Historical Timeline updated: Season 2 Finale edition

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Season 2 of TURN: Washington’s Spies is a wrap, which means we’ve got one last timeline update for the season!  You can click on the image above to view the full-size Timeline, or better yet, visit the Timeline Page to view a chronological list of every event along with links for further reading.

TURN Historical Timeline version 2.2. Click graphic to enlarge, or click the “Timeline” tab at the top of the page for more information.

The Season 2 Finale merited quite a few additions to the Timeline, including the Battle of Monmouth, one of the largest engagements of the Revolutionary War in terms of troop numbers.  John Andre was present, but Benjamin Tallmadge and the 2nd Dragoons were not; historically, the young Marquis de Lafayette played a crucial role in the battle, but TURN left him on the sidelines for the entire episode in spite of having introduced him to much fanfare just a few episodes earlier.

The Thomas Hickey affair (a fascinating true story from earlier in the war) received similarly strange treatment in the finale.  In the TURN universe, Hickey was the final piece that wrapped up an episodes-long treasonous plot to kidnap Washington, but the entire scene felt like an afterthought hastily shoved into the last five minutes of the episode. The very title of the Season 2 Finale — “Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot” — was actually a reference to the English poem about Guy Fawkes as quoted in one of the most well-known eyewitness accounts of the Thomas Hickey execution, quoted at the beginning of this well-written summary of the event.

Additionally, we have yet another event to add to the right-hand extreme of the Historical Timeline. A central plot point of the finale episode was Akinbode/Jordan’s plot to take Abigail and Cicero to Canada. As J.L. Bell points out in his latest weekly review of TURN, this makes no sense, given that slavery was legal in all British colonies, including Canada, in 1778. The writers appear to be setting up Canada as some anachronistic, proto-Underground Railroad destination for this sympathetic Revolutionary War family, even though the abolition of slavery in Canada was a gradual process that began in the 1790s and wasn’t complete until well into the 19th century. (You might find a few unexpected TURN-related names if you were to browse the history of slavery and abolition in Canada.)

Finally, there’s also an event in the Timeline related to Peggy Shippen’s final relationship status — even though we’re getting slightly ahead of the show’s chronology — on account of so many readers inquiring about it. (As you can tell from the rest of the Timeline, the actual historical record doesn’t necessarily act as a “spoiler” for TURN, since the show departs so radically from documented history.)

Today: #RenewTURN Twitter Rally

Last year, TURN fans waited two long weeks after the Season 1 finale for confirmation that the show would be renewed for Season 2.  We can expect more of the same waiting period this year, if comments made last week by AMC network CEO Josh Sapan are any indication.

Click for details on how to participate in a #RenewTURN rally scheduled for later today.
Click for details on how to participate in a #RenewTURN rally scheduled for later today.

According to Variety, Sapan said that the cable network would “assess” the futures of both “TURN: Washington’s Spies” and “Halt and Catch Fire.” Both historical dramas (Yes, the 1980s counts as a historical time period, as depressing as that might be to some) debuted in 2014 and have struggled in the ratings despite amassing small, devoted fanbases.  If it’s any consolation, the raw numbers for Season 1 of “Halt & Catch Fire” (in 2014) were very close to the numbers for Season 2 of TURN (in 2015) — and last year AMC gave “Halt and Catch Fire” the green light for another season.

For you devoted TURN fans who are on Twitter, @TurnonAMC (an unofficial handle) is leading an effort to get the hashtag #RenewTURN trending later tonight. Details can be found here. We’ll be keeping tabs on the latest TURN renewal news and will post it on Twitter, Facebook, and (of course) here on the blog once we hear any official word!



5 thoughts on “Historical Timeline updated: Season 2 Finale edition

    sleehauser said:
    June 15, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I have mixed feelings about the renewal of “Turn.” I initially enjoyed it very much–and have learned so much from the Spycurious posts and links. But I have been discouraged by the increasingly “soap opera” quality of the writing as Season 2 has progressed. I would love to see this show back for a 3d season IF the writers will toe the historical line. I think there’s drama enough in that!

    texaschick51 said:
    June 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Since I don’t have a Twitter account, it would be great if someone started a petition to save Turn. I love the show, but hate how the writers take such liberties with people and facts. I started watching because I wanted to learn the true history behind the Revolutionary War and the people involved in the spy ring to aid in our freedom from Britain. Washington having a nervous breakdown and talking to his dead brother is not the kind of liberty taken with the truth. History is fascinating without romances that never actually happened and leaving important players out or time warping them into scenarios that never happened. Even though this is more of a fantasy production of the Revolutionary War, some of the facts are still there. I’m disappointed they are leaving out the part religion played in the character’s lives,such as Washington kneeling down to pray. Part of their strength and commitment to freedom also centered on their strong devotion to God. It’s not hard to represent the truth, so why don’t they?

    Jo DeLapo said:
    June 15, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Any show that gets today’s young people interested in American history even if only to fall in love with Major John Andre is alright with me. While not historically correct all the time, the series could be the spark that leads viewers to search out and read books on this vital part of our history.

    Patricia said:
    June 15, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    I Love the show in spite of some of the historical inaccuracies. I’m very proud to be a Long Islander, living in Patchogue. When I taught 3rd grade our Social Studies curriculum was the history of Long Island. We took a field trip every month, to many of the places mentioned on the show. I am a real student of history so I was in my glory. I would like to recommend a book that I just finished, which was excellent. It is “The Traitor’s Wife” by Allison Pataki (yes the gov’s daughter.) It is story of Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen, told from the point of view of her new lady’s maid. Ms Pataki comes from the West Point area and is also a student of history. The book is filled with wonderful details of life at the time of the Revolutionary War. You can find it on Amazon for a very reasonable price. You’ll be glad you did!

    DaveStar said:
    February 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    A little late to the party, kind of (my mother is DAR so I’m SAR!), but I’m happy to find a few websites talking about this show. Just wrapped season 2 and am glad to read of the renewal. The Revolution has become my new favorite subject so I look forward to participating in season 3 discussions.

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