Franklin (2024) s01e07 Episode Script

Begin by Creeping

[OFFICER CHANTING] Left, right, left!
Right! Left, right, left!
Left, right, left!
Left, right, left!
Left, right, left!
Left, right, left!
[OFFICER 2] That's right!
Go back to England.
[OFFICER 3] And go home!
[IN FRENCH] They won't even look at us.
I think we can get their attention.
Boys, give them a bit, uh
Something livelier to march to.
Hey, rosbifs! Over here! Over here!
You lost!
How does it feel, huh?
To lose against an army
of rebels and frogs?
I and certain other personages
from New York have discussed
forming a society
dedicated to the principle.
My own conviction is that
abolition is a necessity,
but one which must be approached
in the most carefully
incremental manner.
On the matter of
manumission, for example,
I think release from servitude fitting
once the purchase price
has been earned back.
What have I promised you, Benoit?
I shall be freed after
seven years, Mr. Jay.
And so you shall, assuming
that certain conditions are met.
We're here.
[JOHN] He has arranged things
just to his liking, of course.
He pays no rent. Treats his
debts as mere suggestions.
The grandson gads about
like some cock of the walk
- whilst calling himself his secretary.
- [JAY] Hmm.
And more to the point, he's enthralled
to his masters at Versailles.
I strongly urge you to
regard his every utterance
with the greatest skepticism.
You believe him diminished by age?
I believe he should
never have been entrusted
with the commission to begin with.
Did we win at Yorktown only to
bend our knee before a French king?
We have been instructed to do so.
But do you mean to
follow those instructions?
In spirit.
- But not necessarily in letter.
My good Dr. Franklin.
Mr. Jay.
Have you come here to relieve
a weary man of his burden?
No, sir.
But, by the will of Congress,
I am here to aid you
in the making of peace.
- What do you have in mind?
- To give away little and gain much.
My intentions precisely.
Something you wish to say?
I have already said it.
Mr. Adams thinks me too
accommodating of our allies.
Possibly he mentioned it.
To be everyone's friend
is to be no one's.
A dilemma that you'll
never be burdened by.
- I did not come here to be liked.
- Well, you have succeeded admirably.
Perhaps it would be
better to meet tomorrow.
Nonsense. Nonsense. I've
set out a dinner for us here.
That's all we need to
- Doctor?
- [FRANKLIN] Ah, just a twinge.
- It's
- Do you require
I'm fine. I'm fine.
Will you agree to parlay
a roast and a good port?
- I would consent to meet them halfway.
- Mmm. Shall we?
Does your man need to eat?
I wouldn't know.
[IN FRENCH] You must be
pleased with yourself.
Why is that?
The British surrendered.
You got what you paid for.
Or should I say, what you
ransacked the treasury for.
As if you had nothing to do with it.
I'm not playing with toy
soldiers halfway across the world.
- I just count the money.
You told the king it
wouldn't cost a sou.
But you're the one who spent it.
Your point?
You think this America of
yours will turn a profit?
And all that gold flows back to France?
It's a reasonable bet.
What if you're wrong?
What if the Americans and the British
make their own deal
and cut us out of it?
- They can do nothing without our consent.
- Oh, really?
Is that what you'd do if
you could get away with it?
You're a sly little conniver, Necker.
And you're not?
This country could
go bankrupt, you know.
That wouldn't turn out well.
For either of us.
[VERGENNES] Very well, gentlemen.
Let's get this meeting over with.
[VERGENNES] Ah, oui.
I'm telling you Beaumarchais
was in the audience.
- I didn't notice him.
- He left before the last scene.
Then he can go fuck himself.
[CHUCKLES] You think he came to see you?
Why not? I'm the only one in
this company with any talent.
- And I'm the king's ball sack.
[STAGEHAND] Odette, you have a visitor.
Just a moment.
What a gentleman.
I'd hardly recognize you.
You got the flowers?
Are they from you?
How kind.
It's nothing compared
to what you deserve.
It's very sweet. And you're
very sweet to give them to me.
I'd give you the world
if that's what you wanted.
What would I do with such a gift?
Anything you'd like.
I think about you all the time.
[CHUCKLES] I can't possibly be worth it.
What about you?
Do you think about me?
Now, you need to listen.
Someone's coming here and
we'll need to be alone.
- Do you understand?
What if I don't like that?
You could challenge him to a duel.
But I'd be very unhappy if you lost.
[WHISPERS] I wouldn't lose.
