This weeks episode of HBO’s epic miniseries finds John Adams (Paul Giamatti) in Holland still recovering from a long illness, and still trying to pry money from the somewhat reluctant Dutch. News of the British defeat at Yorktown not only seems to do wonders for his health, but also loosens the purse strings. Adams secures a $2 million load to help the fledgling American economy.
From Holland he returns to Paris, and realizing that his mission is far from complete invites Abigail (Laura Linney) to join him. While Abigail takes in the sights and scenes of Paris, Adams quietly stews, his mission to establish free trade â€œwith anyone that will listenâ€, seems stalled.
The ever cynical Benjamin Franklin (Tom Wilkinson) brings the news that Adams has been appointed ambassador to England. â€œI can think of no better man to represent America and Great Britain. The English love an insult, it is their only test of a mans sincerityâ€ Dr. Franklin explains!
And so, it is off to London where in a memorable meeting King George III recognizes America as an independent nation, and most important of all, a friendly nation.
It is at last time for John and Abigail to return home, and in Johns mind, his work is done………
This series is so well done, no detail is too small to be overlooked, for example, in what is really just a filler scene, Adams watches the first manned hot air balloon flight by Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. The videography (Tak Fujimoto & Danny Cohen) and special effects teams are to be congratulated, this is award winning material. Interestingly enough the production team chose Hungary as their center of operations, The backlot of the Fot studio just outside Budapest was magically transformed into Paris, London, and Holland. Art director Gemma Jackson had a vision of how these locations should be depicted. Paris ‘artistically feminine, decorative and decadent’, and England ‘more masculine, ancient and pompous’. Gemma certainly hit the mark!
Likewise the script writers (led by Kirk Ellis) deserve a mention and much kudos, they have created a seductive dialog, laden with humor, pathos, and historical philosophy.