Previously on New Worlds: Beth decided it would be totes romantic to play at being an outlaw with her boyfriend. It was all fun and games until he tried to kill the king, bringing the wrath of the crown down on Angelica’s head. Angelica was executed and Beth sent to the colonies as a slave.
We begin with a violent storm at sea, which resolves in Beth being shipwrecked and washed up on the shores of Massachusetts. Conveniently, she appears to be the only survivor. She comes to on the beach and then just stands around, probably waiting for Abe or someone to appear and give her some direction. Eventually, however, it’s a Native man who shows up, walking towards her along the beach. She turns and flees to some higher, wooded ground nearby and evidently teleports up there, because we saw that the man wasn’t that far from her on the beach, and yet in her undoubtedly weakened state she’s able to get away from him and get to the top of a cliff without him managing to close the distance between them at all. And then not two seconds after she looks down at him walking along the beach, he appears right behind her on top of the cliff. Either this is a different guy, or this cliff is magical and these people can now apparate.
He takes her back to his village, where the people finger her blonde hair, sniff her, and mostly just seem curious. Beth looks pretty freaked out.
At Whitehall Palace, Charles examines the model of a new building as one of his mistresses takes off. He asks an advisor for info on the people who harbored Goff for years and Advisor wastes no time slagging off the people of Massachusetts.
Out in the hallway, Jeffries tells Hardwicke that Shaftesbury’s been arrested but Monmouth forgiven.
Back with the king, Advisor tells Charles that Ned’s father, John Hawkins, has been trading territory with the Natives, parceling it up and then selling it along to new colonists, which is apparently not kosher. Charles tells Advisor they need to remind Massachusetts that it’s a colony that can lose its royal charter at any time. Fightin’ words, Charles!
It’s Jeffries’s and Hardwick’s turn to see Charles. Charles agrees to give Hardwicke Angelica’s land, but not her house, which he’s definitely after. Charles dangles the house as a reward for bringing in Abe.
Abe and his buddies run through the woods, pursued by Hardwicke’s men and dogs. Some of them run towards Fernshawe house and are met by Hardwicke and an ambush of armed men. Again, a man who knows how to do security. Also a man who understands how stupidly predictable these guys are. Hardwicke tells them to throw down their weapons and be spared, but as soon as they disarm he has his men gun them down. Because he’s a baddie, you know.
Abe, Ned, and some other guy continue to run through the woods, but nameless guy gets his leg caught in a steel trap. Knowing it’s hopeless, he begs Abe not to leave him to Hardwicke. Abe shoots his friend in the chest and then he and Ned flee. They see Hardwicke gunning down some of their other friends near the house, and Abe gets ready to do his hotheaded thing again, but Ned holds him back and hustles him out of there. Thank God Abe’s got Ned around to keep him alive.
Later, Abe tells Ned he should really go back to Boston while he still can. Ned urges Abe to come with him, but Abe stubbornly refuses to leave England, preferring instead to remain behind and keep trying to kill Charles. Ned reminds him that this vendetta of his has cost others very dear. At this point, Abe reveals that he knows Beth’s ship went down. How the hell did he get that news? How long has it been? It’s not like they had telegraphy back then, and even if the owners of the ship knew about the wreck, I find it hard to believe that the news would have trickled out to the general public (why should they care about the sinking of a ship full of convicts?) let alone make its way to a bunch of outlaws living in the forest.
The boys part ways with a manly hug and Abe hands Ned his father’s ring for some reason.
Evidently it’s been a little while since Beth was shipwrecked, and yet she’s just sitting around the Natives’ village uselessly, staring out at the sea and mostly just taking up space. At night, some of the women entertain themselves by braiding her hair around the fire and hand her a mirror when she’s done so she can see how she looks. The man who found her, Masca, calls her beautiful and Beth begins to cry.
Abe sneaks into Fernshawe House and finds Agnes there, wearing one of Beth’s dresses. He draws a pistol on her and demands to know why she’s wearing it. Frightened, she admits she always dreamed of wearing a gown that probably cost more than she’d make her whole life. She feeds him and tells him she and the other servants are going to have to work in Hardwicke’s new clay pits.
Masca approaches Beth and sits beside her. She asks why there are so few people in the village and he says the tribes were scattered by the white settlers. He’s determined to unite his people someday and take their lands back and thinks that’s why Beth was sent to him, by the spirit. Yes, she seems to have been really useful on that front so far.
That night, Beth goes to his tent and he gives her a name that means ‘I love you.’ He removes her clothes and they start to make out. Oh, for pity’s sake, have the writers of this awful show never been in a relationship themselves? Do they not know how they develop? If they want us to be invested in these people, we have to actually be involved in their lives, we can’t just skip from first, frightened meeting to first sexual encounter! Frankly, this just makes her seem fickle.
