Review: Courage, New Hampshire, Episode II
Posted by elainemcooper on July 27, 2012
Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper
This is the second of a three-part “blog visit” to Courage, New Hampshire, a dramatic mini-series set in the years leading up to the American Revolution. To read my review of Episode I, click here .
In Episode II of Courage, New Hampshire called “The Sons of Liberty,” a “black cloud” seems to hang over the township. Justice of the peace and tavern keeper Silas Rhodes (James Patrick Riley) is deeply disturbed by the “flurry of wrongdoing” in their midst—thievery, forgery, fornication—all of which convince Rhodes that he is responsible for the increase in crime.
It becomes even more personal to Rhodes when he is forced to bring charges against a young man that he had known since birth. Now the man has been hung for counterfeiting. (Nothing graphic is shown). Rhodes deeply mourns this tragedy as he contemplates being friends with the deceased prisoner for “the bookends of his life.” Overcome with guilt and grief, Rhodes turns to rum for comfort.
Contemplating the situation, this justice of the peace decides that his priorities in the last several years have been all wrong. Instead of rebuilding a meetinghouse that was burned down in the last war, he encouraged the town to invest in mills and industry to keep more grain in the barn. Courage has not had a minister of the gospel in years. Rhodes is convinced they need a spiritual awakening, so, in desperation and relying more on rum that redemptive insight, hires a Reverend Silence Laud (Donal Thoms-Cappello). This new pastor with his evil charisma could cause more harm than good.
In the meantime, the shifty lawyer, Simeon Trapp (Basil Hoffman) returns. He and the crown-appointed Governor Wentworth (brilliantly portrayed by Napoleon Ryan) want to make an enticing offer to Rhodes to get him on their side against the growing patriot cause in the colonies. Rhodes is just desperate enough, as the widowed father of six children, to consider their offer.
Once again, James Patrick Riley has penned an excellent script infused with tragedy, tension and even a smattering of humor.
The ethical dilemma facing the character of Silas Rhodes is understandable to anyone that has ever struggled to provide for their family in the midst of financial woes. He is a man plagued with guilt and, though his assessment of the need for spiritual renewal is accurate, his reliance on his own solution only makes the situation worse. And his increasing dependency on rum clouds his thinking and quenches any Godly discernment. His oldest daughter, however, becomes the voice of spirit-led reasoning as she encourages him to put aside the rum—advice he soon heeds. Viewers will surely sympathize with Silas Rhodes, the man with the hurting heart.
Little sympathy will be extended, however, to the handsome Pastor Silence Laud who charms with deceit and has lust in his eyes. Thoms-Cappello plays the evil role well.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with more members of the Courage community, as various romantic entanglements are revealed. They are rough-at-the-edges yet charming villagers who reveal that life and love still lives, even in the shadow of looming war in the colonies.
The final scenes in this episode are a preamble to the patriots’ surge to resist the oppression of the King of England and his representatives throughout New England. The tensions are building and the stakes are growing. Looking forward to Episode III: A Snake In The Garden. I think I saw a slithering tail already in Episode II.
Next week: Review of Episode III
. Courage, New Hampshire is a fan supported, digital television production with an online following of thousands. It is produced by Colony Bay Productions.
As a writer of historical fiction and blogger of a column called “Revolutionary Faith,” I was provided three completed episodes by the producers of this historical saga. I agreed to post my thoughts but have not been required to provide a positive review.
Courage, New Hampshire can be purchased at http://colonybay.net. Each episode can be bought separately or you can join the Colony and get all three episodes at once, as well as a “backstage pass” with videos and a blog.
Episode IV will be released in September 2012.
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