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S04.E10: Washington's Spies 2017.08.12

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A conclusion is finally reached in the American War of Independence, as the young country must now struggle to begin its journey of freedom; a reckoning of accounts between shadows and spies must be settled.

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Good conclusion. I liked how things were wrapped up. Hewlett did pull a fast one on Abe to get the big house. Cheeky!

Did that mean that Abigail didn't get to go to Canada?

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The last scene does not make sense.

Quick search on Wikipedia indicates that John André's remains were moved to the United Kingdom in 1821. Benedict Arnold died in 1801 and Peggy Shippen Arnold in 1804. That scene could not have happened.

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4 minutes ago, TV Anonymous said:

The last scene does not make sense.

Quick search on Wikipedia indicates that John André's remains were moved to the United Kingdom in 1821. Benedict Arnold died in 1801 and Peggy Shippen Arnold in 1804. That scene could not have happened.

It was a memorial, not a grave marker.

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1 minute ago, orza said:

It was a memorial, not a grave marker.

It says, "CASE Containing the Sarcophagus with the remains of the late MAJOR ANDRE raised the 10th August . . . And forwarded to ENGLAND By . . . "

In any way, any forwarding happened only in 1821, 20 years after Arnold's death.

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Meh.  Well, I enjoyed the scenes with Cicero and Akinbode, but the rest was so far-fetched. We knew they'd have to do a lot of stretching to turn bad old Simcoe into the good old governor of Canada, but it still seemed quite a hasty and ridiculous turnaround. How about Robert Rogers, skulking out of the shadows, looking and sounding like Shrek, attacking Arnold? How about the ludicrous scenes of Arnold contemplating shooting Mad King George, right there in the King's gardens, or Woodhull shouting down His Excellency George Washington? Or a female slave boldly approaching a British officer and the two of them colluding and conspiring together, promising to keep each other's secrets?

I truly loved this show and was sorry to see it end, but this finale had  just too much cutting and pasting, trying to match the fictional narratives with the factual outcomes. I know they weren't given enough time to have a season that really played out the aftermath of the war, but they could have done more with the series finale than this "happily ever after" stuff.

Poor Thomas, though!

Edited by Arkay.
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2 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

Did that mean that Abigail didn't get to go to Canada?

It's implied that she did.  Abe said that years after Abigail's capture, the ring received a letter written in code from "Agent 355", and it was sent from Nova Scotia.

I wish we could have seen her reunite with Cicero, though.

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Some of the epilogue was quite interesting in its juxtapositions.  Simcoe at home in Canada, while Washington tried to repossess the slaves escaping to Canada.  Rogers dying of alcoholism, while Woodhull makes a go of being a farmer.  Although, cabbage???  Bleah!  Very unfortunate that he lost his son to the War of 1812.  Hewlett becoming a man of science.  I wonder if he was an ancestor to the Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard.

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I groaned  when I realized the only reason for Lady Amherst's presence was to perpetuate the "smallpox blankets" hoax.  Her husband wrote something once in a letter, but that was never acted upon or taken seriously.   Turns out that whole story was the work of one person, a college professor named Ward Churchill, who's been found guilty on several counts of "research misconduct" and fired.  :Read more about that here

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.  As endings go I thought it was good.  It made an effort to wrap up the invented personal stories

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Having tried very hard to keep track of all the ancillary characters in this show, I would really like to watch it again from the beginning.  Did we ever see Martha Washington?  What slander was George Washington accusing that guy of?  I don't recall it.  Good show, I will miss it much like "Hell On Wheels".  More history please (even if it is embellished, I'll take it).

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I'm still in the process of gathering my thoughts in lieu of this final episode. Overall, I love this show. However, I did not feel this last season was its best. That being said there were a few strong episodes and scenes, but I found much of it lackluster. The finale didn't blow me away - it felt like a series of vignettes, a veritable "Where Are They Now?" for the characters. 

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5 hours ago, Happycatisfine said:

What slander was George Washington accusing that guy of? 

Are you referring to the conversation in the tavern with the publisher of The Royal Gazette?  He was rather vague, but what I remember was that the publisher had offered up some derogatory opinion about Mrs. Washington, being the Loyalist that he was.  He skated, but he likely learned his lesson.

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14 hours ago, Arkay said:

Meh.  Well, I enjoyed the scenes with Cicero and Akinbode, but the rest was so far-fetched. We knew they'd have to do a lot of stretching to turn bad old Simcoe into the good old governor of Canada, but it still seemed quite a hasty and ridiculous turnaround. How about Robert Rogers, skulking out of the shadows, looking and sounding like Shrek, attacking Arnold? How about the ludicrous scenes of Arnold contemplating shooting Mad King George, right there in the King's gardens, or Woodhull shouting down His Excellency George Washington? Or a female slave boldly approaching a British officer and the two of them colluding and conspiring together, promising to keep each other's secrets?

