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alsplacebartender 02-18-2003 12:26 PM

209 So Help Me God
 
So Help Me God
July 29, 1957


Twelve Oaks Parish, Louisiana


As a lawyer in the deep south, Sam has to try a case involving a black woman accused of murdering a prominent white man and uncover the mystery of why the woman says she committed the crime even though he thinks she did not.


Written by: Deborah Pratt
Directed by: Andy Cadiff


Rate and comment on this episode!

RayBeckett 09-04-2003 09:56 PM

I thought this episode was good. I am definitely not a fan of the racial stuff used in any QL episode, but other than that, it was good.
~RayBeckett(Steve)

Vince Beckett 10-05-2005 10:20 PM

Great episode. It shows what it was like for a black person to be on trial in the south in the 50's.

Sam Beckett Fan 06-24-2006 02:13 AM

I watched this episode twice last night while taking abut it with my best friend Kristen because i wanted to see all the creepy clues and make sure i cought everything after we came up with an interesting theory on it.

First off, i love Sam's love of all people no matter what the color of thier skin or race or religion. Many times in the episode, he scolded all who used the "N" word to refer to a black person. He was very stubborn in this episode when it came to being a white lawyer defending a black woman being trialed for murdering a white man named Husten. He pleaded her not gulity even after finding out that his host Lenard had struck a deal with Husten's father to get her convicted. I loved how he claimed to have seen her innocence in her eyes, and was determined to proove it.

The weird twist in this episode is the charactor of Sadie, Husten's mother. She always seemed so calm and content, and when Sam had first talked to her, and he turned to leave, there is an odd moment there as she bids him farewell.

"Take care no Lenard, and don't step on my calalillies like last time"
"No Ma'am"
"I'll have to plant them agian"
"I'm sure they'll come back when the weather gets better"
"Sometimes i think they might never come back".

As she says the last line she looks out into the distance as if she is waiting for something, and hoping, and even Sam seems to noticem given the expression of wonder on his face as he watches her. You could somehow tell she was in her own world.

The couple times that Sam had visited Dalilah, the black woman in jail, it was difficult because he wanted to help her so bad, but she was not being much help to Sam. She had signed a confession to the crime prior, stating that when she did not return Husten's lobe for her she picked up a shot gun and shot his face off. We later find out she didn't even know what it claimed as she cannot read. It's a lie of course and when she finds out Sam lets her shed a few tears in his arms, i always find those touchy feely scenes sweet.

Sam put up a wonderful fight, and at the end it gets so twisted that its hard to follow. at the end of the episode on the final day of the trial, Sadie was called to the witness stand:

" It was my fault, you see I gave Delilah the money to get away and start a new life. We were blubbering over our goodbyes when Husten came home from hunting. He saw that Fleece in her hand and he threw it clear across the room. Broke that big Chinese vase, his father brough back from England. That's when Dalilah slapped him. Husten went wild, he hit her so hard she fell into the chifferobe. i tried to stop him, but he pushed me away. He just kept hitting her over and over, i begged for him to stop before he killed her, but he wouldn't. That's when i picked up the shot gun. *everyone gasps*. it went off so loud it made my ears ring, and Delilah started screaming, and lord child can you scream.....so you see Eugene, Dalilah didn't steal the money i gave it to her, and i'll see to it that Husten tells you the truth of that, when he comes home from hunting".

Ok, so here was my best friend's and my thoery on this. Sadie isn't all right in the dead, she's a little crazy and it doesn't register in her mind that her son is dead. She thinks that he's still out hunting, and that takes us back to the calalillies and the line
"Sometimes i think they might never come back" and that wandering expression, which seems to suggest that she is really referring to her son. the only thing that doesn't fit into play is that if she doesn't realize that he's dead than what does she think happened when she picked up the shotgun and it went off? that's the one thing i still can't figure out.

All in all this was a great episode. :)

bluedana 06-24-2006 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
"Sometimes i think they might never come back" and that wandering expression, which seems to suggest that she is really referring to her son. the only thing that doesn't fit into play is that if she doesn't realize that he's dead than what does she think happened when she picked up the shotgun and it went off? that's the one thing i still can't figure out.

