot is a warning, but she intends the second to hit its target.  "Get out of here...leave the horse," she orders, exorcising her demons when it comes to this man. 

"You're some kind of killing machine," Lewis' friend tells him after they kill a small band of Union soldiers and find out where Grant is heading.  Lewis shoots the last one alive when the man merely reaches for a drink of water.

Accompanied by Lee, Lesley-Anne continues her charity work with Charleston's destitute black population, only to hear that little Bumper has been been conscripted.  Lee takes Lesley-Anne to headquarters to find out what they can do, and he learns where Bumper is.  Lee gets orders that allow him to take the boys back to the plantation. The man in charge knows about Lee and his "pay-offs," so he sends the black boys back into the wagon and waits for his payment, which comes in the form of a kick to the face from Lee. Lesley-Anne is shocked to find out Lee won Bumper's freedom through bribes.  "Honor is dead," Lee reminds her, telling her that he left the Army because he found better ways to fight the whole system.  Lesley-Anne is grateful, but not willing to go to bed with him. 

Lesley-Anne then decides she will use David Carradine's money to help the poor.  "That man never did a good thing for anyone in his whole life, so let's just call this poetic justice," she tells her lawyer Jimmy Stewart.  She's willing to bankrupt herself in order to assist the displaced. 

James is healing nicely, though he will be going back to the front.  However, he's concerned that Patrick has changed.  He thinks Patrick saved him not out of loyalty, but to "repay a debt."  A Union officer shows up at James' house to tell him of a "formal investigation" about the shoddy cannons coming out of the ironworks.  James' signature is on "incriminating documents," but he has a few hours to come with proof that he is not involved.  He sets off to find Jonathan and Mary's business partner.  He finds him, but, predictably, they fight and the partner's neck is snapped.  Well, he's dead and thus cannot testify, but James still has Jonathan, who stands up to his wife for the first time.  "You miserable traitor," James rails at his brother and insists he take "full responsibility," which will mean "long prison terms" for husband and wife.  Jonathan agrees to cooperate, so that problem is solved.  Phew! 

The plot to kill Jefferson Davis is still alive and well in the minds of Philip and Terri, but she has no more money.  Not to worry, Philip has a man willing to give $15,000, with the condition that he gets a night with Terri.  She's aghast, but agrees to go along with it.  "But we love each other," she tries to complain, but Philip cuts her off by saying, "I don't recall love ever being mentioned."  Terri beds the old coot with the cash, hating every minute of it.  Should we feel sorry for her?  I vote not.  It's hardly penance yet.  Philip takes Terri to his out-of-town armory of war supplies.  In here, comes the creepiest of moments, where Philip talks about killing Jefferson Davis and her brother Patrick while moving a gun up and down Terri's body as seduction.  It works.  They do it right there among the barrels of gunpowder. 

Having become a regular Soup Kitchen Sally to hundreds of people, Lesley-Anne is almost out of money, and all she has left is David's house.  Jimmy Stewart tells her he has a buyer for her house, but the buyer wishes to remain anonymous.  Hmm, who could it be?  Well, it's Lee Horsley, of course, who can raise cash any time he wants by gambling.  He tells Jimmy not to be concerned.  "It's not every day a lawyer helps a scoundrel help a lady," Lee says with a grin. 

In need of money, Philip is told by the man from whom he purchases guns that the "Angel Lady" is the only woman in Charleston who still has money and he should seek her out and use his charm to get her money.  Speaking of Lesley-Anne, when Lee confesses his love for her, she admits she's actually still married and though he's willing to accept her as is, she will not hurt him.  "A part of me will always belong to him," she says, trying to spare Lee the agony of loving her.  Lee vows never go give up, the lovestruck fool. 

When Lesley-Anne returns home, there is a card from Philip, whose very name frightens her.  She seeks out Linda Evans, a former actress who once played a magnificent Cordelia in "King Lear" that Lesley-Anne once saw (not only does that seem unlikely, but they are supposed to be the same age...?????).  Lesley-Anne wants to hire her for her acting abilities, to "find out what somebody wants from me."  Folks, this is where "North and South" jumps off track, majorly.  This is a plot twist worthy of of Sidney Sheldon or Judith Krantz, not John Jakes.  The only way to find out what Philip wants is to hire an actress?  Come on! 

