Turn on AMC: Who By Fire (Recap/Review)

Turn on AMC: Who by Fire (Recap/Review)

On Turn on AMC tonight, in the episode Who by Fire, Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) must discover who murdered a Royal Officer before Anna Strong (Heather Lind) is framed for the crime. Major General Benjamin Tallmadge (Seth Numrich), the leader of the newly-formed Culper Ring of spies, and Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall), a mutual friend and fisherman, brutally interrogate the captured Redcoat Captain John Graves Simcoe (Samuel Roukin), who was a royal sadistic jerk in the pilot episode of Turn.

Turn on AMC didn’t do very well in the ratings last week, achieving only a .5 share. It was viewed by just 2.12 million Americans, according to the Wikipedia page for the series. AMC hoped that Turn would capture a large segment of the viewers of The Walking Dead, which is on hiatus until this coming fall; but, the show appears to not be as attractive as the Living Dead in maintaining a hold over viewers, though it’s a very well written historical drama series about America’s first spy ring. Perhaps it will gain its own following as the season goes on.

The Turn episode Who by Fire opened up with a brief recap of the pilot episode. Then, some Redcoats stumbled upon the scene of the Redcoats that were massacred close to the end of the pilot episode, thanks to intelligence given about an attack planned on a Rebel safehouse by Abraham.

Abe and his wife, Mary, talked quietly in the dark at night about still having half the year’s crop of cabbages in storage, enough to make it through the winter. Abe then held his infant son, in a tender moment, before….

Some people on horseback, wearing masks, set the sheds storing the cabbages on fire. It’s likely not the Redcoats who did it, as they would have been more bold, and wouldn’t have bothered wearing masks.

After a commercial break, Abe meets with his father, a Loyalist, who tells him that many people are blaming him for the death of the officer. But, Abe says that he’s not the one who killed Captain Joyce. His father knows he’s lied in the pilot episode about other things, but he believes that his son did not kill the officer. However, one of the names on his list is…Anna Strong.

Then, Abe meets with Anna Strong at the pub she is running, in the absence of her husband, who has been imprisoned. Abe tells her that she is one of the suspects — she believes that Simcoe has been killed, and will no longer pose a problem to her or anyone; but, he is still very much alive.

The continuing threat of Captain Simcoe on Turn on AMC

Simcoe, in a jail cell of the army of the Continental Congress, is shown with someone trying to extract a ball from his leg. Tallmadge comes in to interrogate him, and Simcoe insults the rum he’s been given, and pours it out upon the ground.

The Scottish Loyalist Robert Rogers meets with his informer, who tells him about the bonnet that was found on the head of one of the slain Redcoats. The informer mentions that Rogers will probably find out who put the bonnet on the head of the Redcoat, and who alerted the army of the Continental Congress about the planned attack on the safehouse, in Connecticut. That is where Abe met with Caleb in the pilot episode.

Turn on AMC: Who by Fire (Recap/Review)

Anna Strong, after another commercial break, rummages through Simcoe’s belongings. He had quartered himself at her house. Anna takes a letter she finds to Abe, and read it aloud to him in a wooded area. They learn from the letter about a signal the Redcoats used, “sounding the retreat.”

Robert Rogers goes to talk with a Redcoat about the massacre, and he asks to talk with Captain Simcoe; but, he was informed that Simcoe was “missing.” Rogers asks him how many people were involved in the massacre; the officer has no answer for him. Rogers tells him “that’s because you didn’t count the tracks.”

Rogers asks the officer to tell him “all about troubled “Captain Joyce.” Captain Joyce instigated a confrontation at the pub that the strongs owned in the pilot episode. The confrontation resulted in the arrest of Anna’s husband, the order that Joyce return to England, and his eventually having his throat slit.

After a commercial break, Tallmadge and the Redcoat officer meet and have dinner together. Tallmadge plies him with food and alcohol, and the officer tells him that there are 6,000 Redcoats stationed outside of New York. The officer says something that made Caleb mad, about it not being kind “to laugh at someone’s misfortune.” Then Caleb starts punching the officer.

The Scottish Ranger, Robert Rogers, meets with Abe’s father, though Abraham is also there.  They are at the pub, and Anna is serving them. Rogers says that the murder of Captain Joyce “is part of the riddle he’s trying to solve.” He also wants to know how so many Redcoats could have been killed in Connecticut, with there being no enemy — army of the Continental Congress — casualties.

Abe takes a chance, and hands the letter Anna gave him to Rogers. Rogers is naturally curious why Anna didn’t give the letter to someone who was in charge of the investigation. Rogers suggests examining Joyce’s body.

As they examine the dead body, they discover a knife wound in him. Rogers believes that a woman could have committed the murder, and thinks that it might have been done by Anna. Abraham protests, saying that there were potentially “four women” who could have committed the murder. Rogers narrows it down to two possibilities, one of them still being Anna.

Captain Joyce, it’s revealed after another commercial break would sometimes signal a retreat; but, a Redcoat who served under him said that “it was just to keep the men on their toes.”

Abe goes up to a man at night, and says that he knows the man committed the murder. He tells him to meet him at midnight. When they meet, he asks to have the man admit that he killed Joyce that night, in that place. Abe has a letter to prove it, he says, and the handwriting on it is the man’s. The man pulls out his knife, and admits to the murder, but he says that Abe is meant to be a “scapegoat.”