As I see it, Sadie's mind cannot accept what she did, and because of that, she has retreated into this fantasy that Houston is just out hunting. The woman shot her own son (and it's gruesome; the housekeeper is so traumatized when she says, "He had no face!"). No mother could deal with that. She didn't do it on purpose, clearly; she was caught up in trying to get Houston to stop beating Lilah. Notice she doesn't say that she fired the shotgun, only that it went off really loud. She has snapped and has blocked what she did. We know she is crazy because she cannot reconcile what she remembers happening ("That's when I picked up the shotgun...") with the fact that she killed her son ("When Houston comes home from huntin'...") Everybody knows she's crazy (I get the impression she was mentally fragile from the get-go, the way everyone is so protective of her), and that's why Lilah keeps insisting that she herself killed Houston, and the "Cap'n" is so eager to agree to let Lilah plead guilty and avoid the death sentence.

This is one of my top ten episodes, mostly because of the creepy atmosphere, the sweaty heat, the sing-songy craziness of Sadie ("Lord, child, can you scream"), Sam's desperation to prove Lilah's innocence, and Lilah's matter-of-fact acceptance of her fate. I love the racial interplay (the way Shuggie totally doesn't get why she can't call Lilah names, the way Lilah convinces herself that Houston loved her), and the underlying religious theme: the housekeeper is persuaded by Scripture, even after she refuses to swear on the Bible, and Lilah only begins to fight back when she realizes her "confession" falsely invokes the name of Jesus.

This is grown-up story telling at its best. Beautiful script, beautifully done.

Bexter 04-17-2007 08:03 AM

I really loved this episode, what I loved most was the deep affection that Sadie and Delilah had for each other, and obviously respect despite the times in which they lived. Obviously Sadie had a few 'roos loose in the top paddock but whether that was because she shot her son or it was always there you don't really know. However it was obvious her sense of justice was so strong that she was willing to shoot her own son to stop him from killing an innocent person. Thats what got me the most about that episode. I gasped too when she said "And thats when I picked up the gun" The ending really surprised me, I was going to say "blew me away" but not really the right metaphor for this episode :-)

isz 07-06-2007 07:06 AM

Again Could be a great episode unless some moments that really ruined it for me. And again those moments came in the end of the episode. And the main thing is...the actress,that played Saddie. her acting looked(To me) so amm...unreliable and artificial.
And again Deborah pratt wrote the script, and again her ending was very disapointing,Exactly like the ending in "what price, Gloria?"...

bluedana 07-06-2007 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by isz
Again Could be a great episode unless some moments that really ruined it for me. And again those moments came in the end of the episode. And the main thing is...the actress,that played Saddie. her acting looked(To me) so amm...unreliable and artificial.
And again Deborah pratt wrote the script, and again her ending was very disapointing,Exactly like the ending in "what price, Gloria?"...

I'm really curious, isz, so please don't take this the wrong way but, how would you have preferred the episode to end? And how would you have liked Sadie to act?

(I can't stress enough that I'm not picking a fight in any way; I'm just curious.)

Sam Beckett Fan 07-06-2007 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
I'm really curious, isz, so please don't take this the wrong way but, how would you have preferred the episode to end? And how would you have liked Sadie to act?

(I can't stress enough that I'm not picking a fight in any way; I'm just curious.)

My apologies but I am afriad I am curious too but I as well am NOT bashing you or looking to pick a fight in any manner. I would never do such a thing as arguments and debates are not my thing.

Personally I thought her acting was creepily good because she reminded me of Laura in Trilogies. And what was wrong with the ending? I thought it was fine.

Also like Dana I can't stress enough how friendly this question is, I do not like arguments so I am so so so not trying to pick one.

isz 07-06-2007 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
I'm really curious, isz, so please don't take this the wrong way but, how would you have preferred the episode to end? And how would you have liked Sadie to act?

(I can't stress enough that I'm not picking a fight in any way; I'm just curious.)

It's not the ending that bothered me(though the ending was much too expected. it supposed to be a twist but it something i just "could see a thousand miles away",since the first time i've had seen this episode. maybe the fact that it was Saddie was a bit surprising,but just a bit) as the acting of the actress that played Saddie bothered me.I just found her acting in the last scene in the court amm...Bad. But that's only me.

BTW when i wrote ending I ment the finale in the court house,not Sam's saying goodbye to Delila.

P.s.
Tell me something... the ending court scene in this episode... is it remind you another ending of an episode in QL? Somethong Deborah Pratt also wrote...

Sam Beckett Fan 07-06-2007 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by isz
though the ending was much too expected. it supposed to be a twist

That's a personal opinion because personally I was surprised. This episode had me confused and I kept wondering what the real story would end up being.

Quote:

Originally Posted by isz
Tell me something... the ending court scene in this episode... is it remind you another ending of an episode in QL? Somethong Deborah Pratt also wrote...

