‘Manhunt’ Episode 5 Recap: Does Johnson Take Back The Land Grants?

In the previous episode of Manhunt, Stanton had been researching the spy lines that the Confederacy Secret Services took. He believed that Booth and his accomplice, Herold, took this road for a safe passage to Richmond, Virginia. In search of answers, Stanton comes across Sanders, whom he had suspicions about being a Confederate sympathizer. It turns out Sanders was indeed one, as he had also been responsible for funding the Manhattan fire plot. Being a millionaire, he benefits the people in power, which is why it wasn’t easy to arrest him. 


Meanwhile, the newly appointed President Johnson promises Stanton that he’ll bring the Confederate collaborators to justice but then pardons them to win their support for his own interests. Edwin Stanton’s son, Eddie, finds out that Sanders was supplying uniforms to the soldiers, a responsibility under Stanton’s office. These uniforms had traces of smallpox and had already infected some officers who wore them. After Sanders is finally arrested for attempting to kill him, Eddie comes across an epiphany. He looks at the supply lines through which the uniforms were transported and realizes that these supply lines were indeed the spy lines the CSS used. 

Spoilers Ahead


Does Johnson Take Back The Land Grants?

As soon as he figures out the spy lines used by the Confederacy, Stanton, along with his men, rides out to intercept Booth. He comes across a band of surrendered Confederate soldiers on their way to pledge allegiance to the Union. While apprehending them, Stanton receives news of Johnson’s intention to take back the land grants under Lincoln’s reconstruction plan. 

As per the guidelines of the American reconstruction, the American government was giving free land to the freed Black people as support for their newfound freedom and livelihood. The Black population could use these lands to build new enterprises, which could contribute to the American economy. However, the privileged Confederate leaders were against this. Johnson, even though against the Confederacy, wanted to find a middle ground with them. He often uses his humble background as an example to demonstrate his hard work to get to this point, unlike the colonial roots that these Southerners had. But again, he ends up pandering to these people and takes back the land grants. To deal with this problem, Stanton heads back to the White House to convince the President, but Johnson is adamant that Black people cannot own lands. 


How Does Dr. Mudd Get Arrested?

Following Johnson’s reclamation of the land grants, land that was already given to people around the country was being taken away from them, including Mary Simm’s land, where she taught her folks to read. She and her brother are left with no choice but to head back to Dr. Samuel Mudd’s ranch to work as his household helpers. Dr. Mudd lets her work at his house again but ruthlessly whips her in return. 

Meanwhile, Stanton, who is once again on his way to find Booth, stops by Dr. Mudd’s house. Initially, Dr. Mudd’s claims about not knowing Booth were believed, but the revelation that his house was on the spy line used by the Confederacy made the union suspicious of Dr. Mudd’s role in the conspiracy. 


Stanton enters Mudd’s house, who sticks to the testament he said earlier. He claims that he has taken an oath to care for the sick, and that’s what Mudd did with Booth, without even knowing who Booth was. Stanton, however, sees through the facade with the help of Mary Simms, who discreetly points him upstairs. As expected, Stanton finds a pair of boots with John Wilkes Booth’s initials on them. Despite the evidence, when Mudd lies again, Mary finds the courage to face up to his slaver and comes clean to Stanton. She reveals that Mudd knew who he was and that Mudd has been a collaborator with the Confederate cause. This prompts Stanton and his men to arrest Mudd. Grateful, Stanton offers shelter to Mary and Miles at a friendly camp in Arlington. 

What Happens To Booth? 

Booth and Herold finally found an opening for them to cross the river into Virginia. However, when Herold reaches the shore, he realizes that they ended up circling back to Maryland because of the cloud cover. Herold was unable to navigate accurately. After getting into the Confederate uniforms of some dead Confederate soldiers, they sail back into the river. 


Finally reaching Virginia, Booth and Herold take shelter in an empty cottage. When they’re intercepted by a Black man and his son, Booth and Herold force the father to escort them to a group of surrendered Confederate soldiers. One of the soldiers figures out that Booth and Herold are not one of them. He asks about Booth’s true identity, and he reveals it, finding pride in the fact that he’s killed the president. However, his words are shot down by the soldiers, who shame Booth for being a coward who shot a man in the back of his head, calling it dishonorable. Booth wanted recognition, but even after meeting his own men, he was being compared to a coward. 

Regardless, Booth finds a sympathizer, who points them to Garrett’s lodge. He believes that Garrett might offer horses and supplies to help Booth reach Richmond for a price. However, a Black man overhears this conversation. Later on, Booth ends up succumbing to the infection on his leg because of his injury. As a result, he collapses and finds himself in Garrett’s lodge, being tended to by Garrett’s daughter. 


Does Stanton Catch Booth?

After having Mudd arrested, Stanton and his men get back on the trail. Looking for the Confederate soldiers from earlier, they run into the Black man who overheard Booth’s conversation with a local, Willie Jett. Upon finding this man who helped Booth, he reveals to Stanton Booth’s location. Stanton is one step closer to catching the man who killed his friend, but before he can ride off, Stanton suffers from an asthmatic attack and ends up collapsing instead. 

What Can We Expect In The Next Episode?

Earlier, this series introduces us to Sergeant Thomas Corbett, who takes it upon himself to bring Booth to justice. In the next episode, however, we might see how his idea of justice might not align with Stanton’s. Meanwhile, the Union are only one stop away from catching the President’s assassin; however, Stanton wants to catch Booth alive at all costs. It is important for him to know if Booth was indeed a Confederate agent or if he was acting independently. 


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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