That would be even worse.
What do you mean?
Monsieur Beaumarchais was here tonight.
He couldn't stop raving
about my performance.
I invited him to visit.
There's a part in his new play, and
You don't want to spoil
that for me, do you?
When can I see you?
Later. Yes?
matter of our instructions.
What is there to say except
we are bound to follow them?
Are we, though?
Meaning what?
That Congress has prostituted itself
by surrendering its sovereignty
to the comte de Vergennes.
[CHUCKLES] Now, there's
a reasonable statement.
We didn't fight a war to be
ordered about by Versailles.
Ingratitude is hardly a way to
establish America's reputation.
Here is your friend's
demand for our borders.
Everything west of the Allegheny
is left to Spain for
France's own purposes
or reserved for the benighted natives.
With Britain squatting above us
like a pasha over a chamber pot.
Is this the nation you imagined?
I would not object to
a helping of Canada.
How do you propose to get it?
Since our hosts are not
inclined to serve it.
By goodwill and friendly persuasion.
[JOHN] See why you were sent for, sir?
If we cannot count on France,
then upon who else may we depend?
On God and ourselves, Dr. Franklin.
You would deliberately violate
Congress's instructions?
They are 3,000 miles
and two months away.
Why have they entrusted us with
this task if not to do as we see fit?
That is sophistry, Mr. Jay.
Then I will be clear.
If those instructions compromise
our honor, I would break them.
Like this.
[IN FRENCH] It's me.
you think. She had an accident.
What kind of accident?
It's more like a mistake. But it's
done with, and she's all right now.
Why did she send for you?
I suppose she trusts me.
You don't care about her. You don't
care about anyone but yourself.
You won't like it.
- [IN FRENCH] Are you ill?
- I felt sick. That's all.
- I'll fetch a doctor.
- No reason.
You're cold.
[WHISPERS] I'm fine.
Tell me what's wrong.
It's not serious. Just something
I needed to take care of.
What does that mean? Tell me.
She means she's not ready to give
up the ingenue roles just yet.
Was it mine?
Was it mine?
[SWALLOWS] I'm tired.
I'm here.
Ah. Ashcroft, is it?
Of course. Terribly sorry.
Who are you?
Strachey. Undersecretary
to the Home Office.
I expect you know why I'm here.
In the Palais-Royal?
In Paris.
Well, negotiate a peace with
the Americans, I should think.
Hard to believe it's come to
that, but, uh, there we have it.
Awkward thing is, I have
somehow been charged with, uh
Well, your man that you, uh
- How to put it
- Sold secrets to.
He shan't be coming round again.
What does that mean?
He's been sent on.
Well, where to?
Really couldn't say. Suriname?
Oh, absolutely. Yes.
But also no.
[BANCROFT] Beg your pardon?
You don't happen to know
his whereabouts, do you?
Well, I thought he'd be here.
But he's not, though. I'm here.
I don't suppose you've got
any new bits to pass along?
It'd be ever so helpful, you
see, as we, uh, stagger forward.
It's all in the report, I'm afraid.
Yes. Of course.
All right then.
Ever been to Florida?
I've not had that privilege.
Have a plantation there. Indigo.
Requires a great lot of Negroes.
Expect I'll lose it all.
Come, come. Uh, the both of you.
sir. The bet is to you.
You and me, eh?
How's that?
Till the last candle gutters out.
[IN FRENCH] I've watched the
queen play this at Versailles.
We're graced with royalty.
The losing card.
I took you for quality
the moment I saw you.
I said to myself, here's a man
who knows how to appreciate
[DEALER] The winning card.
We're all fortune's fools, eh?
You bet the jack.
[TEMPLE] You bet the jack.
Not the 10.
You're mistaken.
You moved your tokens.
How did I do that?
[PATRON] Oh, non !
You want to think
about what you do next.
So do you.
- [PATRON] Count Artois. [SIGHS]
- [PATRON 2] It's the king's brother.
[CHARLES] He fixes a
horsehair to the bottom token.
And while he's talking,
he slides his stack over.
Isn't that so?
- You can't blame a man for trying,
Your Grace.
[CHARLES] The other pocket.
Go away.
What's all that horseshit
about you and my sister-in-law?
It's true.
I was in Versailles with my grandfather.
And who's he?
Benjamin Franklin.
[CHUCKLES] That's right.
You're Lafayette's little monkey.
I'm not anybody's anything.
And now the great hero is off
fighting for freedom again.
How absolutely fucking noble.
