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Tara Ariano

S01.E06: Mr. Culpeper

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Abe is ambushed by a desperate patriot on the way to New York. Meanwhile, Gen. Washington charges Ben with the task of creating America's first spy ring.

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This was the first episode I'd actually grade above average.  It's been a bit of a snooze-fest up until now.  Maybe I'll stick around and see if it remains at this level or falls back down into the literal cabbage patch.  (Tip of the cap to Simcoe for making neck stabbing an entertaining moment.  Floki might like this guy).

Edited by green

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I feel that with the past couple of episodes, the show has picked up the pace and really found it's groove. Keeping fingers crossed that will continue for the last four episodes of the season. This episode, focused as it was on the spy webs of both the Continentals and the British, was the best yet.

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I really wanted to have Al Swearengen give Abigail tips on how to get bloodstains out of a wood-plank floor.  Daubing it with a damp cloth will not get the job done.

 

I'm totally trying that egg-thing out for Memorial Day barbeque deviled eggs.

 

I did not know they invented mixed martial arts in the colonies....

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I really enjoyed this episode. Thought the pace was good and was fully engaged. Love Tallmadge - he's my absolute favourite character now, though Evil Capt. Simcoe is a close second.

 

Two complaints though. When Washington is envisioning Scenario 37, and is like, won't work because Redcoat will demand eggs, and the secret will be found out. I'm like, well....if Abraham simply handed over one of the raw eggs himself, took the money graciously, the Redcoat would never have been suspicious, Abe would have seemed to be on the "right" side, and he could go on his merry way. Unless the basket was required to have a set number of eggs. But yeah, that scenario would have worked.

 

Complaint two: Abraham, you make a terrible spy. The moment you are caught, slightly roughed up (but not really), you openly tell Crazy Redcoat/ReallyaBlueCoat that you are a spy against the British AND give up Ben Tallmadge's name. Terrible, terrible spy.

 

Liked Washington realizing that Ben spoke logically and truthfully about the spying situation, however it went against the "proper" way of doing things. Awesome. Really like his character a lot. John Andre, actually, like him also. Was confused about how he was teaching Abigail to eat - isn't that the "wrong" way to properly use cutlery? I thought Andre was actually messing with her.

 

Overall, good episode.

 

ETA: I KNEW that was Stephen Root playing Nathaniel Sackett! Awesome!

Edited by HalcyonDays

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Complaint two: Abraham, you make a terrible spy. The moment you are caught, slightly roughed up (but not really), you openly tell Crazy Redcoat/ReallyaBlueCoat that you are a spy against the British AND give up Ben Tallmadge's name. Terrible, terrible spy.

I thought this too. I don't suppose they had time to play around with Abe really feeling out the loyalties of the guy, so I guess we assume he went on gut, but that was a fair amount of potentially damaging info he spilled to an unreliable and desperate captor.

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Was confused about how he was teaching Abigail to eat - isn't that the "wrong" way to properly use cutlery?

 

There has been a shift. These days, Europeans fork left-handed, cut right-handed and bring food to mouth with left-handed fork as Abigail was doing. Americans cut right handed and switch the fork to the right hand to bring food to mouth.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, this switcheroo style originated in Europe.

 

My gram always eyed me suspiciously because even as a child, I never did the switch. I think she thought I was demonic. Or that my mom was too slack to correct me. Truth was, I was ambi, and my left-hand-fork-fu was just fine for me.

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There has been a shift. These days, Europeans fork left-handed, cut right-handed and bring food to mouth with left-handed fork as Abigail was doing. Americans cut right handed and switch the fork to the right hand to bring food to mouth.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, this switcheroo style originated in Europe.

 

I picked up the left handed fork move from watching old movies. When you grow up eating rice, you have no idea what to do with bread at dinner. I'm still trying to figure out how much bread to break, tear or chew off. 

 

Was anyone else thrown off by the lack of scars on Jordan? I think I will need to watch that part again...for research sake.

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I thought this too. I don't suppose they had time to play around with Abe really feeling out the loyalties of the guy, so I guess we assume he went on gut, but that was a fair amount of potentially damaging info he spilled to an unreliable and desperate captor.

