TURN Season 1 Review “Epiphany”

Turn Episode 1 Pilot (3)

“Epiphany” was almost a perfect episode. It had Robert Rogers, John Andre, Burn Gorman singing Rule Britannia, Aldis Hodge’s first appearance, a new dynamic female character in Abigail, and the introduction of the man, the myth, the legend himself, George Washington (Ian Kahn). The only thing missing was Captain Simcoe which I’ll let side because of the aforementioned. And more than celebrating the holiday of the episode’s title, the characters each had their own moments of discovery and realization.

Let’s begin with Abe and Anna. Once again, I found Jamie Bell more engaging playing a man with a plan. Papa Woodhull didn’t give him the papers to enter York City, and in response, Abe perused through new intelligence on Major Hewlett’s desk. More importantly, he finally acted on his feelings for Anna, which she returned. Their moment was interrupted by Ensign Baker (Thomas Keegan), the British soldier who is quartered at Abe’s home. Baker comes across as a decent guy telling Abe that he should spend the winter at Whitehall with Mary, Thomas (who has come down with croup), and Papa Woodhull. I have an inkling that he harbors feelings for Mary though which gives him a leg up in knowing of Abe’s and Anna’s indiscretion. Abe followed Baker’s advice, but he has now said aloud what we’ve understood all along: that Anna knows him and she’s always known him (a great scene between Bell and Heather Lind). In many ways, Abe has been the one constant in Anna’s life. Her husband is gone and now her slaves have been freed per the Dunmore Proclamation. Here’s where Turn smartly delved into the fallacy of Anna’s (and the Colony) view on slavery. For all the anger she feels about the British wrongly occupying her land, she still tries to justify the institution of owning other people as property. The British are just as awful in their treatment by saying that slavery is a sin yet using it to aid their cause in the war.

Idara Victor made quite an impression as Abigail, one of Anna’s former slaves. Anna cannot save her from being sent to John Andre as a servant so Abigail uses the situation to her advantage. She can read and knows about Anna’s dealings with Abe and Caleb. She will communicate anything learned about the British by living with Andre in exchange for Anna protecting her son, Cicero. Abigail possesses the strong aspects of Anna and Mary (yes, Mary): she’s willing to lay her life on the line to protect her family. Her situation is even more precarious considering what she could lose, and the realization of having to play this dangerous game is heartbreaking.

Along with Victor, Angus Macfadyen once again owned the screen every time he was on it. Robert Rogers is basically a stick of dynamite that you think is about to explode. He’s the loose cannon that the British need but hate tolerating. When he wants something, he gets it. This included the wonderful dinner scene where he interrogated Charles Lee, who happened to be having dinner with Andre’s actress lover. Rogers dangles the bait like an expert fisherman and just reels Lee in. Ben Tallmadge better watch his ass now that Rogers knows he’s the Colonial that escaped the massacre in the first episode. I also loved the fact that Rogers calls George Washington “Georgie.” You can hear the bitterness and disgust in his voice whenever the name is mentioned. The idea that Washington can make Rogers so pissed off makes Washington even more fascinating.

It’s satisfying then that we finally got to meet the man tonight, however briefly. Ben and Caleb may have missed the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, but they got to witness Washington’s nighttime victory at Princeton. Both battles were considered small victories by the British at the time but restored hope in the Colonial cause and Washington. And it led us to the final moment of the episode and the biggest epiphany of all: that Washington knows who Abe Woodhull is. I don’t think Tallmadge let it slip which means our dear first president figured it out on his own. I hope he and Rodgers come face to face soon.

Notes from The Dead Letter Box

– The glimpse was short, but I’m already digging Ian Kahn as Washington. He seems to have done his homework on the man too based on an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Georgie hated his teeth and spoke in a manner that hid them. Looks like Kahn will be affecting this in his performance.

– Thoroughly enjoyed Aldis Hodge on Leverage so it’s great to see him here. He’s playing Jordan, the would-be suitor of Abigail. You know he’s not going to take the British order of fighting in the army well.

– Bummed that we didn’t witness the battles at either Trenton or Princeton but if that meant no horrible CGI again, I’m okay with that decision.

– Poor Burn Gorman had a bad night on Game of Thrones. Good thing he got to play piano and sing here!

– Captain Simcoe is back next week! He’s my new favorite character that I love to hate.

– Think I also spied Stephen Root in next week’s trailer as well #mystapler #Isaidnosalt #OfficeSpaceMeets1777