[SIGHS] Good riddance to him.
And you do what, exactly?
Whore, drink, gamble
[CHUCKLES] Very good.
We have interests in common.
Come along.
We'll find something or other for you.
We leave them no room for equivocation.
They must affirm they will not parlay
with Britain without telling us first.
They'll demand the same of us.
Which our instructions
already make plain.
They will not see past that shadow.
So let us be frank amongst ourselves.
We mean to deceive.
We mean to lawyer.
Do you concur?
- Dr. Franklin, do you concur?
- Let's seek our terms.
[VERGENNES] I am unclear as to
what you are actually saying.
You have read our instructions, sir,
and see what we are charged with.
I have read them, yes.
Then what is your concern?
Not all orders are
[SIGHS] obeyed.
[JOHN] Meaning what?
Only what I have said.
That is an outrageous accusation.
I accuse you of nothing, Mr. Adams.
[JOHN] You called me a liar to my face.
But you have just told me you
are not. Why would I doubt you?
And you, sir?
What assurance have we
that you will not make your own peace
with Britain and leave us bereft?
The same assurance you have given me.
Is that not sufficient?
You do not regard the
word of Congress as bo
- I-I beg your pardon.
- He's playacting again.
Monsieur le Comte, my friend.
Doctor, you are in pain.
You and I, we have walked a
long road together, have we not?
We have. With many turns.
And I've come to know you
as a true and generous ally
and an honest man.
Now the end that we have both
sacrificed years to is in sight,
and we're both eager at the gate.
But I say, before all
assembled in this room
we will not betray you.
And faithful to you we
shall remain, mon ami.
- What was that?
- I said what was true.
- That's not what we agreed.
You two agreed. I only listened.
Do you side with America,
France or merely yourself?
Dr. Franklin, I hold you
in the highest regard,
but if we do not act in concert
- Enough of this puffery.
- Mr. Adams, please.
No. I will not hold my
tongue in the face of
What devilment have you been up to?
You're not supposed to talk.
[GROANING] Yet I am doing so.
I have obtained a position at court.
As what? A punch bag?
That was a separate affair.
Oh, you worry me, boy.
Best worry about yourself.
- Do as you see fit.
Ah, my tormentor. What punishment
will you inflict upon me?
Well, no doubt you've
made your own diagnosis.
A bladder stone I've
had at least 50 years.
And now it is having you.
Can he be helped?
Lithotomy. [SIGHS]
Lithos, stone. Tomos, cut.
An incision through the
abdomen above the pubis
and the gravel removed with forceps.
Can you perform such an
operation, Mr. Bancroft?
I would rather entrust it to
others with more experience.
But it would cure him?
Uh, where are Mr. Adams and Mr. Jay?
[TEMPLE] Just Just outside.
Can you fetch them?
If your courtly rank allows that.
He was at your side all night.
I could not make him leave.
How would you parse the odds?
Of surviving the procedure? [SIGHS]
You've calculated that already.
I am in agony, friend.
Then you may chance it.
But I will have no
part in such butchery.
In the meantime [SIGHS]
you must not move.
It would be better to somehow
approach the, uh The urethra.
A tube of some clever design
slid up the canal and
How are you keeping now, sir?
Fit for the Labors of Hercules.
No such exertions will
be required, I think.
Yes, Mr. Adams?
I wish to
That is to say, I should not
have doubted your distress.
Perhaps I gave you cause.
Mr. Adams and I have been
discussing how to proceed.
We are both of the mind that
delay will not aid our cause.
It will not.
[JAY] And so, we think it best
to move forward with the British.
Keeping you, of course,
informed of our progress.
Within reason.
And the pledge to our allies?
Well, you gave your word.
I propose something else.
We convene here,
and so act in harmony
towards our common goal.
You really deem that prudent?
What says Versailles?
You see how it is?
Not even the drumbeat of mortality
can penetrate that colossal self-regard.
- Mr. Adams
- He would insist from the grave
that he is indispensable.
We are to gather by his
sickbed so that he, only he,
- may cut the Gordian knot
- Mr. Adams
and deliver onto us
his audience, his worship
Mr. Adams!
We need him.
[IN FRENCH] What do you want?
I'm here to serve the Count of Artois.
Says who?
Through there.
Get on with it.
Whose man are you?
I serve the Count of Artois.
He serves the Count of Artois!
Who do you serve?
[RECEPTIONIST] Let's go! Step
lively, you miserable squirrels!
