TURN Recap “Hypocrisy, Fraud, and Tyranny”
By Chris B.
In the latest Turn episode, John Andre tries to put to use what every good Capitalist knows: the best way to drain an enemy is to create a hole in his wallet.
Andre has a new plan, and James Rivington is in the thick of it. Two of his presses are going to use stolen paper from the rebels’ own supply to flood the market with fake money, thereby devaluing the currency and bankrupting the Continental government, “false Congress notes for a false Congress.” It appears that Benedict Arnold’s little tip has been useful.
Robert volunteers to take the forgers some free Madeira and thus gains access to their secret room where they furiously create stacks of fake bills and formulate a plan for their release. While Robert and his tray make their rounds, he hears Andre lay out the idea of dispersal via water on a ship called the Glencairn sailing north on the Hudson to rebel-held territory. Lt. Gamble will lead them in the mission and coordinate their efforts with their potential distributors.
In the episode’s most endearing scene, the elder Townsend arrives in York City and is led upstairs by Rivington. The old man is there to pick up the intel gathered from his son, who they find putting the finishing touches on a piece of music he’s copied from “a new piece from an Austrian fellow.” As Rivington is poking around, being his usual nosey self, Robert claims the copy is for someone named Nellie to play on her pianoforte if she can find someone for the violin in the duet. On his way out, the tavern owner ribs Robert about getting this girl to come to New York—too bad Nellie is really the family dog. The Townsends, sharing a nice moment of fatherly pride and family bonding, make plans to meet again for Thanksgiving.
“Why, father, wouldn’t that be considered a holiday?”
“So don’t tell the other Quakers. I won’t, and in any case, there’ll be turkey.”
“Count me in.”
All comes full circle at Moodna Creek, where Ben’s small band of soldiers locate the meeting of the Patriot privateers and the counterfeiters who have come to buy their goods. In the ensuing battle, the money is burned, and Ben gets to leap on Gamble like a spider monkey and beat his face bloody. Before he is able to find out where the other shovers have gone, they grapple over a knife, which gets its own shoving—straight into Gamble’s chest. Caleb delivers the final shot, saying Nathaniel Sackett’s name before blasting the spymaster’s murderer in the face.
If anyone can understand the concept of devaluing, it is Anna Strong. She, toiling away in the army camp with a shovel in a ditch, is pulled from her hole by Ben and Caleb and taken to Washington’s tent. The General thanks her for her service to the country: “On behalf of those who will never know the true measure of your efforts, I thank you for them and for all the sacrifices you have made in the name of our cause.” But when she presses him for the ability to do more in the espionage effort, he dismisses her, kindly but firmly. Ben blusters at Anna’s frustration, uncertain at what her expectations are, given that she is merely a woman. “Am I a camp follower now? Is that all I’m meant to do?” Caleb soothes her, promising to talk to Ben, who both acknowledge has not been the same since he returned from his mission to New Jersey.
Afterwards, Anna has a tense conversation with Ben in her new lodging, the tent surrounding Sackett’s former cart, which he thinks will be a boon to her as she then will be set apart from the other women who lurk around the camp “just to find a husband.” Anna’s having none of it; after all, to her, this is Ben, not Major Tallmadge. This is the kid she’s known all her life; she reminds him, “I’m the one who used to hold your hand while you cried from a bee sting.” Ben scoffs at this; it’s been a long time since he’s had to grow up, and he questions whether or not Anna has done so herself.
Undeterred, Anna ticks off her spy resume to him, how she is the one who recruited Abigail and kept in contact with her, fearing Ben has taken credit for her work. Still, Ben feels he’s been more than supportive of her by not mentioning her near-marriage to Hewlett as wedding the enemy does not tend to endear one to Washington; however, what he has told the General instead, “that there were whispers of adultery with Culper, and rather than implicate him and the ring, you left Setauket because of social shame,” is not much better. Anna is crestfallen, knowing that label of “a woman shamed” has followed her here. But the “shame” part isn’t the real nail in the coffin—it is simply being a woman, “something fragile, something to be protected” that stunts her ability to be taken seriously and seen as an equal. Ben explodes, reminding her that Sackett is gone “because this ring is dangerous, even in camp, even for a man.” But when he stalks away, Anna looks bleak, the war raging between her spirit and her ultimate powerlessness in a world of men.
