Turn: Washington's Spies S2E1 - "Thoughts of a Free Man" Recap

There's a new villain on this season of Turn, which has been re-named to Turn: Washington's Spies for those of you who haven't been paying attention! This villainous figure is King George, who is sitting in this luxurious palace in England to be posed for the American sculptress Patience Wright. The Crown is in a bit of a financial problem as it hasn't been able to pay its bills so easily. Wright snatches up a page of his top-secret memo when it fell to the floor as the King threw a tantrum. She sent the page back to the States in one of the King's busts and is later killed along with her lover for betraying the Crown.

General Washington is having his own difficulties, as he has become the scapegoat of all the troubles in the colonies. Benjamin Tallmadge isn't happy about Washington's receiving this wrongful treatment and is further perturbed to learn that Congress is being lobbied to replace Washington. General Charles Lee is mentioned as potentially being bought by John André. Washington tells Ben off and orders him to get the Culper ring back on track or to find a replacement.

In Setauket, Abe and Mary are still recovering after the explosive events of the season one finale, in which Abe was forced to murder Ensign Baker to keep his spying secret. Mary had then decided they needed to burn their farm down and blame those crimes on marauding rebels. It's an uneasy alliance for this pair, as they have their son to think about, but they disagree on their deepest political fundamentals. Mary is still loyal to the Brits while Abe was/is a spy for the rebels. The pair are now living with Abe's father, the judge, and thus sharing a living space with Major Hewlett. Mary continues spinning her tale to her group of lady friends and seems to be doing a decent job, but some of them still seem to suspect that she's lying though for now they're not saying much to oppose her.

Hewlett pays a visit to Anna and invites her over for dinner with everyone. This makes things even more awkward, as Mary feels that perhaps the deepest of all Abe's betrayals is loving Anna. She arrives at the party to celebrate the occupation of Philadelphia. It doesn't take long for Abe to pull Anna into a closet. He has a message he wants sent to Ben that will share the news of what happened with Ensign Baker as well as outline a new code system to use. Anna spies them coming out of the closet albeit at separate times. Determined to stop Abe from proceeding any further, she makes a scene at dinner when Abe announces his plans to resume his study of the law in New York. Hewlett is "helpful" enough to offer up a British escort to stay by his side all the while he is in the city to prevent him from being harmed by patriots.

While General Washington entertains the French military attaché, Theveneau De Francy, Ben gets into a scuffle with some officers who insult Washington's ability to lead as well as his manhood. It's a textbook example of the fragility of the male ego.

Following the falling out during the dinner party, Abe and Mary get into an argument. She tries to use Baker's death as an example of God testing them and how they should try again. He points out that Baker should have never been in their house to begin with, just as Hewlett shouldn't be in his father's house now. Abe has grown fed up with the Crown's laws, taxes, or so-called protection. He sees now that he cannot stay out of the fight while simultaneously being true to himself. Mary professes her love for Abe but he doesn't feel the same, a fact she already knows. But she appears resigned to let him do as he pleases, since there's no way she can do anything else. The next day, Abe meets his new escort. He also meets with Hewlett and asks for permission to pretend to be a spy so he can get the names of Patriot spies. In order to do so, he won't be able to have an escort following him around. He convinces Hewlett of his commitment to this cause and it looks like Abe won't have that pesky bodyguard to deal with anymore!

Later, during a dinner, Washington asks General Lee to read out the latest indictments against him. It's all very uncomfortable and Ben looks like he's struggling to keep from starting another fight. But who should enter but one Benedict Arnold! Of course this is before he's known to be a traitor, so he presents a lively defence of Washington and says he has no patience for politicians and their military pets. Washington and Ben now greatly admire him, the hero of Saratoga, but who knows if they'll be singing this same tune by the time the season is through.

There's one final matter at hand. The disgraced former Ranger to the Queen, Robert Rogers, gets an audience with the King. He wants to explore the Northwest Passage, but is tasked with something else entirely. He is to retrieve the documents Patience Wright stole before they can fall into the hands of the French. In exchange, Rogers' debts will be wiped away and he can explore as he pleases.

Turn: Washington's Spies airs on Mondays on AMC at 9PM.


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