Abraham Woodhull was never much of a farmer, but it remains to be seen if he’ll make much of a spy.
AMC’s newest drama, “Turn,” thrusts its main character, played by Jamie Bell, into a dangerous situation that no American had been in before. The 90-minute pilot of Season 1 shows how Abe found himself with no choice other than to ally himself with the American rebels and turn spy against the British.
Perhaps the best element of the pilot is the fact that Abe doesn’t make the decision to ally with them to be brave. Instead, he does it to save his own hide and because it seems like the best option available for him. But though he passes key information to the Americans in this episode, it seems unlikely that he’ll be without his doubts going forward.
His relationships with his wife and his father, both Loyalists, are what will most likely make him doubt his allegiance to the rebels. Though his heart clearly lies with Anna Strong still, Abe is first and foremost a father. He seems like the type of man who will put his family before his country — despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to have any deep love for his wife — though that might change as time passes.
With the setup of “Turn” out of the way in this first episode, it’s exciting to see what will come of the spy world. The rebels are still several steps behind the British in terms of their spy game, and there likely will be some experimentation with tactics now that they’re starting their own spy ring. The draw of “Turn” is not its American Revolution setting, but the facet of that time period that is being shown. How do you spy when there is no precedent for that type of work?
Abraham Woodhull is an extremely interesting lead not because he is a dynamic character, but because of how he is sure to change. This somewhat cowardly version of Abe will be forced to adapt and evolve, not because he wants to but out of necessity. If Abe wants to survive, he needs to make sure that he becomes the best spy he can be — and doesn’t betray the wrong people.
What did you think of the premiere of “Turn”?