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Gregory James Wakeman

Franklin episode 4 recap: Franklin is making deals

Noah Jupe and Michael Douglas in Franklin.

Franklin episode 4, "Small Revenge," opens up four years earlier in White Palace, London, where Benjamin Franklin (Michael Douglas) stands before the King's privy council seeking the removal of the Royal governor from Massachusetts.

After an intense argument with the solicitor general, it's declared the Royal governor will stay in Massachusetts, and Benjamin's charter as the agent of the colonies of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia is revoked. Benjamin and Edward Bancroft (Daniel Mays) slink out of White Palace under a hail of debris thrown at them by the English politicians. As Benjamin departs, he proclaims to Bancroft that he'll make their master a little king. 

What else happens in Franklin episode 4? Read below to find out. 

France learns of America's triumph  

Beaumarchais (Assaad Bouab) spreads the news, written by Benjamin, about the American victory at Saratoga, much to the delight of Parisians. Even Vergennes (Thibault de Montalembert) can't help but chuckle in delight. Anne (Ludivine Sagnier) writes a new song in celebration, while Paul Wentworth (Tom Hughes) and Lord Stormont (John Hollingworth) are understandably upset. 

Beaumarchais' joy is short-lived, though, as he's struck by a horse and carriage while delivering the news. After trying to stand, he notices a huge shard of glass in his arm, and collapses.

Benjamin and Anne's relationship 

Benjamin flirts with his neighbor Madame Helvetius (Jeanne Balibar) at Chaumont’s (Olivier Claverie) house. 

Later, Anne plays Benjamin the song she has written for the American cause. She wants to teach him how to play it. As she teaches him, they become embroiled in a coded discussion about their relationship. 

She wants friendship and eternal love between them, and for him to remain in her company for as long as it pleases her. He says he needs time for other agreeable ladies. He will not always be able to be with her, but calls the hours he has spent with her a delight. If she wants more, all she has to do is ask, reminding her that her own husband repeatedly cheats on her. 

She considers it, but can't break her marriage. She agrees to be more understanding of Franklin's boundaries. 

Will France side with America?

(Image credit: Apple TV)

Vergennes tells King Louis XVI (Tom Pezier) that France should take advantage of England's defeat and help the Americans. Vergennes believes England is seeking a way out of the war before it suffers even greater losses. If France is bold, they can weaken England. 

Louis doesn't want to have to pay for a war, but he goes over the pros and cons of joining the war without reaching a definitive conclusion. Vergennes leaves even more confused than ever.

Over a series of meetings, Benjamin demands to Vergennes' associate Gerard (Xavier Brossard) that France join with America in a military alliance. But an open declaration of war from France against the English is out of the question, Gerard says; France just wants to offer friendship and trade to America. Benjamin wants more, leaving Gerard to return to Versailles to consult with Vergennes. 

Vergennes again tries to play coy, until Count Maurepas (Robin Renucci) and Monsieur Necker (Vincent Winterhalter) accuse him of ransacking the treasury and starting a war without their knowing. Louis calls a meeting with Maurepas, Necker and Vergennes, where the King ultimately tells Vergennes to make an alliance with the Americans so they can teach the English a lesson they won't forget. Maurepas and Necker tell Vergennes they convinced Louis by telling him a war could be financed without raising taxes, which is all he wanted to hear. 

Finally, Benjamin and Gerard sign the papers, and America and France become a military alliance.

Bancroft targets Temple

Wentworth demands Bancroft get hold of the notes from Benjamin and Gerard's meeting. Wentworth then comes up with an even more devious idea. He wants Bancroft to write a letter that Temple, like his father, is loyal to the British crown, then get Temple to sign it without the boy knowing. Bancroft achieves this and hands the letter to Wentworth.


Benjamin is finally allowed into Versailles, where he is welcomed by a delighted crowd. Vergennes tells the crowd this is the first time they're meeting. Benjamin exchanges pleasantries with a recovering Beaumarchais before meeting King Louis for a short exchange, where Benjamin praises Louis' principles and heart. Benjamin even meets Marie Antoinette (Maria Dragus), helping her win a game of cards. 

Chaumont holds a party to celebrate the agreement between France and America. Even Therese Chaumont (Florence Darel) can't believe how many people are in attendance, but Chaumont insists it's an investment, as they'll all be coming to him to get close to America now. 

Anne and Benjamin listen to the band play the song she wrote. Beaumarchais gives a speech celebrating France's friendship with America, while Helvetius interjects with special praise for Benjamin, which causes slight tension between Anne, Benjamin and Helvetius. 

As fireworks explode, Monsieur Brillon (Marc Duret) and Benjamin talk over a drink. He asks what Temple's intentions are for his daughter Cunégonde (Lily Dupont), insisting he wants to tie down their relationship before she gets too old. Benjamin agrees, but wonders if Anne agrees to the union? Brillon hasn't discussed it with her. 

Temples exaggerates his involvement in the agreement to Cunégonde. They kiss, only to be interrupted by a drunk Benjamin, who says the pair are a splendid couple before heading to a tree to urinate. 

At that tree, Benjamin turns around to see John Adams (Eddie Marsan), who has traveled all the way from America. Benjamin asks if Adams has been sent there to assist him? No, Adams is there to replace Benjamin.

New episodes of Franklin premiere on Apple TV Plus every Friday.

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