Lex Shrapnel

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Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

While recapping the first two-hour episode of the History Channel Original Event “Sons Of Liberty,” I stated that when deciding to dedicate six-hours of your time to a television show, the first question you need to ask yourself, is whether it’s worth your attention. After watching the second two-hour episode on Monday, I can now respond with an unqualified yes, the promise that miniseries showed in the first two hours, displayed itself firmly in the second installment. As the story gets closer and closer to the American Revolution, we’ve watched characters stepping-it-up in grand style and far more action.

The first image we see is the sign for Paul Revere’s workshop, as activity’s billowing inside, we see some of Samuel Adams men, putting white paint on their faces, while others are making sure all their weapons work properly. John Hancock walks in, sees the activity and tells Adams he strongly advises against the move they’re about to undertake. He tells Sam that they just needs to lay low for a while and soon they’ll get back into business and making money.

Adams looks at Hancock showing the disgust on his face and tells his cohort that all he cares about is money and John asks him what he wants, Samuel takes a sip of his pint, rather than respond. Hancock tells Adams that if they conduct their mission, Hancock’s and Adams’ deal’s over, Sam throws his mug into a bucket and says let’s go boys.

Adams, Revere and company, head towards Boston Harbor sneaking past all the red-coats on patrol. We watch Adams and a group of men in a row-boat, which apparently is just one of many boats converging on a British ship docked in the harbor. Suddenly the ships filled with dozens of men, the one sailor on board asks who they are and they tell him they’ve arrived to take control of his ship then knock him out. Two red-coats are on board and Adams points a pistol at both and tells them to swim, they quickly dive from the ship into the ocean.

A group of British soldiers rush to the dock and their commanding-officer, tells them to get in formation and Adams tells his men to get ready. Tim Kelly asks, what if they shoot and Sam responds we shoot right back. There’s a standoff, then suddenly Revere smiles and says to his mates, to open up the cargo, the cases filled with tea and yes they start dumping it into the harbor and we are witnessing the Boston Tea Party.

The red-coats commanding officer’s patience’s gone, he order his men to get ready to fire, but before he can give the command Governor Thomas Hutchinson runs over yelling stop. He tells the soldier they’ll be no gunfire, as that’s exactly what Adams wants, he’s taunting them to shoot him. The Governor says you’re not going to make Samuel Adams a martyr, then orders the soldier to have his men stand down. As the command’s given, one of the colonists on the ship yells, we found the wine and all the men cheer.

We head to London and enter a meeting between the English Prime Minister, some leaders of Parliament behind a table and seated about 50-yards away, Benjamin Franklin all alone seated in a simple wooden chair. The Prime Minister’s aide asks Franklin to explain this latest incidence treasonable acts, committed by childish and insubordinate colony.

Franklin says that the incident was a protest that got out of hand and the colonists are bothered that they can’t buy goods from their all shops and have the rights of all good Englishmen. The members of Parliament, laugh at the thought of calling colonists Englishmen. He says they dumped 90 thousand schillings worth of tea into the harbor, these colonists are outlaws and thugs, the sons of tyranny. They’re led by a governor, who lets this go on under his nose and does nothing, they should get beaten into submission. The other leaders cheer him on.

Franklin stands up and stares right into the Prime Minister’s eyes, then asks him if he sends another ship into Boston, what does he reaction to be? His soldiers won’t find a rebellion, but the extra presence could very well inspire him. If you make martyrs of these men, the people of Boston, won’t look upon them as sons of tyranny, rather Sons Of Liberty. After Franklin finishes, the aide asks the Prime Minister, if  there’s anything they can do and he responds there may be and all of them leave the room, Franklin sits and looks pensive.

We see three British Military ships heading to the colonies, on board one of the vessels, British General Thomas Gage and his wife Margaret Kemble Gage. When they arrive at Boston Harbor, Hutchinson and his Lieutenant, wait to meet Gage under a canopy. We soon see how huge an ego the General has as he leaves the ship riding a white horse, then gets down and looks at the hundreds of troops he brought with him.

Hutchinson and his Lieutenant get sent back to London on the same ship, without even time to pack. There’s a new Sheriff in town and his name’s Gage. We see him sitting in the State House and he asks his military aide about Sam Adams and the soldier, gives a brief description then asks if he should arrest him. Gage says, on the contrary, let’s buy him off.

Inside the Green Tavern Pub, Dr. Joseph Warren tells Samuel that Gage’s sealed the harbor, nothing going in or out, he’s also taken over the Clark’s house on Hanover Street, Revere mentions that soldiers have done that in a couple of houses in his neighborhood. Just then Gage’s aide comes in with a company of soldiers and Tim’s at the ready. The military-aide’s all smiles however, as he looks right at Sam and asks him if he’s the famous Samuel Adams, he then says that General Gage wanted to ease any concern during the transition and he’s paying the house’s tab for the night, in return for a moment of privacy with Adams.

