Jamestown

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 8

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

Previously on Jamestown: The presumed dead Henry Sharrow reappeared in Jamestown, carrying a bag of metal he claimed was silver and ready to rub his newfound riches in the face of everyone who was ever mean to him. The show makes vague efforts to convince us that there’s more to Henry than a disgusting rapist, despite the fact that it refuses to grant Alice any real justice. Henry’s dreams of a riches are dashed, however, when it turns out his metal is false silver. This revelation manages to kill the gold rush in Jamestown entirely, which is something we can probably all be grateful for. Unfortunately for Jocelyn, however, it also ruins her blackmail material against Temperance Yeardley, so she now has no leverage against that incoming letter full of dark secrets about her past. (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 7.)

The Season 1 finale of Jamestown does a pretty good job of wrapping up most of the current crop of outstanding story, all while setting the series toward something of a darker path for its second season. The episode’s final moments introduce slaves to the colony, and while slavery is completely permissible in the settlement, it appears that the bulk of the colonists see the practice for the abomination it is. With the tobacco prices set thanks to Jamestown’s newly formed General Assembly, it appears that the presence of slaves may be the next big flashpoint among the colony’s residents. (Though I initially predicted the settlers’ relationships with the Native Americans would play a much larger role in this season than they ultimately have, so, who knows.)

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 7

Max Beesley in "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Previously on Jamestown: Verity is so shaken by the death of a man she barely talked to that she decides to start stealing things all around the settlement. Jocelyn, rather than maybe talking about her obvious issues with her friend, decides to use Verity’s thieving skills for her own benefit and grab some blackmail material on Temperance Yeardley. Silas heads off upriver to look for his suddenly not-dead brother, but little does he know that Henry has returned to Jamestown, with a sack full of silver he found out in the woods. (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 6.)

A lot of things happen in the seventh episode of Jamestown Season 1. It’s just unfortunate that most of them involve a character we barely know and that many (most?) of us actively dislike, all at the expense of the stories we were watching in the last installment. Episode 7 does pick up where we left off, with Henry Sharrow’s triumphant return to the settlement, sporting an elaborate burn scar and a large sack of a silver on his back. It kind of makes sense that most of the episode is dedicated to him. We haven’t seen him interact with any of these characters since the series’ first episode, and he’s literally carrying a game changer (vast riches) on his back. This, however, presumes that Henry’s story is something we want to see – or should want to see – and Jamestown hasn’t exactly done the greatest job of explaining why we should feel that way. 

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 1, Episode 6

Niamh Walsh in "Jamestown" (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2017)

Previously, on Jamestown: Verity flirts with the boys at the tavern enough that she can be credibly accused of inciting violence when two of them get in a bar brawl and one murders the other. Bailey, the murderer, gets shot while taking part in what appears to be a planned military coup in the settlement and Verity gets extremely sad about it, despite the fact that we’ve never seen them interact before. We also learn that Jocelyn’s big secret is she poisoned an ex, and James still can’t seem to let go of his obsession with Alice. In a petty move for the ages, he manages to find out Henry’s still alive and tell everyone in town about it. (Need more details? Read our full recap of Episode 5.)

In Episode 6, Verity’s behavior becomes increasingly bizarre and erratic, as Jamestown proves once and for all that the show really really has no idea what to do with her character. In the wake of Bailey’s death, Verity is apparently so distraught – despite having barely conversed with the man – that she suffers what can only be termed some kind of bizarre break from reality. As a result she decides to process her grief by openly stealing from residents around town, including one of the town magistrates and one of her own best friends. Who is this woman?

'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.

PBS Stations to Stream Period Drama 'Jamestown' with Passport

Sophie Rundle, Niamh Walsh and Naomi Battrick in "Jamestown". (Photo: © Carnival Film & Television Ltd. 2017)

British period drama Jamestown is finally making its way to the U.S.!

From the producers behind Downton Abbey, this series follows the lives of three dynamic women as they decide to leave their dark pasts in England behind and embark on the journey of a lifetime across the ocean to forge a new existence in 17th century America.

In a new twist, however, the series will not air on Masterpiece on television. Instead, it will be available to watch only through online streaming servicesJamestown will debut exclusively via two digital platforms: The membership service Passport and the PBS Masterpiece Amazon channel.