'Turn: Washington's Spies' recap: Savagery, not civility, rules the day

'Turn: Washington's Spies' recap: Savagery, not civility, rules the day in 'Men of Blood'

The British army's Maj. Hewlett (Burn Gorman) yearns for a time when civility triumphs over savagery. But that glorious day is far off, at best, in “Men of Blood,” Episode 204 of AMC's “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”

Marveling at the heavens through his new telescope, Hewlett confides to American spy Anna Strong (Heather Lind) that he prefers science over the military.

But “one must earn a living,” Hewlett acknowledges. “The Army beckoned and then this rebellion came.”

Unbeknownst to Anna and Hewlett on this chilly night in Setauket, a Redcoat once court-martialed for barbarism sneaks into a Patriot camp across the water.

Capt. John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin) slays an American officer and pens a warning in blood: “Compliments of Major Hewlett. Death to all Rebels.” To “put a fine point on it,” Simcoe slices out the victim’s tongue.

At the camp of Gen. George Washington (Ian Kahn) in Morristown, Gen. Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman) nurses his wounded leg and wounded pride.

Treasonous Gen. Charles Lee (Brian T. Finney) had falsely accused Arnold of lacking “even a minimal sense of honor.” And Washington said nothing in response, reports Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), head of American intelligence.

Ben is eager to serve as Arnold’s aide-de-camp. But the hot-tempered general is wary of Ben’s covert missions.

“You are a man of blood, not some desk-bound clerk,” Arnold angrily declares. “You can be a spy or you can be a soldier. But you can’t be both!”

Another spy, Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall), scrambles to retrieve an inflammatory document stolen from King George III (Paul Rhys) and hidden inside a wax bust.

If Washington obtains the paper, he could persuade France to side with America in the Revolutionary War. So Caleb must coax the bust away from privateers before the crown’s ruthless mercenary, Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen), arrives.

When Rogers and his men attack the privateers, Caleb smashes the bust, grabs the document and flees into the woods.

In Philadelphia, head of British intelligence Maj. John Andre (JJ Feild) visits the home of socialite Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo) and her wealthy father (Mark Rolston). To Peggy’s dismay, Daddy snobbishly sizes up Andre's potential as a son-in-law.

Before stomping out, Andre indignantly reveals he’s of Swiss and French heritage and that his family earned their money through government bonds, “rather than on the backs of West Indian slaves!”

Apologizing for her father’s elitism, Peggy praises Andre as “a man who makes his own fate” and says she wishes to be a part of it. As Peggy turns to leave, Andre pulls her into a passionate embrace.

On Manhattan Island, American spy Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell) endeavors to win over boarding house proprietor Robert Townsend (Nick Westrate), who could aid the Patriot cause by observing British military activities.

During a game of draughts, Robert denigrates Abe as “the son of a Tory magistrate who risks his life and others to rebel against his father.” Surprisingly, however, Robert invites Abe to return and “finish our game.”

Speaking of Abe’s father, Judge Richard Woodhull (Kevin R. McNally) checks up on his son by dispatching petty thief Henry Browning (Jonathan D. Williams) to New York. Tragically for Henry, he’s knifed in a dark alley.

Upon returning home to Setauket, Abe perpetuates the ruse that he’s tracking down the traitorous Sons of Liberty for Hewlett. Now Richard knows for sure his son doesn’t study law during those New York visits.

It’s crucial, Abe says with a straight face, to arrest Henry -- who’s dead, of course.

“If you find this man,” Abe artfully lies, “you’ll find the Sons of Liberty!”

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