Later, Anna gets misty when she finds a map of Setauket amongst the papers in Sackett’s tent, but she perks up when Ben and Caleb come by for “a different perspective” on their counterattack as she is one who has spent a lot of time in enemy territory. They agree that the British would be looking for a way to dump the fake money fast; as Caleb notes, “they need a flood, not a trickle.” It is Anna who makes the connection of Patriot privateers, those who would have access to rebel land and waterways and who “might be greedy enough not to ask questions about who they’re selling to or why.” Caleb recalls a couple of tobacco merchants who have abruptly closed their shop, clearly waiting for a big pay day; the boys head out, a hopeful Anna watching them go with a hearty, “Give ‘em hell!” She may not be the one toting a gun this time, but she is as much a fighter as any of them, by any standard.
After last week, did you think yourself free of tyranny, Setauket? Not so fast.
Simcoe rides into into town, promptly taking over Whitehall, much to Richard’s dismay, and Mary’s. Mrs. Woodhull, who had agreed to cover her husband’s tracks while he slips away on spy duty, begs her father-in-law to not mention Abe’s name. “Does it concern you that you would be sacrificing your son to the man who had you shot?” Richard reluctantly agrees, on the condition that she surrender Thomas to him. When Simcoe enters, she has no choice but to capitulate, a moment that Richard clearly loves as he makes no attempt to hide his smug expression.
His upper hand, however, is quickly slapped by the fuming Simcoe who believes that Richard, given his close association with Hewlett, must also have had dealings with Robert Rogers: “It is clear they were in league against me, and it would not serve you well to deny what you have seen, either in passing or as an active participant.” Richard cannot help but see the unhinged glint in Simcoe’s eyes, and he chooses his words carefully; without flinching, he reports no collusion between Rogers and Hewlett, something he would pronounce “ridiculous” were it not for Simcoe’s obvious belief in it. Woodhull claims that all he knows of the men “is that they despised one another.” Simcoe studies him for a long, tense moment before relenting.
Abe arrives in Oyster Bay not long after Mr. Townsend. The latter mentions that Robert will be at the farm for Thanksgiving and invites Abe and his family to join them. Abe gives the reply of all smart men: “I’ll see what the wife says.”
However, as it turns out, it isn’t Mary who decides that they must go; it is Robert Rogers. Rogers surprises the Woodhulls, emerging from the shadows of their fruit cellar/spy cave and demanding to know the intel that Abe has received, since “your friend Brewster needed saving, so I saved him…you owe me.” Abe tells him of Andre’s plot, which earns Rogers’s disdain for the pansy action of “using money as a weapon.” Still, he has to shove a gun in the boy’s face to get him to add the “irrelevant” extra about Major Andre seeming “down in the mouth” with woman trouble.
Rogers pounces on this as “the key” and tries desperately to remember the name of the woman in Philadelphia that the Major had fancied. When he cannot, he announces that he “will just have to ask.” When Abe tries to stop Rogers from converging on Townsend and spooking him, Rogers knocks him flat and traps him and Mrs. Cabbage Farmer in the cellar. “I like you, boy, and that’s why I’m not going to kill you, but we will never see each other again.” For Abe’s part, I’m guessing that would still be too soon.
Abe cannot get ahead of Rogers, but he does know how to stop him. When the Woodhulls escape and get to Whitehall, they are in time to save Richard from the awkward situation he’s gotten into since Simcoe has found a letter that his host has started to pen against Setauket’s new military leader. Dabbing pointedly at his bloodstained forehead, Abe claims that his farm was robbed. “You’re not going to believe it, but it was Robert Rogers.” A wild-eyed Simcoe seethes, “Which way did he run?” Looks like round two between the deadly foes is ON.