'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 3

Jocelyn in "Jamestown" (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: Meredith and Verity take in a random child newly arrived on the boats from England after Rutter – who appears to be in some kind of mental decline – decides that young Tam is actually his son. Who is dead. Elsewhere, Henry Sharrow’s daughter sickens and dies thanks to his refusal to listen to his native wife’s pleas to involve tribal medicine in her treatment, because Jamestown will apparently never stop trying to rehabilitate this terrible character for some reason I cannot understand. Need more details? Our recap of Episode 2 is here.

Reminder: Jamestown is a WETA Passport-exclusive series, meaning that in order to watch it, you’ll need to be a WETA Passport member (If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll also be able to watch on the PBS Masterpiece channel.)

The third episode of Jamestown Season 3 is possibly the least fun installment of the series to date. And you know I don’t say that lightly, generally being of the opinion that even during this show’s most historically inaccurate or deeply ridiculous moments there’s usually something to enjoy. That’s…not really true here.

Instead, we’re given an hour in which Silas plots revenge on Yeardley, as Pedro and Maria struggle to escape his clutches – and America entirely. (For his part, the governor seems equally interested in punishing his slaves and asserting how much they love him, which is creepy in a whole new variety of ways.) Elsewhere, Verity’s newly adopted son is maybe a monster-in-training, Silas wants to become a murderer, and Jocelyn can’t seem to face the twisted nature of Crabtree’s disfigurement, no matter how much she apparently wants his help in the settlement. And none of us have any idea about what Crabtree actually wants, either, or why he snuck into Yeardley’s house while he was busy waving around the head of his dead former BFF.

None of this is what I call a good time, is what I’m saying.

For what appears to be no reason at all, Yeardley suddenly decides to send Pedro up the river to one of the other bits of farmland he’s illicitly acquired because…he’s a petty tyrant? The plot requires it? IDK. Either way, he declares that Maria must stay behind because her whole mystical seeing the future thing – which, how does he even know about that, anyway? – is more valuable to have on hand around town. I think. I don’t know. Either way, suddenly Pedro is Big Mad again, and plotting to maybe kill Yeardley despite not having just gone ahead and done that when the governor branded Maria’s face at the end of last season. Maria suggests maybe they just run away instead of commit murder, and hatches a plan with Verity’s help to stow away on a boat back to England.

with Verity’s help to stow away on a boat back to England.

Unfortunately, Tamlin overhears all this planning and rats everyone out to Jocelyn. For some reason, Jamestown wants us to spend most of the episode thinking the worst of Joss, and to assume that she’s capable of betraying her friends in her pursuit of the governor’s approval. Yet, once again, Jocelyn defies everyone’s worst expectations – instead, she’s been plotting to send a letter to her sister with the escaped fugitives, instructing her to give them shelter and help once they arrive in England.

James in "Jamestown" (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)
James in "Jamestown" (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

For some reason, Jocelyn can never receive the benefit of the doubt in any situation, no matter how many times she bails out her friends, keeps their secrets or stands up to the oppressive patriarchy of the settlement. Why? Probably because Joss is one of the few characters who agitates for an expansion of the status quo, and refuses to relinquish her own agency in the face of people (read: men) who feel that she should. (And even the best of men – James Reed, Meredith Rutter – occasionally seem to view Joss with a certain level of mistrust and dislike that doesn’t entirely seem warranted.)

But, I guess it’s fine that young Tamlin is not only a rat, but possibly a future serial killer. I’m kidding. Maybe. I don’t know. But what I do know is that people – or, at least, Verity – need to be a lot more concerned about the fact that he’s a tiny monster, rather than the fact that he has a sad background and dead parents. Because Tamlin absolutely ratted out Pedro and Maria, two people who had been nothing but kind to him, on purpose, and for nothing more than a slice of pie. His behavior wasn’t a mistake or an accident – he want to Jocelyn’s house especially to try and trade the information about their escape for something he wanted, and he did it with no concern about what might happen to them as a result. Basically, Tamlin is a terror, and why this behavior sparks empathy and pity in Verity rather than alarm is anyone’s guess.

(To be fair, Tamlin’s sudden switch in behavior does feel slightly out of character. After all, last week week he was kind enough to understand that allowing Meredith to believe him his son was a gesture of kindness, and he knows Verity cares about Maria. Why he’d suddenly up and decide to betray them all doesn’t make a ton of sense, IMO.)

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter, because Pedro and Maria’s escape is ultimately thwarted by the fact that Yeardley starts looking for him during the settlement’s St. George and the Dragon puppet festival. Which, theoretically, is about converting the natives to Christianity, but you’re forgiven if you can’t exactly draw a straight line between these two events. Pedro manages to bargain to stay in Jamestown as a reward for saving Yeardley’s life earlier in the episode (more on that in a second) and everything is fine now, I suppose, except they’re both still slaves under the control of a man who both despises and wants to use them. Cool!

Elsewhere, Silas is still on this show. I too am not 100% sure why, given that Alice was largely the only thing that ever made him interesting. But, anyway, he’s still living with the Pamunkey and dressing up in native garb but refusing to truly integrate himself in the life of the tribe because he’s…mad at Yeardley from driving him away from Jamestown. But he’s fine with basically running around shirtless 24/7 now, so that’s something I support, at any rate.

Silas in "Jamestown" (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)
Silas in "Jamestown" (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Anyway, Silas comes up with a brilliant plan to kill Yeardley which involves digging a bear pit, filling it with spikes and pretending to be a forest creature to lure the governor toward his trap. (Okay, so this part of the episode is vaguely insane and awesome.) But, despite being tricked by animal noises and falling into a bear pit, Yeardley still manages to not die, after Pedro decides to drag his worthless self back to Jamestown instead of just leaving him impaled on a spike in a hole n the ground.

Way to go, Pedro. (TBH, his sudden 180 on the murder Yeardley issue is a bit sudden given that he was ominously trailing around after him with an axe earlier in the episode. But I know better than to expect this show to make sense all the time, so sure. The governor lives to terrorize everyone for another day, and now the Pamunkey are all mad at Silas for defying Opechancanough’s orders and no one I dislike is dead. Ugh, letdown.)

What did you think of this episode of Jamestown? What’s going on with Crabtree’s disfigurement? And when will they just kill Yeardley off already? Let’s discuss.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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