At any rate, Philip spills his whole plan about killing Jefferson Davis to Linda Evans, making a stupid plot twist even worse.  Would a man as devious as this really reveal the whole truth of his plan to a complete stranger?  Certainly he would have lies ready.  She asks for two days to mull it over, but he insists on having an answer the next morning.  Lesley-Anne has heard the entire conversation.  When Lesley-Anne tries to pay Linda, she tells her to use the money for her charity.  "Think of it as a benefit performance," she says.  Yes, that is the line, word for word.  I played it three times and laughed through all of them. 

Philip knew all along Linda was an actress (I've seen most things she's done in her career and I've never been convinced), so he waits for Lesley-Anne to leave her house.  He attacks her and is about to pull off her veil when Lee shows up to, let's say it in unison...fight man-on-man.  Philip shoots Lee, who asks Lesley-Anne if she loves him and she admits it, the last thing he hears as he dies. 

Dreaded former overseer Tony Frank comes to his old plantation and ruins Beau's irrigation system, stealing all the remaining food for good measure.  Beau is beaten, but survives.  Erica shows him particular kindness.  There is still a hint of splendor at the old plantation, especially when Jean leafs through a photo album and remembers the good times. 

The Confederate Army is bedraggled.  Lewis' friend wants to desert and Lewis tries to stop him.  "I'd rather die than go on this way," he tells Lewis.  Lewis lets him go, but the words penetrate.  He looks terrible, his clothes in tatters and all hope nearly gone.  He goes to Kate's place, a place where he feels most comfortable.  One of her friends has been killed by Union soldiers.  The boy's father pours coffee on Lewis, but accident and Lewis reacts as if the man were still a slave, but apologizes for it.  "I'm not fit to be around decent people," he claims, even her, the woman he loves.  "Nothing makes any sense anymore," says the character who retained the most sanity for the most time.  If he's given up, things must really be dire.  Lewis leaves, but gets to his horse and realizes how much he needs Kate and goes back inside to her.  When he leaves to return to camp, both are happier. 

It's Terri's weak-willed husband Jim who tells Jefferson Davis about the illegal gun running scheme Philip has going.  Davis calls in Patrick to help him sort it out.  Terri tries to get Philip to stop the scheme.  "The Confederacy is dead!" she tells him, but he says it will thrive "under my leadership."  Terri has to hide in the back because Philip is expecting visitors.  It's Jim who arrives, pretending to go along with Philip's plans.  Patrick slips in, hearing the whole plan from Philip's mouth.  Expecting a fist-fight?  Close.  Will you settle for a gunfight instead?  No.  Well, once Patrick runs out of bullets, you'll get your fist fight.  Philip smacks Patrick around with a wooden plank while Terri and Jim accidentally set the storehouse full of gunpowder on fire.  "My empire, I'm going to save my empire," Philip rages as he runs back into the burning building, moments before a spectacular explosion.  "It was like Judgment Day," Terri worries, admitting "I'm a sinner too" and that she'll burn in hell with Philip.  She recounts all of her sins for them, include the plot to kill her brother-in-law, her abortion and her success at driving a wedge between Patrick and Lesley-Anne.  Patrick smacks his sister hard across the face when he hears this and then tells her he never wants to see her again.  She asks her husband for forgiveness, but he tells her "it's too late."  Goodbye Terri as Episode Five concludes.

We rejoin the story in March, 1965.  The Armies are at Petersburg waiting for a conclusion to the war.  Jefferson Davis is pining over the lost ammunition that Philip had been stockpiling and still hoping for a miracle from General Lee.  Patrick knows all is lost and only wants to find Lesley-Anne.  His detective has not been able to turn up anything.  She's still feeding the poor, but money and supplies are virtually gone.  General Sherman has made life in South Carolina lousy for the state he feels started the war.  Lesley-Anne goes to General Sherman himself to plead the case for Charleston.  There is no possible way a Southern civilian female would EVER get time with Charleston, so this scene is inherently ludicrous, but Lesley-Anne actually infuses it with enough good acting to make it almost believable.  She pleads her case well, and Sherman promises her supplies.  "You're a woman of courage and courage always wins," he tells her.  Well, okay.

Starting the process of wrapping up all the plot lines, hated overseer Tony Frank is captured by Forest's men.  Forest has gotten himself a following, blacks poor whites who believe they can take all of the property that belonged to the whites once the war ends.  Tony pleads for his life, saying they will need his plantation experience to make his dream a reality.  They form an unlikely and very tentative alliance.