I truly loved this show and was sorry to see it end, but this finale had  just too much cutting and pasting, trying to match the fictional narratives with the factual outcomes. I know they weren't given enough time to have a season that really played out the aftermath of the war, but they could have done more with the series finale than this "happily ever after" stuff.

Poor Thomas, though!

 

5 hours ago, Kata01 said:

I'm still in the process of gathering my thoughts in lieu of this final episode. Overall, I love this show. However, I did not feel this last season was its best. That being said there were a few strong episodes and scenes, but I found much of it lackluster. The finale didn't blow me away - it felt like a series of vignettes, a veritable "Where Are They Now?" for the characters. 

I think you've pegged my thoughts pretty well, here. It often appears so difficult to craft a really good finale episode -- possibly, because it's rare to have much left to do at that point. There's generally nothing for it but falling action. 

I think, though, that some of the problem for me, too, was that the season felt a bit underwhelming. Despite some hard hitting moments, and an initially strong start, it lacked a convincing, cohesive focus during the second half (other than the end of the war.) I knew of the historical plot to kidnap Arnold, and never expected it to succeed. And even before the season, the writers and actor gave an interview in which they pretty much revealed that they weren't going to kill off Simcoe. So that stretch of episodes just seemed a bit pointless, with a lot of jumping around between stories and too many quick or offscreen resolutions. On the other hand, I know the writers say they had story for several more episodes, and I guess that showed? (I wonder if the budget was reined in, as well. This season, I really missed the unique versions of period ballads they'd include in a handful of episodes. Thought they might've saved one for this finale.)

While I know it was important to show Benedict Arnold's aftermath in England, the scenes with he, the king, and Rogers were BIZARRE. (I've seen it mentioned around the net that Rogers' eye had miraculously healed/regenerated, and what's with that?!)  I would rather have had scenes with Martha and Washington, or Washington and Ben, or Ben and Caleb. (But, then, I guess everybody has a scene they'd wish had been included.)

The ending with the letter felt sappy. But it was also touching? I don't know. I'll have to rewatch at some point with closed captioning. I've had a love/hate relationship with this show since the beginning, and I'm still processing lol. 

Edited by Kabota.
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Yeah, it's a real stretch to turn Simcoe from a sadistic sociopath into a benevolent abolitionist nation builder.

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I think some of the issue for me with this episode and perhaps the season as a whole is - too much nothing & too little something. For example with the finale: Too much Peggy (how many times did the writers need to hit us over the head with the fact that Peggy loved Andre??? The scene with her shedding the tear at the tomb was overkill and unnecessary as was Abe mentioning in his letter that a lock of Andre's hair was found amongst her possessions after death. Overkill upon overkill). Too little Townsend - he was in what, one scene? Loved his scene with Abe, but come on writers, we should have seen more of this main character in the finale. And that goes for Anna too. 

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I liked Washington in this series, and I liked how much of a bitch Arnold was. 

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17 hours ago, Amethyst said:

It's implied that she did.  Abe said that years after Abigail's capture, the ring received a letter written in code from "Agent 355", and it was sent from Nova Scotia.

I wish we could have seen her reunite with Cicero, though.

That and they showed her stealing a gun from a soldier before she got on the cart back to New York. It implies to me that she shot the cart driver and all those women escaped back to canada.

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And they all lived happily ever after. 

I laughed when Hewlett suggested Abe go to the top for payment. Actually Abe was a pain in the ass to Washington throughout the war, constantly sending him the itemized bills, nagging him for reimbursement of expenses.  (Wages for spies were distasteful for a gentleman.)   So those scenes were somewhat true.  I picture Washington rolling his eyes every time a note arrived from Culper.  The notes survived.

4 hours ago, ganesh said:

I liked Washington in this series

Me too.  Definitely one of the better actors.

The Governors Palace in Williamsburg substituting for Hampton Court (with a little CGI help).  Lol

Caleb Brewster lived well into his 90s and had a huge family.  He lived quite near where I grew up in CT.

Ben Talmadge lived a long happy life too.  In the show they said he was a Congressman, but I thought he was a Senator from CT.  (Incidentally, he and Nathan Hale were roommates at Yale.)

Nobody ever knew Townsend was Culper Jr.  Nobody to this date knows who 355 was.

I loved the ending, how they wrapped everything up.  Real life doesn't need dramatic endings.  It's comforting to know the real people went back to normal, probably happy lives.

Edited by Haleth.
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8 minutes ago, Haleth said:

I loved the ending, how they wrapped everything up.  Real life doesn't need dramatic endings.  It's comforting to know the real people went back to normal, probably happy lives.

The show had its faults, but I think they kind of captured this well enough. Abe was just happy to actually be able to grow cabbages. 

 

9 minutes ago, Haleth said:

Me too.  Definitely one of the better actors.

