Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Turn 1.8: Nice, Instructive Turn

Turn 1.8 took a nice turn on Sunday night, with Abe and Anna finally together, without interruption.

Also revealed is the guilt Abe has been carrying for the death of his brother, important to know in any case, and the catalyst for Abe and Anna taking their clothes off, at last.   There was also a fine poetry in the way this was presented in the episode, which starts with the two dressing, separately, and concludes with the two undressing, together.

Meanwhile, this was also a good Robert Rogers episode.   He's clearly the best that the British have against the Americans, because he's more than willing to break the rules in pursuit of American revolutionary quarry.   But when he fires into a prisoner exchange, that's going too far for the Red Coats, who now want him dead almost as much as do the Americans.   Britannia is all about the rule of law, hence the Brit opposition to American independence, as well a wily trapper like Rogers who puts victory above the law.

In that sense, Rogers is a very modern combatant, and one could even make a connection between his way of conducting war and the drone strikes of today.  Rogers' team is also worthy of note - a Native American and an African American.  It's historically accurate that some of both groups tended to fight on the side of the British, which at first seems to clash with our American sense of history, and how we have always been a country that values freedom above all else.   So why, then, did anyone from two oppressed groups fight on the side of the Brits?   The answer is that neither group was free in Revolutionary America.   The "all men are created equal" in our Declaration of Independence not only applied literally to men - not women - but also excluded slaves, Native Americans, and, for that matter, any white man who was poor (not a land holder or a very wealthy merchant).  Small wonder, then, that both groups tended to be more kindly disposed to the Crown than our Continental Congress.

As Turn has already explored, Britain was well on the way to abolishing slavery by the time of the American Revolution.   Not that the Brits were above using African Americans for their own lofty ends, but there's no doubt that Britain was well ahead of American in ending slavery, and indeed did so throughout most of the Empire in 1833, or 30 years before our own Emancipation Proclamation.

Turn can be a little slow moving at times, but episode 1.8 was just fine, and the series continues as one of the most historically intelligent on television.

See also: Turn Premiere: Good Historical Drama in Revolutionary New York ... Turn 1.5: Shot in the Arm

a little earlier history in ... The Plot to Save Socrates

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