Barkskins Review: Packing Pistols

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The mystery of the massacre is drawing closer to a solution.

The conspiracy behind the killing of the French settlers became somewhat clearer on Barkskins Season 1 Episode 5 and Barkskins Season 1 Episode 6.

These revelations all hinged on a man long thought dead.

Lost is Found - Barkskins

Which begs the question: Why did Randall Cross come out of hiding?

He had been missing in the months since the massacre so clearly he could keep out of sight. There were lots of woods and very little civilization in New France, so that meant there were plenty of hiding places.

Behind the Scenes - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 5

After his reappearance, he told Goames, his brother-in-law, that he didn't want to return to his family or his employer, the Hudson's Bay Company.

So why show up after all that time at the most public place in Wobik? Although there were several people looking for him, most notably Cooke, his partner in crime, and Goames, he couldn't have known that.

Was it just pure guilt for his part in the massacre? That would explain why he dragged Goames and Yvon out to that cove where he had sunk the setter's body.

Although he had to know his idea of having Hamish claim that body was Randall's would never fly, even in those pre-CSI days.

Even that drunkard, Bouchard, wouldn't be able to misidentify the settler as Cross.

In Pursuit - Barkskins

It's likely because Cross wanted to do the right thing to atone for his part in the massacre.

Only he knows where those pistols are, and he wants to get them into the proper hands (those of the ethical Goames) rather than the Iroquois who were bent on revenge.

But others, such as Selby and Cooke, are still after those pistols, to get them into the hands of the bloodthirsty Iroquois.

The French have kind of brought an Indian attack on themselves, what with Bouchard deciding to hang those Iroquois bodies up in that tree as a deterrent.

That worked really well, didn't it? It just pissed off young hotheads such as Ratahsenthos all the more.

Indian Leader - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 5

That's just the way it was when European nations were first ripping land away from the indigenous tribes. The English would recruit certain Indians as their proxies while the French would line up different tribes.

In this instance, the Wendat were loosely allied with the French while the Iroquois joined with the English. Then there were Colonial fixers such as Selby, who just stirred the pot, working for both sides for their profit.

Bouchard, Trepagny, and the priests didn't help conditions with their little rescue party.

An indentured servant and a junior priest seemed like a reasonable penance for the mistreatment of a dozen natives.

That would have been too bad for Rene, probably the purest soul there, willing to trade three years of hard labor for a fresh start.

Backwoods Skirmish - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 6

But no. The priests convinced some mucky-muck from Quebec City that a rescue mission was a good idea.

Then the Wendat chief was kind enough to provide a couple of guides, not knowing there was going to be blowback on her people as well.

You just knew things were going to end badly for Father Jerome and company, thinking that black robes and a Bible would protect them against pissed-off Indians.

So Bouchard and Trepagny ended up with a short-term victory that's likely going to bring down pain on Wobik. But at least Sel lived to fight another day thanks to Selby's intercession.

After his humiliating time in "the fiddle," Cooke knew enough to take a lower profile for a time, pointing Goames toward Selby when he inquired about the pistols.

Checking With the Boss - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 5

Duquet was learning quickly as Cooke's apprentice.

After Cooke threatened to severe their arrangement because Goames and Yvon found Thom's body, Duquet blackmailed him with his letter about the barrel of pistols, causing Cooke to back off quickly.

Instead, he sent off Duquet to locate Cross.

Cooke couldn't escape entirely from his involvement as Selby confronted him at his wife's gravesite seeking the pistols he had been promised to be used by the Iroquois against the French.

Now Cooke either needs to find the pistols that Cross has hidden or find more for Selby.

Plotting Anew - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 6

Mathilde was becoming a force with whom to be reckoned.

It was humorous when she brought a picnic lunch to watch Cookie being humiliated, then squeezed a promise out of him to leave Renardette alone.

Renardette promises to be trouble for Mathilde, who is treating her as a reincarnation of her late daughter.

First, she stabbed [but unfortunately didn't kill] the lout who had been harassing Mathilde on Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4.

Tough Job - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 6

Now she has recognized Cross, likely having seen him at the massacre, and carved a clue into Mathilde's table.

Delphine, rejected by her would-be husband, ended up being Mathilde's new helper and attracted the attention of men such as Cooke, Duquet, and the visiting Attendant D'Affairs.

But she has some darkness inside her, as she explained to Melissande that she had killed the man who had mutilated her.

Melissande herself was discovering how difficult it is to be a boss bitch, what with a lunatic husband and his scorned former lover. Will she be up to the challenge?

Taking Vengeance - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 6

To follow the characters' development, watch Barkskins online.

Will the Indians attack in the final two episodes?

Which characters will get their just desserts?

Are you Team Mari or Team Melissande?

Comment below.

Buttermilk Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (17 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Barkskins Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Mathilde: You poor, poor Englishman. What would your wife Lily say?
Cooke: I am a flawed man, Mathilde, as are we all.

Don't be afraid. There's nothing to worry about. I have you.

Mathilde [to Renardette]