We’re back! We’re offset from the British airdate! For no good reason! And PBS aired the premiere as a double episode!
Note: the recaps this season are written from the British airings, which often have 6-10 minutes that the US airings do not. If you’re reading this and going “Hey, I don’t remember that!” that’s probably why.
Previously on Poldark: A whole bunch of things, but the most important to remember is that Ross and Elizabeth had sex (which may or may not have been totally consenting, depending on your interpretation), and Elizabeth ended last season realizing that she might she is pregnant, and she’s not certain who the father is.
Elizabeth, in a very smart riding habit, gallops along the cliff edge. She is not in control of her horse, and she’s heading for a precipice into the sea. Ross sees her, and rides hard on Seamus to intercept. Elizabeth’s horse stopped before running off the cliff edge, but is rearing and thrashing while Elizabeth maintains her seat but not much more. Ross manages to get her horse to calm the fuck down, and Elizabeth tells him that she’s not hurt and to PLEASE GO AWAY. Ross protests that she was in difficulty, and he was only trying to you know, keep her from being tossed and DYING, “What am I supposed to do, just abandon you?” “BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE UNHEARD OF.”
Jesus christ, you two. I’m already tired.
George rides up, asking what happened- one minute she was behind him, the next… Elizabeth tells him the horse spooked, and Ross happened to be close by so he helped. George snits that his wife and unborn child do not need Ross’ assistance now, or ever. Ross sighs and asks if George really must turn everything into a battle. “Lay hand on anything or anyone belonging to me again and you will find the battle has barely begun.” Gross.
Ross leaves them at the edge of the cliff, and the credits are back!
At Nampara, Demelza and Ross are hard at work: he is re-thatching the roof on the barn, and D asks him how Elizabeth looked. Ross mutters something noncommittal, and D’s like, hey, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t wake up before dawn EVERY MORNING? Ross: you married the wrong dude for that. D: I AM AWARE, but why? It’s like you’re trying to keep from thinking. “Whereas you, my love, think too much.”
At Trenwith, George is berating Elizabeth for riding when she’s a month from giving birth, and doing things like lifting things or walking places. Elizabeth asks if he would rather she not join him in Truro that afternoon, and George is like nothing would make me happier than if you were there “at the grand opening” but we must think about the Warleggan heir! At this point, Geoffy-Chuck, who is a well grown child at this point, runs in says that he heard that Elizabeth’s horse ran away “And that Uncle Ross saved you!” George asks who is spreading such tales.
Geoffy-Chuck says that they must thank Ross for her services and invite him “and Aunt Demelza” to dinner. (“Excellent thought!” pipes up Aunt Aggie, still there to darken George’s day). Elizabeth delicately says that they no longer spend time with the family at Trenwith. “Why should that be?” asks Geoffy-Chuck, “They are Poldarks and we are P-” “WARLEGGANS.” snaps George. Geoffy-Chuck barely manage to not roll his eyes. “I’ve been thinking, boy, that it is time for you to take my name.” Aggie is aghast, and George is like, this is a Warleggan house, now. Geoffy-Chuck, in a display of more spirit than either of his parents have ever shown, says that sure, he’ll change his name. (“Good boy”) “…to Geoffrey-Charles FRANCIS Poldark.”
I like this kid.
Caroline Penvenen is sitting with her uncle Ray on his death bed, and tries to give him some soup. He tells her no, Enys told him that he could only prolong his life, not save it (as I recall he’s got advanced diabetes?). Caro is like, Enys could be wrong though, and Ray reminds us that Enys is at sea, so…. I don’t know what that proves. Ray just wants one thing to make him happy: Caro to be happily married off and cared for by a husband of wealth and consequence. Caro tells him that she cannot consider it, since Ray is her only concern.
Back at Nampara, Ross gets a letter. “FINALLY.” Something he’s been laboring to bring about for months is coming to fruition. D reads the letter and grins, and Ross must leave immediately.