- [PAGES CLAMORING] Merci. Monsieur !
- [RECEPTIONIST] Get these delivered!
Hurry! Do this quickly!
- [PAGE] Sir, please!
- [PAGE 2] Please, sir. Please.
Marie, you'll have to
wash this sheet again.
And Louison, you can take
Well, don't just stand there.
I'm not going to beg you.
had brought my sketchbook.
[STAMMERS] Madame.
How are you?
[GRUNTS] Lifted by your arrival.
After too long an absence.
I have been occupied with
family affairs, I'm afraid.
All is well, I hope.
I am to be a grandmother.
Oh, it's life's greatest blessing.
You are engaged in
weighty matters, I am told.
Horse trading, madame. Plain and simple.
And Mr. Temple?
He flourishes, I expect.
He, um
He's embarked upon a career at court.
I never doubted his prospects.
[IN FRENCH] Do you intend to keep
throwing knives at each other?
[STAMMERS] What would you have me do?
I've already bathed him
and changed the sheets.
Let's get him onto the bed.
manage that myself, thank you.
- [ANNE GASPS] Ooh. Ooh!
You are rather enjoying
this, aren't you?
No. No, no. No, not
under the circumstances.
We are happy to leave you being.
No, I [GROANS] I bid you to stay.
Please. Both of you. Please.
I brought you something, mon bon
papa. Can you guess what it is?
A, um, suckling pig
and a well-aged sherry?
[CHUCKLES] Not exactly.
[ANNE] You must keep warm.
[IN FRENCH] Let him in.
First Minister. May I introduce
Who are you really, anyway?
That's up to you.
Mr. Paul Wentworth.
Monsieur le Comte.
What a singular honor.
yourself a gentleman?
[SIGHS] Only when it suits.
And you are in this country why?
I'm fond of a good Bordeaux.
[IN FRENCH] Don't arse
about. You're not in a tavern.
for England against the rebels.
You do not seem to have succeeded.
[IN FRENCH] Not for lack of trying.
Eh, my little worm?
negotiation between Britain and America.
The Americans mean to fuck you
over the first chance they get.
[IN FRENCH] If it's all
right to say that here.
swore to me otherwise.
I swore I'd love some
wench forever last night.
Today I couldn't tell you her name.
We're after the same thing, you know.
What is that?
The best end to a bad bargain.
We do not wish to get
it in the same way.
No. You like some perfume
between you and the stink.
That's what makes you a true gentleman.
- [IN FRENCH] Get him out of my sight.
- You wanted a lever. I brought you one.
You brought me a pig
rooting in the swill.
[LENOIR] What do you
want me to do with him?
Hang him for all I care.
You see? I get my prize either way.
If he's telling the truth?
I'm sending you to London.
We need to make sure our
own interests come first.
It's all the same to you.
Mmm. With pleasure. But later.
[IN FRENCH] In the meantime,
you'll keep me informed about what
your countrymen are up to here.
this highly irregular.
It is rather not to our
advantage, Mr. Oswald.
We are already on unfriendly soil.
And what precise room we
negotiate in is of little moment.
But we're coming to them.
It does tilt the balance a bit.
Would you have us turn and leave?
I simply note the circumstances.
[OSWALD] Mm-hmm.
Mr. Grenville?
They shan't be getting
Newfoundland. I tell you that.
Dr. Franklin, I am honored
to be in your company.
Though sorry to see you so indisposed.
Oh, think nothing of it, sir. I'm
grateful for your accommodation.
Perhaps future negotiations
should take place with us all abed.
Merely a suggestion.
Before we proceed,
do you regard yourselves
as beholden to France
concerning agreements we come to here?
We intend to act in whatever fashion
Permits us to remain in concert
with our faithful allies.
[OSWALD] I ask only because
their interests are not yours.
And you may find
yourselves bound by treaty
to a war you do not wish to fight.
Debts paid are still obligations owed.
A point of honor for men.
But nations use a different
calculus, do they not?
[JOHN] Three matters are of the essence.
Our unqualified independence,
the removal of all your troops
and the extent of our boundaries.
We are eager to discuss
reparations for seized property.
Plantations, for example.
On what grounds?
On the grounds that
subjects loyal to the Crown
be compensated for their losses.
And of the depredations that
you have visited on Americans?
What recompense for them?
It was your own lawless
rebellion which gave cause to
Can we agree to discuss this issue
in a free and open
manner at a later date?
So I'd wish, Mr. Oswald, but neither
one of us is getting any younger.
