Previously on New Worlds: In the colonies, Hope and Ned tried to help a regicide escape, unsuccessfully, so now Ned’s off to the old country to warn Angelica Fernshawe that she’s in danger. In England, Angelica’s idiot teen daughter fell for the outlaw who kidnapped her and opened her eyes to the fact that not everyone lives in a giant house, entertaining the king’s illegitimate offspring. Amazing!
Will Blood conducts Beth home, where she reassures her incredibly relieved parents that she’s not hurt in any way. After her ordeal, she gets a bath while her mother sits nearby, eyeing the Sexby letter. Beth accusingly asks if her mother ever would have mentioned this guy and Angelica sighs that this is all in the past, and her husband, John, has been a good father.
Downstairs, John tells Will to see him the following day to discuss his duties. I guess returning the abducted daughter of the house pretty much guarantees you a job.
In Boston, Ned’s father discusses his son’s imminent departure with some other guy. Ned arrives and his father gives him some last-minute instructions before boarding ship. Ned hands his dad a letter for Hope, hugs his dad, and disappears into the crowd at the wharf. His father tosses the letter into a nearby trough as he walks past.
Abe and his fellow outlaw who isn’t nursing a gut wound ride up to the tree where the man Monmouth shot last week is hanging. This tree, by the way, is in full view of the house (Beth watches them this whole time) and yet they’re able to approach it and cut the man down without anyone hindering them or raising the alarm in any way. The daughter of the house was just kidnapped and a potential future king is staying in this place and they still haven’t stepped up security? These people are beyond stupid.
Beth goes upstairs and fetches the clothes that were in the trunk with the Sexby letter. Dressed as a man, she hops on a horse and rides off into the woods, observed by Will.
She wanders around until Abe finds her and takes her with him to the clay pit, where the two of them set about burning the place down. Nice going, you two, now the people who work there, whom you claim to care so much about, will have no income. This will hurt them far more than it’ll hurt Hardwicke. Yes, it totally sucks that the loss of the common lands means the local poor have to work in the pit in awful conditions, but is it better to be unemployed and starving? But far be it for these two to put a little thought into what
Big Wig—is this supposed to be Judge Jeffries? I think so—is visiting with Hardwicke, his cousin. They gossip a bit about who can be trusted and plot to bring down Angelica’s family so Hardwicke can get his hands on her land. They hear shouting outside and go to see the works in flames. Hardwicke’s pissed off, as you can imagine and immediately assumes that Angelica’s husband is behind this, because he once said he wanted to see the clay pits blown to bits.
Abe and Beth go to some house and collect a bunch of weapons before splitting up so Beth can go home. Once there, her mother greets her and, horrified, asks what she’s done. With the bitchy, self-righteous attitude only a spoiled teenager can muster, Beth sneers that her mother didn’t stand by while others suffered, and she won’t either. Beth, you just committed an act of terrorism. And your actions will make people suffer more. Shut the hell up. Angelica warns her daughter that she’s got lots of enemies because of what she did, and they’re out to destroy her and everyone she loves. And now, thanks to Beth, they’re all at increased risk. Well done, Beth!
Later, Beth’s wandering in the garden when Abe shows up to steal a kiss. Such teenagers, these two. And their talk of being sooo in love is ridiculous. Let’s just break this relationship down: ‘Oh, we love each other so, so much! Even though we’ve only known each other for about two days, and it started off with him spraying me with blood, robbing my friends, and then kidnapping me at gunpoint. But then he showed me dirty poor people! We’re totes meant to be!’
Beth is summoned to her mother’s side, and Angelica asks quietly if her daughter was involved in the theft of Hardwicke’s guns the night before. Oh, so that’s where they went. Did they just burn the works down as a distraction so they could steal the guns? Beth’s silence is answer enough. Angelica sighs that blood and violence won’t bring a better world. I don’t know, I think doing some violence to Beth might make the world a better place. She thinks change will come via the pen, not the sword. Beth doesn’t see why girls can’t get out there and fight, but Angelica tells her daughter she vividly remembers the horrors of the violence she’s experienced. She begs Beth not to go into the woods again.
Will reports to Jeffries that he’s uncovered nothing, despite having been at Angelica’s for two months. Jeffries refuses to believe Angelica’s innocent and gives Will a week to find something, or his father will be hanged.
Sad Will returns to Angelica’s and immediately tries to draw John into a bit of a trap by trying to get him to pray and reveal his Catholicism. John wanders right into it, taking Will to his secret chapel.
