Episode Recaps

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 3

Gwilym Lee and Naomi Battrick in "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Previously on Jamestown: Some of the men in Jamestown – namely the generally terrible Redwick and Farlowe – decide that the women of the settlement are getting too uppity for their own good, a problem they decide to handle by demonstrating how easily they could have one of them accused of witchcraft. Of course that person is Verity, who does nothing to help her own cause by openly talking about how worthless her drunk husband is, cursing local men who annoy her and rejoicing in the illness of her enemies. Girl, come on. Elsewhere, Alice is struggling to fend off the unwanted advances of local blacksmith James, who has decided he deserves to marry her because he can pay off her original travel debt. Men are gross, you guys! Luckily, Jocelyn swoops in to save both her friends at the last minute, by virtue of being both clever and quite rich. Girl power forever, y’all. (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 2.)

The third episode of Jamestown is, quite frankly, less interesting than the two that have come before it, and the reason for that seems pretty obvious. It’s primarily about the men. What makes this series interesting is its focus on the women involved – how they react to this harsh new world, and how they navigate life in a society where the men possess even more power than they did back home. This installment, unfortunately, focuses largely on the men of Jamestown, several of whom are either such jerks or so impossibly stupid that it’s impossible not to at least vaguely hope that the ladies overthrow them all and establish a matriarchy.

'Call the Midwife' Recap: Season 7, Episode 5

Picnickers Tim (Max Macmillen), Shelagh (Laura Main) and Reggie (Daniel Laurie)  (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Neal Street Productions 2017)

When we last visited Poplar, Sister Monica Joan’s sight was finally restored, the Ganis were emerging from their struggles to work towards becoming a cohesive family and Trixie made a tough decision in order to halt her downward spiral. The complete breakdown of last week's Call the Midwife can be found here.

This week’s episode begins with the departure of one midwife and ends with the return of another. Meanwhile, an expectant mother deals with a traumatic fear and an ill sailor causes a health scare in Poplar. 

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 2

Jocelyn, Alice and the parish priest in "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 201)

Previously on Jamestown: After over a decade of rough living, the men of the Jamestown settlement send off to England for the 17th century version of mail order brides. Three of these women – posh Jocelyn, spunky Verity and sweet Alice – arrive in Virginia, looking to start over and leave their dark pasts behind and build new lives in the New World with one another, and with the men to whom they are promised. Jocelyn seeks her own ambitions beside the kind but rather dull Samuel, Verity finds herself pledged to the town drunk, and Alice is set to marry Henry, a rough farmer who ends up raping her before she’s even been at the settlement for 24 hours. Luckily, her terrible husband-to-be has an extremely hot brother named Silas, who likes Alice so much he’s willing to let his own brother burn to death so they can be together. In short, this show is amazing and things are only going to get more insane from here. (If you need more detail, we have a full recap right here.)

Jamestown’s second episode is another overly dramatic ride, but one that’s perhaps a bit more realistic about the prospects of women during the time period in which this show takes place. Yes, Jocelyn, Verity and Alice are all still fascinating figures and certainly worthy and interesting characters in their own rights. However, it’s possible that the series’ premiere made us all a bit too optimistic about the lives these women might have a chance at leading here in the new world, for better and for worse. 

'The Child in Time' Recap

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald in "The Child in Time" (Photo: Courtesy of Pinewood Television, SunnyMarch TV and MASTERPIECE for BBC One and MASTERPIECE)

The Child in Time is one of those dramas that doesn’t turn out to be quite the story you think it is. On the surface, it’s a tale about a lost child. But, it also isn’t, in the most basic sense. The drama isn’t about the search for the missing Kate and it (spoiler alert!) offers little resolution about what happened to her. Her parents (spoiler alert, again!) don’t get her back. There’s no happy ending. She remains forever apart, both present and absent, a Schroedinger’s cat of a girl who is somehow both alive and dead for the purposes of this narrative. If you were looking for a crime thriller, a dramatic mystery or even a linear story that makes sense, you’re surely bound to be disappointed here.

Instead, The Child in Time is a meditation on loss and grief, telling the story of what it takes to move past the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. In short: It’s kind of a lot for an evening on Easter Sunday, though those that stick through it may find the performances contained within worthwhile. (Or, at least, I did.) The acting is top notch and the emotions feel gut-wrenchingly real. However, if you find yourself wishing the story perhaps spent a bit more time on Kate herself or the particulars behind her disappearance rather than the gamut of British political thought about child rearing or a weirdo subplot about a grown man’s descent into what appears to be childlike madness, trust me, you’re not alone.

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “Comfort and Joy” Recap

The royal family doing holiday cheer (Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The Princess Royal’s illness worries Victoria and Albert, and disagreements over her care ultimately result in Lehzen getting sent back to Germany. Sir Robert Peel risks his position as Prime Minister in the name of repealing the British Corn Laws. And Drummond is sadly killed by a bullet meant for his boss, on his way to a meaningful dinner with Lord Alfred. If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of “The Luxury of Conscience.”

While this episode serves as the Season 2 finale in America, most viewers will were probably able to tell that “Comfort and Joy” was originally a Christmas special. If its slightly padded runtime weren’t an immediate tell, there’s holiday cheer, festive decorations, lots of romance and, of course, a happy ending all around. It’s possibly an overly saccharine note to end the season on, to be honest, but after so much emotional upheaval, there’s something to be said for a solid hour that leaves us feeling hopeful about the future of almost every character. (It’s what Christmas is for, after all, isn’t it?)