The thing that really with resonated me was the waking nightmare where his teeth all fell out because I've been there. I just like the weariness that the actor portrayed. I also like that he realized he was obsessed with Arnold but was able to walk back from that in order to actually win the war. I don't know from the historical record, but I liked that he kind of took ownership for Arnold at the end, though I wouldn't totally place it on him. Arnold would have happened regardless imo if he was anything close to how he was on the show. 

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After Hewitt assured the Woodhulls that Simcoe as they knew him was dead, I half expected Simcoe to pop up sometime before the end and attack Abe, like some horror movie villain who keeps coming back to life.  

 

The finale was anticlimactic. It was a good series, nevertheless.

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On 8/13/2017 at 0:23 AM, TV Anonymous said:

It says, "CASE Containing the Sarcophagus with the remains of the late MAJOR ANDRE raised the 10th August . . . And forwarded to ENGLAND By . . . "

In any way, any forwarding happened only in 1821, 20 years after Arnold's death.

If I had a nickel for every historical inaccuracy this show put forth--heck, just the timeline discrepancies!  Washington did not take back New York until 1783. It was two years from the battle of Yorktown. Yet Abe just arrives with the news of Akinbode and Cicero being held by the Americans. Peggy Arnold had two children by the end of the war...Abe wasn't married at all until the war's end. Artistic license was taken many times in this show to make a point that history did not. Or to keep Peggy from having to schlep two kids around.

Overall, I was happy with the ending. I don't know why Abe had to sell Whitehall to Hewlett. Was it too much to show him taking over his father's estate? Did we need to believe he remained an everyman farmer. (Even though he became a magistrate in his father's footsteps.) The final dinner seemed a bit too forced. Were we meant to think that a lot of time had passed before Washington stopped by Setauket and practically shouted out that Abe was his favorite spy? When did Ben and Caleb have time to find brides? Were they waiting in the wings? "Hey guys, we just stopped by to drop a little exposition on you so you know what happens to us after the war..." I wish they had all arrived in carriages and we got to see Caleb's Anna and Benjamin's Mary. Or a montage of a few family scenes.

They completely painted themselves into a corner with Simcoe. I'm glad that in Abe's letter to Thomas he talked about how hard it was to accept that Simcoe got away. I wish he'd had a bit more of a redemption than the one he had. Telling his men to avoid capture shows enough compassion that Hewlett no longer wants to exact revenge? Simcoe was just being a good commander.

I thought that the fate of Abigail was a little ambiguous. I don't remember Abe saying that they received a coded message from Agent 355, just that it was coded. But why would the message have to be coded if it was sent so many years later? Who would go to Canada to take her back? Wasn't she Anna Strong's slave? I don't think Anna and Selah would have taken her back. We are definitely shown that she had a chance to escape and so we are meant to believe that she was reunited with Akinbode and Cicero. I know they used that scene to point out Washington having the boats turned back. A little piece of history we don't often hear about. 

Overall, I liked the whole series. I had read about the Culper Spy Ring, so the bending of history almost reached a breaking point for me. But I had to have a serious talk with myself about this being a fictionalized show and it made almost everything tolerable. If I could have changed one historical event, I would have had Andre live and Arnold hung. Although Arnold and his miserable life was just so fun to watch!

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I though they did a great job with the finale. And I'm glad that they were able to wrap everything up for the most part. The letter to Thomas was heartbreaking, and I'm sure many people (myself included) don't think about the repercussions after the war. In the letter he said that they never really stopped fighting the revolution, and for that generation it was true.

Very sad, but I thought the ending was very good.

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Loved the finale, but was more than a little confused about the Abigail resolution. I like the explanation that she used the gun to get away, but I wish old Abe's exposition would have made it clear that she made it to Canada and was reunited with her family. That part was confusing.

How would also those random Setauketians have recognized Washington? Were the newspaper drawings that good? 

Ha! Mad King George. I don't know when he went mad, but the John Adams miniseries portrays him saner than this, roughly ten years later, about c. 1790, when Adams was an ambassador in England.

Final note: love the Williamsburg filming. I hope they can use this show for years. It may not be perfect, but it's probably more than the average person these days knows about the war.

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Gotta love how childless Anna and Selah must have found a fertility specialist in Connecticut, because she's shown later with 3 kids.

Agree that it's hard to wrap up a series. This was pretty meh. About the only thing that 'got' me was little Thomas dying in the War of 1812 because he'd wanted to be a soldier like his dad. <sniffle>

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We knew they'd have to do a lot of stretching to turn bad old Simcoe into the good old governor of Canada, but it still seemed quite a hasty and ridiculous turnaround. 

 

But it happened in real life.  Simcoe is regarded as a hero in Canada, especially for his role in abolishing slavery in Upper Canada, a few decades before slavery ended throughout most of the British Empire.  And the series has never portrayed Simcoe as pro-slavery.

Edited by LJones41.
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