Out on the road, a young man is walking along and singing.
D is trying Ross’ cravat, and asking how ‘it” will be managed. “With care and the utmost secrecy.” D can hardly believe the day has arrived, and Ross reminds her that it isn’t over, and something could go wrong. Ross rides out and passes the singing young man, and arrives at the Penvenen estate. Caro runs into the hall and asks, “Well?” Ross smiles. “Tomorrow.” Caro grins and if she weren’t a British gentlewoman, she would have run and hugged him.
At Nampara, D is hoeing the garden while Prudie (HI PRUDIE) watches. Prudie notes that the singing young man is now at the gate, and D turns and looks, and grins and rushes to embrace him. It’s her brother, Drake! “How did thee escape Father’s clutches?” “Nay, tis he did send me.” Their father is dying, and D has been requested to attend at the deathbed.
At Trenwith, Cary Warleggan (George’s uncle, previously referred to in these recaps as “Trump Warleggan” and now he is not because it’s not funny anymore) asks if “the broodmare is back in her stall.” Me: Gross. George: Elizabeth is way more than a mare. Cary: The fact the you see your wife as more than a magic uterus is weird. Also Cary thinks “the Poldark brat” is annoying, so send him to boarding school. George agrees, but thinks it would be better to make this happen in small stages and he’s got a plan. But first they must go one with the next step in their plan to become the only bank in Cornwall.
Ross gallops back to Nampara, and finds Drake in the kitchen with D and Prudie. Drake tells him why D has been summoned home. Ross asks if she’ll go, and D doesn’t know. He wasn’t much of a father “All he gave me was bruises.” Drake makes a half smile and agrees with that assessment. D thinks she must decline, and Drake’s like, yeah, I thought that would be your answer. D tells him that, “It is not for lack of love for thee.” Drake knows.
In the drawing room at Trenwith, Elizabeth is poking her belly and pacing, while Aggie makes morose predictions. “He’s coming, and sooner than we think.”
In Truro, Ross comes around the corner where there’s a big party happening in the street, decked out in Warleggan purple, and a morose Geoffy-Chuck. G-C sees him, and yells, “UNCLE ROSS!” and is quickly ushered inside by George. Cary asks Ross if he’d like to convey his respects to “young master Warleggan.” Ross: sure, okay.
Ross is meeting with Pascoe, his banker, and grumbles about how George likes to flaunt his ownership over all of the Trenwith Poldarks. Pascoe also notes that the Warleggans are looking to put him out of business- the war with France has been good to the Warleggans, and other young men go off to fight while George sits on his ass and grows rich. For a change, Ross has a healthy bank account, a prosperous mine, and he promised D that his fighting days were done (even though he looks RULL HOT in the uniform).
Drake is preparing to hike back home, and he tells D that he is honestly happy that she has such a nice life. D agrees that she is blessed. “Tell Father that I’ll pray for him.” Drake leaves, and D is having a lot of very complicated feelings.
In Truro, a young woman with dark hair is smelling flowers, and her mother summons her. “Morwenna!” She and her mother sit down in George’s gold plated office, and Morwenna asks if they will be asking for money. Of course, not, her mother tells her. That would be vulgar, and just because Morwenna’s father left them destitute, basically, they will not be VULGAR. They are Chynoweths, cousins to Elizabeth. George notes that they are relations, and he’s worried about Geoffy-Chuck: with the arrival of a sibling, he won’t get the attention he’s used to. But he’s been talking with Mrs. Chynoweth, and he “…may have a solution.”
At Trenwith, Geoffy-Chuck is recounting how boring the bank opening was. George’s carriage comes through the gates, with Morwenna next to him. Elizabeth is confused. Morwenna sees Elizabeth, and offers a smile, and Elizabeth is just, what the fuck is happening.