I believe I make a small mention of that in my last post if you mean what I think ;)

bluedana 07-06-2007 07:24 PM

Thanks for answering my question, isz. I thought maybe I had missed something in the billion times I've watched the episode, but it's just a matter of personal taste. I completely bought into Sadie's fragile mind from the time she first appeared on the balcony. I knew Lilah was lying when she confessed, but didn't put the pieces together before Sadie's testimony about picking up the gun, and then all the secrecy made sense to me.

The courtroom scene does remind me of Trilogy, although the payoff is different, but I think SHMG's is done so much better. There are three courtroom scenes in QL, and this one is the only one I like. The other two (Raped and Trilogy) require way too much suspension of disbelief for a trial attorney. But, believe it or not, every bit of the courtroom scene in SHMG is authentic, or close to it, right down to the federal court order. And the languid way Sadie speaks, her faraway look, her evident craziness, and the sopping ever-present heat, really work for me in that scene.

But, I get where you're coming from, isz, although I see it differently.

I've never done a survey of writers to episodes, so I don't know if there's a pattern to my least/most favorite episodes.

Sam Beckett Fan 07-06-2007 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluedana
I knew Lilah was lying when she confessed, but didn't put the pieces together before Sadie's testimony about picking up the gun, and then all the secrecy made sense to me.

Yeah thats what happened to me as well. And I tritally see where you are coming from now Isz. :)

Lightning McQueenie 07-04-2010 04:35 AM

Does anyone else think that with Sadie not in her right mind, that she would have been seeing Sam as Sam, and was just going along with everyone else thinking that he was Leonard? I just get the feeling from the way she looks at him and talks to him, e.g. "Leonard, you look a might bit haggard..." that she knows something is off about him...

leaper1 07-05-2010 03:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie (Post 57766)
Does anyone else think that with Sadie not in her right mind, that she would have been seeing Sam as Sam, and was just going along with everyone else thinking that he was Leonard? I just get the feeling from the way she looks at him and talks to him, e.g. "Leonard, you look a might bit haggard..." that she knows something is off about him...

You are absolutely correct - according to canon, Sadie SHOULD be seeing Sam as Sam. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't thought about this before.
It has been a long time since I've watched this episode. If I recall, when Sam goes to the house to talk to her, he introduces himself as Leonard and she talks as if she hasn't seen him since he was a child. Perhaps she just thinks Sam is what Leonard looks like grown up, if you know what I mean.

Al_Calavicci 03-21-2013 03:20 PM

I wonder how many people here realize that Ketty Lester who played "Myrtle" in this episode was also a singer. She had a hit in 1962 with "Love Letters"

Anyway,I got Ziggy to pull this up from the memory banks~
Heres a link to one of her more obscure,but extremely underrated songs

"Please Dont Cry Anymore" from 1964.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dci92trOK24


http://fbcdn.tunewiki.com/artist/med...4/12157487.jpg

Donofrio_QLTD 08-28-2013 04:02 PM

"Good Morning, Peoria", "Thou Shalt Not...", "Jimmy" and then "So Help Me God". That's FOUR excellent episodes in a row. The classic times and also one of the best eras for QL.

Again, loved everything about this episode. Deborah Pratt was capable of writing three-dimensional characters and situations (like in this episode and her classic TCOT) as well as one-dimensional ones (WPG? and "8 1/2 Months", for example) throughout the whole series. Even Leonard's wife, which was really annoying, was also very likable and believable. I don't see anything wrong at all with the ending or with Saddie's character, and I must say that it really surprised me the first time I saw it. Not a cop-out at all. You can clearly see all the forces gathering around the situations so they could all be resolved in that exact way. Delilah's reactions and fears, the other black woman's fears (her mother? Don't remember now), the captain's aggressiveness, of course all of Saddie's little hints about her mental health and on and on.

The last scene, very emblematic for QL. Delilah is unforgettable.

My rating: Excellent. Classic, classic, classic!!!

Lightning McQueenie 01-27-2014 08:38 PM

I just watched this episode and a couple of things jumped out at me. First of all, it seems like really bad aim for Sam to leap to right before he has to enter a plea. But was it really? From the scenarios Al had Ziggy run, it never occurred to them that he might be there to prove her innocence (because all the records showed she was guilty). So if he'd leapt any earlier, they probably would have told him to do something completely different. If they did, I wonder what it would have been?

Also, with Sadie clearly not in her right mind, it makes me wonder why they would allow her testimony to be admitted into the record. Obviously it brings up enough reasonable doubt, and with Myrtle now willing to talk, she could have backed up everything Sadie said (at least about the fight), but it makes me wonder why she wasn't labelled "non-compos-mentos"?

