AMC ‘Turn’ Episode 102, “Who by Fire” : Double Trouble and Recap

turnabraham
Abraham Woodhull     (Jamie Bell)

In tonight’s episode of Turn, Abraham (Jamie Bell) inadvertently becomes a double agent. His desire to protect and provide for his family and friends puts him in tremendous danger.

Abraham is a scapegoat. The episode begins with two masked horsemen fleeing the scene of Abe’s burning barn. The attackers meant to show him and the rest of Setauket that Abraham was wrongly exonerated for Captain Joyce’s murder. The vendetta was born, though, of self preservation.

John Robeson, who started the fight with Abraham in Strong Tavern during the premiere episode, was one of the men who set Abe’s barn on fire. John killed Captain Joyce during a lover’s quarrel, so he convinced Joyce’s loyal drummer boy that Abraham was the murderer. Here we see the danger of emotion, vengeance, and a life of pretense.

John’s romance was a criminal offense. He needed to protect himself from charges of buggery and murder- Abraham was the perfect scapegoat. The secret romance and closeted identity took its toll on John and pushed him to betray his lover in the worst possible way. Abraham, once made privy to John’s offense and intention, fears a similar fate for himself, acknowledging the hellish consequences of leading a double life .

Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), who lured Abraham into his rogue espionage mission, compromised Abraham’s safety when he left the Queen’s Ranger cap at the site of his successful ambush,a message for Major Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen). This emotional, retaliatory token placed Abe in Roger’s cross hairs.

Once in Setauket, Rogers takes an interest in Abe. To protect Anna Strong (Heather Lind), Abe shares with Rogers a letter Anna found in Captain Joyce’s billet. Had he not done this, Anna would have been hanged for Joyce’s murder. He betrays his friend, Anna, to protect her. This selfless act is different from Ben’s self-serving betrayal of Abe (keeping Simcoe alive) and John’ s selfish betrayal of Joyce.

This maneuver confuses Anna, but intrigues Rogers. This new information leads Rogers to Joyce’s killer, John, but Rogers, “smells something rotten” in Setauket.

Consequently, he turns John into something he most loathes- a spy. John will comply to 1)keep his sexuality secret (2) stay alive. Rogers knows John did not orchestrate the Connecticut ambush, but he will use John and, ironically, Abraham to find who did. Abraham, who is responsible for the ambush,  is now in the precarious position of double agent.

We are left wondering if Rogers is setting up Abraham. Not only are Roger’s intentions cause for concern, but how are Ben, Anna, and Caleb going to trust Abe when they find out he answers to Rogers? After all, Anna already feels betrayed.

Aside from espionage and sexuality, the other bizarre duality of the episode lies in the strange etiquette of war. Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), the only reason Abe agreed to help Ben and Caleb, enjoys a civilized dinner with Ben, his captor. The site of him dinning with his wig askew is as comical as Ben’s gentlemanly interrogation. Simcoe is, after all, a ruthless predator who enjoys killing Patriots. Sadly, just as Caleb and Ben go to kill Simcoe, Ben’s General discovers the trio and apologizes to Simcoe, the man who was set to ambush and slaughter Patriots.

The civility of war is a paradox that keeps it raging. Had Ben killed Simcoe as promised, lives would be spared. Simcoe will undoubtedly go on a murderous tear when he is released. On the flip side, the then corrupt act of gathering intelligence was instrumental in defeating enemy forces. The bizarre juxtaposition of justice and corruption calls perception into question.

Abe’s position is punctuated with the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, a holiday that cautions citizens against rebellion. Which character will find himself in Fawkes tragic position? Will Abe be caught and compelled to talk?

What do you think is in store for our spy ring in episode 103? You can post your predictions in the comment section.

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Teacher by day, pop culture consumer by night- Melissa lives for good stories and loves to share them with fellow TV, movie, graphic novel, and book enthusiasts. As Galabout Bethlehem, she blogs, too, about her local arts and culture scene for figbethlehem.com. She also blogs about pop culture's influence on everything from her world view to her relationships at undertheinfluence76.blogspot.com-- she'd love for you to join in on her journey.