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Butterfly Effect
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

A bright orange flag with a stylized butterfly insignia flaps in the breeze. It's morning in America! Outside a farmhouse, a young man plays fetch with his dog. His mother calls him inside because "it's starting!" I hope they don't expect me to believe that this young man is any sort of athlete because he has a super goofy run. And his mom is Mrs. Weir from Freaks and Geeks! She's looking worn out and tired. Maybe she's tired because Lindsay works such long hours as an ER nurse and just can't seem to settle down with Uncle Jesse. Young Man comes into the house and turns on the TV, like how did the mom know it was starting if the TV wasn't even on yet? And is Young Man the only one who knows how to turn on the television? He has at least two brothers who are sitting in the room too. Anyway, the family sits down to watch some event being carried live on the news; the chyron on the TV says that it's the dedication of the new capital at Shiloh.

Meanwhile, in Shiloh, a well-dressed mother and her two grown children stand in a marble hallway waiting for King Silas. The son asks if his dad, the king, is going to talk about God in his speech, and the mom says that she hopes not because "God isn't popular right now." The son comments drily that his father likes God and the daughter finally speaks up to add, "And God likes him." Get it? Because he's a king? And he has divine right? Because presumably this is a parallel universe where that whole concept never went out via revolutions by the people. Although maybe if this thing gets picked up for a second season, we might see a revolution or two.

Anyway, the nearby soldiers suddenly snap to attention and a sniveling aide announces, "The king approaches!" In a great shot, we see Ian McShane from the back as he walks majestically down the marble hallway. His sniveling aide is upset that he didn't get to see the king's speech in advance. The king refuses a proffered coat, and wonders where Reverend Samuels is, since he's supposed to give the benediction. Another aide suggests waiting for him, but the king decides that his son will do it. The aide won't shut up about the speech, like if a guy has divine right, does he really have to worry so much about PR? I mean, if the people don't like what he says, can't he just claim that God told him to say it and we mortals can't expect to understand God's mysterious ways?

Silas steps outside where there are hordes of people cheering. He's standing on the front steps of an old-looking building (very New York Public Library-esque), but behind and all around are modern skyscrapers. This is the Kingdom of Gilboa, and we're seeing the inauguration of the new capitol at Shiloh. The king pauses before he begins his speech, and McShane is just a master. I could not be less interested in hearing a fictional king talk about his fictional alternate reality city, but I'm captivated by his performance. Anyway, important information that we learn from his speech: Shiloh was recently rebuilt, the kingdom of Gilboa is made up of a number of territories that used to be at war, but are now united, and the king claims that he saw this city in a vision before it was ever built.

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