 

With Abe, Crazy Red/Blue coat flat out says "I'm a Rebel." Okay. But, he could be lying...Abe takes him at his word. I know men were more honorable back then, but seriously? People do lie. I would not have believed CrazyGuy at all. But that's me.

 

You know, whenever I think that Abe might be manipulating the people around him to get information, or hide the fact he is a spy, he does something like this. At this point, what you see is what you get. He's too open, IMO. And will be easily manipulated if any danger may appear to his son. Not a good person for the job.

Caleb, Ben and the others are all better at this.

 

There has been a shift. These days, Europeans fork left-handed, cut right-handed and bring food to mouth with left-handed fork as Abigail was doing. Americans cut right handed and switch the fork to the right hand to bring food to mouth.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, this switcheroo style originated in Europe.

 

My gram always eyed me suspiciously because even as a child, I never did the switch. I think she thought I was demonic. Or that my mom was too slack to correct me. Truth was, I was ambi, and my left-hand-fork-fu was just fine for me.

 

Hmm..interesting. I do the switcheroo with my cutlery and my parents came over from Europe. It's just more comfortable for me. I swear I recently read some article (like last week) saying that the switcheroo style is not proper, and "proper" usage should be left hand holding fork at all times. Maybe I am wrong.

 

So is John Andre going to be a benevolent "master" for Abigail, or should we be worried. Abigail in the last episode said she would spy for Anna and company; If Andre treats her well, then she may not want to be such a willing participant.

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It is amazing how the convivial presence of Geo. Washington and a good steak (knife) can liven up one's evening.   Loved Stephen Root's character, and I hope, since he's in the credits, that he'll be hanging around more.  

 

Abe continues to be the show's weak link for me.  I don't know if it is the actor or the part, but he isn't as compelling to me as Tallmadge.  

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It is amazing how the convivial presence of Geo. Washington and a good steak (knife) can liven up one's evening.   Loved Stephen Root's character, and I hope, since he's in the credits, that he'll be hanging around more.  

 

Abe continues to be the show's weak link for me.  I don't know if it is the actor or the part, but he isn't as compelling to me as Tallmadge.  

 

Yeah I realize why I liked this episode the best now.  Less of boring Abe and his endless soap opera (yawn) relationships and more history stuff. 

 

So far I find the British more interesting with Simcoe and Robert Rogers and even Andre.  And now it looks like Masai warrior guy will be one of Rogers' Rangers too.  Brits are scoring all the interesting people so far. 

 

Tallmadge is okay but just there for me and Washington is a two dimensional cutout without faults so far.  Caleb has some real possibilities but they don't use him much in the show.  More Caleb and less Abe and his many uninteresting loves and family members both alive and dead.

 

And I don't care how people eat or what is viewed as "proper" so just eat, drink and stab merry according to how you feel.  Though you might try to keep the neck stabbing a bit down since it is such a mess to clean up afterwards.

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I swear I recently read some article (like last week) saying that the switcheroo style is not proper, and "proper" usage should be left hand holding fork at all times. Maybe I am wrong.

I think I may be a heathen!  I'm a right-handed American.  I hold my knife in my left hand and my fork in my right.  No switching.   Good thing I don't get invited to many any formal dinner parties.

 

Yeah I realize why I liked this episode the best now.  Less of boring Abe and his endless soap opera (yawn) relationships and more history stuff.

 

Oh.  Yeah.  I guess that's it for me, too.  I didn't even make the connection.  I like Jamie Bell as an actor, but I'm not really warming up to Abe Woodhouse.  What should be coming across (imo) as an earnest desire to do the right thing just comes off as whiny martyrdom. 

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I think I'm finally learning names and faces. Or at least I'm remembering faces and what they've done in past episodes.

Also I had a major history freak out over the mention of Nathan Hale at the end. I've lived a town over from the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, CT my whole life. My sister is a history teacher and was a tour guide there and knows everything about him so I've picked up on a lot. He's sort of a hometown hero so I think we were taught about him in every history class in elementary school. I don't know why it took my six episodes to think about him being mentioned but as soon as I did, BAM. George was dropping his name.

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Re: the cutlery thing, there is no "proper" way. Anyone who says there is is a snob. Damn it, we fought a war for the freedom to eat as we see fit! ;-)

I love Stephen Root. The guy playing Washington is hot!