There's a knock at Congressman David Ogden Stiers' door.  There is a man looking for Kirstie because the warrant for her arrest is still valid.  At a party the Congressman throws, she tells him to stop the investigation, though he keeps saying, "these things take time."  When he asks her if he's as good in bed as her dead husband, the fire in her eyes returns and she says, "there's no one like you." 

Plucky Genie is prying every piece of candle wax from the candlesticks when the Union Army arrives to take the plantation.  "There are only women here.  We didn't start this war, we're trying to survive it!" she tells the soldiers.  Jean backs her up, saying, "you'll have to burn down this house around me" and then pulls a pistol.  The Union soldier in charge is a very old friend of Patrick from the West Point days, so he has the house spared, to be used by the army. 

Lincoln pays a visit to Grant's camp, with James in tow, trying to boost morale and hear Grant's plan to end the war.  Lincoln reminds everyone to "let 'em off easy" as Grant says.  Lincoln does not want harsh reprisals, but he's in the minority on that one.  "Some people want the South to bleed for what they've done," he's told, but he responds, "The South has bled enough, and so have we."

James can see Patrick just across the battlefield with his binoculars.  He's not sure what to do, but his brother Parker is there to egg him on.  "Sound the advance," James says.  James, Parker and the Union Army advance as Patrick, Lewis and the Confederate Army sound the order to fire.  The final battle is on.  Even Parker's Little Drummer Boy is part of it, racing across the field with Parker, though hit by cannon fire soon into the battle.  Parker, having made it all the way across the battlefield, is shot in the shoulder and sees his Little Drummer Boy's body, going back to carry it back to safety.  James and Patrick are close enough to easily kill each other, but they resist, sticking to their roles as leaders of the battle.  Patrick is particularly agile (I'm tired of being the continuity police by now, so let's just let Dancer Patrick spend the rest of the movie pretending his not Actor Patrick). 

The Union Army is victorious, but the causalities are very high.  Parker and his Little Drummer Boy are alive, though both severely wounded.  Parker solemnly tells the Little Drummer Boy that he will live, but healing will take a while.  Parker can only stay a few days and then return for him when he's fully able to travel.  "You hurry up and get well.  Just remember you're my friend and I love you," Parker sweetly reminds the kid, whom he intends to take home to his wife when the war is over.  Grant now has to plan to finally end it all.  He gives strict orders not to simply pick off the Confederates from behind, but to cut them off and attack from the front and all sides.  As the Union Army is about to wipe out the Confederate Army, word comes that the Confederacy has surrendered.  The Union Army celebrates, but the Southern soldiers are sad and stuck to the ground in disbelief.  The formalities are handled at Appomattox on April 9.  Lee arrives first, but Grant and his victorious men, James included, are soon there as well.  Lee is given a very polite (and very long) send off. 

News of the surrender reaches the plantation, where Genie and Jean are still surviving.  Lewis goes to tell Kate what has happened, but Kate died in childbirth.  Lewis never even knew she was pregnant.  The baby lived and was taken by a relative to Charleston.  He goes to Charleston to claim his son.  Lewis makes it back to the plantation first, but Genie's wishes come true when Parker comes riding up to the house.  Beau, however, wants to leave, claiming there is nothing left for him at the plantation.  "Not without me," Erica tells him as another man's wish comes true.  Jean gives Beau and Erica a piece of the plantation, "to start a new lifge there together." 

It seems Kirstie has adapted to being the Congressman's mistress quite well.  She asks him when he will get the murder charges dropped.  "I'm sick of you harping on that," he tells her and she blurts out, "like I'm sick of servicing you?" and then immediately regrets she said it.  He forgives her, but after one last session together, he tells her he will never return as he's going to be a Senator.  "Do you think I would risk my political career for you?  You were a challenge and once a challenge is met, one moves on," he coldly tells her, though undeniably she deserves it.  Oh, and he also tells her that murder charge was long dismissed.  "Just collecting on past favors my dear," he tells her when she slaps him for using her.  Kirstie is way too unbalanced to take this abuse, so she kills the Congressman. 

James visits Kirstie in prison, but "there's no chance for reprieve."  She understands, and also appreciates the irony of hanging for murder on what would have been her anniversary had Georg lived.  The only thing she has left is her wedding ring, which she gives to James as a present to his daughter, "from her crazy aunt."  Both cry as James says goodbye.  Despite all differences, they have forgiven each other.  No other sibling has come to visit.  "No matter what she did, I loved her," Inga cries, surrounded by James and Wendy. 

