Niamh Walsh

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 5

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

Previously on Jamestown: Everyone went nuts over the idea of a map that allegedly leads to some hidden gold mines that definitely did not exist in seventeenth century Virginia. Pretty much the whole town loses its mind looking for it, including Jocelyn, who sees it as social climbing on steroids; Farlowe, who just wants to be rich; and Henry Sharrow, who thinks gold will give him enough status to cover up the fact that he’s a rapist dirtbag. Too bad for all of them, though, because it’s Governor Yardley who secretly has the magic map. Elsewhere, Alice and Silas finally got married, which irritated James Read enough that he punched the governor and got partially hanged for his troubles. (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 4.)

The fifth episode of Jamestown is…well, it’s kind of a wild mess, covering everything from unhygienic surgery to possible revolution in the colony, with a bit of a murder confession in between. This show is nuts, y’all.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 4

Sophie Rundle, Naomi Battrick and Gwylim Lee in "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Previously on Jamestown: The settlement is raided for some never-explained reason by a group of warriors from the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The locals manage to capture one of them, a brave named Chacrow who is remarkably chill about the whole process. As a show of good faith and friendship, the gang decides to take him back to his people and even though only one person in town appears to speak their language. Elsewhere, Silas gets arrested for a generally dumb and made-up reason, and Alice saves his life through bullying, sheer stubbornness and her willingness to overlook the fact that she’s for sure got proof that one of the local magistrates is a murderer. Oh, well! (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 3.)

The fourth episode of Jamestown’s first season is something of a mixed bag. At times, it almost feels as though two different episodes are happening concurrently – one of which is interesting, and one of which is not. The town’s obsession with the prospect of finding gold feels tiresome more than exciting, and everyone’s immediate, white-hot interest in the hunt for a treasure map takes away from more interesting character stories happening elsewhere.

'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.

‘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. 

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 1

The three leading ladies of "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Get ready everybody, our new period drama obsession is here. Welcome to Jamestown.

For those of you who don’t know, Jamestown is a period drama from the producers of Downton Abbey. It’s set in the 17th century Virginia colony of the same name, and follows the story of three independent and very different women seeking a new life in the New World. The series, at the moment, is currently only available to stream online in the U.S. and, despite being a Masterpiece program, won’t actually air on television. You can see all eight episodes now on the PBS Passport service, an online member benefit that provides users with access to an online library of public television programming. Jamestown will also be streaming weekly on the Amazon PBS Masterpiece channel, but if you don’t want to wait to get your binge on, your best option is activating Passport right now.

Now, with all that technical business behind us, let’s get down to the fun part. Talking about the show.

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