Blu-ray/DVD, Reviews

“Turn: Washington’s Spies” Season 2, Secrets and Treachery

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Things are really starting to heat up in season two of AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” in both the colonies and in London. The weekly series now on DVD continues the secrecy, concealment, spying, trickery, lying and deceit. You would think it was just another episode of “The Americans”. But, “Turn” takes place a couple centuries earlier and the characters here are vying for control of the United States. In some cases its spy versus spy while delivering some major information that could change the tide of the war.

It’s 1777 and the Colonists have already declared their independence, but are struggling to get a militia on solid ground. Lead by General George Washington (Ian Kahn) they are out manned yet determined to fight the British soldiers. To help them they have looked to spies in King George III’s (Paul Rhys) ranks, households of Loyalists and his inner circle to get information on troops and shipping. In the colonies, several infiltrators within the loyalists have been able to help the resistance. Both Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell) and Anna Strong (Heather Lind) are in a very delicate position as spies in the New America. They are pretending to be loyalists to the King, but have taken on an ominous task. It’s a very slippery slope for those who are found out and arrested, but they are brave patriots risking their lives for a new country.

Ability to make a dull scene bright with good dialogue delivery, sets and scenery the helmsmen in the directing pool do a fine job of bringing “Turn” to AMC’s stable of good TV series. Although it’s a bit of a melodrama, the historical value of this American Revolution series coupled with good action make it worth a watch. The episodes get gripping midway through each one and remain attention grabbing to each cliffhanging ending.

Heather Lind as Anna Strong - TURN: Washington's Spies _ Season 2, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC
Heather Lind as Anna Strong – TURN: Washington’s Spies _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Standout acting by Jamie Bell as Abraham and Heather Lind as Anna his spy counterpart, remind me a lot of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) in “The Americans”. Bell gives a very good performance as the spy hiding behind his lawyer shroud while passing on secrets from the loyalists to the patriots. Caught up in a more brutish crowd, Heather’s Anna finds herself in some tight situations while tip toeing around Abraham’s Loyalist wife Mary played by Meegan Warner. And Meegan’s not too shabby as Mary either, knowing that her husband has been getting more than secrets from Anna, but still loves Abraham.

The action gets very realistic with the firing of muskets and powder pistols. Some scenes get rather gory showing blood spatter as ball shot enters the body of the enemy during battles and confrontations. The Loyalists, a group of Americans that are behind the British Army overlook most of the violence while hiding in their estate homes on Long Island. They are more mouth than action and avoid being put in situations where there may be harm.

Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett - TURN: Washington's Spies _ Season 2, Episode - Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC
Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett – TURN: Washington’s Spies _ Season 2, Episode – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

The King’s Red Coat Regulars are prim and proper, but don’t let that fool you. They are wicked and vengeance filled while carrying out their duties to the King and Country. Not hesitating to kill who they think may be spies or consorting with the rebels, they don’t spare the shot and powder. The make-up and prostheses department must have worked overtime in showing the effects of a bullet hole to the leg or stomach. They supply the gory liquid that oozes out of the wounds and the blood on the blades of British soldiers.

In all, “Turn” has had a good run of episodes that have been compelling and even gripping at times. Beyond the rhetoric that seems to fill reams of script pages, there’s a feeling of nationalism and patriotism while spies look for scraps of their enemy’s communications and British Regulars hold the front that’s slowly diminishing in ranks. There’s a lot more blood to be let in “Turn” with the announcement of Season 8 starting in April on AMC.

Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull and Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull - TURN: Washington's Spies _ Season 2, Press Kit Unit - Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC
Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull and Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull – TURN: Washington’s Spies _ Season 2, Press Kit Unit – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

BONUS FEATURES:

The three disc Turn: The Complete Second Season has some bonus features on the last disc of the DVD set.

“Commentary” Cast and crew offer explanations of scenes and comments on historical fact for each of the ten episodes for the second season of “Turn”.
“The Treacherous Trio” is a feature involving Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman), Peggy Shippin (Ksenia Solo) and Major John Andre (JJ Field) were we get a look at the connection between the three and how important they are to the plot.
“Washington and Billie Lee” goes in depth about General George Washington (Paul Rhys) dealing with crisis situations as the Commander in Chief of the Army. It also deals with Billy Lee’s (Gentry White) loyalty to Washington.
“Deleted and Extended Scenes”

“Turn: Washington’s Spies” Season 2 has not been rated, but contains violence, gore, sexuality, nudity and Language. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the series as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for adolescents

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good series surrounding the Revolutionary War and the history behind it. (C+)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Jamie Bell, Heather Lind, Seth Numrich, Meegan Warner, Owain Yeoman, Daniel Henshall, Heather Lind, Kevin R. McNally, Nick Westrate, Paul Rhys, Gentry White, Ian Kahn, JJ Field, Stephen Root, and Ksenia Solo
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama, War, History
Running Time: 438 min.
Original TV Release Date: April 13, 2015-June 8, 2015
Video Release Date: March 21, 2016
Language: English
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Number of Discs: 3 Discs
Distributed by: Anchor Bay

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com

4 Comments

  1. I’m very upset that season 2 doesn’t seem to be available on blu-ray. I have season 1 on blu-ray and the height on my bookcase won’t support DVD. Don’t understand their thought process behind this.

  2. Thank you for your excellent write-up about TURN: Washington’s Spies.! I’m really looking forward to the premier of season 3 on April 25th.

    1. Thank you for reading and replying to our articles on ACED Magazine. I am always open for questions and comments from my readers. Have a wondrous movie day.