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The guy playing Washington is hot!

 

[nitpick] He's not quite tall enough. [/nitpick] But I noticed they're usually photographing him in a way that hides that/emphasizes how physically impressive he was.

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[nitpick] He's not quite tall enough. [/nitpick] But I noticed they're usually photographing him in a way that hides that/emphasizes how physically impressive he was.

Yeah, I noticed he wasn't tall enough (David Morse met that measure in "John Adams), but I don't mind!

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I agree with many of you that have said that this episode was so much more interesting because it had very little of the melodrama surrounding Abe (daddy issues, brother issues, fidelity issues -- you name it).  But I'm going to take it one step further and say that I enjoyed this episode because there was so much less Abe, period.

 

I think Jamie Bell is a good actor, but I find the character of Abe Woodhull plain dull.  He doesn't seem to have any self-assurance, nor does he seem to have any conviction -- in anything, and he seems to be all over the place.  At this point, I'd much rather watch Andre, Rogers, Simcoe, Ben, or Sackett. 

 

Hopefully the show can maintain this pace.  Maybe AMC will market it better so that it can improve the ratings (they're pretty bad, so that shouldn't be hard to do).  I'd love to watch all the way to the conclusion of this narrative. 

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Hopefully the show can maintain this pace.  Maybe AMC will market it better so that it can improve the ratings (they're pretty bad, so that shouldn't be hard to do).  I'd love to watch all the way to the conclusion of this narrative. 

 

I think the show itself could improve things by making the opening titles a little more interesting.  Don't know what the heck that song is at the beginning but it is boring and doesn't have much to do with anything.  Hate the graphics too. 

 

But part of my reaction is from the direct opposite on the other non-premium (aka I can afford to watch this channel) cable historic drama this season in Vikings that has one of the most awesome titles graphics and music in a TV series ever.  It helped hook me in BIG time.  (Also I can't get the notes out of my head still and the season's over).  Turn's attempt at "clever" titles and that horrid music makes me want to go channel surfing elsewhere instead.

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I read an LA Times article that stated Ben Tallmadge was going to be the main character in the show  Then they decided to focus on Abraham Woodhull.  I think that was a mistake. 

 

Ben Tallmadge was actually doing something in 1776--although he didn't organize the Culpers until 1778. Nathan Hale, Ben's college friend, was hanged just before the show began.  Why didn't we see that dramatic scene & immediate reactions--rather than focusing on the emo cabbage farmer with maggot problems & daddy issues?  There were huge battles being waged around NY & I can understand budget considerations--but a quick hanging isn't that expensive.  We need to know why people were fighting--rather than focus on one guy's reluctance to commit.  Woodhull Sr was a Patriot, not a Loyalist; but why can't we have this fictional Loyalist explain his position?  Many Americans did remain loyal to the Crown--they weren't all greedy fools, out to wreck their sons' love lives. 

 

We finally got a glimpse of Washington, spymaster--which he really was, eventually.  And Tallmadge did get that promotion--later. Historical errors bother me but at least they should make a show more interesting--which these do.  John Andre wasn't a spymaster yet--but he was a fascinating fellow.  (Cutting silhouettes was one of his many talents--hence, the weird credits. Don't mind the visuals--hate the music.)  And the Nathan Hale story resonates with his--if the show lasts long enough...

 

I'm glad to see Aldis Hodge on my TV again.  But it's highly unlikely a Masai warrior would have been enslaved--since the Masai live in East Africa.  I do wish we'd met the African-American characters earlier in the show.

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I actually really liked this episode too. I liked all the 'so we're going to put together a spy ring' scenes and inventing of the dead drops etc. I want to see spies and spying! I loved the "you don't have fake names? you don't use codes?!" *facepalm*

 

There hasn't been much of that going on. I'm fine with slow paced shows, but it's time to get on with the invisible ink and codes!

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Caught up to Episode 6 now.  Two more to go before Sunday (though I will DVR the show because GoT)

 

Quote

   

Was confused about how he was teaching Abigail to eat - isn't that the "wrong" way to properly use cutlery?

 

    

There has been a shift. These days, Europeans fork left-handed, cut right-handed and bring food to mouth with left-handed fork as Abigail was doing. Americans cut right handed and switch the fork to the right hand to bring food to mouth.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, this switcheroo style originated in Europe.

