Previously on Jamestown: Jocelyn, Verity, Pedro and James Read all head off to search for the mariners who originally brought slaves to Jamestown. Along the way, Joss gets shot with an arrow in the gut, but doesn’t die thanks to James savvy medical skills, which involve digging around in her body with a dirty knife. It’s fine. Why start doing hygiene now? Afterward, as an injured Jocelyn continues to traipse through the countryside, Verity decides to give her a pep talk about James Read and how great he is and eventually both of these idiots admit they’re in love – kind of. But Jocelyn isn’t down to give up her freedom to any man Elsewhere, Temperance has decided she’s over everything and enlists the help of Maria to help drive her husband insane so they can go back to England with their unborn baby. For a full rundown of all this weirdness, our Episode 7 recap is this way.
As most viewers probably already knew coming into this, Season 3 of Jamestown is the series’ last. Whether this is due to poor ratings, expensive filming costs or simply the cast’s desire to move on is unclear. But though the series’ finale does try to tie up most of the (many, many) outstanding plotlines this show, Jamestown somehow manages to end with both a bang and a whimper, dedicating its final moments to the long-hinted-at native attack on the colony, which historically did kill hundreds of settlers. But since that climactic moments takes place during the episode’s final minutes, it feels like nothing so much as a cliffhanger into Season 4 that never got to go anywhere.
Yes, the show tries to cover it up with an ending card that explains the many deaths and the subsequent backlash against the Pamunkey and the other Powhatan tribes that ultimately drove the tribes from their Virginia land. Maybe Jamestown wasn’t interested in depicting what is essentially revenge genocide, and to be honest, I kind of get that. This isn’t a show that does nuance terribly well. But as the settlers watch the encroaching Pamunkey army creep closer, and the fates of several major characters are left pretty up in the air. Well. It’s hard not to assume that this wasn’t supposed to be the show’s endpoint.
If it was, it’s a terribly unsatisfying one.
Sure, there are some plots that get tied up in a nice, tidy bow. Jocelyn – miraculously recovered after her unhygienic surgery in a dirty field – finally admits to her feelings for James Read. And after some truly pointless back and forth in which he threatens to leave the colony forever, she decides she’s okay with abandoning the wealth and station she’s worked so hard to achieve and running off into the unexplored inland with him. Jocelyn has never struck me as a particularly outdoorsy or can-do kind of girl, so one can only imagine that life in a clapboard shanty in the wilderness is unlikely to be for her, no matter how true her feelings for James are. But, then again, this is Jamestown, and roughly 50 stranger things than this have happened this season, so maybe I’m just being a downer.
Elsewhere, Verity finds young Tamlin out in the wilderness near a native shrine that Yeardley and his horrible men at arms decide to destroy because they’ve decided to just stop around loudly proclaiming their superiority to other cultures now. (Seriously, this is somehow supposed to bring them all around to Christianity, according to these dudes who seem to understand very little of their own religion. Sigh.) Anyway, Tamlin’s back, if anyone cared about this storyline at all, and seems to have had some rough living during his time in that random village full of obviously abusive and possibly vaguely rapey miners.
And while I truly do care about Verity’s happiness at all times and want the best for her – whew this storyline has not been it. Yay, a young boy isn’t dead, so that’s good – but I guess in the name of closure we’re just going to fast forward through the part where the Rutters work out the (many, many) issues in their marriage, in favor of making it all up happy families again with this child they’ve decided to adopt. Does anyone think either of them are terribly emotionally ready for any of this, particularly Meredith, who, a handful of episodes back, had to be chained to a pole to dry out because he drank so much? And when did Verity decide she wasn’t just going to leave her worthless husband anyway?
In other news, Jocelyn also manages to get her revenge on Yeardley finally, as Crabtree decides to both fake his own death and suddenly reappear to bring the governor down. Given that I have less than zero idea about how Crabtree’s imprisonment, escape or desire to send Pedro after the mariners who brought him and Maria to Jamestown have anything to do with anything. Like, if he had just flashed his fancy King’s Seal ring at him and summoned a new governor I think we could have all been spared a lot of NOT GREAT storytelling. Such as Temperance and Maria’s attempt to drive Yeardley crazy through his dreams with voodoo magic, which is apparently never going to be mentioned again, I guess?
This show guys. I’m so tired.
It’s almost all worth it for Jocelyn’s snort laugh when Crabtree tells Yeardley he’s getting fired and being sent back to England, but we also had to watch him behead a person this season, so maybe it’s not, really.
So, in a twist that probably shouldn’t surprise us, given that this show is what it is, Jamestown’s third season and its run as a whole comes to an end with a bunch of violent murder that isn’t given a ton of context within the world of the show, and a self-sacrificing move by a conflicted Chacrow who warns his BFF Silas and the rest of the Sharrows that they should run back safety of the settlement before his friends kill them all. What will happen to Chacrow for giving his English friends a heads up on the impending slaughter? No idea. But, that’s hardly the only loose end that’s left dangling out there – which presumably a Season 4 might have answered.
During the attack, Pedro is stabbed by a native woman working on Yeardley’s farm, and though he manages to kill her – and several others – in retaliation, he also stays behind to fight while Maria and the rest of the slaves run. Apparently, he is doing this because he is Pedro, and that’s all the character motivation the show feels the need to give him. I’ve decided to believe that, in the act of defending Maria and the other slaves – some of whom are new arrivals to the colony, as Yeardley has promised to import more slaves to work for him – Pedro feels is he at last reclaiming some of the humanity that the colony’s shackles have taken from him. Is he dead? Probably. But since we don’t see a body, anything’s possible.
The same goes for Crabtree, who literally pretends to be a wizard to help the Sharrows and an injured Doctor Christopher – who we also don’t really expect to survive after taking a club to the head – escape. He’s left standing in a ring of natives and out of every character, it seems the safest bet that he wouldn’t have made it, had the show continued. (It’s honestly not like Jamestown really knew what to do with him anyway.)
And thus ends the tale of one of the most bonkers, yet fun period dramas I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Jamestown wasn’t what I thought it would be, not at all, but its ridiculous highs and absurd lows sure were sure entertaining, even if they made no sense from either a narrative or a historical perspective. Even though it sort of all fell apart this season, I loved that it tried so hard to center this story around a female perspective first, and more historical drams could really benefit from that approach.
It’s been real, Jamestown.
What do you all think of the series finale and of Season 3 as a whole? Sorry we won’t get more? Relieved? Let’s discuss.