‘Franklin’ Episode 5 Recap: What Conflicts Did Franklin Have With John Adams?


In the previous episode of Franklin, we saw that John Adams, a representative of the American Congress, came to France because the American administration probably had doubts about the credibility of the man himself. Franklin had actually done the impossible and cracked a deal with the Frenchmen, which at one point seemed impossible. Still, he had to prove his worth every day, but the old man did not get tired, and he was ready to fight every war that came his way. He knew that America needed freedom, and he was ready to do anything for it. Monsieur Brillon talked to Franklin in episode 4, and he expressed his desire to get his daughter married to Temple. Franklin was more than happy to agree to his wishes because he knew that even Temple somewhere liked the girl, and the Brillons were influential people too. What both gentlemen did not consider was that Madame Brillon could have problems with the matrimonial alliance. Meanwhile, American forces still had a lot of work to do, and they knew they had to capitalize on the recent victories if they wanted to get their freedom. So let’s find out what happened in Franklin Episode 5 and if things turned out the way the American polymath wanted them to. 

Spoiler Alert

What happened at the get-together? 

We got to know in Franklin episode 5 that Madame Brillon was against the matrimonial alliance of her daughters, Cuneginde and Temple. Monsieur Brillon, on the other hand, felt that it was a very lucrative deal, and he was ready to welcome the Franklins into his family. It was a known fact that Madame Brillon and her husband had a tumultuous married life, and they were just carrying on with it because of social pressure. Had society been a little more open, they would have divorced each other and gone their separate ways. But at that time, it was not such an easy thing to do. Monsieur Brillon knew the kind of feelings his wife had for Franklin, and at times he passed a sarcastic comment at her, as if she had done something that was not worthy of their name. But Madame Brillon always had a comeback since she was well aware of her husband’s actions. He was an unfaithful man, and he completely disregarded her presence in his life. Madame Brillon made it very clear that no matter what anybody said, she was against the alliance, and Monsieur Brillon didn’t know how to tackle the situation. 

At the get-together, we saw that Jacques, Chaumont’s son, brought Caillot, the well-known performer, with her to the party. The people were awestruck that someone could bring an African amidst them. But Jacques did what he wanted, and when Madame Brillon saw him, she felt envious of him. Brillon was chained by customs, and had she been allowed to do as she wanted to, the reality would have been very different for her. Madame Brillon had a talk with Franklin, as she was unsure about the kind of dynamics they shared. Franklin was attracted to her, and they had already decided how their relationship was going to be. But still, at times, Madame Brillon got a bit worried about what she was signing up for, as she knew that it was not something that was accepted by society and she would have to fight the odds in order to accomplish it. 

What conflicts did Franklin have with John Adams? 

John Adams had no clue that Bancroft was conspiring with Mr. Williams, and the former decided to put his trust in him just because he was against Franklin. Adams didn’t like the way Franklin dealt with things, and he told him straightforwardly that he didn’t like his style of diplomacy. But the problem was that Adams didn’t know who he was dealing with, and Franklin, on the other hand, had actually cracked a deal with Vergennes, which at one point in time seemed impossible. Franklin and Adams met Vergennes, and the rift between the two Americans was evident. Still Franklin was able to defy the odds, and he convinced Vergennes to lend them another 3 million livres for clothes and uniforms. Adams wanted them to resort to aggressive diplomacy, but Franklin told him that things did not function like that in France. There was a way of dealing with people, and Franklin had learned that with time. The problem was that John Adams just wanted to prove Franklin wrong, and somewhere, I personally felt that he didn’t keep the agenda as his priority, but he prioritized his own vested interests. Adams wanted to prove Franklin wrong more than anything else, and that, I believe, was the biggest problem. People like Bancroft and Williams learned that Adams was the weak link, and if they placed their bets on him, then the British would probably win the war. 

Was Temple able to accompany Lafayette to the war? 

In the 5th episode of Franklin, Gilbert Lafayette came back to Passy and met Temple and others because he wanted to resort to more aggressive tactics. Lafayette met Franklin, Bancroft, and Adams and told them that they should strike the British ports so that they were forced to bring back their ships from America and save their own territory. Franklin agreed that it was a great idea, but when he got to know that even Temple wanted to join the war, he got a bit worried. Franklin told his grandson to his face that he was not going to lose another son, and so he wouldn’t allow him to go to fight the war. Temple didn’t want to agree with his grandfather, but he had no choice. At the end of the 5th episode, Madame Brillon called off the marriage between her daughter and Temple, and it had a deep impact on the latter. Temple decided that he was going to war, even if his grandfather didn’t want him to. Temple rode his horse and met Lafayette and others in the forest, and he was adamant about burning England to the ground. It would be interesting to see how Temple’s move pans out and what kind of issues Franklin would have to face in the future. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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