My gram always eyed me suspiciously because even as a child, I never did the switch. I think she thought I was demonic. Or that my mom was too slack to correct me. Truth was, I was ambi, and my left-hand-fork-fu was just fine for me.

 

 

As a lefty, I cut with left, then sometimes switch to eat with left, sometimes I don't.  I did like, though, how Andre sussed out the spy/imposter by his eating routine.  Reminded me of Inglorious Basterds when the German officer figured out the imposter because of how he showed the number 3 with his fingers. I just laughed how Simcoe blew Andre's wonderful plan.

 

Count me as another one that finds the opening credits visually interesting, but the music is awful.  Also agree that I'd much prefer the show focus on Tallmudge than Wooddull.  And yay for Aldis Hodge!!!!  Using his skill with accents (lol).

 

I can see now with Andre being nice to Abigail she'll eventually have some conflict over whether to spy or not.

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Caught up to Episode 6 now.  Two more to go before Sunday (though I will DVR the show because GoT)

 

 

As a lefty, I cut with left, then sometimes switch to eat with left, sometimes I don't.  I did like, though, how Andre sussed out the spy/imposter by his eating routine.  Reminded me of Inglorious Basterds when the German officer figured out the imposter because of how he showed the number 3 with his fingers. I just laughed how Simcoe blew Andre's wonderful plan.

 

Count me as another one that finds the opening credits visually interesting, but the music is awful.  Also agree that I'd much prefer the show focus on Tallmudge than Wooddull.  And yay for Aldis Hodge!!!!  Using his skill with accents (lol).

 

I can see now with Andre being nice to Abigail she'll eventually have some conflict over whether to spy or not.

 

 

Which was weird considering that when SImcoe was "dining" with Ben he didn't switch hands after cutting his meat.

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I think I need to pay more attention when I watch the episodes.  Abe was at the bar, he got a basket full of secret code eggs.  He goes outside, some British officer wants to buy an egg, Abe says no, British guy grabs the basket, some eggs are spilled.  British guy picks up an egg and sees the message, there is a struggle, gun goes off, Abe is lying on the ground bleeding.  Cut to commercial.

 

Was this a dream or imagined sequence?  Because next I remember, Abe is in the cart with some guy who looks very much like him, they are singing, and then the guy captures him and is going to turn him over to the British.  What became of being shot in the stomach?

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I didn't know what happened in those scenes with the eggs and the shot fired either when I saw it when the show was first broadcast.  And you know what?  I still don't know either.

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The opening scene begins with a view of Nathaniel Sackett (an awesome Stephen Root), quill to paper, IMAGINING and narrating "Scenario 37." In his quest to improve tradecraft, Sackett is reviewing POSSIBLE outcomes of agent to agent transfer. "The Trojan Egg" scenario could go wrong in the way that Sackett imagines it, so the scene ends with him crumpling that piece of paper -- and idea -- and tossing it in the trash. So, yeah, even though Sackett and Abe have never met, Abe is the subject of the scenario, because as we see later in the episode, Sackett has been considering Tallmadge's agent(s) and chain. This considered, it's no surprise when Sackett is so riled up by Tallmadge's admission that his agents and couriers meet in person! It's, also, worth noting, that the agent who appears responsible for making the transfer to Abe in Sackett's HEAD is the lieutenant stabbed in the neck by Simcoe at Andre's table in REALITY. The ring and scar on his hand are the tells.

I enjoyed this episode again, and would still rank it as one of the best of the season.

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It was Mr. Sacket imagining a scenario for a mission. There's information hidden in the egg (with invisible ink like how he showed Ben later in the episode), Abe gets the signal for which egg to take from the other spy, adds the egg to the basket he's carrying  and is on his way with the intelligence. It all falls apart when the British officer demands an egg and Abe is found out and Abe is killed for being a spy.

Sacket decides is not a good idea and crumples up the paper he's writing it on. So it's basically a 'what if' scene.  

 

 

OR what Kabota said.

Edited by Iboatedhere
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Thanks too.  But it still doesn't make sense to me the way it was filmed.  It looked more like what did happen when they used the technique.  But I'm glad you guys solved the mystery for me.

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