Sigh. Hope’s new husband, Cresswell, discusses his plan to go bilk the Natives out of more land with Hawkins, who dismissively says the Indians will give anything for a few baubles and looking glasses. Hope seems to disapprove of this sort of talk. Later, she goes to her husband and tells him it’s foolish to rob the Indians. He says Hawkins knows what he’s doing, and if the Natives don’t agree, they’ll do what Hawkins did back in the day and hold a gun to the chief’s head until he signs on the dotted line. She doesn’t think that’s a great way to deal with anyone, but he snaps at her to go to bed and she slowly turns and goes.
The new clay pit is being dug, as Abe looks on from the forest in horror. Hardwicke yells at Agnes for not working fast enough and she shows him that her hands are raw, like this guy’s really going to show her any sympathy. Hardwicke responds by smacking her palms with his riding crop and Abe, of course, raises his pistol, ready to fire. Agnes sees him and subtly shakes his head. He lowers the gun. Later, he goes to her for a haircut and admits that killing Hardwicke would have made the workers’ lives worse, not better, because there’ll always be another Hardwicke. The only solution is to get rid of the king. Yeah, that makes sense. He’s off to London to see about joining the resistance led by some man named Sidney. Agnes gives him the coin Monmouth gave her to buy a new suit of clothes. Outlaw chic isn’t in vogue, you know.
Two men enter a tavern, look around, and sit at a table with some other guy and start openly discussing treason. Seriously, they tell Third Guy that most of the country is ready to rise up once news of someone’s death gets out. Third Guy raises a toast to a new world. The door opens again and Abe comes in, wearing his new suit. He sits down with the men and, presumably sometime later (no customers are left at the inn) the four get down to brass tacks: planning the assassination of the king and the accession of Monmouth. Abe’s not a big fan of getting rid of one king only to replace him with another, but Third Guy reminds him that they tried getting rid of the king once and the country pined until they brought the royals back. They’re fine with having a figurehead monarchy. Abe gives in and asks what the plan is. It’s already underway: Charles and his brother will be ambushed on their way back from Newmarket. Unfortunately, someone comes into the inn and tells the plotters that the two royals left Newmarket a day early, foiling the plan. Furthermore, some of their confederates have now been arrested. Third Guy is strangely unconcerned by all this but tells Abe to hide out for a while. Abe tells him he has nowhere to hide.
Boston. Ned greets his father with a hug and asks about Hope. His dad fills him in on Russell’s death and Hope’s subsequent marriage. Ned asks if his dad passed along his letter and is seriously pissed off to hear that he didn’t. His dad insists he could do better than Hope.
Ned goes to the graveyard and finds Hope there, tending her father’s grave. She’s shocked to see him. He tells her about the missing letter, which is sure to just make her feel worse. She says she had no choice in this matter, as they embrace.
A representative of the crown takes the Boston merchants to task for running things as they see fit, instead of doing things by the book. Hawkins is unconcerned and says they run things according to their charter. Rep doesn’t think so, and further, he accuses them of basically stealing land from the Indians. He orders them to show him all the land titles they possess.
Beth and Masca play hide-and-seek in the woods, giddily happy and loved up, which means this is surely going to end in some kind of heartbreak. She now has a tattoo of a bird on her shoulder. While they play, they hear voices nearby and spot some white men measuring off land by the coast.
That night, Beth sits by the fire, deep in thought. Masca asks if she’s dreaming of the life she lost and the white man she loved. He thinks she’s going to go away with the men they saw. She tells him they won’t be going away, because they clearly mean to settle there. Masca tells her that his father signed a treaty with the white men that stipulated the land was the tribe’s. Beth knows these people better. Masca says that they can always move further into the woods, to avoid bloodshed, but he’s more concerned with which side she plans to stay with. She kisses him and promises to stay with him.
The next day, Cresswell and his cronies meet with Masca and the village elders. The white men drink and receive gifts, but Masca tells his men to lay off the booze. He tells the white men that the land they’re marking out doesn’t belong to them. One of the white men drunkenly gets up and wanders into Masca’s tent, where Beth is. Masca notices a little late and drags him out with a knife at his throat, while the other natives draw pistols. Cresswell tries to defuse the situation, saying the man meant no harm and they’ll just be going now.
Cresswell and the drunkard report back to Hawkins and tell him that Masca’s tribe has no intention of leaving, because they think they have a treaty with the whites. Drunkard (Stackpole) also says he thinks he saw a white woman there. He thinks? Yeah, she’s just a pale blonde girl in the middle of a native village, I think she kinda stands out. Hawkins accuses Stackpole of being drunk again and dismisses him. Once alone, he tells Cresswell to take the woman back when he returns to the village with armed men.
Outside, Cresswell runs into Hawkins’s wife, who tells him there’s been some gossip about Hope and her stepson.
Ned, while snuggling in bed with Hope, reads a letter from Abe and tells her all about Abe’s plans to kill Charles and James. Oh, you two are fools. Hope, you live amongst people who publicly shamed a little girl for crying at a funeral. And they shamed you for wearing your hair down and sharing your opinions. What do you think they’ll do to an adulteress? You know the bible gives them permission to stone you to death, right? They talk about the magical time when Massachusetts can choose its own destiny and start to make out. It’s all going well, until Cresswell walks in on them.
