The episode opens up with Sam and his friends preparing for the Boston Tea Party. John Hancock is appalled. The event goes with a lot more drama, complete with a confrontation with British Soldiers. Hancock prevents the soldiers from killing Sam Adams and making him a martyr. (Wise choice, too.) Then the scene transitions to Parliament, where Ben Franklin is discussing the incident with the Prime Minister. I won’t critique Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris’s performance yet, but I will give him points for giving the title drop.
There are two storylines in the episode. The first major story line follows the events that lead up to the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (and Samuel Prescott and William Dawes). A subplot of this storyline follows Dr. Warren, General Gage, and Margaret Gage. The second storyline is the formation of the First Continental Congress, which will eventually lead into tonight’s episode.
Parliament passes what we now call The Intolerable Acts and send in General Gage and his men. They establish that they are here to stay by searching homes and establishments of the rebels. One of General Gage’s men tries to make Sam Adams an offer he can’t refuse, but given that he’s not mafia, Adams refuses the offer. The next day, everyone in Boston is ordered to the town square to watch a public flogging of one of the men who participated in the Boston Tea Party. After the flogging, Dr. Joseph Warren takes care of the man who was flogged and meets Margaret Gage, played by Emily Berrington (whom I recognize as Simone Al-Harazi from 24: Live Another Day). Mrs. Gage is a colonist who married Gage after the French-Indian War.
General Gage seizes John Hancock’s house, which leads Hancock to finally joining up with Sam Adams and his men. Hancock works with Sam and John Adams on organizing the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. While the meeting had a bad turnout, it doesn’t take long before I realized that the scene was really meant to be the establishing moment for the Father of our Country. The soon-to-be General Washington, played by Jason O’Mara (from CBS’s series Vegas) walks in with this very authoritative air that made everyone in the room shut up and pay attention to him. Unfortunately, the Congress decides to create a letter to King George III instead of helping Massachusetts create an army. Washington suggests that Hancock and the Adams cousins create an army of their own. And thus the minutemen/militia was born.
Sam, Paul, and Dawes sneak into an enemy camp to steal gunpowder. The mission is successful, with Paul leaving and lighting a trail of gunpowder to make the rest of the powder in the silo explode. This sends the soldiers for a search-and-arrest mission, with Gage planning to arrest Sam and John Hancock and have them hanged.
Meanwhile, Dr. Warren and Mrs. Gage’s friendship turns into an affair. I checked the official site and Wikipedia. There is no evidence that the two of them had an affair, just that Mrs. Gage might have been a patriot spy and, since Dr. Warren was Gage’s doctor, used him as her messenger. The idea that Mrs. Gage could’ve been a spy is speculative at best and her affair with Dr. Warren is purely fictitious. Yes, General Gage had his own affairs and abused her, but sleeping with Dr. Warren doesn’t exactly make her any better. It’s portrayed in a sympathetic light, but to be honest, Dr. Warren and the Gages are all in the wrong. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like it when adultery is glamorized in media and I apply that to everyone involved.
The last part of the episode shows Paul and Dawes heading off to Lexington and Concord on the famous midnight ride. The two of them split up, with Dawes heading to Concord and Paul heading to warn Sam and Hancock about the soldiers. Unfortunately, Paul gets stopped by soldiers. He fights them off and gets as far from the soldiers as he can on his horse. He makes it to Lexington in time to get Sam and Hancock out. The minutemen prepared themselves for their first battle. The episode ends with the Battle of Lexington and the shot heard round the world.
If the first episode of the series was a lot of buildup, this episode could be called transitional. I’m glad that it focused mostly on the creation of the Boston minutemen and the famous Midnight Ride, but they left out Samuel Prescott and didn’t show Dawes at Concord. However, the site is quick to point out the reality of the situation, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. Just don’t show this series to the kids. The show’s rating is somewhere between PG-13 and a soft R as far as language and content.
Tonight’s episode centers on the creation of the Declaration and the start of the Revolution. What exactly happens then and what happens after is for you to find out. I’ll end my recap tomorrow.