“A governess? Why… what…. Forgive me cousin, this is no reflection on you, but why would we need a governess, we didn’t even discuss this!” George: “My dear, you must see what I’m thinking.” Aggie: “UGH WE DO.” “Do you want him to feel neglected in this, the final year before he goes away to school.” Hold up hold up, “I thought we agree he would not go away! I would miss him too much and he would miss me!” Poor Morwenna looks like she wants to die right now. George VERY REASONABLY explains that Morwenna is a reasonable girl and Geoffy-Chuck needs to be less dependent on Elizabeth and this would take the burden off of E! “My son is not a burden! And how can I applaud an arrangement in which I am no longer the influence in my child’s life?” George: in a month you’ll have our child to care for! So… you’ll be too busy for Geoffy-Chuck anyways.
Ross rides back home – he’s got supplies for the feast the next day, and he tells D that he saw George and Geoffy-Chuck in town, and Prudie tells Ross that there’s been a note from the mine. He’s got a visitor.
It’s Geoffy-Chuck! He came on his own! “You escaped your jailors.” “Seeing you reminds me of Papa, and I thought why not come to see his mine.” Geoffy-Chuck says that Francis told him that mining is in his blood. “Your father must have told you that mining is hard.” says Zacky. It’s an uncertain business. “This seems real enough” says Geoffy-Chuck, holding up some ore. He’d like to go find some for himself.
Down in the mine, miners mine. Geoffy-Chuck is delighted, and Ross shows him a “nice quartz-y rock.” Geoffy-Chuck muses that he’s the last of the Trenwith Poldarks, and Ross laughs. “You forget Aunt Agatha!” “So do you! So she says.” Which, yes, she does say that. “I think of her often. And you.” Ross smiles.
After their day is over, Ross brings Geoffy-Chuck to the gates of Trenwith and drops him off. Inside, Elizabeth introduces him to Morwenna as his new governess and hopes that they will become good friends. “Of course you will!” proclaims George, and Geoffy-Chuck, who has got some brillaint timing, turns to Aggie, and tells her that Ross says hello, and that he misses her. George: When did you see Ross? Geoffy-Chuck: oh, I went to the mine. George: by who’s permission? Geoffy-Chuck: I need no permission to visit my own family. (Aggie: “Quite right!”) Morwenna is a bit amused George is angry, but not showing it, and Elizabeth audibly sighs.
D sorts flowers in Nampara, with little Jeremy “helping” off to the side. Prudie asks if it was nice to see her brother, and D is still sorting through her complicated feelings. “I need to be more like Ross. What he can’t abide to think on, it’s like it don’t exist.”
Late at night at Nampara, George is asleep, and Elizabeth is pacing a bit. She stops suddenly and grunts. What’s your plan, here, girl? You’re gonna just cross your legs and hold things in for an extra month?
In the morning, D is sitting up in her bed, fretting, and clearly has been most of the night. “Ross, am I a bad daughter?” “He was a bad father.” D muses that it’s a bond, between father and child. Ross asks if she can be back in time, and she thinks yes, if they leave now. On horseback (they are doing well enough that they can afford a horse for D!) Ross tells her that if she’s late, they can’t delay. D understands, and can hardly believe “it” is going to happen at all. They separate.
Caroline, in a lovely silver reddingcote, is telling her pug, Horace, that he must stay and guard Uncle Ray. Ray asks if she’s going somewhere, and she tells him that she’s for London, and she’s had a change of heart over the Lord he wants her to marry. He’s very happy to hear that, and she tells him that she’ll be there and back before he knows it.
D rides up to her father’s house, where her brothers (well, two of them) and her father’s wife are at Mr Carne’s bedside. “Sister be here, father. As ye did command.” D, with a lot of complicated feelings on her face, sits down, and her father tells her that the hour is upon him, and he wants her to “return to the light.” D says she knows her own way. Papa Carne tells Samuel and Drake that it’s their job to lead the fallen souls of Cornwall, and Samuel says they will do so. (I don’t remember which brand of fanatical Protestant the Carnes joined- Calvinism, maybe?) (Nope, they are Methodists.) Drake looks less enthused about the idea.
