All season it’s been clear that Lt. John Simcoe is the mad dog of the British forces stationed in Setauket, but in the penultimate episode of “Turn” Season 1, his madness finally spread to those around him.
In an effort to root out the patriots in Setauket — and, in his mind, Abraham Woodhull as well — Simcoe framed a situation where Major Hewlett would have no choice but to see dissent in front of him. Simcoe poisoned Hewlett’s beloved horse and blamed it on Caleb Brewster’s uncle, and then had Judge Woodhull shot while blaming it on Benjamin Tallmadge’s father. All sound evidence for Hewlett, who is ready to see the Setauket citizens hang.
Simcoe’s goal to get the patriot manifesto conspirators revealed actually worked, as a man came forward and gave up that document. But that action spurred Abraham to use his law degree and act as prosecutor on the trial to prove that the evidence points against the defendants. His ploy would have worked, too, if the town hadn’t turned against him in the process.
So Hewlett agrees to have some “mercy” and sentence the Setauket men on trial to 10 years aboard a British ship instead of immediate death. Both sentences will likely end with the same result — the men dead — anyway, so it wasn’t much of a compromise. As a result, Abe swears to find the true man responsible for the attacks, which means he and Simcoe will once again come head-to-head.
But that’s not the only trouble brewing in and around Setauket. Ben makes the bad choice of abandoning General Washington’s orders to return home with Caleb and defend their families. And as Abe continues his dalliance with Anna, Mary is becoming more frustrated with him and his treatment of their family. That puts him in a pretty bad situation, considering in the final scene of the episode she finds all of his spy equipment.
What will she do with that information? In all likelihood, she’ll go to Abe’s father instead of directly to her husband. But Judge Woodhull did tell her that the blame in her marriage falling apart is partially hers, so maybe she will do the right thing and not give Abe up immediately. Just as long as she doesn’t go to Simcoe or Hewlett, because that will be bad news for Abraham Woodhull.