LeapingLizards 01-30-2014 12:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie (Post 60975)
I just watched this episode and a couple of things jumped out at me. First of all, it seems like really bad aim for Sam to leap to right before he has to enter a plea. But was it really? From the scenarios Al had Ziggy run, it never occurred to them that he might be there to prove her innocence (because all the records showed she was guilty). So if he'd leapt any earlier, they probably would have told him to do something completely different. If they did, I wonder what it would have been?

Also, with Sadie clearly not in her right mind, it makes me wonder why they would allow her testimony to be admitted into the record. Obviously it brings up enough reasonable doubt, and with Myrtle now willing to talk, she could have backed up everything Sadie said (at least about the fight), but it makes me wonder why she wasn't labelled "non-compos-mentos"?

I kept wondering why everybody was so scared . Of the town bully . Why no one stood up to him until the end . Was it because Sam was there ( having leapt into this guy. And proved she was innocent . I loved that scene when Al showed up and made Sam request to go into the Judges chamber - to talk and think things out . The funny things Al made Sam say . And I am still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor when it turned out to be Sadie . As you say , she was so fragile in her mind . It was a scary moment . I thought . Kind'a like a last minute turn left instead of right . BIG surprise !

Sam Beckett Fan 06-26-2014 11:05 PM

Wow, I have no idea why I've not watched this episode more. There are only a few small beefs I had with it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie
First of all, it seems like really bad aim for Sam to leap to right before he has to enter a plea. But was it really? From the scenarios Al had Ziggy run, it never occurred to them that he might be there to prove her innocence (because all the records showed she was guilty). So if he'd leapt any earlier, they probably would have told him to do something completely different. If they did, I wonder what it would have been?

It was in fact an inappropriate moment for his arrival. He'd made the leapee look unprofessional on the job, like a high school kid who'd been called on after having fallen asleep in class:
"Uh can you repeat the question?"
However this doesn't mean that it wasn't the right moment. As you said, proving Delilah innocent wasn't in the odds because of that signed confession. Let's say he arrived prior enough to learn more about her relationship with the Cotter family before he met her, that the victim had raped her. Rape is a perfectly logical motive for murder. Thus perhaps the confession would have made sense to him. And either way no doubt Al would have been there in time to stop him from pleading her not guilty because the records show otherwise. Although Sam is known for following his feelings over Ziggy there are ways in which either those innocent eyes could have come in too late or been erased from the picture completely. So I believe he arrived at the necessary moment to change the direction of the events so that they followed the right path. Same thing with the episode Raped. See my review there, as I explain how this concept applies that episode.

Sadie could have used one or two more scenes before her testimony which showed how unstable she was. That would have sold it a bit more but the performance was amazing. Her voice was beautifully distant and dream like, it reminded me of Laura Fuller in the Trilogy episodes. Though I'd actually forgotten how she had no idea Delilah was on trial for murder but thought it was about stolen money.

As for why she wasn't declared non compos mentus (Lightning McQueenie), I'm unsure anyone really knew until that point that she was unstable unless she'd made other comments to folks about Huston being due home from hunting. We know Sam didn't realize it, he out her on the stand expecting a witness statement not a confession to the murder.
Though this angle is unclear and thus in conclusive.
What probably happened was that the housekeeper confirmed the story. Since Sam helped her feel ok swearing on a Bible she might have agreed to take the stand.

By the way to Lightning McQueenie in reference to a discussion we had about there being a small hint that she could see Sam, she never said old. The line was:
"You're looking a might haggard."
The word 'haggard' has no connection to age so it's unlikely to have been used in that context. It's probable she could see him since she was mentally unstable but it's inconclusive because it's clear that unlike Laura Fuller who would point out that Sam wasn't the leapee, Sadie was unaware of that fact. She'd addressed him as Leonard and spoke of remembering him as a classmate of her son's. So the haggard comment was not aimed at a deciphering between Sam and Leonard.

Poor Sam. He would be haggard though considering how effected he'd been by this leap, something else I'd forgotten. I'd thought Justice in season 4 was the first time black segregation had made him sick to his stomach but it had happened in this episode as well. His anger towards the N word and any slanderous comments towards Delilah were the most powerful responses we've seen from him on the subject that's for sure.

The humor was great, the excuse to have a minute in the judges chambers, very dignified Al but my favorite thing was when somehow Ziggy's first suggestion as to the mission, to play Rhett Butler with the Leapee's wife.
"No! No way! Tell Ziggy to shove that!"
Obviously someone, not sure if it was Al or Ziggy, was being a smart a** and I loved it. LMAO! :rotfl:

My biggest issue with this episode though it's actually not all that big is that the outcome was never read, Al wasn't even there for the entire climax of the leap which was somewhat strange. It's pretty evident that Delilah did alright but we don't find out what happened to Sadie. Lightning McQueenie's putting to question the credibility of her testimony says that we needed that information.

