Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pinkerton Family Business

Happy Mother's Day. Today's episode featured Will's brother Robert Pinkerton, who was played by a different actor, so I don't see why the show bothered to incorrectly claim that Robert was Will's twin before. Anyway, Robert came to do performance reviews on Kate and Will, who are suspicious because normally George Bangs does such evaluations. (George H. Bangs was the real life General Superintendent of the agency, and Allan's right-hand man.)

As Robert starts interviewing locals such as John Bell, Kenji, Annalee and Sheriff Logan, we have a clip show, featuring many flashbacks throughout the season. Robert's questions seem confrontational and negative, making Kate worry that he has a secret agenda. She finally discovers that Robert has been targeting the specific Pinkerton offices that have female agents, and he is trying to shut down the female bureau. This is very intriguing, because I can never discover the real life reason that the Pinkertons got rid of their female detectives, or even what year they did this. As this show is historical fiction, I do wonder how accurate this storyline will be.

When Robert interviews his brother, he finally explains his plan to get rid of not only the female detectives, but also their tyrannical father Allan Pinkerton. Robert claims that George Bangs and his namesake uncle Robert also support him in trying to override Allan (and perhaps force Allan into retirement?). All Robert needs is for Will to join in his plan, and they will take over the family business as equal partners. Will is shocked that Robert wants to move the Pinkertons away from small-time murder and burglary cases, which he says can be left to law enforcement. Instead Robert wants the agency to take big-time corporate clients such as railroads and banks. (This is a distortion of the truth, because Allan Pinkerton always took cases from business clients like the Adams Express Company, and he was the one who got them started working for union busting companies who wanted to break their employees' strikes. So this show repeats the error of other fictionalizations, in pretending that Allan is principled and steadfast, instead of an ambitious hypocrite betraying his earlier sympathies for the common man. I would be curious to know what the truth is about the role his successors played in changing the agency to the security firm it is today.)

So anyway, as Robert prepares to leave Kansas City, Will refuses to support his planned coup, and he threatens to tell their father about the scheme if he doesn't drop it. Kate still fears that Robert is only biding his time to try again later, and I suppose the perfect opportunity is the real-life stroke that Allan has in 1869, which incapacitated him until 1871. He returned to full-time work and stayed alive until 1884. That's when the brothers actually did take over the agency for good. It might be interesting to see how this plays out on the show, as I am very concerned about the status of the female bureau, and whether we will ever see any other female agents on the show. Previews show that Allan returns in the next episode, so some sparks may fly.

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