Barkskins Review: The Plot Thickens

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There was a whole lot of intrigue going on out in the middle of the Quebec woods.

There was both big geopolitical intrigue and more intimate personal intrigue on Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3 and Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4.

The series continued to delve into why the massacre was staged.

Investigative Disagreement - Barkskins

Previously, it appeared that English barrel maker Cooke was simply trying to drive French settlers off the land so that he could buy it cheaply using French proxies.

But it was revealed that Cooke was just a smallish piece of the puzzle, much to the displeasure of Investigator Goames.

In Stocks - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4

Muddying the water was Gus Lafarge's badly-executed freelance work.

On Cooke's behalf, he subcontracted execution of the massacre to Henri Marth, a strong but not particularly bright lunk.

Perhaps Henri did what he was supposed to because there were no settlers unaccounted for.

But there was a crazed priest and the mute girl that Goames and Yvon found in the area, and there was no telling what they may have seen.

So, to take care of what Cooke saw as a loose end, Gus improvised again, killing Francis (just because) and going after the priest while sending Thom to kidnap the girl.

Speed Dating - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3

Little wonder that plan fell apart. He shouldn't have chosen someone Trepagny could render helpless with a walking stick as his accomplice.

But then his previous accomplice ended up skewering him and hanging his body outside the settlement, fingering Cooke at the same time.

It was hard to blame Henri after Gus tried to burn him alive on Barkskins Season 1 Episode 2.

This episode had several odd pairings. One such pairing was with Henri and Mari.

Mari was very matter-of-fact when meeting this burned giant. She gave him burn cream and hemlock and essentially told him he could leave town or kill himself, she didn't much care which.

Running for His Life - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3

Another strange combination was the feral French rat-man, Duquet, and the priggish English merchant, Cookie.

After being driven away by the Wendat, Duquet needed someone to leech off of. And with Gus gone, Cooke required someone to do his dirty work.

Cooke actually traded up by taking on Duquet. Gus was a crude schemer while Duquet has  a cunning intellect.

Rather than cut and run when Cooke got arrested, Duquet stuck around, because he knew that he could learn from Cooke, and he needed a guide in this New World.

It was also surprising that Duquet not only spared Thom but funded his escape. Perhaps he sees in Thom another soul lost through little fault of his own.

Assessing His Worth - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3

It appears that, like cockroaches, Duquet can survive any disaster.

It will be interesting to see Cooke's next move now that he has been made the fall guy for the massacre and the murder.

An Englishmen responsible for the death of French settlers won't go over well. But he's also a small cog in the big machine that is the Hudson Bay Company.

Goames and Yvon are also part of that firm, but neither looked too happy when they found out that Cooke and Randall Cross had been working together to drive French settlers off their land.

Goames lost leverage when he revealed that he was freelancing, hunting for Cross, his brother-in-law, on his own.

Prized Candidate - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3

But he and Yvon are the only people with the skill to piece together this conspiracy and possibly make the big corporation pay. 

No one expects Bouchard, that belly full of brandy, to actually close a case.

Also, what's the Jesuits' role in all this?

Widow Mathilde has turned into a player in Wobik.

She was the informant that lit that fire under Bouchard, which led to Cooke's arrest.

Back to Home Base - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4

After figuring out how badly Francis had let things go financially, she has important people all over the settlement owing her money.

She's also one of the few that know the Iroquois are coming.

Of course, Renardette stabbing anyone who treats Mathilde badly could be problematic.

Finally, there was Trepagny, who has gotten himself into a real mess.

Obviously, while he wanted a wife, he must have felt a little guilty about what he was doing to Mari.

Law of Two -- Tall - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4

Why else would he be praying for guidance to make the right choice?

And that didn't work, as Melissande managed to seduce him with pretty words.

That was only fair, as he was regaling the Filles du Roi with overblown tales of his wealth.

Mother Sabrine knew that and tried to warn Melissande. But Melissande is as full of herself as Trepagny. It's a perfect match in that way.

They are going to end up regretting pissing off Trepagny's "housekeeper," Mari, who has had her heart broken.

Wrong Place - Barkskins Season 1 Episode 4

Why she buried those items from the manor house wasn't at all clear, but the action certainly had a witchy feel to it.

Melissande appears to be a bit of a witch herself, so this should be an interesting showdown.

Pity poor Rene Sel.

Trepagny swore him to secrecy, which resulted in anger from Mari, the woman after whom he's lusting.

Being shot by and captured by the Iroquois might even be a relief for him.

To revisit the characters of Wobik, watch Barkskins online.

Is war coming, and between whom?

Can Goames and Yvon get to the bottom of this mystery?

Is Trepagny in over his head?

Comment below.

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Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Barkskins Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

That is a fierce wobble. Gus should stick to bending barrel staves.

Bouchard [to Mathilde]

This mayhem is the result of a wobble?

Bouchard [to Mathilde]