Episode Recaps

‘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.

‘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??

‘Jamestown’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1

The settlement celebrates the adorable Sharrow family (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Previously on Jamestown: There is way too much to sum up in a paragraph, merely suffice to say that three very different women are brought to the colony of Jamestown to start new lives (and marry some of the settlers). A whole lot of stuff happens after that. Skim the Season 1 recaps if you need a refresher on the details, because this story is wild. (And a whole lot of fun along the way.)

Season 2 of Jamestown generally picks up a few months after the first season. But lest you think that the period drama’s second season might turn more serious, what with the arrival of slaves in the colony and the formation of an actual governing body at the end of last season, don’t worry. Before the opening credits roll there’s already been a murder and an accident leading to the onset of childbirth, so it appears as though things will continue to be as crazy as ever in 17th century Virginia.

'The Durrells in Corfu': Season 3 Finale Recap

Spiro (ALEXIS GEORGOULIS), Louisa Durrell (KEELEY HAWES), Margo Durrell (DAISY WATERSTONE), Gerald Durrell (MILO PARKER) & Lawrence Durrell (JOSH O’CONNOR) (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE)

Last week, the Durrells had their hands full. Two friends needed rescuing - one from jail and one from dispair. Plus disappointing news arrived from England concerning an expected financial windfall was not to be after all. The full recap of last week's installment of The Durrells in Corfu can be found here

This week's season finale, on the other hand, turned out to be something like a chain reaction of toppling love dominos. Louisa and her three eldest children find themselves in the thick of relationship highs and lows while Gerry is concerned for the emotional welfare of their most recent animal lodger, Frank the sloth. But first, let’s examine the how the Durrells came to join the circus.

'Poldark': Season 4 Finale Recap

Ross doing what he does best, brooding (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE))

Previously on Poldark: Ross ends up in a duel with local London sexual harasser Monk Adderley after getting all kinds of jealous and suspicious that Adderley wanted to hook up with Demelza. Adderley dies from his gunshot wound, because it’s definitely fine for the hero of our story to be a man who kills people. Elsewhere, Morwenna flees her mother-in-law’s house before the odious Lady Whitworth can have her committed, but even though she runs straight to Drake, she still insists she can’t be with him, because she doesn’t think she can let a man touch her ever again. (Need more details? You can read our full recap of Episode 7 here.) 

'Poldark' Recap: Season 4, Episode 7

Dwight and Caroline are goals in all things (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: George hatched a plot to wreck the town bank and predictably failed because he has the finesse of a Scooby Doo villain a lot of the time and we all know Ross is basically invincible. Elizabeth learns she’s pregnant and is surprisingly fine with it, as long as her condition doesn’t accidentally remind her husband about that time he thought their son wasn’t his.  And even with her odious husband finally kicking it, Morwenna still can’t catch a break as she too discovers she’s with child. (Need more details? Here’s our full recap of Season 4, Episode 6).

For all that this is a show called Poldark, it features a lead character that is beyond troublesome. One might even use the word problematic. As viewers, we’re all conditioned to root for Ross, to hope for his happiness, and to expect that at some point on this multi-season journey, he will ultimately become a better person. That he will learn from his mistakes. That he is, in fact, capable of growth. The fact that much of that hasn’t really seemed to happen yet is not only disappointing, but also intensely frustrating. How many more times can we be expected to happily watch Ross make increasingly terrible choices, behave rashly and repeatedly disrespect the person he claims to love most?

This week, Ross brings Demelza to London and though the two spend the episodes opening scenes acting like newlyweds – early mornings and late nights in bed, magical strolls through a variety of exciting and exotic metropolitan entertainments – like most things on this show, the happiness cannot last more than a few moments.

'The Durrells in Corfu': Season 3, Episode 7 Recap

 Louisa Durrell (KEELEY HAWES) & Spiro (ALEXIS GEORGOULIS)                 Credit: Courtesy of Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE

In this episode, we find Louisa Durrell a woman focused on at least two missions – the release of her former fiancé from police custody and the task of bringing her best friend, and very obvious object of her affection, out of the downward spiral he finds himself in. Add to this a philosophical feud between to her two oldest sons, hosting famous American writer and nudist Henry Miller (Trevor White) as a houseguest, waiting to discover the fate of a long-awaited inheritance and trying to break her youngest child of a rather inconvenient vegetarian habit and you realize it’s just a typical week for The Durrells in Corfu.

‘Poldark’: Season 4, Episode 6 Recap

Elizabeth finally got interesting this season (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: Ross finally goes to Parliament and does his job, which appears to be making a lot of progressive speeches and inventing what is essentially welfare. Drake decides to marry the nice but drippy Rosina, but can’t go through with the ceremony after he learns that the odious Reverend Whitworth has died (thank goodness!) and Morwenna is free. The newly widowed Mrs. Whitworth, however, is convinced she’s now damaged goods, and rejects Drake, because this show can literally never let us be happy for more than five minutes. (Need more details? Last week’s recap is this way.)

This episode of Poldark is as almost as full of ridiculous twists as last week’s was, and is at least as soapy. So why isn’t it as fun? Part of the problem is that it returns the focus on the story to the neverending feud between Ross and George Warleggan which, let’s be honest, isn’t as entertaining as it once was. I mean, let’s be real: These are grown men. Grown, adult men, who still spend their time plotting the local downfall and creation of banking institutions to get back at one another. Get hobbies, guys! Read a book!

'The Durrells in Corfu': Season 3 Episode 6 Recap

This week on The Durrells in Corfu, we find the island has been descended upon by a plague-like swarm of mosquitos. The Durrells, suited up in full-on beekeeping gear, are undeterred in their preparations for Gerry’s birthday celebration. Though Louisa finally concedes they’ll have to move the party indoors, she is bound and determined to make this day a memorable one for her little boy, even as Lugaretiza warns that Gerry has changed. More to the point, he’s growing up without his mother noticing. Larry says in other cultures Gerry would be put through terrifying rituals at his age from teeth filing to adolescent circumcision. Meanwhile, Louisa is planning activities suitable for a five-year-old rather than a newly minted teenager.

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