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “The Luxury of Conscience” Recap

Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria in "The Luxury of Conscience" (Photo:  Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: Victoria and Albert travel to Scotland, in the hopes of escaping their overly structured London lives. After slipping away from their hosts, the royal couple gets hopelessly lost in the woods. Luckily, they find a kindly old couple to stay with, who are not only straight out of a Pixar film adorable, but who also teach the royals how to appreciate life as commoners.  Elsewhere, Alfred and Drummond admit their feelings for one another at last, thanks to the pristine scenery and some clunky historical metaphors. At least they finally kiss, though.If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of “The King Over the Water.”

This episode originally served as the Season 2 finale to Victoria’s U.K. run. However, the series also aired a Christmas special in December 2017, which will serve as the U.S. season finale next week. And all in all? I think that’s a good thing. There’s plenty of drama here, but I’m not sure it particularly leaves anyone in a great place going into a between seasons hiatus. Therefore, I’ll be relieved to at least get the chance to see where everyone ends up next week, before we begin the long wait for Season 3.

“The Luxury of Conscience” is, in and of itself, a strong episode. Characters are forced out of their comfort zones, and several must make difficult choices. Tragedy strikes one couple, while another finally comes together. If this episode perhaps lacks some of the escapist fantasy that made earlier installments such as “Entente Cordiale” or “The King Over the Water” so appealing, it certainly pulls no punches about the very real problems all our characters must face. Whether that’s the kind of story you want from a period drama like Victoria is up to you, but as a piece of entertainment, it nevertheless remains maddeningly addictive. 

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “The King Over the Water” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The queen learns about the devastating potato famine in Ireland, but thanks to the cynical machinations of her own government her ability to help is fairly limited. After meeting an Irish doctor and hearing a personal story from one of her own dressers, Victoria leans on Sir Robert Peel to speak out for the Irish in Parliament. Elsewhere, Alfred successfully has functional toilets installed in the servants’ quarters and Ernest learns his playboy ways have landed him with a case of syphilis. The timing on this diagnosis couldn’t be worse, since Harriet’s husband just died in a freak hunting accident. If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of “Faith, Hope and Charity.”

Once again, Victoria follows up a heavy emotional episode with a more light-hearted hour, sending our royal couple off on a trip to the painfully beautiful wilderness of Scotland. This episode has the benefit of being fluffy, romantic and fun, as well as serving as a much-needed break from all the death and suffering that comprised the bulk of last week’s episode. There’s little narrative point to this story, other than to remind us all that Victoria rules over a nation that doesn’t always look like London, but it hits some interesting emotional beats about how heavy a toll the crown takes on those who wear it. 

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “Faith, Hope and Charity” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: The period drama finally gave us a fun, fluffy episode, as most of the royal court heads off to France as part of Victoria’s plan to talk King Louis Phillippe out of a plan to marry his son off to Spain. This plan ultimately ends up being unsuccessful, but the trip is hilarious fun, full of lavish costumes, ridiculous French costumes, and lots and lots of Albert being a snooty jerk. The prince, it would seem, is having some emotional distress over the idea that he might really be King Leopold’s son, and basically takes it out on everyone else until he gets a talking to from his wife. Victoria, for her part, makes a moving speech about how she loves Albert for who he is, and the two end the episode more united than ever. (And, also, pregnant again!) If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of "Entente Cordiale." 

Well, in case you thought we had just a little too much fun last week, Victoria goes straight back to serious again with an episode that focuses almost entirely on the 1840s Irish potato famine. “Faith, Hope and Charity” acquits itself admirably well, unflinchingly looking at the reprehensible attitudes among certain government and religious groups towards the Irish and poor people in general. However, the episode does perhaps overly rely on an overly kind characterization of Victoria herself, presenting the monarch as a woman with the best of intentions, who finds herself hamstrung and unable to do as much as she would like thanks to the cynical machinations of her own government. Is that entirely accurate, historically speaking? Maybe, maybe not. 

 

‘Victoria’ Season 2: “Entente Cordiale” Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of ©ITVStudios2017 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: There was sadness all around as Victoria lost her beloved dog Dash, learned Lord Melbourne had a terminal illness and battled a severe case of post-partum depression after the birth of her second child. Elsewhere, Albert faced his own set of problems, thanks to Uncle Leopold’s confession that he might actually be his father. Oh and everyone finally found out about that storyline where Mrs. Skerrett lied about her very identity in order to land her job, but everyone’s surprisingly chill about it in the end. (I don’t even know, y’all.) If you need them, more details can be found in our full recap of "Warp and Weft"/"The Sins of the Father."

After putting us through four hours of intense drama and emotional pain in the opening episodes of Season 2, Victoria finally takes some pity on us viewers. The second season’s third installment is a frothy, light-hearted romp that’s pretty much nothing but glorious costumes, jealousy-inducing hairstyles and good old fashioned period drama fun. That is to say, despite the fact that basically only one thing of any consequence happens during “Entente Cordiale,” it is an immensely entertaining episode. In fact, it feels like a breath of fresh air after everything we’ve been through so far. 

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