tv review – AMC’s Turn, episode 1.5

There was a brief glimpse at slavery in the pilot of Turn, but onwards it was dropped. And now, during ‘Epiphany’ it was back again and, not only that, but it was suddenly at the core of the episode’s narrative as well. A couple of characters (and I use that term loosely) were introduced, the most important Anna’s slave girl Abigail and her son, who we were to care about, despite the fact we’ve only just met them. It didn’t work: while the history of the slave soldiers in the British army is very interesting it wasn’t fleshed out at all, instead we were just told that the British decided to claim slaves to enlist them with the promise of freedom after loyal service. The eventual turn of events that Abi is going to spy for Anna, Abe and the gang wasn’t satisfying either and didn’t make much sense: Abi is willing to do that because in return she wants Anna to look after her son… which Anna was sort of going to do anyway. The plot felt hastily thrown together, which shouldn’t be a surprise by now, because Turn‘s writing has been shoddy from the word go.

Meanwhile we were treated to the historical event of the crossing of the Delaware… sort of. Instead of a battle with the Hessians we got Ben falling overboard and sleeping through the entire thing. What followed was quite nice though: a handful of Washington’s soldiers staying on the banks of the river, pretending to be a vast army by making a racket to fool the British and keep them away. The episode’s best moment was the final scene though: Ben finally got to meet George Washington which promises bigger things for the next couple of outings. Back in Betauket things weren’t as thrilling: Abe had a row with his dad, family trouble and decided to get drunk, which seemed very much out of character to me and took me out of the episode. Drunk he almost got it on with Anna who came over to tell the news of Abi spying for them, but the couple was interrupted by a British soldier who really didn’t like what he was saying and basically said that Abe shouldn’t do this to his wife. Because the characters are still all so flat it was hard to really care about this though, despite Heather Lind, who has been a standout since the Turn started.

The final part of the story was about Robert Rogers trying to find out who the man was that got away in the pilot and ultimately he found out it was Ben. His scenes didn’t get the room to breathe though and fell flat, additionally because there really was no doubt Rogers would have his way. There was no build-up, there were no surprises, and therefore there was no tension.

Turn is five episodes in, which means the season’s halfway done already. At this rate renewal doesn’t seem likely. 4/10


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