TURN: Washington’s Spies Belly of the Beast Recap Season 4 Episode 8 – Previously in Episode 7, the turncoat General Arnold finally gets his wishes in the form of a battlefield command. Under pressure of a stubborn and growing rebellion, General Clinton orders Arnold to Virginia to support Lord Cornwallis in the southern campaign. Abe and Sergeant are not happy campers at this point. Having successfully infiltrated General Arnold’s ranks, they now find themselves in redcoat uniform, loaded aboard a troop ship headed for the southern field of battle. This smells nothing like victory.
TURN: Washington’s Spies Belly of the Beast Recap Season 4 Episode 8
TURN: Washington’s Spies Belly of the Beast Recap Season 4 Episode 8 images from amc.com
Close Combat: Episode 8 finds Abe and Sergeant Champe marching with British regular troops into Richmond, Virginia. The British fighting style is straight up, rigid, with no attempt at concealment. Cannon fire is exploding all around. General Arnold is in command, ordering his troops forward. Most of the Continentals are firing from cover; others come forward, fire, break and run while the British first ranks discharge their weapons, kneel to reload, providing opportunity for the second ranks to continue the fusillade. Most of the long guns are inaccurate at range but deadly because of large caliber. The British and American ranks disperse in the bloody chaos of close combat. Bodies lie spurting blood.
A General Disorder
The officer cadre meet with Washington to inform him of the battle in Virginia. One officer insists that Washington deploy troops to the southern battlefield. Washington insists that the key to winning is to focus on an invasion of New York where General Clinton is headquartered. The Marquis de Lafayette breaks the tension by offering to deploy himself to the south to assist in the fight against Arnold. Even thinking of General Arnold makes Washington’s blood boil. He puts a bounty on Arnold’s life. “Shoot on sight,” he tells the officers.
At the same time, Washington’s obsession with capturing New York from the British causes a major rift among his generals, and also with Major Talmadge. General Mad Anthony Wayne tells Washington the path to victory would be in the south. Washington countermands him. Washington and Talmadge engage in a shouting match during which Talmadge tells Washington his obsession with New York is pure vanity. Washington replaces Talmadge with Alexander Hamilton, satisfying Talmadge, who no longer wants the job.
There are similar arguments on the British side with General Arnold trying to alert General Cornwallis of their vulnerability to the French fleet. Cornwallis insists on following existing orders, decrying Arnold’s plea for a movement to a more defensible position. His intent is to seize control of rebel supply depot. Being the estimable and highly experienced war fighter he is, psychosis notwithstanding, Simcoe is present as the generals review Cornwallis’ plan to strangle the Continental forces.
In the uniform of a British private, Abe is listening avidly General Arnold’s remonstrations against Cornwallis’ plan. He steals a map of British strength Arnold has drawn. “This (British) army has supplies enough to march, not enough for a siege,” Arnold spouts angrily. Good news to Abe, still in the redcoat uniform, willing to pay any price to win the war.
Mary Quite Contrary
Mary Woodhull has a meltdown when she finds out that husband Abe is in Virginia. She takes out her anger on Major Talmadge, head of intelligence for Washinton. But Anna appeals to Mary’s better nature to endure. She also appeals to Talmadge to send Caleb to rescue Abe and Sergeant Champe. But Caleb is in bad shape, suffering from what today would be called PTSD. He was tortured, now feels defeated, drowning his fears with drink.
Talmadge is in a quandary, finding Caleb useless to the cause. But Anna tells Talmadge to give Caleb a chance at redemption. Talmadge agrees to send Caleb on the dangerous mission to bring Abe back. Mary becomes the emissary who goes to beg Caleb to get her husband away from the British encampments. It is Mary who reminds Caleb of the man he once was, not the broken drunk who sits in camp plucking feathers off a dead goose with a dull knife.
Make Money Not War
At the British camp in Westover, Virginia, General Arnold is taking advantage of easy victories to enrich himself. He’s captured supplies from the Americans and wants Abe to help him to get the loot aboard ships. Simcoe is derisive as he rides into camp and sees the British pouring barrels of gunpowder and lead into the sea. The gunpowder would be useful to the British war effort, he tells Arnold. But Arnold is more concerned with material wealth than winning. He wants to sell the purloined supplies for profit. Arnold outranks Simcoe and orders him to stand down.
Abe and Sergeant Champe are in a bind when General Cornwallis comes to camp and orders the troops on the move. Should they stay with the British, they’ll find themselves in battle against their own side. They make a plan of escape which is almost up-ended when the slack Private Sturridge gets wind of their allegiances to the American side. Champe almost kills the petrified Sturridge but Abe stops him. “I’m not a soldier. I never was. I’ve got to get out of here,” Sturridge whimpers.