Beth goes back into the woods, of course, and Abe immediately tells her he doesn’t want her to come back, because she distracts him from his murderous thoughts. Heaven forbid, right? He takes her to see the body of the woman who let them into Hardwicke’s gun room. She was flogged and hanged. Why didn’t she run off after letting them into the gunroom? She had to know suspicion would fall on her. Abe’s anxious the same fate will befall Beth, because let’s not forget, they’re deeply in love. Ahh, Stockholm Syndrome romances! She urges him to go with her to the colonies, as Will spies on them, unobserved, but Abe says the fight is in England. Also, he plans to kill Hardwicke. They hear someone approaching and hide, as Ned and a guide ride up and Ned is filled in on the tale of the unfortunate hanging girl. The guide says that the men who took the guns ran off, leaving the poor girl, and Ned blandly says they should be hanged for their cowardice. Abe hotheadedly bursts out of his hiding place, brandishing his pistol, accompanied by an equally armed Beth. They tell him and his guide to be gone, but first they’ll have Ned’s horse. Ned’s pretty laid back for a guy with a gun pointed at him. He pulls his own weapon so we can have a standoff, then reholsters it, dismounts, and hands over the horse, continuing his journey on foot. Once he’s out of earshot, Abe tells Beth to go home and stay out of the woods.
Abe and some of his friends make a run on Hardwicke’s house, where they’re immediately ambushed by a bunch of men with guns, Will having previously warned Hardwicke of the coming attack. See? This guy knows how to do security. Abe flees.
Ned arrives at Angelica’s and hands over Goff’s ring, along with the news that the man’s dead. He asks for help getting the ring to his widow, per Goff’s instructions, but she died three months ago. He warns her that Goff’s papers were seized, so it’s only a matter of time before news gets out that she provided funds to a regicide. I thought Goff burned his papers? Why would he take some and destroy them but leave others that could implicate Angelica?
In Boston, Hope tends to her dying father, who tells her that John Hawkins is a good guy and she should be guided by him. She begs to be allowed to return to Hadley, but he says it’s not safe and asks her to promise to be ruled by this Hawkins. She promises.
He dies, and at his funeral, some guy creepily drags his kids to the side of the grave and forces them to look in, so they’ll be reminded of their own mortality, which they must think of every day. Thanks dad! One of the children runs off to Hope for comfort. I guess this guy is Hawkins?
Next, Hope’s being browbeaten by her fellow Puritans, who tell her to forget Ned and marry someone named Cresswell and mother his kids. But first, she has to be purified by admitting her sins. What sins? Horrible things like wearing her hair loose and having an opinion. Hope refuses all of the above.
She takes refuge at the grave, where Hawkins finds her and reminds her of her promise to her dad. He tells her that they need strong women to marry strong men to create kids who’ll keep their new world going. Romance in the wilderness is dead. Hope relents and does her penance by standing in the market with a sign around her neck that says ‘she is proud.’ Puritans were strange people.
Ned wakes with a start in England and goes outside for some air. Beth’s outside as well, just standing around, vacantly openmouthed as usual. Ned bitches at her for putting her lot in with Abe the highwayman, but she insists Abe’s a good guy. Yeah, a good guy who dabbles in a little recreational terrorism, Beth. She asks if he can understand her desire to risk everything for love, and he says he does. She talks a bit about justice and liberty and asks if he thinks she’s foolish. He doesn’t. I don’t know why. There’s a ruckus down the road, and the household goes out front to see what’s up. A large crowd with a pope effigy approaches and Angelica gasps that this is a pope burning. John can’t believe their neighbours would do such a thing and steps forward to try and speak against them, but Will grabs him and warns him to stay silent. Agnes, the woman with scrofula from last week, comes forward and reveals she’s been miraculously cured. She cheers for Monmouth, and the crowd joins in. Angelica tells everyone to just go home, which only inflames them further. John then stupidly says there was no Catholic plot to kill the king, which is a treasonous statement. The crowd starts to riot and only calms down when Abe gallops into their midst, firing a warning shot with his pistol. Beth’s all ‘oooh, so sexy!’ until Abe gets a bullet in his shoulder, courtesy of Hardwicke. Everyone flees.
Inside, John finally realizes how stupid he was, denying the popish plot in public like that.
Beth, meanwhile, runs off to the woods to tend to Abe, accompanied by Ned. Abe tells her to warn her mother to get the hell out of England immediately and asks Ned to help them go.
John’s telling his wife the same thing, urging her to make a new life in the new world. Why the hell would they flee to a wilderness? Rich people who had to flee back then went to the Continent. It’s not like there weren’t enough Catholic-friendly countries then. At any rate, Angelica’s reluctant to go without him. And Beth doesn’t want to go without her boyfriend, of course, because they’re so in lurve. Ned finally gets her to accompany him back to the house, where John’s already being arrested. Wow, Hardwicke works fast. Angelica freaks out and tries to hand him a rosary, I think, but it falls from her hand and dramatically spills its beads all over the floor. SYMBOLISM!!!!!!!
So, John’s in prison now, and Will goes to visit him to tell him his brainless wife and daughter won’t leave the country without him. Exasperated, he tells Will to tell them he’ll follow them as soon as he can, because he naively believes that the king will forgive him. Will clearly doesn’t believe this is at all likely, and decides this is the time to confess that he was working as a spy for Jeffries this whole time. And he feels really bad, because allegedly John’s been like a father to him. He has? Whatever. Jeffries comes in with the unwelcome news that Blood Sr has shuffled off the mortal coil. John embraces Will before the younger man leaves.
The king’s paying a visit to Oxford to hold a Parliament. Competing crowds cheer for the king and for Monmouth.
