Turn 1.08 Review: “Challenge”

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Whew! Another busy week on the AMC revolutionary war spy drama TurnThis week we have not only spy games and intrigue, but also battles and war! Really, it’s a win win.

When we left off last week, Anna and Abe were headed to New York. Anna, to recover Selah (her husband) from the prison ship with Judge Woodhull’s pardon, and Abe to sell off their crop to his contact in New York. As we begin this week, the pair are in New York (staying in separate rooms, of course) and just as they are about to depart on their various missions of the day, the conversation turns toward what might’ve been with them. Anna demands to know why decided to break off their engagement and honor his father’s agreement, but Abe dodges her question. We’ll soon find out, though. And it’s a doozy!

Last week we also saw Selah being released under Samuel Tallmadge’s name, so that Robert Rogers could set a trap for Ben. Unfortunately for Rogers, Caleb went instead of Ben, but Rogers still fired on the exchange proceeding. This angered the soldiers in charge and caused Caleb and Selah to go on the run, but not before using a code to alert Ben to their whereabouts. When Anna arrived at the ship, however, she is informed that Selah is dead, when in fact it’s Samuel. SO to recap, Selah Strong is alive, but Anna doesn’t know that, and she’s in New York, with Abe. Hm.

Anyway, Ben soon joins Caleb and Selah in their standoff against Rogers. The standoff is mostly just that, but right as Rogers is making a move, a whole trove of British soldiers ride up, and demand that everyone put down their weapons and come out. To absolve themselves, Ben and Caleb swear that Selah IS Samuel (even though his falsified papers are Rogers’ doing) and Rogers is taken back to a VERY unhappy John Andre. I’m interested to see where that goes, if for no other reason than to see two of the best characters on the show (Andre and Rogers) interact.

Abe, meanwhile, has secured an invitation to a private dinner at the home of John Andre. When he and Anna exchange news (about Selah being “dead” and the party) she demands to go along. Abe decides that she is unfit emotionally to do this (he’s probably right about that), so she instead seeks the help of Abigail, who reluctantly helps her get into the party…as a “dance partner”. Abe has gotten plenty of juicy tidbits at the party, but is a bit put out by Anna’s arrival. After finding out (from Abigail) exactly what Anna is looking for, he makes a spur of the moment jump which ties several moments from the episode into one (and was actually quite clever!). Abe gets the information they seek from John Andre’s black book, and Abe bows out of the party (okay, he’s forced out by a jealous officer). Before Abe exits, they demand that they answer the dinner’s “challenge” question. If you could kill anyone with no consequence, who would it be? Abe delivered to the room (but really Anna) a rousing speech about the man who killed his brother. He said that a prankster “insulted” a group by putting a cap on a statue, and that started the riot which got his brother killed, and that the prankster is who he would kill. Anna looks up at him in that moment and realizes that he is the one who played that fatal prank.

So it all makes sense. Abe married his brother’s intended and honored his father’s agreement out of guilt that his brother was killed out of something he did. As a joke, no less. When Anna returns to the place they’re staying, she acknowledges this and he says she’s the only one that knows. And then? Well, she knows that Abe still loves her and she obviously still harbors feelings so….I’m betting you can figure out how the rest of this episode went.

Acting superlative this week is definitely (once again) for Jamie Bell. Abe keeps taking unexpected turns, and the dramatic speech about his brother’s death really sealed it for me this week. I’ll admit, it DID look like Abe was being a coward when he did what he did for his brother, but after that speech, even further layers to Bell’s character were revealed. I really love what a good job Bell does with the nuances and silent struggle that Abe carries throughout the show. As many elements and characters in this show that I love, Jamie Bell brings his A-game throughout the series. Really, top notch!

What do you think? Where do we go from here? Is Setauket headed toward rioting? Is Simcoe on the right track to discovering the mole? Let me know your thoughts! 2 more weeks remaining!!

[Photo via AMC]

Nick Hogan is a TV and movie fanatic. He loves writing reviews, TV discussion, and is always looking for new things to watch. Follow him on Twitter @nickyahogan
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