At night, the three of them make a run for it. Fate intervenes, or was it Sturridge’s clumsiness? Sturridge accidentally shoots himself in the leg while he’s running from the British camp. The British catch up with him and kill him on the spot as a deserter. Abe, who stayed behind in an ill-fated attempt to help Sturridge, is once again stuck in the hated British uniform.
Hercules Mulligan is a tailor, catering to aristocrats and others who can afford to be well-dressed. He’s also a sympathizer with the Continental cause, and ally of Robert Townsend. Most importantly, his father in law is in the admiralty, with knowledge of British military secrets, particularly those involving the powerful British fleet of ships.
Hercules offers to steal the British naval operations information and provide it to the rebels. “What purpose will that serve?” Townsend asks. “Our fleet is no match for theirs.” Hercules agrees but knows that the French fleet, under General Marquis de Lafayette, is now sailing to the south and is a force the British must reckon with. Having the war plans of the British fleet gives the French a distinct and decisive advantage. Townsend gets the picture and comes up with a plan of his own. He’ll use the data to confuse the British, sending different information via Rivington’s Gazette to the various British commanders. The British fleet will be vulnerable when the French attack in the south.
The episode ends on an unlikely yet ultimately romantic note as Abe, Simcoe, and Caleb are united in the fog of war. Caleb has joined a rebel force and appears in the same battle scene with Simcoe and Abe fighting on the same side. However, there are scores to settle as Abe and Simcoe engage in a stalking game which is a bit like a ‘Gunfight at High Noon’ combined with ‘Rasputin the Mad Monk.’ Abe is on the losing end until Caleb saves the day. Simcoe is a bloody mess and, while the audience is supposed to rejoice in that, I feel rather sad for him in a ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ sort of way. Sometimes characters in fiction go their own way, regardless of what the writers intend.
But the true hero of the series is the miraculous American Revolution itself. There’s plenty of action ahead for the final episodes of ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’ as the Battles of Yorktown and the French assault on the massive British fleet looms in the distance.
Other Episodes of TURN Washington’s Spies reviewed on TV Eskimo:
TURN: Washington’s Spies Season 3
TURN: Washington’s Spies Belly of the Beast Recap Season 4 Episode 8 characters and cast include:
Abraham Woodhull – Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer, King Kong, Jumper, The Adventures of Tintin, Billy Elliot)
Ben Talmadge – Seth Numrich (Private Romeo, Gravity, How to Kill a Mockingbird)
Caleb Brewster – Daniel Henshall (The Babadook, These Final Hours, The Snowtown Murders)
Mary Woodhull – Meegan Warner
Judge Richard Woodhull – Kevin McNally
Anna Strong – Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire, Demolition, Mistress America)
Lt. John Simcoe – Samuel Roukin
Major Hewlett – Burn Gorman (Jamestown, And Then There Were None, The Man in the High Castle, Game of Thrones, Spies of Warsaw, The Dark Knight Rises, Torchwood, Layer Cake, Bleak House, The Oxford Murders, Pacific Rim)
General George Washington – Ian Kahn (The Box, Homeland, Billions, The Unusuals, Bull, Secrets in the Walls)
Benedict Arnold – Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist, Troy, American Sniper)
Robert Townsend – Nick Westrate (Ricki and the Flash, Care, Beach Pillows)
Mrs. Barnes – Tina Benko (The Avengers, Flesh and Bone, Brotherhood, Royally, That Awkward Moment)
Abigail – Idara Victor (Mad Men, Rizzoli & Isles, Vegas, The Choir)
Cicero – Darren Alford (Same Fruit Different Tree, House of Cards)
General Henry Clinton – Ralph Brown (Alien 3, Wayne’s World 2, Genius, Agent Carter, Legends, Stoker, Killing Bono)
Joseph Sturridge – Dylan Saunders (Chicago Fire, A Very Potter Musical)
John Champe – Chris Webster (About a Boy, Hidden, DCI Banks, American Assassin)
James Rivington – John Carroll Lynch (Shutter Island, Gran Torino, Crawford, American Horror Story, Manhattan, Zodiac, The Americans)
Hercules Mulligan – Kelly AuCoin (Billions, The Americans, Drunk Parents, The Wizard of Lies, The Blacklist, The Slap, House of Cards)
Nathan Frink – Stephen Shelton (Sleepless, Sleepy Hollow, Stiff, Escaping Otis)
Marquis de Lafayette – Brian Wiles (Public Morals, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest)
General Cornwallis – Jessejames Locorriere (Ant-Man, Banshee, Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow)
General ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne – Michael J. Burg (Vinyl, Gotham, Love Is Strange, The Night Of, Capote)
Major Dundas – James Donadio (Gordy, The Fundamentals of Caring, The Blind Side, Fist Fight)
Cato – Michael Christopher Rodney (Underground, Allegiant, Mercy Street, Burn Notice)