In this first episode, we can get a sense of what kind of person John Adams is,
how close he is to Abigail and the ferment before the revolution.
The sketch of John Adams in this episode is interesting. His decision to stand for the seemingly brutal British soldiers stunned me. Learning that he does so because he believes that “Counsel is the last thing an accused person should lack in a free country,” I can’t help but admire his noble thought and courage. His strategy, eloquence, and particularly his unshakable believe in the conscientious law are impressive. While he disapproves of the brutal and illegal acts carried out by people in Boston in a fight for justice, he can’t bring himself to work for the British government that treats people in the colony with discrimination. His alternation between the Crown and the Son of Liberty shows that his endorsement of revolution is anything but an impetuous act. He is passionate and prudent, sensitive and self-possessed. John Adams is a flesh and blood audience can relate to.
Beside John Adam, his smart and sophisticated wife Abigail attracts me as well. Abigail is Adam’s mentor and the biggest support. Her straight forward confrontation with Adams on the slaughter case and her calling for Adams to believe in the fair judge of the jury help John Adams to see things in a better light. Knowing her husband well, she can bring John Adams to face his flaws such as impatience and perhaps vanity. Abigail’s words have soothing power to John Adams and encourage him to take on challenges and move ahead. Her pressing urge for John Adams to leave the house for the Continental Congress from the first episode to the second episode reminds me of the proverb: “there is a great woman behind every great man.” (Compared to episode two, I think episode one give audience a better picture of how close John Adams and Abigail are.)John Adams’ respect and affection for his wife are thus comprehensible. Their playful interactions can always move me to smile. They make a perfect couple undoubtedly. (They remind me that it’s actually possible to find a soul and that marriage is not necessarily miserable and doomed to fail. XD)
Last but not least, the first episode is very successful in conveying the stir and chaos in society before the revolution. The incident of “fire” and the act to strip and tar the officer importing tea to Boston serves a reminder that how ironically men can be both murder and victim at the same time. Although I feel sympathetic for the people oppressed by the Britain and treated as a second citizen, I can hardly agree with their behavior. For me, irrational group violence and vengeance are not justifiable to enact a political principle. It’s really sad to see that people are sometimes driven mad by a certain ideology or end up as the scapegoat of national apparatus.