Drama

‘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.

‘Victoria’ Season 3: “Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears the Crown” Recap

Lilly Travers, Jenna Coleman and Kate Fleetwood (Photo: Courtesy of Justin Slee/ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Victoria: There is too much for a single paragraph. We have recaps for both Seasons 1 and 2 if you need a refresher on everything that’s happened already.

Victoria, a show that’s previously been known for its fancy costumes and swoony romances, appears to be trying to take things to the next level in Season 3, and prove it can be a Serious Drama. It launches its third season with a dark, uneasy first installment that focuses on the threat of revolution creeping through Europe and mob violence escalating at home.                   

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 6

Verity (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: A weird episode sees Nicholas Farlow return from Bermuda with a fey new acquaintance named Simeon, who claims to be an alchemist and bears a more than passing romantic interest in his friend. In the end, though Simeon cannot make gold, he claims to have changed his gender, but Farlow chooses his love of the law over sexual attraction and sends his new friend away. Elsewhere, Jocelyn chooses herself, telling both Dr. Christopher and James Read that she can be with neither of them, even though none of us are terribly clear on how she has enough money to live on as a widow with no property. Need more details? Our full recap of Episode 5 is right this way.

The sixth installment of Jamestown’s second season follows a familiar pattern, once again embracing the show’s ridiculous spirit and telling several truly unbelievable tales. But, since they’re focused on characters we care about, they’re a lot more fun to watch than Episode 5’s unwanted and unasked for sojourn into Farlowe’s psyche. This installment has everything from impending rebellion to government deception, all mixed in with the threat of a Spanish invasion, wandering ghosts and a mysterious eclipse that riles everyone’s superstitious natures. Someone even goes randomly blind out of nowhere! Why can’t every installment of Jamestown be like this??

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