‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’ recap: Andre and Woodhull meet different fates
A royal spymaster and a rebel spy are sentenced to death for their Revolutionary War crimes. One hangs and the other is rescued on “Trial and Execution” (Episode 310), the Season 3 finale of AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”
The ill-fated prisoner is British Major John Andre (JJ Feild), who aimed to seize West Point with help from the fort’s traitorous commander, Gen. Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman). The plot failed when Andre was captured and Arnold fled down the Hudson River to join the Redcoats.
Andre expects to die for his actions and only asks to be shot in a firing line as a soldier rather than hanged in humiliation as a spy.
“I am an officer dedicated to service,” Andre tells Gen. George Washington (Ian Kahn). “I wish the mode of my death to reflect this.”
Washington offers to spare Andre, however, if the Redcoats hand over Arnold.
“Arnold is a traitor,” Washington emphasizes to Major Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich). “Andre was merely doing his duty. I would trade a thousand Andres for Arnold!”
British Gen. Henry Clinton (Ralph Brown) shares Washington’s respect for Andre and contempt for Arnold but isn’t allowed to conduct a prisoner swap.
“I would trade you for Andre in a heartbeat if my hands were not tied,” Clinton snarls at Arnold, now a brigadier general in the British Army. “We do not trade defectors because it would encourage new ones!”
Shortly before his execution in Tappan, N.Y., Andre converses with Ben, a college classmate of hanged Patriot spy Nathan Hale (Jeff Cole).
Hale “did his duty for his country,” Ben remarks to Andre. “You did yours for your king. And I want you to know, I see the honor in both.”
But Andre didn’t risk his life for the monarchy. He risked it for beautiful Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo). And Peggy showed devotion to Andre by manipulating her husband Arnold into commiting treason.
“I did it for a woman,” Andre sadly admits to Ben. “That is the loss I regret, more so than my own life.”
As Andre places a hangman’s noose around his neck, he asks onlookers to “bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man.” Then he locks eyes with Peggy as she tearfully clutches a braid of Andre’s hair.
“His thoughts were with you in the end,” Ben tells Peggy afterward.
But rather than arresting Peggy on suspicion of betraying her country, Ben acts with compassion.
“There is only a matter of time before your role in all of this is discovered,” Ben says. “I suggest you cross the lines as quick as you can manage.”
Meanwhile in Setauket, Long Island, cabbage farmer Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) is marched to the gallows by Capt. John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), tyrannical commander of the Queen’s Rangers.
Abe wasn’t found guilty of espionage for leading Washington’s Culper Spy Ring. Instead, Abe was convicted for attempting to steal a rifle, conspiring to commit insurrection and assaulting Simcoe.
When Abe dangles from a rope, his father Richard (Kevin R. McNally) and other townsfolk defiantly interrupt the execution.
Suddenly an unlikely rescuer appears. It’s Redcoat Col. Jonathan Cooke (Jonny Coyne), who’s furious at Simcoe for burning local crops and killing livestock that could have fed British troops.
“I think your talents ought to be put to better use elsewhere,” Cooke says in a sharp reprimand to Simcoe. “Perhaps the front line where you can destroy the enemy rather than our own resources or good Tory neighbors!”
So Abe lives and Andre dies.
And the heroic Culper Spy Ring continues fighting for the rebel cause.
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