If there is one major takeaway from Turn: Washington’s Spies season 4 episode 7, it’s that the beginning of the end is near. We’ve seen these characters evolve in so many different ways; some for the better, and some for the worse.
Probably the most harrowing moment of this entire episode, though, was one that could play out regardless of whatever time period the show is set in. We’re referring here to the painful, tearful confession of Brewster when he makes it clear just how much that Simcoe broke him, and also some of the information that he was able to glean from those torture scenes. Brewster wanted nothing more than to be a good, viable part of the Culper ring, and now he’s suffering physically, emotionally, and anything and everything in between. It’s gut-wrenching, as is the fact that moving into these final episodes, both Simcoe and Arnold are still out there. There are people today who have been where Brewster is; the true tragedy is that in that time, the odds of finding someone capable of helping the character are astronomically low.
Based on where we are leaving off, Arnold is marching down with his men to Virginia, and some characters are beginning to experience more in the way of actual war than they have on the show to date. Wheels are in motion, but how they spin is the larger question at the center of the show right now. What makes the landscape so interesting in this hour is the frequent collision courses that we ended up seeing between friends and enemies alike. You had one character in Ben on one side with his own way of perceiving how to handle Arnold. Meanwhile, Abe was firmly devoted to finding a way to dispatch Simcoe from the world once and for all and spent a good part of the start of this episode thinking out loud with Hewittabout various ways in which to successfully do that. This was endlessly entertaining, mind you, but it didn’t lead to the goal being achieved. It’s kind of difficult given that Simcoe knows…
Dueling alliances. Shifting alliances. Seeing a young child like Cicero be dragged into the middle of this time and time again and forced to keep secrets in order to survive. This was an episode that had a lot going on but didn’t feel a need to resolve much of it. Turn is right now relying firmly on the intelligence of its viewers to remember back to key plot points (see the deserter plan from last week) and where certain characters fall on the board. Don’t you think that Peggy still has a further role to play, for example? The story is well-conceived (it is history, after all), and there still remains an opportunity for a few more twists to the plan.
The biggest way to describe this episode is as in the title: The best-laid plans often do go to waste. Yet, there are still those little moments here and there where you start to see something brilliant shine through, and if you can hold onto that hope, maybe your original plan can still shine through. The brilliance of the Culper ring lies in its ability to think on its feet; the brilliance with Turn, meanwhile, is the ability for the writers to plant the necessary seeds that will bloom outward in the weeks to come. This episode wasn’t a barn-burner, but it was a solid bit of foundation and a worthy ride from point A to B. Maybe there is still a way for the ring to have its cake and eat it, too. Grade: B+.
For a preview of next week’s episode…
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