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Tara Ariano

S01.E08: Challenge

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Against Abe's wishes, Anna searches for enemy intelligence at an exclusive gentleman's party hosted by British spymaster John Andre.

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I liked this one. It kept me engaged.

Seth/Ben's red face & pooling eyes that finally spilled over as he heard of his late brother's grace amidst the unspeakable was very moving. There is more than one way to be a hero. Samuel was a hero for Selah on the Jersey & Selah repaid that debt by letting Ben know what happened to his brother. The not knowing is what eats away at you.

You still have one brother left Ben. His name is Caleb. He was there to prod Selah into giving you the full story you needed & Samuel deserved & he also stopped you from all but committing suicide.

Rogers knows Ben is a BAMF. He will do whatever he can to kill him, but he respects him. Still clearly on the verge of tears & grieving, "I won't be hiding."

Guilt is toxic & only leads to bad places. Abe just went to a worse one tonight. I've never found adultery romantic & I won't be starting now. Welcome Home Selah.

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I liked this one too. The pace was quick, and I liked the common thread of brothers and brotherhood throughout: Abe's brother, Ben's brother, the brotherhood of war, the Rangers and, even, the British officers' club.

I guess I'm becoming resigned to some of the soap opera elements. I'm to the point where Anna and Abe can just have each other -- but now that they have, we know Selah gets to play spoiler. And, frankly, the guy deserves way better than the pity/guilt commitment he'll get from Anna, while she and Abe share longing glances.

At least we saw Abe doing spy things and being pretty clever about it. Not sure what the significance of the info was? Guess we'll find out?

Abigail was cool, clever and collected, as usual. Love her character.

Seth/Ben's red face & pooling eyes that finally spilled over as he heard of his late brother's grace amidst the unspeakable was very moving.

You called that in last week's comments! I'm glad the director allowed that scene to develop as it did. Ugh, so sad and pretty! Edited by Kabota

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I giggled a bit at the use of 'To Anacreon in Heaven' as the redcoats' drinking song -- the melody is familiar since it was repurposed for the Star Spangled Banner.

 

I continue to find implausible the boldness displayed by Abigail towards Anna. An only recently freed woman would, it would seem to me, tend to a more outwardly obliging manner, lest some entitled white person (um, any of them) punish her.  And I don't believe for a second that she, even in the supposed protected position as Andre's maid, would get out of that debauched party without being groped or worse by a guest or two.

 

As much as I wanted Bell to move it along already with his sad tale of Phrygian caps, I did find his performance affecting.

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Oh, lordie, I just don't know who anyone is or what side they're on anymore. Two bearded burly guys? Shooting at each other, and I thought they were the same person? I mean, I manage to keep all the Midwives straight, and everyone on Mad Men, and the various druggies on Bates Motel, but this show has me licked. I just sit back and go, "hmmm, wonder who he is? Oop, now he's dead, can stop thinking  about him."

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Other than the drama between Abe and Anna at the end (I so fear there will be baby drama because of the sex), I really liked this episode.

 

It was nice to see the standoff between Ben and Robert Rogers as well as the whole sequence of Anna and Abe infiltrating the British party.

 

I continue to be impressed with Seth Numrich; he reminds me of actors like Martin Freeman who convey so much with just a simple gesture or facial expression.

 

It is quite frustrating because there are times when this show can be so compelling - and those times focus on war/spy activities and not love triangles. 

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I don't really get why Rogers has such a personal vendetta against Ben. Ben killed one of his men while escaping certain death. Yeah, that happens in a war, dude. I get it makes a dramatic storyline, but it makes no sense to me.

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Let's have more of this. Spy Things. Precarious Situations. Pissed Off Anna. I like how Anna went all in once she found the husband was dead.

 

I assume the book Abe copied is their codes. So they have like the Enigma Machine. Which should be cool if they decode something bad is going to happen but has to let it happen, like irl in WWII. And good job Abe for getting an invite their and realizing it would be a huge chance for some intel. He should have made a plan with Anna so they could get more. But she was all Revenge! And wasn't thinking clearly. 

 

What's with the song at the end? Is this the CW? Come on. Do not care. Everything but that was good. 

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I don't really get why Rogers has such a personal vendetta against Ben. Ben killed one of his men while escaping certain death. Yeah, that happens in a war, dude. I get it makes a dramatic storyline, but it makes no sense to me.

 

 

I would guess that Rogers feels the loss of one of his men the same way any elite fighting force would feel the loss of a member - they're a very tight knit group and they take loss personally.  Also, I think Rogers is obsessed with Ben because Ben managed to trick him.

 

Let's have more of this. Spy Things. Precarious Situations. Pissed Off Anna. I like how Anna went all in once she found the husband was dead.

 

I assume the book Abe copied is their codes. So they have like the Enigma Machine. Which should be cool if they decode something bad is going to happen but has to let it happen, like irl in WWII. And good job Abe for getting an invite their and realizing it would be a huge chance for some intel. He should have made a plan with Anna so they could get more. But she was all Revenge! And wasn't thinking clearly. 

 

What's with the song at the end? Is this the CW? Come on. Do not care. Everything but that was good. 

 

The code looked like a book code to me.

 

I too thought the song was a bit wonky and completely took me out of the moment - not that I particularity liked that last moment between Anna and Abe.

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I was happy with the closing song; it's a tune from the time. Of course, I grew up eating that kind of thing, with a 'Barbara Allen' here and a 'Water is Wide' there, and a 'Farewell to Tarwathie' after supper. The more the show does of that, the better I like it.

