Jamestown

‘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 5

Is it possible to feel sorry for Farlowe? (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: James Read experiences a personal tragedy, Henry gets married, Jocelyn makes an extremely poor romantic decision, and the Governor’s plot to swindle the natives doesn’t work out as planned. It’s a soapy romp, and the best episode of Season 2 thus far. Read our full recap of Episode 4 for more details.

Jamestown, it seems, has settled into a pattern in Season 2 – one that involves an exceptionally entertaining episode one week, followed by a disappointingly bland one the next. Last week’s installment was a soapy romp; this week’s is an uncomfortable and generally painful slog, focusing on characters we’ve never really cared about a plot we know from the jump won’t go anywhere interesting.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 2, Episode 3

Alice and baby Silas (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: Verity and Meredith Rutter decide to become professional thieves for a hot minute, snagging stolen merchandise from one of the Virginia Company ships and selling it under the table to other settlers. This all has something to do with Meredith wanting to prove his manliness to his wife, but it really just puts them both at risk, particularly when one of their trading partners is caught and forced to drink molten lead when he won’t talk. Yikes. Elsewhere, James Read and Jocelyn make out for reasons that are difficult to decipher, and Alice is afraid her husband Silas has turned traitor and is passing Jamestown secrets on to the local natives. (Need more details? Our full recap is this way.)

This week, Jamestown largely focuses on a single dramatic storyline, which brings several characters together into one key plot. This mostly works, because the story is compelling to watch, reminds us of the stakes involved in living in what is basically the unconquered wilderness, and largely abandons the other boring plots going on in favor of this new drama. And it is all very intense.

'Jamestown' Recap: Season 2, Episode 2

Verity is the great mystery of this show (Photo: Carnival Films Ltd 2018)

Previously on Jamestown: Jocelyn’s husband Samuel is found dead in the river, leaving her a widow with few prospects, though she manages to blackmail her way back into her government sponsored housing. Alice gives birth to the colony’s first child, a boy she dubs Silas in honor of his father. And slaves are now a regular part of the fabric of life in Jamestown, including Pedro, who wants to earn his freedom in the New World, and Maria, who wants nothing more than to go back to her old life across the sea. Need more details? Our recap of the Season 2 premiere is this way

This second episode of Jamestown, strangely enough, feels more like a table-setting installment than the premiere did. Possibly this is because both episodes aired back-to-back when the season premiered in the U.K., but also because there’s just a lot going more going on in Season 2. Either way, while it feels as though nothing much happens in this episode, one has to assume that a lot of things are being set up for payoff down the road.     

‘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.

Five Things We Want to See in 'Jamestown' Season 2

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

The second season of period drama Jamestown is coming to America this November on PBS Passport, bringing with it more drama and romance amid the struggle to survive in the New World.

Season 2 begins streaming on Wednesday, November 21, and a new episode will drop weekly every Monday thereafter, through January 7, 2019.

We know that the new episodes will pick up where Season 1 left off, with the birth of Alice’s child imminent and the first slaves arriving in the colony.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, though we have a few suggestions for what we’d like to see as the new season unfolds. 

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