Franklin episode 8 recap: a final push for peace

Michael Douglas in Franklin
Michael Douglas in Franklin (Image credit: Apple TV)

"Think of Three Things," Franklin episode and the series finale, opens on Jacques Chaumont (Aïtor de Calvairac) sneaking around and stealing jewelry from his mother, Therese Chaumont (Florence Darel). Unfortunately for him, she walks in and discovers his thievery.

Jacques admits to his father, Chaumont (Olivier Claverie), he stole because he wants to live well but is too lazy to actually work. Chaumont kicks him out of his house, insisting he's not allowed to step on any property he owns ever again, much to Jacques' dismay, who has no idea what he's going to do with his life. 

What else happens in the Franklin finale. Take a look below to find out.

Reaching for peace

Benjamin Franklin (Michael Douglas), John Jay (Ed Stoppard) and John Adams (Eddie Marsan) continue to negotiate with Oswald (Gary Lewis), Thomas Grenville (Jack Archer) and Strachey (Patrick Kennedy) over how to divide up America and end the war. 

After much arguing, Oswald says Britain has also spoken to France about dividing up America. The French would give lots more of the country to Spain and the Native Americans, as they want to hold both America and Britain in check. It finally looks as though Benjamin and Oswald are close to a deal. But Benjamin says he still needs time to confirm it. 

This infuriates Jay. He meets with Adams privately and finally agrees that Benjamin is no longer the man he was. He tells Adams to do whatever he wants to Benjamin. 

Adams goes to see Benjamin. At first Adams lists all of the things that he hates about him. Then he shows Benjamin the fake letter of Temple's (Noah Jupe) treachery that Bancroft (Daniel Mays) gave to him. Only to rip it up, admitting that he doesn't believe Benjamin or Temple are capable of betraying the United States. Benjamin and Adams make peace and vow to get the best deal for America. 

With Benjamin and Adams now on friendly terms, they have four points to secure with the British — their independence, the country's boundaries, reparations and making sure they can fish for cod off Newfoundland. Jay suggests he leads negotiations, especially after Benjamin rejected Britain's last deal. But Adams says Jay is too cold and will earn them no goodwill. Adams admits he's too hot-headed. Which leaves Benjamin and his charm. 

Only Oswald and Strachey arrive for negotiations. They acknowledge America's independence, agree their boundaries extend to the banks of the Mississippi, and give them rights to the cod off the Newfoundland coast. After some extended negotiations over reparations, the result of which is that France will remain unpaid for helping America, they finally reach a peace.

What about France?

Later, after the trio toast the deal, Jay asks if Benjamin is actually going to sign it, considering they haven't run it by Versailles. Benjamin admits he has to at least tell Vergennes (Thibault de Montalembert). 

He doesn't do it himself, though. Benjamin sends Temple with a copy of the deal to Vergennes, as well as the message that he regards the amity between America and France to be undiminished and hopes he feels the same way. A livid Vergennes reads the deal and realizes that Benjamin broke his promise to the French, later admitting he "f****d us."

Benjamin, Adams and Jay sign the deal. Benjamin gets emotional as he reads that America is finally free, sovereign and independent. 

In a secret meeting, Benjamin explains America's potential to Vergennes. They both admit to lying to each other and trying to negotiate with the British to get the best deal for their countries. 

Vergennes asks what France has got in return for its 1 billion livre. Benjamin says the eternal devotion of a grateful country. Vergennes laughs, knowing America will now trade with the English, leaving France empty-handed. Benjamin apologizes and admits America owes a bottomless debt to France. He even has the temerity to ask for 6 million more livre, which Vergennes laughs at playfully. 

Wrapping things up

Michael Douglas and Jeanne Balibar in Franklin

Michael Douglas and Jeanne Balibar in Franklin (Image credit: Apple TV)

While with Helvetius (Jeanne Balibar), Benjamin admits he has considered not going back to America to say with her, but he feels obliged to go and see the America that he helped create. So Benjamin proposes to her. She refuses, insisting he can't be tied down. 

Benjamin admits to Adams he knows Bancroft was the one who gave him the fake letter. He also knows Bancroft is an informant for the English, something he's been aware of for quite some time. When Adams asks why he has kept Bancroft as an intimate, Benjamin admits it's merely because he’s such a likable fellow. 

Later, as he prepares to return to America, Bancroft visits Benjamin. He gives him a vial of opium for the journey over the Atlantic, in return Benjamin gives him a case of wine. Benjamin alludes to knowing Bancroft was a traitor, before calling him the most amiable of companions. 

Despite Benjamin leaving, Chaumont is unwilling to ask for expenses, but his wife demands nearly 24,000 livres from Benjamin for his years-long stay. Benjamin insists he'll get the money from Congress, but she doesn't believe him and instead just takes the money he has in his pocket. 


Temple continues to work tirelessly delivering letters across Versailles. He even helps Monsieur De Comte, the king's brother, win a game of chess, which leads to him getting the title of Minister of Games. 

The day before his grandfather leaves, Temple goes to see Benjamin. He's staying in Versailles for the foreseeable future to find his station. Benjamin tells Temple his father lives in London. Temple asks Benjamin to forgive his father, but Benjamin is unwilling to do so. The pair then hug and cry, with Benjamin telling Temple to seek happiness and remember who he is.

As a depressed Brillon (Ludivine Sagnier) plays a song at her piano, we see Vergennes being honored by King Louis XVI (Tom Pezier), Gilbert (Théodore Pellerin) getting a round of applause at Harvard for being a war hero, Chaumont's house being emptied, while Odette (Sonia Bonny) stars in Beaumarchais' (Assaad Bouab) latest play, for which they both receive a standing ovation.

Founding Father

On the ship back to the United States, Jacques approaches Benjamin. He's leaving France forever and admits he doesn't know what he's going to do in America, as he has no money. He just wants to make his way in the world with whatever wits he has and to be free. Benjamin says Jacques will have his opportunity but it's up to him. Benjamin then asks Jacques to come to his cabin that night so they can uncork a good brandy he's been saving and talk more of America.

Title cards reveal that two years after his return to the United States, Benjamin aged 81, served as the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention. He suffered pangs of regret when he thought of Paris and his hours with Helvetius. Benjamin never received a word of thanks for helping to secure a French alliance or negotiating peace with Great Britain. 

Benjamin Franklin died in 1790. 20,000 people attended his funeral and even though France was in the throes of its own revolution, the country declared three days of national mourning for him.

Watch all episodes of Franklin exclusively on Apple TV Plus.

Gregory James Wakeman

Born and raised in England but now based in Philadelphia, Gregory Wakeman has written for the BBC, New York Times, The Guardian, GQ, and Yahoo Movies UK, all while defiantly trying to keep his accent.