Back in England, Abe complains to Sidney about their allies being executed. Sidney counsels patience. Abe asks if he really thinks the great houses will rise up if the king dies and offers to go kill Charles himself in two weeks, when I guess he’ll be in the neighbourhood. Sidney thinks it’s a suicide mission, but Abe loves those, so I doubt there’ll be any stopping him. Later, he reads Julius Caesar (subtle, show) until Sidney falls asleep.
Later still (I guess), they hear soldiers approach and Sidney knows his time’s up. He tells Abe to save himself, but Abe refuses to go. There’s a brief tussle, but Sidney calls a halt and goes quietly.
In Boston, Cresswell tells Hope he could denounce her, but his children have already lost one mom, so as long as she promises never to see Ned again, he’ll allow her to continue to live under his roof. She reluctantly promises, more to save Ned from being hanged as an adulterer than to save herself, I think.
Ned, meanwhile, is being taken to task by his father, who yells at him for shaming the family. Ned says he can’t bear to see her married to Cresswell. Hawkins says he understands and urges him to work hard to keep his mind off of Hope, reminding his son that she could very well pay for her sins with her life.
Cresswell kisses his children goodbye, but when he goes to kiss Hope’s cheek, she pulls away from him. He’s going to establish the new village on Masca’s tribe’s land. Ned, meanwhile, expresses his disapproval of this plan and mistakenly thinks his father agrees with him.
Some time has evidently passed, because Beth’s all kinds of pregnant now, and quite happy about it. Masca, though, seems a little tense.
Ned goes through his father’s files and realizes that the land Cresswell’s building on is lacking a proper title. He asks his father where the paperwork is and his dad essentially tells him not to worry about it. Ned keeps digging and finally goes to a tavern, finds Stackpole, and asks what the deal is. Stackpole says they got the land in the ‘customary fashion’. Ned asks just what that means and Stackpole offers up quite a story about how things have been done in the past, in return for some ale. Apparently, the ‘customary fashion’ is how the land Hadley was built on was bartered. And that fashion somehow involves a Native being scalped. Ned finds the scalp creepily filed away with the land charter. His father comes up behind him and tells him the scalp belonged to a man whose people believed he was magical. Hawkins held a gun to the man’s head to get him to agree to the treaty, and when the man still refused Hawkins scalped him. Or so Stackpole says. Hawkins says he paid for the land fair and square but the Natives still refused to leave. So, he scared them away by killing their magical leader. And thus another little piece of the wilderness was tamed in the name of God. Ned’s horrified but his father thinks he’s doing this to build a new Jerusalem. Ned accuses him of essentially being a land profiteer.
Cresswell and some of his men arrive at the village, armed. When Masca and the other village men return from a hunting trip, they find the place empty and Cresswell there, explaining that their womenfolk are safe and they’ll be returned when Masca signs away his land. Wow, that’s low. Cresswell threatens to sell the women as slaves if Masca holds out. Forced into a corner, Masca signs (his signature is the flying bird that Beth now has tattooed on her shoulder, which makes it seem really creepily like she’s viewed as his property). Once he signs, the women are returned, and two of the girls have blankets over their shoulders. Cresswell calls special attention to them, so I think we can expect a smallpox outbreak any minute now. Beth demands to know what’s going on, and Cresswell orders her to accompany them back to civilisation (as he sees it). Naturally, she refuses to go and Cresswell, disgusted, tells his men to leave her behind.
Sure enough, the girls who were given the blankets fall ill, and pretty soon the whole tribe, minus Beth, is dying. Nearby, Cresswell and his cronies build their new village. Masca falls ill and Beth tends to him. He feels her belly and they talk about how their son will lead his people. Will there be any people left to lead?
Masca and pretty much everyone else dies, and Beth puts him on a funeral pyre. She lights it and stands by stoically as the body burns. Everyone else just gets laid out on the beach, which will be a lovely gift for those men building the new village. In voiceover, Beth promises that their son will live and know who he is and where he came from, and she’ll be sure to tell him what the white men did and how his father stood fast against them. She covers her face in some of the ash from the fire.
Some time later, Ned and Stackpole arrive in Masa’s village. Stackpole finds the blankets and guesses they came from the infirmary. Ned looks around, disbelieving, and asks where Cresswell is. Downriver, Stackpole tells him. Beth watches them from the edge of the forest.
Cresswell and his men are relaxing over lunch when Ned and Stackpole arrive. Ned says he needs to have a word with Cresswell, sending the other men inside. He immediately accuses Stackpole of purposely diseasing the Natives and asks if his father knew about this plan. Cresswell just laughs, and then Beth bursts out of the woods and sinks an arrow into his neck. Awesome. He dies, choking on his own blood, as Ned stares at her in shock. Small world, right?