Ross is waiting in a church, and George saunters in, saying he was told Ross was around. Ross is like, forreal, asshole, can’t I just live my life today? Did you buy all the churches, too? George notes that there’s a few places he hasn’t bought yet, like Wheal Grace (Ross’ mine). Ross smirks and says there’s a few thing he will never own, up to and including Geoffy-Chuck. “It would be a mistake to encourage his visits… he’s my stepson and heir, it would behoove him not to displease me.” Ross notes that Geoffy-Chuck’s very existence surely displeases George. George: I tolerate him. For the moment. (UGH GEORGE JUST DIE ALREADY) “I may soon have a son of my own, and then everything will change.”
Speaking of, Geoffy-Chuck walks with Morwenna, explaining how the Warleggan regime has changed Trenwith- fences and the like. Morwenna asks why, and G-C, an astute kid, says that George likes people to know what he owns. Morwenna: he’s been very kind to me. “Oh he’s kind. Until he gets what he wants.” Geoffy-Chuck has more awareness of the world than either of his parents ever did.
Casa Carne: the boys are singing, and D’s like, I have to GO, will he fucking DIE already. She kisses her father one last time and makes for the door. Drake says he can’t last much longer and D’s like, “I’m late.” She asks Drake what he’ll do now, and he tells her that Sam wishes to “get out and spread the word.” But what does Drake want? “Just to get out.” Oh, kid. D hugs him, and rides back to Truro, while at the same time, a fancy carriage goes to the chapel. D waits at the door, grinning (because no one is as happy for her friends’ happiness as Demelza Poldark) and out comes Caroline!
They walk to the church, and waiting at the front is Ross…and Enys!
And a priest. There are smiles all around, and Caro embraces Ennys, who can barely bring himself to touch her for a long minute, like he can barely believe she chose him. “Shall we begin?” the priest asks. “Dearly beloved…”
Geoffy-Chuck and Morwenna walk on the beach, and Morwenna asks if his Mama approves him walking so far. He scoffs at the idea, and morwenna is like, well I like fresh air and exercise, so… they seem to be getting on fine. They are near the church, and G-C points out Ross and Demelza, and he sees Ennys, as well. “He used to attend our family, before Uncle George came.” G-C gives Morwenna what he knows about the relationship changes between everyone, but he’s a kid and he doesn’t know the details of why no one is speaking to each other. “How sad! I wonder what could be the cause?”
Elizabeth stands at the top of the stairs, clearly in early labor, and she looks at the stairs, then a vase, picks up the vase, drops it down the stairs, and then cut to George who hears her cry out, and run to find her “unconscious” at the foot of the stairs, and he hollers for someone to help him drag her to bed (THAT’S NOT WHAT- nevermind) and for someone to go get Dr. Choake.
At Nampara, the wedding party offers toasts over a dinner. D gives Prudie her du e-since Jud went away, Prudie has had the time and energy to focus on her cooking. Enys asks Prudie if she misses her former wedded bliss. “Like a ruptured spleen.” Ennys says that if he and Caro are half as happy as Ross and D, they’ll be very fortunate. Prudie asks after Uncle Ray, and Caro says that he can’t last longer than a fortnight, and she won’t distress him by telling him that she’s married to someone he doesn’t like. Enys only had 24 hours leave, so he’ll be going back to his ship in the morning.
At Trenwith, Dr. Choate is off seeing another patient, and all the other options are either gone or subpar. Geoffy-Chuck offers Ennys, and George is like HE’S A QUACK and also not here. Elizabeth is in bed, in pain.
Ross rises from the table, saying that he and D have… chores… to attend to. Yes, chores. D shows Caro to the guest room, and Enys asks Ross if he likes Caro. “I once feared you did not.” Ross likes her well, now that he knows her better, even if she takes pains to disguise her goodness. Also he owes her everything, and Enys is like, no I owe YOU everything . I LOVE YOU MAN.