In bed, Wendy and James have one of those "what was it all for?" conversations, but for James the war is not over until he finds out what happened to Patrick, whom we last saw presumably dead on the battlefield at Petersburg.  He wanders all over the South trying to find Patrick, but nobody has seen him.  Finally, at a field hospital, he sees Patrick, a broken man sitting up against a tree.  James is overcome seeing Patrick, but the latter has lost his spark.  Part of that is due to the fact he can't find Lesley-Anne.  They get the bad news that Lincoln has been shot and James breaks down.  "I could really use your help now," Patrick tells him, to give him a reason to live.  The spark is coming back.  They go to see Lawyer Jimmy Stewart, but he refuses to break confidentiality.  "I can no longer keep two people apart who should be together," he finally tells Patrick.  Lesley-Anne is playing with her baby when Patrick shows up (another continuity gaffe has this baby still an infant, where Lewis' baby is already older, though born after).  He tells her, "you don't have to be afraid anymore" and the cymbals crash big time when they fall into each other's arms.  "I have to tell you, there's another man in my life now," she notes and gives him the baby he never even knew he had (they haven't seen each other in two years, but the kid looks under one year). 

The happy family plus James heads for the plantation, where the happy family members are having dinner with Forest and Tony's posse raid the house and set it on fire.  Everyone has survived so much, is this really necessary?  Lewis, Genie, Parker, Beau and Erica all take up arms and manage to shoot a whole bunch of people, thoug Forest bursts in and tries to grab Erica.  Jean smashes a vase over his head, but he pushes her against the door and knocks her out.  Lewis kills Forest.  The battle is still raging when James and Patrick arrive with Lesley-Anne and the baby.  Erica is watching at the window when Beau is shot and killed.  Tony tries to molest Genie, but Parker jumps in to save her.  As he's aboutot kill Parker, Genie shoots him from behind.  The raiders, or what's left of them, scamper off as the family flees the house.  Unfortunately, Jean dies.  She is inseparable from the house and once it started to burn, it was inevitable she would go along with it.  "My mother lived to see her way of life erased from the face of the earth, but she blamed no one," Patrick says as part of the eulogy before slipping into one of Lincoln's speeches of forgiveness. 

The final speech goes to James, who holds out his half of the $10 bill to start anew in business and life.  Patrick has his half as well and declares James "the best friend a man could ever have.  We're a family."  As family they all wak down the path from the plantation one last time, their lives completely separated from all they knew before the war.

Because "North and South Book 2" is forced to show the entire Civil War, there is a lot of time wasting.  The Linda Evans acting scheme, the Wayne Newton prison humiliation, even the Lewis and Kate love plot, are all filler.  The most moving moments come during the actual battle scenes and at the end when we shave down the characters to just the essentials, the ones who have been with us since the beginning and have become so familiar over the course of 18 hours.  Since it ends on such a lovely note, pure American heartstring tugging, a lot of the flaws are forgiven.

Remember, though, the story is not over.  In 1994, the final part of the trilogy appeared, but for now, let's simply bask in the glow of a true miniseries classic and not worry about how it's junked up later on.


  1. What I will not do at the same time is the third chapter in the "North and South" saga, which aired in 1994 and is pretty dismal. We'll get there, but let's go through the quality before the crap. For the most part, "North and South Book 2" is very consistent in quality like the first portion, though the final two sections go wildly off kilter.

    I think you are blinded by the battles featured in Book II. Production wise, it is as beautiful as Book I.

    Unfortunately, the second miniseries is riddled with dialogue that resemble speeches, little resemblance to Jakes' novel and some poor story continuity. Not even Book III's flaws are this bad.

    Sorry, but in comparing Book II to Book III, I have to disagree with you.

  2. I would have to agree that the production of Book I was certainly an epic , but the production of Book II was equally as great as Book I. Book III was forgettable. Too much time had elapsed between 1985, 1986 and 1994. Ratings were low too.

  3. I seem to be the only one who remembers this scene -- to be honest, I'm beginning to think it was in another Civil War movie -- but which one? The only other one I'm familiar with is "The Blue and the Gray" and I know it didn't happen in that one.

    The last anyone sees of the Little Drummer Boy (LDB) is the hospital scene, where Billy promises to come back for him. I swear I remember another scene where Billy does come back only to learn that the LDB took a turn for the worse and died. Billy takes the smashed drum and puts it on LDB's grave, fighting back tears.

    I thought maybe it was in the original movie but cut from the DVD. Anyone else remember it?