What do you propose?
What of it?
You give it to us.
Which part?
All of it.
Does that include Newfoundland?
I would imagine.
- That is an impossibility.
- It is an imperative.
How so?
New England's ancient
stake in the sacred codfish.
A century of thieving fishermen
does not constitute a legal claim.
By natural right of usage
under English common law.
Perhaps having once taken a
stroll past the Royal Mint,
you might also like
His Majesty's Treasury.
Enough of this peevish nonsense.
- I will not be hectored.
- Dr. Franklin.
Mr. Oswald.
What would be the
chance of a cup of tea?
Step lively, you wretched lickspittles!
Excuse me? Hello.
- Message for Monsieur Gérard.
- Give it to me.
I'm supposed to hand
it to him personally.
Then you'll have to chase
him all the way to England.
nothing but a pompous dissembler.
As for Grenville, that untutored cub
He needs a good boxing about the ears.
But Oswald. Oswald is a
canny one like all his kind.
One-eyed men?
The Scots.
I feared you were going to say that.
Are you so blind to not
see he intends to divide us?
No, nor so foolish as to let him do it.
That blunder will fall to someone else.
Me? Is that what you imply?
That I would be the
age That my resolve
You actually have the temerity to
It has been a long day.
You may think me excitable and
overkeen to judge, but mark me.
His folly demur for France is
a stone that will drag us under.
[IN FRENCH] Come close, gentlemen!
An exceptional show tonight!
For ten sols! Only ten sols!
Come and see, gentlemen!
The great Pyrenean bosom!
Do not hesitate but wait
for your turn, gentlemen!
Don't be shy! Everyone
can have their turn!
Did sir find pleasure?
Yes. Marvelous.
Hey, chevalier, fancy a ride?
Look what I've got here for you.
I'll take you to heaven.
I'll take you to hell.
Are you lost?
I've run away from home.
A cruel stepfather?
He locked me in the tower.
But you escaped.
Rescued by my beloved.
Where is he?
Lost on a battlefield
in a place called Virginia.
Died for America, did he?
And took my heart with him.
How can I help?
Five livres.
Up front.
[IN FRENCH] Through here.
Not happy to see me?
No. On the contrary, dear friend. I
I feared some ill fate had befallen you.
Judging by your look, I suspect
Do you remember what I told you?
What exactly?
I'd take you with me.
To Suriname?
To the devil.
- What is that?
- It's the boy's admission of treason.
You don't recognize it?
You did write it, after all.
- What What am I to do with it now?
- Hand it to a willing recipient.
Our masters have already
begun to negotiate.
I mean, what would be the point?
It would stop me from nosing you
out for the two-faced fucker you are.
They'll hang you for that,
dear friend.
I did pay her five livres.
I'll see it doesn't go to waste.
[FRANKLIN] M-Make yourself useful.
Is it the fashion to
dress as a page now?
[TEMPLE] The queen has
a taste for simplicity.
you'll soon be a prince
done up in rags.
Gérard's gone to England.
- Come again?
- He left this afternoon.
You know this how?
I have an intimate in his office.
And the purpose of his journey?
I couldn't say.
But if we were at chess,
I'd keep an eye on Monsieur
Vergennes's king-side bishop.
[SIGHS] I managed to teach
you something after all.
It seems we're obliged to play
a different game ourselves now.
But you gave your word.
Did I?
A shame, really.
I do so like the French.
Sorry to disturb you at
such an hour, but, um
[STAMMERS] Something has
come to light and I
Well, I'm compelled to seek
out the wisest counsel I know.
[CHUCKLES] You are too generous.
[CHUCKLES] You are too modest.
As you may be aware,
I have, on occasion,
aided Dr. Franklin in the
organizing of his papers.
A fool's errand, if you ask me.
Nonetheless, I have tried.
To my dismay, I discovered [CHUCKLES]
that I unwittingly took some
correspondence back to my lodgings.
No great cause for consternation.
Of course, of course.
I found this.
In Master Temple's hand.
I-I-I cannot attest to its veracity,
nor explain why the
doctor kept it secret.
And why show it to me?
Because too much is at stake
to trust a man whose
loyalties are suspect.
you have come to your senses at last.
The son, the grandson, and yet
somehow the patriarch is without sin.
Have I not warned against
his duplicity for years?
I did not wish to believe it.
Our fates cannot be founded on wishes.
May I keep this?
If you must. I
Bancroft, I commend you.
As a patriot.
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