They sit by themselves by the fireplace, then the military-aide says that Gage hope he and Sam can come to an understanding. He then says that the General thinks he’s a practical man, then throws a pouch of coins on the table in front of Adams’ who responds he doesn’t care what Gage thinks about him. The military-aide says he really should take the money, it’s more than he deserves and he’d be foolish for turning it down.

Sam picks up the bag and says the bag must contain more than 100 schillings, the soldier responds, 200 and this is only the beginning, then starts to turn and leave. Adams shouts to him to give Gage his best regards and throws the pouch to the soldier, who leaves feeling humiliated. He heads back to Gage, telling him the offer got refused and asks if he wants to arrest him now, Gage responds not yet.

The next day, red-coats pull the colonists out of their homes and send them to the town-square, soldiers line the sides of the street, then another line behind the colonists. The military-aide comes out and the colonists watch as soldiers drag a man to a post, lock his hands to the side of it and rip the back of his shirt open. The military-aide says for too long this city has gone unchecked. No more, Boston will know order. We see Kelly and Adams watching, John Adams watching from the other side of the street and Hancock watching from his carriage. Gage comes out of a door just then and addresses the crowd.

The General says let it be known that any man violating any of His Majesty’s laws, will get dealt without mercy. This man, hours ago stole something off one of His Majesty’s ships, his punishment will be swift and just. Another soldier steps up yielding a leather cat-of-nine-tails and starts the man across the back, his skin’s soon bloody and he screams in agony.

Women attempt to turn around and leave, but the soldiers keep them in place, grown men are weeping openly, while Adams tries to stop them and Tim Kelly holds him back. The man falls to his knees and the soldier stops, and the silence’s deafening as the crowd sees the blood dropping off the leather whip. The military-aide, looks at Gage and the General nods and the soldier goes back to beating him again. The beating finally stops, the military-aide tells two soldiers to take the man away and they drag him by his arms. Gage says to clear the square and the soldiers start sending everyone home.

Doctor Warren stops the soldiers dragging the man and tells him he’s a doctor and he needs to take of the man or he’ll die. The soldier says Warren’s not allowed to touch him, when Margaret Kemble Gage, asks the soldier if the man got punished for his crimes. He recognizes her immediately and she tells him to take the man to the doctor’s office. He reluctantly agrees to and Joseph thanks her as he leaves.

That big ego of Gage’s earns him two enemies, that he’ll regret gaining. The first’s Samuel’s cousin John Adams, whom he summons to his office. He thanks him for coming with such short notice and Adams responds he’s just trying to help. Gage says that John’s a man of the people, a public defender and Adams responds he believes every man’s due council and he’s also studied constitutional law.

Gage takes him into his office and shows Adams his law degree from Harvard and the deeds to John’s two homes. Adams asks if he’s being threatened and Gage responds that he’s just showing how easily he could extinguish the life John’s built. He then brings up Samuel and says his cousin doesn’t realize that civilized society’s built on law and order.

The timid John Adams of the first episode quickly vanishes as John attempts to keep his composure as he asks Gage how his values of law and order, fit with him throwing people out of their homes for being behind on taxes? How does it fit with the public whipping of a man without due-process, is that how he treats loyal British citizens. Gage spits back you’re not British you’re colonists and I’ll treat you however I wish until you grant submission to your King. Now get your cousin in line, you’ve got a lot at stake. Bad move by Gage.

Margaret goes out riding and her horse throws a shoe, so she dismounts and enjoys the sun on her face. We hear a horse and Joseph Warren comes up along the path, apologizing if he startled her and she responds he hadn’t. He introduces himself and she says of course she remembers him and how’s the man doing, Warren responds he’ll respond due to her kindness. As he examines her horse she says she misses the quiet, she grew up in New Jersey.

Warren’s surprised that Gage married a colonist and she replies she’s his prize for winning the French and Indian war. She says Thomas takes what he likes and he quickly agrees, then apologizes for being out of line and she says the sad thing is you weren’t. With her horse useless, he offers her his horse and says he’ll walk home but she refuses immediately. He then says let him take her home and she agrees, gets on his horse side-saddle and in front of him and Warren looks confused how to ride like that but then figures it out.

The military-aide and a squad of soldiers burst into the Green Dragon and start roughing the guys up. Kelly knocks out three, but then he’s overcome and he’s down on the floor with soldiers weapons aimed at him. The military-aide says just tell us where Adams is and they’ll leave peacefully, Kelly tells him to get stuffed.  He asks Kelly again and he spits on the aide’s shoes, another soldier knocks Kelly in the head with the butt of his rifle.

