Season 1 was hard, due to pacing and the difficulties getting a handle on characters and their relationships, as well as a sense of location, despite having handy screen scrawls informing us where and when. CGI sets don't help with this kind of thing.
However, Season 2 was much improved (if no more historically accurate in many details and characters). There's less sex, but the sex is more plausible -- indeed the sex is between John Andre, British officer, spy and prisoner, and infatuated Peggy Shippen, a Philadelphia Tory, works very well, between the characters and in terms of the plotting -- and betrayals too.
The returning spy ring characters, and the new characters from the other side, such as John Andre, Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen, are a lot more interesting in themselves and in their relationships with each other.
|General George Washington|
In this season General Washington gets a fair amount of screen time; beyond that, he is shown taking the reins of the war as well as spying in his own hands.
Washington is shown to be the most devious of them all -- which, whether or not there's historical evidence for this particular incident, I really like. For American historians, Washington's a frustratingly illusive figure, in spite of how much is known. Why was he the most successful politician of them all, even Jefferson, for whose devious duplicity there is much documented evidence? That Washington was as shrewd, cunning and devious as Jefferson does not necessarily change facts that he was -- as far as a slaveowning Virginian could be who was as obsessed with manufacturing his image and place in history as Jefferson-- an honorable, courageous and fair man, who genuinely believed it was his destiny and obligation to bring the states together, and to hold them together. (Jefferson would have preferred to be separate from New England, except the south = Virginia couldn't afford it, either economically or politically in the larger world.)
My favorite single, recurring character is the Ring member, rough and ready, always loyal, acutely witted, Caleb Brewster. However, Abraham Woodhull, as he's portrayed in this television series, is the most inept spy in the history of spying, partly because sex (which was a huge part of the difficulties with season 1's writing -- it just didn't work). The historical Woodhull, though, was so cautious as to refuse to do anything at all for months, and even years.
Ksenia Solo plays Peggy Shippen so convincingly that it's a lovely watching experience. Once again Solo proves to be a skilled actress and does not need to depend on the mannerisms that made the Kenzie character so liked by so many, including me.
Perhaps the Big Plot in season 3 will be BA's plans to turn over West Point to the British and Peggy play-acting bonkers to save him and herself, while he escapes just by the bare skin of his britches to NYC and the British? That will be tense! Their lives after this treasonous conspiracy were discovered weren't particularly or happy or prosperous.
I hope the series continues to feature a fair amount of Washington, which hardly any television or film does, because he's such a sacred figure. But I wish they hadn't made him hallucinate and be crazy -- and for no reason. That isn't helping.
|Rachel spying on Major Andre|
|Historical Major Simcoe; more about him here. Don't believe everything about him seen on Turn.|
Season 3 of Turn: Washington's Spies, premieres next month along with a whole lot of shows, which I shan't see until they're on dvd from netflix.