On Turn on AMC tonight, the episode is called Eternity How Long. In it, Richard Woodhull and his son, Abraham, find themselves facing a moral dilemma when Richard is asked to assist with choosing which gravestones in the Setauket cemetery should be moved to aid the Redcoats in improving their defensive positions.
Turn began with a brief recap of the last episode, Of Cabbages and Kings. Richard Woodhull read from a Bible at a funeral, the funeral of Captain Thomas Woodhull, another one of his sons and Abe’s brother.
Also, one of the British soldiers was being brutally flogged for “looking in the wrong direction.”
Two Redcoat officers, Major Hewlett and Appleton talked about their cannon positions, and thought up the plan of using the stone gravestones to fire behind.
Richard was very much against the idea, as some of his ancestors and those of many other people he knew where buried in the cemetery. The officer Richard spoke to, Major Hewlett, suggested that he could chose which stones to be moved, and that ten would be needed. The granite ones would be the best, though there weren’t that many of them.
Eventually, Richard said that he would do it, “choose the stones of those that would cause the least protest.” If he hadn’t agreed to help out, the plans of the Redcoats might have caused even more discomfort to the people of Setauket.
After a commercial break, Turn on AMC came back with General Scott talking with Captain Tallmadge and Caleb. Scott wanted them to reveal the source of where they got news of the positions of the Redcoats, but neither Ben Tallmadge nor Caleb would say they got the information from Abe.
General Scott said the, “Burn it,” referring to the paper with information of the British military positions supplied by Abe. His reasoning was that if Ben and Caleb didn’t trust him, why should he trust them? He’s a jerk, though.
Abe then talked with his father, and Abe tried to convince his dad not to have anything to do with moving the gravestones. However his dad said that he would make the hard decisions, ones which his son would likely run away from.
The British officer who was in bed with a prostitute in an earlier episode, and who was a source that provided other Redcoats with information about the plans of the Rebels, was then seen talking with the same prostitute. They were in bed together.
Also, at the same establishment, another prostitute played a game of “Marco Polo” with a Redcoat general.
Then, we saw Mary and Abe at their home. Mary tells her husband that she can be anything he wants her to be, and that their son, Thomas, needs a brother. Mary wants him to tell her any secrets that he might be keeping from her, Abe told her about his dad being compelled to assist with the relocation of the gravestones.
The next day, Mary is at a spinning wheel and knitting circle with other women, who are trying to get information about the doings of her father-in-law, Richard Woodhull. Mary eventually does the thing that Abe didn’t want to do, and she spills the beans about moving the gravestones.
Then, the Redcoat spy who had been with the prostitute interrogates a prisoner, and tries to get information from him. “A traitor and a spy” is what the Redcoat calls him.
Mary, holding Thomas in her lap, is teaching him prayers. Abe, looking out the window, sees villagers with torches headed to Richard Woodhull’s house. Reverend Woodhull is questioned by them, about if it was true that he was involved in moving the gravestones. Richard said it was to help protect the town.
Abe says that “He’s protecting your families, as well,” and Richard says that “No stone would be taken without consent.” He adds that “Since the taking of the stones would be helping to protect their families, I expect they will rise to it. Goodnight, gentlemen.”
The townsfolk still looked disgruntled, but they left. Richard tells Abe, “All I’ve done is taken a difficult task and made it impossible.”
Caleb and Ben talk about the letter Scott burned after the commercial break. Caleb suggested that Ben rewrite the letter, but make changes to it.
Then, we saw Richard talking to a woman from the Scudder family, trying to convince her to donate one of the gravestones from her family. She told him no, and added: “If you forge ahead with this, you might as well be digging your own grave.”
A wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses pulls up to Abe’s house, and the man aboard said if he tried to move the stones, the townspeople would defend themselves.
The man says threateningly, “It’s a long way between Setauket and New York City. a man could get robbed, or worse.” Abe punches him; the man then says: “My quarrel was with your father. Now, it is with you, as well.”
Caleb and Ben make up stuff to write in the new version of the letter, for General Scott to read. “this is the kind of intelligence that you should have been bringing,” Scott told Ben.
Major Hewlett speaks with Richard, and says that the townsfolk see the moving of the gravestones as a “reproach against God.” He adds that he needs more time.
Hewlett says that if he didn’t have a list by the next day, Appleton would choose the gravestones that would be moved.
After another break, Mary asks where Abe is going — he tells her he needs to tell his father something.
Back at the place where the Redcoat spy is interrogating the Rebel, the Rebel’s wife, Iris, is playing along with the whole plan to get information from the man. The Redcoat suggests that the Rebel be the “one is charge of the surrender” and that he will be “the next Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.”
Back with Richard and Abraham, Richard asks Abe “Do you think that hell exists in more than one place?”
Abe: “What does the Bible say?”
Richard: “It is silent on that question.”
Abe talks with his dad, and suggests that if Major Hewlett didn’t think that the town was in danger, perhaps he wouldn’t move the gravestones. Abe tells him he should “stand his ground” and led the townspeople to Hewlett’s residence, and protest the moving of the stones. Richard, though, says “Why wold he back down?”
Abe says that Major Hewlett is acting like a king, and being “capricious.”
“He used to sit there, Thomas,” Richard tells Abe, about a chair by the fire where they are talking. Abe helps his father get to his bedroom, to lie down. Thomas must have been another son of Richard’s, who died and whose funeral was at the start of this episode.
After break, the letter that Caleb and Ben came up with is added to a long desk, the top of which is covered by other letters.
The townspeople, led by Richard, approach the residence of Major Hewlett. Richard, at the head of them, says that “When Major Hewlett first proposed the plan, I was against it. Now, I must disappoint Major Hewlett again.”
Richard added that God demanded “sacrifice, for faith without works is dead.” he said that the townspeople must sacrifice what they find most dear, just as God sacrificed his only son, to save us all.”
As an example of this faith, Richard Woodhull then dug up the gravestone of his other son, Captain Thomas Woodhull. The man who had ridden in his wagon to Abe’s house and said the threatening things about Richard asks Abe to tell his father that he apologizes for what he said. Abe tells the man to “ask him yourself,” which we see him quietly doing.
At the end of the Turn on AMC episode, Eternity How Long, a Redcoat officer who had been involved in coming up with the plan of using the gravestones says “This is how you tame a colony. Not through battle, but winning their hearts and minds,” said a Redcoat officer. He also says that the Rebels would not be wanting to fire upon gravestones, and that is why he chose them.
The episode of Turn on AMC, Eternity How Long, was basically about the moral dilemma of what Richard should do when he’s asked to assist with the moving of some of the gravestones in the Setauket cemetery.
However, a few other subplots were also important elements of this episode, such as Caleb and Ben’s attempts to convince General Scott that the information in the letter they originally gave him should be taken into consideration, and the British officer’s interrogation of a Rebel officer that had been captured.
This episode of Turn on AMC was somewhat confusing at points, though some of what happened earlier in the episode is cleared up by what happens later. It’s an interesting series, one that warrants a larger audience than it’s currently getting. What are your feelings and opinions about Turn? Please leave your comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb