Review: Courage, New Hampshire, Episode III
Posted by elainemcooper on August 3, 2012
Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper
This is the third 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. To read my review of Episode II, click here.
Slithery creatures abound in Episode III of Courage, New Hampshire entitled, “A Snake in the Garden.”
Justice of the peace, Silas Rhodes (James Patrick Riley) has resolved to be the stalwart leader of the patriot cause in the community, while another citizen, William Bramley (Patrick Finerty), has taken over the crown-appointed position of Deputy Surveyor of the Woods, a job that was declined by Rhodes in Episode II.
Unlike the patriotic Rhodes, Bramley has no qualms about reporting local farmers’ disobedience to the Royal authorities. The farmers’ crime? Violating the “White Pine Act,” a law preventing them from removing trees marked for use as ship masts for the Royal Navy of England. Removal of the trees—even on one’s own land—could lead to the government selling the farm at public auction. The White Pine Act directly blocked the farmers from downing trees that stood in the way of planting their fields for their families’ food. As Rhodes bitterly states, “You can’t grow potatoes under a pine tree.”
The Sons of Liberty in the township of Courage are citizens who pledge to protect the patriots against enemy informants. They have their job cut out for them, not just protecting the people from British injustice, but managing those who are less than loyal to the patriot cause. Rewards offered by the King for violators of his rules are a constant source of temptation for some. Silas Rhodes walks a fine line between keeping the residents of Courage safe while keeping himself out of trouble.
The character of Reverend Silence Laud (Donal Thoms-Cappello) begins to reveal more of his true colors, proving that not every man of the cloth wears washed garments on his soul.
In the meantime, there is a welcome return of Bob Wheedle (Nathan Kershaw) and Sarah Wheedle (Alexandra Oliver). He is a British Army deserter and she is his wife who believes in the man’s integrity and goodness. Will Wheedle be able to become the citizen of Courage that he longs to be? Desertion is a serious crime and the crown wants his neck on the gallows.
One of the more inspiring characters in this series is Joseph Baines (Greg Martin), as the nearly executed burglar from Episode II. Pardoned by the governor, yet now wearing a brand on his forehead, the repentant sinner has undergone a remarkable spiritual transformation. During an impassioned speech where he likens the metamorphosis of a local man to the change that occurred with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, Baines declares, “A man can change. God can change a man.” It is the heart and soul of the series, and spoken with the passion that permeates the script for Courage, New Hampshire.
I love the myriad of characters in this mini-series: lawyer Abraham Foxe (Allen Marsh), orphaned heiress Abby Lamb (Isabelle Gardo), and Constable Noah Pine (Jonathan Salisbury) are all outstanding. The charming couple, Sally Rhodes (Mallory Drazin) and John Hildreth (Eric Drazin, who is also listed as one of the directors along with James Patrick Riley), are a delight to watch. Eric Drazin even has the lumbering walk down pat that historians describe as typical of New England farmers in the 1700s. In my opinion, if anyone looks straight out of 1776 America, it is the character of young farmer John Hildreth.
I would be remiss in not commenting on the inspiring soundtrack courtesy of film and TV composer Rotem Moav. I could listen to his hauntingly beautiful melodies all day, and never tire of the colonial chords.
Episode III was an eagerly anticipated chapter in this series for me—but it took a more personal turn when the character of Bob Wheedle, deserting the British Army, decides to become an American citizen. My own ancestor was a British regular in 1776. He was captured at Saratoga, New York in 1777, led away as a prisoner of war, and then escaped from the line of prisoners. Somehow in the midst of the American Revolution, he met and married my 4th great-grandmother, a colonial farmwoman named Mary. Watching Bob Wheedle and Sarah Pine fall in love and overcome their status as enemies in war was like viewing my own ancestors. It was a truly heartwarming experience for this descendant of Private Daniel Prince. When I agreed to watch this series and blog about its contents, I had no clue that this story was an important part of the plot. It was a delightful surprise.
So the only complaint that I have about Courage, New Hampshire is that I now have to wait until September to view Episode IV. I’ll get my popcorn and Diet Coke ready now…
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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