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"The Story of Catcher Freeman" is the twelfth episode of the second season of The Boondocks. It aired January 28, 2008.


The Freemans tell their tales about a hero during the era of slavery named Catcher Freeman.


The episode begins with a cinematic, trailer style opening, detailing the exploits of a runaway slave turned hero, Catcher Freeman. The sequence fades to reveal that Grandad is telling the boys the story of their ancestor. Riley refuses to believe the story, which results in Grandad leaving in tears of pride after claiming it is true.

Riley complains that Grandad is constantly claiming they're related to historically famous black people. "The first n***a to go to the moon, or the first n***a to pole vault." He even refuses to believe slavery, claiming "n***as" wouldn't work under harsh conditions for no pay. He states this is why he doesn't believe everything he is told or what is said in books.

Grandad returns and forces Riley to stay and listen to the full story. On the plantation of Colonel George Lynchwater a.k.a. "Massa Colonel", a submissive slave named Tobias attempts to stop his fellow slaves from singing a spiritual. The Colonel arrives and is told that Tobias said the Colonel liked the song, resulting in Tobias getting repeatedly whipped and force to work in the fields. The field slaves claim they'll be freed by Catcher Freeman and his brigade, which Tobias mocks them for believing. The slaves essentially see Catcher as a superhero, comparing him to Batman, which Riley humorously questions since the character hadn't been invented yet. Tobias then claims he'll earn his freedom by selling a script, despite the fact that motion pictures also have yet to be invented, and is laughed at by the others.

Tobias falls in love with a female slave named Thelma, who is put off by him. Thelma attempted to run away one night, but is captured. Catcher Freeman arrives and rescues her, killing the overseers using martial arts techniques, which Riley also doesn't believe. Catcher convinces Thelma to return and organize the others for a plan to kill Lynchwater and gain their freedom; the two fall in love in the process. Thelma relays the plan, which Tobias attempts to dissuade only to be mocked again. Thelma meets Catcher the next night and receives a pistol before kissing him, unaware that a jealous Tobias is watching.

Riley speeds through Lynchwater being alerted to the revolt, setting a trap, and Catcher fighting with more false skills, urging Grandad to get to the end. Lynchwater holds Thelma at gunpoint, but she is able to get free. Catcher blocks a bullet from the Colonel's gun with his handcuff and cuts off Lynchwater's head. A vengeful Tobias is shot by Themla before he can shoot Catcher. Catcher and Thelma live happily ever after. Riley heckles Grandad, saying that the ending was incredibly cliché. Uncle Ruckus arrives and claims Catcher Freeman was in fact real, was the greatest black man who ever lived, but was not a hero in the same sense as Grandad's tale.

Catcher freeman

Uncle Ruckus claims Catcher Freeman's name was actually "Catch a Freeman," and he was a slave used to capture other runaway slaves. In Ruckus' story, Catcher is feral, barely able to speak, and mostly walks on all fours. He is highly athletic, being able to swing between trees, which Riley describes as "Some Ol' Tarzan Shit", now preferring Ruckus' version. The white people are kind and the slaves live a life of relative luxury and sloth, even mocking Lynchwater when he attempts to assert control. The slaves decide to kill Lynchwater for no real reason and decide to use Thelma against Catcher, who prevents their chances of escape. Thelma is portrayed as a "jezebel hussy", who seduces Catcher and ties him up as he sleeps, so that he can't come to his master's aid in the upcoming battle. Tobias is shown as heroically standing at his master’s side as the waves of attacking slaves close in, made to look like a subhuman horde of vampiric, zombie barbarians biting away at the Colonel's men. When the slaves win the battle, it is couched in Ruckus’ telling as a heartless and unprovoked massacre. Catcher, too dumb to know he was betrayed, goes with Thelma up north and marries her.

As Robert and Ruckus argue over whose version is correct, Huey presents the web-searched version of the story.

In the true story, told by Huey, Catcher Freeman did not even exist at the start. Instead, Thelma desires freedom and finds the will to fight back when she kills a white rapist during her escape, and becomes the figurehead of the revolt exactly one week later. Meanwhile, Tobias, who is revealed to be a "mulatto bastard" son of the Colonel, has developed the world’s first screenplay (before film’s invention) and convinces his father it is worth financing. To make sure the screenplay does get the funding, he tells the Colonel about the revolt. But Thelma gave him false information for the time of the attack and it turns out to be at that moment, whereas Tobias thought it would take place in a week. Despite this, the revolt succeeds and Thelma and the Colonel square off with swords on the steps of the plantation. Tobias, not wanting the Colonel to die before he financed the project, fires the flintlock at Thelma’s back, but the struggling fighters turn and the Colonel is shot instead. Tobias, noticing everyone is looking at him, prudently pretends that he shot the Colonel on purpose, and thus the legend is born and Tobias becomes known as Catcher Freeman.

This version of the story is denied by both Robert and Ruckus as it conflicts too heavily with their own versions. The episode ends as Riley prepares to give his own "version" of the story, where Catcher refused to be a slave, had "300 hoes" besides Thelma, drove a Bentley coup with machine guns "and the rims, n***a what."


Cultural references[]

  • The character of Catcher Freeman and the slave rebellion of the Colonel's plantation may be a reference to Nat Turner and the famous slave rebellion of 1831, which was lead by Nat Turner himself.
  • Catcher Freeman quotes the final lines of the shows theme song while speaking with Thelma.


  • Colonel: So the only n***** I got to beat the shit out of today is Tobias. (whips Tobias and Tobias screams)
  • Tobias: You guys are real fucking assholes, you know that?!
  • Riley: That guy is popping out of the water like Jason!