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It's not the song, it's the scene. It's a cheap writing hack used in teen soaps. 

 

Abe dumped the woman he really wanted to marry because he doesn't have the sack to oppose his Tory father, and now he's a spy and can't tell his real wife who he's not that into anyway. That's fine. It's not the most interesting thing about the show, but it portrays Abe in a certain way. 

 

Obviously, he and Anna going away to NYC was going to end up with them fucking. And that's fine too. But TPTBs chose to do it in the most trite cliched way that they could. 

 

I swear, tv people know nothing about tv and just do things because They Are Things You Do. 

 

They took an otherwise very engaging episode of television with quite an interesting reveal, and very moving monologue and ended it in the worst way possible. 

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Ok, all caught up. 

 

Now we know why Abe married Mary, more than just his brother dying, it was because he felt responsible for  causing his death.

 

Yeah, I totally expect Anna to end up pregnant.  Even more, if she is reunited with Selah quick enough (and won't she be surprised) and they have sex, then we get a huge 'who's the daddy' drama.

 

Did Andre figure out something was up/off about Anna or why else was he fine to 'let her go'? 

 

Would they have really let a woman, without a chaperone, on board a prison ship?

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Probably not, but she was with someone who was in charge and she did have the pardon on her, so I'm ok with it. 

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I don't really get why Rogers has such a personal vendetta against Ben. Ben killed one of his men while escaping certain death. Yeah, that happens in a war, dude. I get it makes a dramatic storyline, but it makes no sense to me.

In the video extras on the AMC website, the featured deleted scene for the episode is actually an extended/different cut of the squirrel scene with Rogers and Jordan. Jordan basically asks Rogers why he's after Tallmadge when he, Rogers, killed Tallmadge's men first. Rogers explains his process more fully than in the cut in the airing episode.

Obviously, they're creating DRAMA! here, but historical Rogers was rather a mess by this time in his life, apparently. When the British officer rode up with his troops, it looked like Angus Macfadyen's head was gonna burst like the bluebird in Shrek! And the face to face between Rogers and Tallmadge was intense. Once again, Ben uses Rogers' own mechanics against him. For a meeting that didn't involve bloodshed, it was a pretty awesome -- albeit to be continued -- payoff.

(Then, again, it could all just be about the hat!)

Edited by Kabota

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There were several great scenes and a whole lot of drama in this episode.  (I'm slowly catching up.)  The face off between Ben and Rogers was great, but the one that really blew me away was when Abe was answering the challenge question, who would he kill.  Bell did an excellent job with the range of emotions.

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Just when I think I got everyone down pat, I watch the next episode to air and I get all kinds of confused again. Sucks to be me. However, the one thing I must comment on this episode is that I'm so glad all the British officers were drunks as skunks, otherwise, they would have noticed Abe's glaring at Mrs. Strong at every opportunity he got and also every time they came together in a dance, they whispered to each other. If the Brits were sober, they might have noticed something is going on and someone is not who they appear to be. 

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Well, almost right after the dance, the Brit walked in on Abe pawing at Anna, so they may have chalked it up to drunken horniness.

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Episodes are getting better and better every week. Really enjoyed this one. I finally know who all the characters are so that's good. The British drinking party was hilarious and well done - was that seriously a funnel I saw? 18th century Frat Boys Party. Though it was very risky for Anna to go to the frat party. How could she be so sure that Abe would be able to protect her. I totally agree about the long looks - if the Brits were so wasted, they would easily have seen the goo-goo eyes those two were making. Not very spy like.

 

Favourite character is still Ben Tallmadge - I think the actor is amazing and the character too.

If this show gets renewed - and I hope it does - there better not be any baby story lines. That was all I could think about at the end scene between Anna and Abe - this won't end well, or she's going to be pawning off her kid as Selah's.

 

Not sure about renewal - the show averages in the very low 1 million viewers and the demo is not good. Considering it is in the same time slot as The Walking Dead, that's kind of low. However, it's time slot is doing it no favours. It's on at the same time as Game of Thrones, Cosmos, Hockey Playoffs, Basketball playoffs and other miscellaneous sports. I think give it a second season and put it on another day (except Monday) and it would do better.

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Clearly Rogers is just in love with Tallmadge and that's why he's pursuing him.  I don't blame him.  Caleb and Ben are the most interesting part of the show by far.

 

Yeah, the CW ending with Anna and Abe.  Because now that she fully understands the weight and consequence of his choice, she thinks it would be a good idea to just pee all over it anyway.  Ugh, I can't even with these two.

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This show is so educational.  I knew the "Star Spangled Banner" used the same tune as a popular British song, but had never heard it before.  Just like how "My Country Tis of Thee" also stole a British tune.  Those early Americans, determined to break away from England and yet can't even come up with their own music for their patriotic songs haha.

 

My question... when Anna walked in to the party, why did all of the other girls snicker and shun her?  I think one might have even made a comment about how the highborn have fallen or something like that.  How did they know she was rich?  Was it her dress?  Her dress didn't look any less fancy or expensive to me than the dresses all of the other girls were wearing.

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Just finished this ep on Netflix.  I think the show's subtitle could be TURN: "Anna, wait!" although this ep mixed it up with "Abe, wait!" Hate when the show has the characters tell us what they are feeling rather than showing.  SO happy to have found your recaps and other watchers who dig it but hate it when it's bad TV.

 

Daniel Henshall is my favorite actor on it, gives the strongest performance.  Agree that one of the highlights so far of season 1 is the scene where Ben is asking about his brother.  I'm still into Abe, and keep watching because Jamie Bell is convincing as are all the standouts.

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