John goes to visit Samuel at his armory and he tells his cousin, he needs to leave now as Gage’s on his way to get him. Sam says he’s staying and his cousin asks him if he wants to die a martyr in the street? He then points to Samuel’s stock of weapons and says you and your gang of thugs have this, while they’ve got the entire English Empire, trained soldiers and the best Navy on the planet, isn’t he scared? Sam says of course he is, but he can’t stand around and allow this to go on. John says we need a better plan and Samuel realizes his cousin’s joining his cause. John says I can help, let’s go and the two leave together.

Gage’s second bad move started when he went to visit John Hancock and the entrepreneur tries brown-nosing him. He tries to arrange with Gage to get his ships back in business, but the General tells him he wants no part of his tawdry plans and Hancock’s useless to him, then tells his aide this will do. Hancock asks what he means and Gage responds he’s relieving John of his home. The military-aide tells Hancock he can leave now and Hancock, says leave to where, two soldiers physically take him out of the house.

With nowhere else to go, Hancock heads sheepishly to Revere’s workshop, where the men are eating dinner. Hancock says hello to Sam, who keeps on eating, John then says he’s all in what ever they need he’ll get it, what ever they do he’ll support. Adams asks why they should believe him he could be a spy for Gage, Hancock says he resents the comment.

Adams asks why the sudden change of heart and Hancock says Gage took his home. The look of revulsion Sam feels for Hancock in that moment’s plain to see, he’s thoroughly disgusted with his former associate and tells him to get out, Hancock looks defeated as he turns to leave. Suddenly, John Adams yells for Hancock to stay, he’s got a plan and needs Hancock. Sam asks what he needs him for and John replies his money and Hancock makes a face like he’s alright with that.

John Adams and John Hancock are walking the next day through the alleys and discussing Adams plan, he’s written letters to dozens of influential men from the other American Colonies and they’re meeting in Philadelphia. They need to send a message to London, it will mean nothing coming from just Boston, but quite a lot if the colonies unite.

Samuel, John and Hancock ride to Philadelphia as the delegates from Boston, when they enter the State House, the scores of men Adams expected are about 30 men. The delegates start debating and one delegate from an unknown state, blames Boston for their problems, saying they trashed the State House and threw the tea in the harbor. John says that doesn’t excuse what General Gage’s doing, the other man retorts that General Thomas Gage’s restoring order. At that moment the door to the room opens and a tall stately delegate sits down next to his companion.

John starts saying General Gage, when the man who just entered interrupts him. He says General Gage’s a cancer, I fought alongside him when we battled the French. And just like a cancer, he brings suffering and death, what he lacks in compassion he makes up for in brutality, action must be taken. The other delegate laughs at the suggestion , but the Boston delegation’s impressed. He then says that Virginia stands with Massachusetts. Sam asks Hancock who the man is and John tells him he’s George Washington and Adams says he’s intense.

The other delegate tells John Adams he realizes that his colony wants arms and support from the other 12 colonies, but they can’t provide it. He suggests the colonies write a letter to the Crown, requesting that Gage refrain from his extreme tactics. Adams starts to say that’s not enough, when the delegate says fine it’s settled we’ll send a letter and the meeting starts to break up.

Sam says to John that they’re not like Bostonians, these men are cowards, but John tells him to calm down they need these men, they just need another way to convince him. Hancock taps Samuel and he turns around to see Washington standing at their table.  He says make no mistake gentleman, war’s coming and everyone knows that, but Boston’s on its own right now. Samuel asks Washington his suggestion for their colony and Washington says he’d resist, he also tells Hancock that it makes a good impression a man like he’s there. However they’re not going to give you an army, you’ll need to build one, he walks away and Hancock and Sam are intrigued.

The graphic tells us now that we’re at a farm in Lexington, which is 17-miles west of Boston. The farms owned by a longtime friend of Revere’s and that’s where they’re going to train the army they’re forming. Paul opens up the barn and shows them the recruits, a mixture of Samuel’s gang and some new men.

Tim Kelly comes back with six brand new well-made rifles that he bought off a guy in Medford, he possessed plenty more and Sam says go back and buy him out and Hancock give Tim a pouch. Kelly then says, the man’s got a bunch of guns and Hancock says that’s all the coins he has, but then gives Tim a solid gold pocket-watch.

Margaret hears moaning coming out of her husband’s office and looks through a small window to see Gage taking another woman on his desk. She walks away shaking.

Revere heads to a pub and orders a drink and one for the man in the corner, Paul’s old army buddy William Dawes, who lives out in Lexington to keep food on his table. Revere recruits him for the cause, he and Dawes will design a secret route from Boston to Lexington, he then says they’re building an army, not turning anyone away.

