Jamestown Recaps

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 8

At least this finale leaves us on a happy note here (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

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.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 7

Verity hasn't had a ton to do this season, but she looks amazing. (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: Since Temperance is pregnant, Yeardley decides to write a will, in which he transfers ownership of Pedro and Maria to his unborn child. Everyone in town is suddenly real upset about this, which is somehow a step further than owning people generally, flogging them and forcing them to pick your crops for free, I don’t know. But whatever, suddenly James, Verity and a bunch of other townsfolks are real invested in finding the mariners who brought slaves to Jamestown in the first place, though the reasons for that are wildly unclear beyond the fact that Pedro would like to kill them for what they did. Which I suppose make sense. And despite the fact that Crabtree is a powerful man who could stop Yeardley from doing, well…basically anything, he decides to let himself be arrested instead. See our recap of Episode 6 for more.

Just when it seemed as though Jamestown had lost the particularly bonkers style of storytelling that made it such fun to watch, the series comes roaring back with an installment that features everything from unhygienic outdoor surgery, drug-fueled nightmare visions, an out of wedlock pregnancy, a murder cover-up and some super awkward match-making.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 6

Pedro and Maria deserve better (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: Chacrow moves into Jamestown to work for Yeardley and kill Silas Sharrow, on the orders of the Pamunkey chief. Silas seems weirdly fine with this, but it all turns out fine anyway, since Chacrow can’t do it after he has some sort of religious experience while watching Meredith Rutter try to drunkenly commit suicide in a fit of guilt over driving his adopted son Tam away. Elsewhere, Joss drugs Crabtree and figures out that he’s got the King’s Seal, which means he’s actually the most powerful man in the colony, and not just a weirdo who likes to sell furniture no one asked for. Want more details? Our full recap is this way

Season 3 is so strange, y’all. And this episode isn’t any different

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 5

Verity's expression is all of us. (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: This season continues to spiral into the absurd, as the entire colony becomes obsessed with a random palomino horse from…somewhere, and then spends the bulk of the episode chasing it through the woods. (I wish I was making this up.) But, thanks to Henry acquiring said magical animal after a complicated series of trades and tricks, he swaps it to Yeardley in exchange for securing his brother Silas’ safe return to Jamestown. I don’t know about y’all, but I’d rather have the horse. Need more details on this madness? Our recap of Episode 4 is here.

Originally, Jamestown was a show about women. Three very different women, brought to a strange and often hostile land, who struggled to build new lives for themselves. And, despite the ridiculous heights of…well, ridiculousness, that this show reached during its first two seasons, that fact is what held it together. What made Jamestown worth watching, even when it made up its historical facts out of whole cloth. 

But, unfortunately, like so much of this season, this episode seems to exist almost entirely to tell the stories of men.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 4

Jocelyn and her hat game are undefeated  (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: Pedro and Maria attempt to run away from the colony, but their efforts are thwarted thanks to (who else?) Yeardley, despite the fact that the rest of the town conspires to help them get out. Silas tries to do us all a favor by killing the Governor with a Pamunkey bear trap but his goal is thwarted by Pedro, of all people. He saves Yeardley’s life even though he despises him, because we aren’t allowed to have nice things, I guess. If you want more details, our full recap of Episode 3 is right this way.

If last week’s episode of Jamestown was the series’ dullest hour to date, this one is perhaps the most bizarre, spending most of its time on a truly weird hunt for a palomino horse that manages to involve most of the town.

'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.

ReminderJamestown 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.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 2

Meredith and his young protege (Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2019)

Previously, on Jamestown: Alice Sharrow departs Jamestown with her son when she realizes it’s unlikely Silas will ever return from his new life with the natives. Jocelyn’s secret partnership with Farlow is exposed, and the magistrate literally gets beheaded for his trouble, as Yeardley brands him a traitor and blackmails Joss into helping him (illicitly, naturally) acquire more land for himself. The governor's also pretty eager to kick up a war with the local native tribe, although he’s having less success on that front once the Sharrows realize his promise to pardon Silas is a lie. Oh, and despite her farm burning down last season, Jocelyn has somehow become a successful landowner with a thriving crop in her own right, and as a result she’s basically rejected the romantic advances of all the men who were chasing her back in Season 2. Need more details? Our recap of the Season 3 premiere is here.

For the first time on this series, Jamestown’s story is largely focused on the next generation. Which is admittedly a bit strange, given that Jamestown likes to gloss over the fact of how many people regularly died in the colony even well into its more prosperous years

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 3, Episode 1

Jocelyn and the Governor (Photo: (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2019)

Previously on Jamestown: There’s honestly too much to fit here, so go skim the Season 2 recaps if you need a refresher on where we left things after last season. Fair warning: A whole lot of crazy happens.

In case anyone was worried that Jamestown would take its foot off the proverbial gas in its third and final season – don’t be. The period drama remains as bonkers as it’s ever been as Season 3 kicks off, offering up an episode that’s got everything from the departure of a major character to mystical visions to an actual beheading.

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 2. Episode 8

Jocelyn's not only a strong woman, her fashion game is on point.  (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: In one of the series’ most uncomfortable episodes to date, the slave girl Maria stabs Pedro and runs away after she learns Governor Yeardley was trying to encourage her pseudo-boyfriend to make babies with her. (Spoiler alert: The Governor is disgusting!!) Verity and an injured Pedro ultimately convince Maria to return to the settlement, where she’s branded across the face for her escape attempt. Elsewhere, the show finally remembers that Henry Sharrow is a rapist and that neither his victim (Alice) nor her husband (Silas) should be treating him like anything other than trash. And Jocelyn gets publically shamed, Cersei Lannister-style, but the incident only reinforces her determination to let no man control her life again.

Season 2 of Jamestown has done its best to wrestle with more issues of consequence in its second season, from the brutal question of slavery, to the colony’s complicated relationship with the local native tribe, to the difficulties facing women trying to carve out lives for themselves outside of the world of men. It hasn’t always been successful, to be sure – frequently embracing the ridiculous and soapy in order to avoid having to wrestle with the difficult or uncomfortable. The season finale is no different, posing complicated questions that it chooses to subsequently ignore in favor of more manufactured drama. This isn’t entirely a criticism – as an episode, the story is exciting to watch and sets up some intriguing storylines for Season 3. But for every great moment – Jocelyn’s dogged determination to make her new plantation crew respect her, Alice’s sudden appearance at the Sharrow family standoff with a musket – there’s also one that…really isn’t. (Looking at you, weirdo subplot where Verity and Meredith urinate on a man and then blackmail him about it.)

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 7

Abubakar Salim and Abiola Ogunbiyi (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: Governor Yeardley remains a trash person, and fakes a Spanish invasion to distract the settlers from the fact that he seems to have made the Sharrows’ tobacco crop disappear on its way back to England. Elsewhere, there’s an eclipse, the colony suddenly believes its being haunted by Samuel Castell’s ghost, and everyone tries to force the spirit to leave town through various increasingly ridiculous means. Sometimes, this show is too crazy for its own good. At least someone finally teaches Verity to use a sword. Need more details? Our full recap of Episode 6 is right this way.

In the penultimate episode of Season 2, things get slightly more dramatic, but no less wild. For the first time this season, Jamestown tries to confront its slavery storyline head on, and though it turns into something that’s soapy and deeply uncomfortable by turns, it’s at least not boring. (Which is often the best thing you can say about this show.) The real problem is that the show is stuck between a proverbial rock and a hard place – the one in which it knows that slavery is abhorrent and wants to write small moments of the series’ popular characters standing up against the vile practice human bondage, but is also aware of the historical realities and attitudes of the time during which it is set.