Ben Beaulieu is a character that gives me pause at times as a producer. Slick, his half brother is dynamic enough but I understand Slick’s energy, the love that’s in his heart for others as well as how that love has to share space with the unbelievable cruelty this man is capable of. I get it. But Ben, he’s a paradoxical array of contributions that never get fleshed out only because his character is always changing. One dynamic of this character’s range is his love; love for Sally Mae, love for those he helps, love for Kelly his sister-in-law and love for Mama Clara.
This is a consistent aspect of his range. But Ben’s cruelty, this is never consistent and it’s always growing more and more dark as the books and show progresses. Maybe this is because if the overt racism he experiences bc of 1922 Jim Crow, or maybe it’s because of some inner unresolved demon deep on the inside. Case in point, Ben catches two twin brother hoods that are after him, he subdued them, drugged both and then he does the worst. He makes both brothers slowly kill each other with slowly bleeding wounds he makes each inflict on the other. As each other brother is slowly brought to heart breaking tears, we the audience stars to feel pity for them even though they are the murderers of two small black boys. And even through this guy wrenching cruelty, Ben stands by, smiling, directing each to cut a little away from the other, till finally both are so weak from loss of blood, Ben has to finish them off. The whole scenerio is dark and cruel, but Ben attends it as if a conductor, very matter of fact. That is why I say Ben is the cruelest of the two Blood Brothers, only because his depravity, under his soft voice and mild manners, truly knows no bounds.