Things are going well in some aspects for the colonist’s army, they’ve got plenty of guns and the troops are getting well-trained, but Adams tells Revere, they’ve got no gun powder. Even if they could afford it, Gage won’t allow anyone to sell it.

Gage goes into Margaret’s bedroom and tries getting amorous, but she resists and then tells him to stop. He looks at her angrily and she asks what she is to him, just a statue he can show off inside a home he stole from another man? Joseph Warren’s at home when there’s a knock on the door, it’s Margaret sporting a shiner under her right eye, she says she fell. She then tells Warren, that her husband doesn’t know she’s there and kisses him, she pills away and he kisses her. She breaks away and says she’s sorry but she shouldn’t be there and leaves.

There’s a knock on the door again, but this time it’s Amos one of Samuel’s men telling Warren there’s a medical emergency. There’s a Black man lying on the table, his side ripped open, Warren asks if he’s a free man and the man responds he’s as free as the doctor is. Paul Revere saved him, some red-coats shot him thinking he was stealing but he was just carrying a barrel which is his job. The man whose name’s Peter Salem says that the barrel’s are filled with gun powder and they store it in a silo not far away.

Revere tells Adams about the silo and they plan to raid it, they’re between three and ten men guarding the silo on any given night, but they can’t get to it without being seen. Adams says that isn’t a problem. They head out at night and they see there are four men on guard, one above as an observer, while three march around the silo. Sam dressed as a red-coat, overpowers one guard and takes his place. Kelly knocks out the other two guards so now all three guards marching are Adams’ men, the rest of the men break into the silo hidden to the observer and load 200 barrels onto trucks and moves them out.

Daylight arrives and with that the replacement guards, Sam tells Paul and the few remaining men they need to leave, Revere, pours a line of gun powder from the silo to the field. They take off and Paul ignites the gunfire, blowing up the silo and insuring their escape.

Gage arrives to assess the damage and asks how did a full company of His Majesty’s Marines get outsmarted by a bunch of Yankee amateurs. The military-aide responds this is inexcusable and Gage stops him saying he wants Samuel Adams and John Hancock by the week’s end.

We now see that Margaret and Joseph are having an affair. She says as they’re lying in bed, she wants to help him, she knows what he and his friends are doing and she wants to help. He says it’s too dangerous and she jokes no more dangerous than what they’re doing.

Target practice is taking place at the farm and Revere says to Samuel that Gage’s trying to find him and if he does he’ll hang. Samuel’s actually worried about Gage finding the weapons so he agrees to be moved to a safe house, with Hancock as Gage realizes he’s financing everything. The two head to the safe-house, but we suddenly see our bald Irish stoolie, Mr. Whittier.

Gage summons Joseph Warren to his home telling the doctor he’s feeling pains in his chest, he’s also summoned his wife and they both realize he knows about them. After some veiled back and forth talk, Gage bids Doctor Warren good night, warning him to take care, as the streets are treacherous. Margaret leaves the room and attempts to catch her breath.

The next day Margaret’s walking about when she hears men talking in her husband’s office, Whittier’s in there telling Gage and the military-aide where the farm and Adams and Hancock are. Margaret runs to her room writes a not for Warren and starts to leave the house, but her husband insists on her getting escorted by two red-coats.

As she’s walking she purposely drops a glove near Warren’s office, she goes back to pick it up and slips the note under Joseph’s door. He reads it gives it to Revere, who contacts Dawes, he tells Dawes they’ll both ride that night Dawes to the farm to have the men bury the weapons and he’ll go to the safe-house to get Samuel and John.

As he starts to ride into the woods he hears a noise and gets off his horse, walking his steed when three red-coats stop him with rifles aimed. First soldier says Gage has ordered no travel from Boston this evening, Revere says he’s unaware. Soldier says what are you doing traveling at this hour and Paul responds he’s a Colonial scout for an armed resistance against General Gage and the Crown’s tyranny. The soldier laughs and Revere takes all three out then rides away.

He arrives at Lexington shouting the British are coming and tells the men to sound the alarm and when they do the colonial army comes running. Kelly’s leading the colonists while the military-aide commands the red-coats, Kelly says no shooting until fired upon. He says they’re not giving one more inch of this field and the soldier tells the red-coats to get ready to fire.

Revere gets to the safe-house and tells Hancock and Adams they need to leave now, Samuel says he wants to stay and fight. Revere says if you die now this whole thing dies with you. Hancock says it’s too late as two red-coats arrive on horseback, but Revere has them chase him. Just as Hancock and Adams leave they hear the first shot of the battle for Lexington and Concord.

The Story Concludes Tuesday Night at 9:00 pm on The History Channel.