Divine intervention is at work, the Patriots believe, when France sides with America in the Revolutionary War on “Providence,” Episode 208 of AMC’s “TURN: Washington’s Spies.”
Gen. George Washington (Ian Kahn) is moved to tears when he learns an alliance with the French is imminent. This stunning development puts occupying British forces on the run as they evacuate Philadelphia and stream into New York.
“Providence favors the righteous,” Washington says to Gen. Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman).
“And the bold,” Arnold adds in typical gung ho fashion.
Arnold’s enthusiasm wanes, however, when informed of his “promotion.” Instead of leading troops into battle again, he’ll sit behind a desk as Philadelphia’s military commandant.
“You know the French wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for my victory at Saratoga,” Arnold fumes. “And it was my victory,” he contends, “no matter what laurels Gen. Gates [David Bryan Jackson] lays at his own feet!”
Washington’s decision is final, however, despite Arnold’s insistence that he can serve on the frontlines while recovering from a leg wound. Arnold also insists his triumphs would add to, not detract from, Washington’s glory.
“This has nothing to do with glory,” Washington claims.
“Says the glorified,” Arnold bitterly replies.
Arnold’s deployment to Philadelphia is a “blessing in disguise” for Maj. John Andre (JJ Feild), head of British intelligence. Now Andre has a better chance of turning Arnold into a Redcoat asset with the help of beautiful socialite Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo).
Moreover, this coup would bring fame and fortune to Andre so he could wed Peggy in style -- with her snobbish family’s blessing -- rather than eloping to New York.
American spy Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall), meanwhile, credits divine intervention when he and Maj. Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich) barely miss being killed by Queen’s Rangers. Ben views the situation differently, however.
“God’s watching?” Ben cynically asks. “He’s laughing at us!”
Ben mistakenly believes British Maj. Edmund Hewlett (Burn Gorman) died at a Patriot outpost, meaning no one can vouch for the “innocence” of incarcerated American spy Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell). Hewlett naively thinks Abe just pretends to be a spy so he can expose a secret band of rebels.
“Without Hewlett’s word,” Ben laments, “Abe will hang.”
This prompts Caleb to undertake a daring rescue mission in which he pilots a crude submersible craft into New York Harbor, poses as a Redcoat officer and brazenly strides into Sugar House Prison.
Abe refuses to be liberated, however, and instead urges Caleb to contact Robert Townsend (Nick Westrate), who could report on British military operations from his New York boarding house.
“He is the answer to our problem,” Abe exclaims, emphasizing that their Culper Spy Ring is still viable.
As for Hewlett, he miraculously rejoins his garrison in Setauket after nearly being executed by the Patriots or murdered by archrival Capt. John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), commander of the Queen’s Rangers.
While recovering at the Woodhull mansion, Hewlett promises to free Abe from prison -- much to the relief of his wife, Mary (Meegan Warner). But first Hewlett has a score to settle with Simcoe, whom he stabbed at the Patriot outpost before fleeing into the woods.
Hewlett confronts Simcoe inside a tavern managed by American spy Anna Strong (Heather Lind). Luckily for Simcoe, his rangers stand behind him, ready to fight.
“I did everything I could to rescue you,” Simcoe says with a straight face, “as my men will attest.”
It’s a pity, Hewlett replies in playing along with the charade, that Simcoe was knifed in the process.
“I do hope that it didn’t cut too deeply,” Hewlett says with an icy glare.