Abe goes to see Ned and get caught up on what Beth and Angelica are up to. Nothing useful, apparently. Abe tells Ned to tell Beth to get out of England. He then notices Goff’s ring on Ned’s finger and demands—at gunpoint, of course—to know how Ned got it. Ned calmly explains, like a rational person, what happened with Goff and we find out that Abe is Goff’s son. Ned gives him the ring, along with some advice from Goff: let your hand be an enemy to tyrants. Oh, great, like this guy needed encouragement.
John’s being questioned about his family’s relationship with Goff. He has nothing to say, but Jeffries isn’t bothered, because he knows he’ll break eventually. Back to his cell he goes, where he’s visited by his wife and daughter. He tells Beth to take care of her mother until they’re all reunited. Next, he embraces Angelica and tells her to take Beth and go away immediately. I guess those other girls we saw last episode weren’t other daughters. Who were they? Angelica tells her husband she loves him. They kiss, and the women regretfully depart. John tries hard not to burst into tears, surely knowing now that this is the last time he’ll ever see them.
The crowds in Oxford are getting rowdy. Beth worms her way through them and somehow finds Ned. Abe and his friends are in the crowd too, apparently planning some move against the king. They’re frustrated to find out that he’s taken some back route. Beth, meanwhile, tells Ned she has to say goodbye to Abe. Of course she does.
Will visits John to try and bolster him up as much as possible, telling him his faith will keep him strong. John tells him a story of how he watched a hanging, drawing and quartering when he was a boy, and he knows that’s his fate. He’s not feeling so strong just now, faith or no faith.
Abe checks his nasty looking shoulder wound, somewhere far from the crowds. Also far from the crowds is the king, who removes his wig before some applauding sycophants and steps into a small lake for a minute while they applaud some more. What’s this about? Abe watches this from a distance, then fetches his pistol and levels it at the king. Beth comes out of nowhere and tries to stop him, but it’s too late. He fires and misses. The king scrambles out of the pool while Abe, Ned, and Beth mount horses and gallop away, watched by Hardwicke, who knows just where they’re going, because he’s not stupid.
Of course, they go right to Angelica’s, interrupting the packing that’s going on. Beth thinks they can just treat him and then take him into the woods, but Angelica knows there’s no time for this nonsense, and she fetches a poker to cauterize the wound. Once that’s done, she tells Ned to get this guy into the woods while she and Beth get out of there. But Hardwicke and the others are already there, so Angelica shows Ned and Abe to a secret door, urging Beth to go with them. Beth refuses, so the women are arrested together.
John and Will are still hanging out together, John getting more agitated at the hold up. Now he knows his fate, he wants it over with. He worries about being made to give evidence against Angelica and tells Will he’d rather commit suicide than do that. Will reminds him that suicide is a straight-to-hell offense, and John pointedly tells Will to promise him Angelica will never suffer. Will promises. John goes to pray, and when he’s done, Will slits his throat for him, then makes it look like John did it to himself. Great, now he won’t be buried in consecrated ground. Nice favour you did, Will.
Angelica and Beth are in the dock, being accused of high treason for concealing Abe. They plead not guilty and Jeffries angrily demands that Angelica be brought to him.
Once they’re alone, he tells her she’ll be condemned and burned at the stake, her daughter with her. She tells him she’s not interested in being saved, but she does want him to spare her daughter. She asks him to have the king transport Beth to the new world plantations, apparently not realizing that, for someone brought up in comfort and luxury like Beth, this is probably as much a death sentence as an actual death sentence would be. You really think Beth would do well as a plantation slave, Angelica? In return for sparing Beth, Angelica promises to do whatever Jeffries wants.
The parliament is bickering over at Christ Church, while Charles listens, boredly. He finally gets up and leaves as one man accuses the Duke of York of raising an army in Scotland.
Angelica has broken the news of her deal to her weeping daughter, and tells her not to be so upset, because she’ll soon be with her husband. She urges Beth to survive and make a new life in a new world. Beth sobs that she loves her mother, as soldiers come to take her away.
Angelica is led to the stake, as Charles stalks through the halls of Christ Church, dressed in a heavy cloak and accompanied by a crew of gentlemen. The crowds gathered for the execution call out blessings to Angelica and Agnes gives her a drink of water. Angelica is strapped to the stake and speaks, forgiving everyone who’s had a hand in her death, thanking the king for showing her daughter mercy, and then urging everyone to fight against the tyrant king. Jeffries tells someone to get this execution going, while Will Blood takes a position on the roof of a building overlooking the pyre.
At the parliament, Charles takes his seat, while Shaftesbury whispers to Monmouth that the king will surely name him the heir. Charles’s cloak is removed, revealing that he’s wearing the robes of state, and carrying the crown. He places it on his head, as the gentlemen produce the orb and scepter and hand them to him. Once arrayed in all his kingly glory, he declares parliament dissolved.
Angelica’s pyre is lit, but she continues to call for England to become a commonwealth. Will pulls out a pistol and takes aim at her, shooting her in the heart and ending her torment. He then throws himself off the roof, landing with a thud on the paving stones below. Nice job, Beth, you idiot. You and your equally stupid boyfriend got your mother killed.