Turn, Season Two (2015)
Reviewer: Charity Bishop
Despite complaints of historical inaccuracies and character assassinations, Turn's second season returned with renewed spirit and more likable dynamics between its historical figures. With the introduction of both famous and non-famous figures in the Revolution, it's a tighter, more quickly paced, and even more romantic season than the first.
After burning his house down to cover up the murder of the officer who unearthed the truth about him, Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bel) is playing it safe. He has not made contact with his friends in the rebel army for over two months. Instead, he has been hatching a plan that will enable him to travel into York City for months at a time, gather intelligence, and return with it. To divert suspicion from his actions, he has convinced Major Hewlett (Burn Gorman) to use him as a spy to uncover enemy agents in York. His romantic entanglement with Anna Strong (Heather Lind) has somewhat lapsed, much to his wife's relief.
Major John Andre (J.J. Field) of the British army, meanwhile, has set his sights on turning a high-ranking rebel officer, Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman), and intends to use the beautiful, passionate and flirtatious Peggy Shippen (Ksenia Solo) to do it. Unfortunately, his own heart may be put at risk in the process. His servant is also smuggling information out to Anna, which puts her own life at risk. And General Washington (Ian Kahn) is both reluctant to accept unverified information from mysterious informants and to believe that his friend General Lee is working against them in favor of the English.
Though this season is faster-moving and a lot more engaging than the first, it continues to defame various historical figures' reputations, move historical events around, and invent fictional love affairs that never transpired. Many of the names are right but the circumstances, ages, etc., are wrong. The love affair with Peggy and Andre is engaging but the sexual promiscuity is out of period (would a high born lady really risk her reputation and pregnancy so easily?). The strongest roles this year are Washington, who is a formidable, even-tempered presence except in one episode where he is erratic and hallucinating (easily the weirdest and most boring episode of the season), and Andre, who is a likable schemer with a heart.
I'm torn on my final impressions of this series; on the one hand, there is not much filmed about this period and it's exciting to see historical figures in action, but the reckless treatment of them at the whim of the writers rather offends me. It's good entertainment, but bad history, and the infrequent but graphic sexual content makes it hard to recommend.
A man and woman cavort under the sheets (lots of giggling and moving around); plenty of sexual innuendos and inferences; a woman presents herself topless to a man (her bare back is shown; her hands cover her breasts); a man's bare backside is seen; Abraham has a dream / hallucination about kissing Anna in bed; Andre and Peggy are shown in bed together; a man walks in on a man having sex with a prostitute and steals his garments (the scene is rather long); a woman grabs a man's crotch and says they do not have to wait for their wedding; a brief but unpleasant sex scene transpires between them in which it is clear she is unhappy (movement).
Occasional profanities, some abuse of deity (Jesus Christ!), crude terms (s*it).
Men fall in battle, are stabbed, or shot, with bloody results.
The series continues to have intense historical inaccuracies and assassinate the reputations of historical figures.