But this is overall a strong and well done episode.
5/5 stars.

Tidbit: This was the first leap Sam had done essentially all on his own, even in the little bit Al was around he hadn't helped much since Ziggy couldn't offer anything for a mission that wasn't in the odds. That was very unique and interesting.

Lightning McQueenie 06-27-2014 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan (Post 61207)
It was in fact an inappropriate moment for his arrival. He'd made the leapee look unprofessional on the job, like a high school kid who'd been called on after having fallen asleep in class:
"Uh can you repeat the question?"
However this doesn't mean that it wasn't the right moment.

Not only was it the right moment, it was the only possible moment :)

Quote:

Sadie could have used one or two more scenes before her testimony which showed how unstable she was. That would have sold it a bit more but the performance was amazing. Her voice was beautifully distant and dream like, it reminded me of Laura Fuller in the Trilogy episodes. Though I'd actually forgotten how she had no idea Delilah was on trial for murder but thought it was about stolen money.
I thought that was because as a coping mechanism, even though she remembered the shooting, she blocked out the part about her son being dead.

Quote:

As for why she wasn't declared non compos mentus (Lightning McQueenie), I'm unsure anyone really knew until that point that she was unstable unless she'd made other comments to folks about Huston being due home from hunting. We know Sam didn't realize it, he out her on the stand expecting a witness statement not a confession to the murder.
Though this angle is unclear and thus in conclusive.
Except that everyone had been saying how ill Sadie was. Maybe the Captain just kept her at home and everyone assumed she was sick...

Quote:

What probably happened was that the housekeeper confirmed the story. Since Sam helped her feel ok swearing on a Bible she might have agreed to take the stand.
Also quite possible. Either that or Delilah herself would have gone on the stand and done so - the truth was out now...

Quote:

By the way to Lightning McQueenie in reference to a discussion we had about there being a small hint that she could see Sam, she never said old. The line was:
"You're looking a might haggard."
The word 'haggard' has no connection to age so it's unlikely to have been used in that context. It's probable she could see him since she was mentally unstable but it's inconclusive because it's clear that unlike Laura Fuller who would point out that Sam wasn't the leapee, Sadie was unaware of that fact. She'd addressed him as Leonard and spoke of remembering him as a classmate of her son's. So the haggard comment was not aimed at a deciphering between Sam and Leonard.
I always associated the word "haggard" with old. Maybe we use it in a different context in my part of the world...

Quote:

Tidbit: This was the first leap Sam had done essentially all on his own, even in the little bit Al was around he hadn't helped much since Ziggy couldn't offer anything for a mission that wasn't in the odds. That was very unique and interesting.
While Sam had to do most of this mission himself, he did still have the help of Al and Ziggy to get through the trial...

Sam Beckett Fan 06-27-2014 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie
Also quite possible. Either that or Delilah herself would have gone on the stand and done so - the truth was out now...

Very true, I can believe that Delilah would would put aside her fear of God for Sadie. After all she was about to give her life for the woman who'd taken her in treated her like a daughter and shot her own son to save her life. At the end she did say:
"Sadie saved my life, twice."
The second time was obviously when she'd taken the stand.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie
I always associated the word "haggard" with old. Maybe we use it in a different context in my part of the world...

Perhaps that could be. The Dictionary.com definition is:

Quote:

having a gaunt, wasted, or exhausted appearance, as from prolonged suffering, exertion, or anxiety; worn:
While true these are feelings we most associate with older folks anyone with a lot of responsibilities or traumas can experience them.

BTW I need to watch the episode again, I missed the reflection and I completely forget what Leonard looks like.

Lightning McQueenie 06-28-2014 12:48 AM

We only see the reflection once, and it's pretty much immediately after Sam leaps in :)

Sam Beckett Fan 06-28-2014 06:40 PM

Got it, thank you for the information.

MO 10-21-2017 04:30 PM

I really enjoyed this episode. Well-acted by everyone involved, especially the actresses who played Delilah, Sadie, and Myrtle. I thought it was interesting at the end that Sam was the one who let the viewers know the Leapee's fate, instead of Al. Though we never hear what happens to Delilah, beyond her promise to Leonard.

The Sadie twist on the courtroom really hit me like a ton of bricks. All that time, I thought it was Myrtle.

Another Excellent episode.


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