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Episode 01: New Babylon
Sky Original  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: February 13, 2023

Directed by: Francesca Comencini  |  Written by: Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli

Official synopsis: In Texas, in 1872, John Ellis, a former slave, and Sarah, a young orphan, founded New Babylon, a town of outcasts. This is where Django arrives, lonely skinned alive, launched in search of the murderer of his family. There he finds his daughter Sarah, the only survivor of the massacre.

The first sequence is almost like a short film. I love it, I think it’s so epic. It’s very classical but with a very weird twist, because I’m a fucking woman killing a prostitute in a really fucking beautiful way. But Francesca Comencini coordinated it, that was her creation and that of the stunt team obviously. I loved working with her. We had a lot of fun with that sequence. (Noomi Rapace, KinoTV Denmark, July 04, 2023)

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Greg Wheeler for The Review Geek, March 01, 2023

Welcome to the United States in 1872. We’re 7 years after the end of the civil war when slavery was abolished. In the South, the situation is dire as black people continue to suffer discrimination and violence. Deep in the heart of Texas though, a former slave and an orphaned young woman create a city where every human is free and equal, called New Babylon. This town has a strict “no-guns” policy for anyone entering, including rich guests from outside the community who come from far and wide. There’s a heady cocktail of drink, laughter and barbarous fistfights for sport too, with New Babylon making a tidy profit supporting its star fighter. A towering Austrian called Isaac is a mountain of a man, and he’s challenged by a mysterious stranger. The pair end up in a bloody brawl, with the stranger surprisingly besting Isaac. As the crowd chants “fight”, the stranger thinks twice about delivering the killing blow and leaves Isaac to fight another day. And who is our valiant fighter? Sheriff John Ellis isn’t waiting around to find out. After paying off the winner, he tells the stranger to leave by morning otherwise he’ll be killed.

The man who has won the fight is called Django, and he’s shown up in New Babylon not to fight but actually to return a tobacco case that apparently belongs to someone there. Well, Django is on a strict time-limit given he needs to go in 4 hours before Ellis kills him. Well, John Ellis eventually finds Django sniffing around the house. He’s had enough and eventually takes him outside, strings him up by the neck and prepares to give him a sticky end. Just before the deed is done, Sarah shows up, Ellis’ partner. She and Django lock eyes and it’s enough to bring back memories of the past, specifically that of the pair hunting together. Her excellent marksmanship comes in handy to shoot the rope he’s strung up by down, telling her future husband, John Ellis, that no wedding will take place if a death occurs that night. Django is not in a great way, and while he sits behind bars, Sarah speaks to all the townsfolk about the people of Elmsdale and encourages them to come together and never let their haven of New Babylon die. Her wedding to John is only going to solidify their bonds.

We then cut to Elmsdale City, which lies 35 miles south of New Babylon. Three riders set off and come upon a brothel. In a room alone, the female takes one of the workers into the backroom and lulls her into a false sense of security, stabbing her through the mouth. After, she sets light to the place before shooting up a whole bunch of the workers. This is Elizabeth, a woman who believes she’s doing God’s work. Elizabeth has been “spreading’s the Lord’s word on Earth” and believes that what she’s doing is right. Speaking of right, Sarah gets dressed up in her wedding veil and rides out of New Babylon on her horse. She heads out to a cropping overlooking New Babylon and looks over Django’s journal, which includes numerous sketches of her early life and past, including the commune she stayed in back then. Sarah returns to New Babylon, ready to marry John Ellis. However, fragments of the past bleed through, right as Ellis cuts his hand, prompting her to turn and leave before they can be wed.

Guest Cast: Jyuddah Jaymes (Seymour Ellis), Tom Austen (Elijah), Benny O. Arthur (Kevin Ellis), Maya Kelly (Young Sarah), Joshua J Parker (Adam Thurman), Abigail Thorn (Jess), Camille Dugay Comencini (Margaret Wright), Slavko Sobin (Isaac Borowka), Romario Simpson (Reuben Morgan), Michela De Rossi (Fanny), Emeline Lambert (Caroline Turner), Cheherezada Oko (Hattie), Tobi Ibitoye (Harry)