Robert Rogers is there to hear the entire confession, and he stabs a Redcoat to death who tries to kill Abe at a signal from the guy who actually killed Joyce. Rogers will claim that the slain Redcoat is the one who killed Joyce. He tells the actual murderer that he will be his spy, and report to him. He says that “Mr. Woodhull, here,” will basically keep tabs on him.

At the end of Turn on AMC, Tallmadge and Caleb have Simcoe strung up from the rafters of a house, and they are punching him and otherwise torturing him. Simcoe is still being insulting to them, and unfortunately, General Scott (Michael Gaston) appears on the scene and doesn’t like how an officer is being treated. He orders them to let Simcoe down, and Simcoe tells Scott to not go to hard on Tallmadge, that he was a perfect gentleman to him.

Anna and Abe talk to each other and Anna tells him there’s a rumor that the company drummer killed Joyce, but that didn’t make any sense. Abe tells her that Simcoe is still alive, that his body “wasn’t discovered in Connecticut.” This does not bode well at all for Anna, nor anyone else, as Simcoe isn’t one to take what happened to him at all lightly.

Turn on AMC is getting more and more intriguing as the series progresses. Captain Simcoe should have probably been killed outright by Tallmadge and the other members of the Continental Army, instead of being taken prisoner. He didn’t tell them anything useful, and he just has grown more resentful and his hatred for Americans has grown more than ever because of the treatment he received.

Will Turn on AMC grow an audience of its own? Hopefully, because the series holds a lot of promise, and the acting is uniformly impressive. The next episode is called Of Cabbage and Kings. Please check it out next Sunday, then come back here to read a Recap/Review of it!

Written by: Douglas Cobb

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14 Responses to "Turn on AMC: Who By Fire (Recap/Review)"

  1. Don   April 22, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Hello every one. This may be a stupid question. Is Captain John Simcoe the same John Simcoe that goes on to be the Lieutenant Governor General of Upper Canada in the late 1700s. He is such a vilian in the series but if you visit the province of Ontario Canada almost everything is named for him. One country’s hero is an other’s vilian. Love the series!

  2. mark   April 18, 2014 at 5:46 am

    That wasn’t george Washington that appears on the scene, it is general scott, I would imagine Washington will be in the next episode when he and tallimadge will likely discuss starting the culper ring

  3. Ron   April 15, 2014 at 7:01 am

    My original comment was in response to Sally’s question about who the lday with the British officer was at the end of the show.

  4. Ron   April 15, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I think they’re setting her up to be a double-agent. In the Culper spy ring there was an “Agent 355” that Woodhull recruited. Supposedly a woman in NY who has never been idenfitied.

  5. Humpty   April 15, 2014 at 3:43 am

    I keep using my DVR to stop and rewind to listen to the “mumblings” and it made some sense after 2 or 3 times. Some is still mumbling.

    That’s just the way the British speak.

  6. Sally   April 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    At the end of the program, a British soldier was kissing a woman who was going to spy for the British. I think – I was a little lost there. Who was the woman?

    • Douglas Cobb   April 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I don’t really know, except she appears to be a prostitute, and she might end up spying for either the Redcoats, or pretend that she is, and be a double spy. Her name might be on wikipedia or somewhere else, and she’ll likely be a recurring character — but, I didn’t hear her name mentioned, either. If anyone else did, please leave a comment!

    • k maher   April 15, 2014 at 5:56 am

      She was an actress & the British soldier was John Andre. Who was not actually in charge of General Clinton’s spies until 1779. In fact, General Howe appears to still be in command–his conquest of New York was taking place or just took place. (The first episode had a title card: “October 1776.”)

      Also, the spy ring wasn’t formed until 1778. But why bother with history when there are maggotty cabbages to discuss!

  7. BonMot   April 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    What still promises to be a really good series leaves me with a very confusing story line because plot development occurs often in so hushed and fast dialogue that I miss a lot, and reading website recaps are just as complicated. For now, I’ll still hang in there.

  8. Douglas Cobb   April 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    What I meant was the army of the Continetal Congress, which was the Continental Army. I shouild have just stated the Continentl Army, but it was an army established by the Continental Congress.

  9. Brazos Sailor   April 14, 2014 at 6:56 am

    You might want to proof our own review. You kept mentioning the “Continental Congress” when dealing with Captain Simco, but these are soldiers in the Continential ARMY, just as George Washington is the commanding officer of said body. Congress then as now makes policy, the Army fought to make them happen.

  10. Don   April 14, 2014 at 6:47 am

    very very difficult to follow

  11. bbck7   April 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    If you like to hear actors mumble, and thereby miss important storyline facts welcome toTurn

  12. Judy McElderry   April 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    The second episode was great, developed the characters more firmly for the viewer. As someone who has researched Tories for years I can say this is a wonderful program, very realistic and well acted. These conflicts and behaviors displayed by the actors show the realities of little known facts about both sides, and should be watched by anyone who enjoys intellectual romps with historical fingues. Gratitude to those with the courage to put on such an honest presentation of a little known aspect of our own history!


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