Geoffy-Chuck hands message to a rider and tells him to hurry.
Enys and Caro grin at each other in their room. “What a remarkable woman I’ve married.” “And I remarkable man.” Caro admits that she feels bad about lying to her uncle, but she is legit concerned that his heart would give out. Enys is sorry, but Caro isn’t sorry at all that she is now Mrs. Enys.
Before the fire, Ross and D drink port. I THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE DOING… CHORES… Ross muses that it’ll be hard for Enys to leave, and D asks if Ross envies him at all. He does miss clarity of purpose and living in the moment. D: “And something more? A life more simple? No shadow from the past which may come back to haunt him?” Ross says that everyone is shadowed, the trick is just outrunning them. “Or ignoring them.” Ross smiles a bit at that, and Prudie comes in, bearing the note from Trenwith from Geoffy-Chuck. “Has he pushed his stepfather down the stairs?” No, Geoffy-Chuck asks Enys to please come see Elizabeth.
Enys examines Elizabeth, and notes no damage from the fall, but the labor pains? They started right after the fall? “Yes, do you think they will go away?” Enys looks dubious, and tells George that he needs to prepare himself. “For what? Surely there’s no risk to the infant. Or Elizabeth?” No, but he’s gonna be a father sooner than expected. “Childbirth can be a precarious business. Particularly when the child is a month earlier than expected.”
Enys has taken a moment to send a note back to Nampara- Caro: but she’s a month early! D, staring hard at Ross: the fall must have brought on her labor. Ross, looking brooding and conflicted, pours more port. Caro: so much for my wedding night. D continues to glare at Ross.
Elizabeth thrashes as a contraction hits, and George, Aggie, Cary, and Geoffy-Chuck listen to her yells. Cary grumbles that George should have picked someone younger and more robust.
Caro asks D if Ross and Elizabeth perhaps find this very difficult? She apologizes for being impertinent, but Ross and Elizabeth loved each other once, right? And now Elizabeth is about to give birth to child of Ross’ worst enemy? D’s like yeah, that’s why we’re all so brittle.
Geroge continues to pace, and Cary tells him that if it comes to a choice, OBVIOUSLY the child takes priority. Enys comes down and tells them that Elizabeth is in a great deal of pain, when do they expect Dr. Choake? “GOD KNOWS! It’s been hours since he was summoned to Killewarren.” Killewarren, the Penvenen estate. Enys, what, why? Oh, Ray is taken a turn for the worse, just when his niece has gone off to London. Enys doesn’t intend to leave Elizabeth hanging, but needs a note sent to Nampara.
D finds Ross in his study, and Ross is like, “what bad luck for Enys, that Elizabeth would have an accident tonight!” D, oh, you think it’s an accident? Ross, who is BAD AT GUILE, is like, what else would it be? Before D can enlighten him, Prudie brings in another message- it’s Enys letting Caro know about Ray. Caro, immediately is like, yeah, gotta go home. Can Enys meet me there? D isn’t sure- Elizabeth is gravely ill and no one else can attend her at the moment. “How ill? Is she dying?” Asks Ross. D tells Ross to go with Caro, and as they leave, they note that the moon is going into eclipse.
Geoffy-Chuck and Aggie look out the window, and Aggie calls it a Black Moon, and that it bodes ill. Elizabeth is having a terrible time of it, and Enys is doing his best. Drake and Samuel are still at their bedside vigil, and Drake calls Sam to see the moon. “What is it?” “it’s the coming of the shadow of death.” (It’s interesting to note how uneducated people in the midst of the Enlightenment are viewing this phenomenon, and I’m not sure how much people like Ross or Caroline would know about what an eclipse is.)
Elizabeth is finally pushing.
D: “I never was the god-fearing kind… but if I were, I’d pray.” Prudie: for what? D: “Deliverance.”
Elizabeth finally gets the baby out, and stops moving and maybe breathing as Enys is getting the kid cleaned up.
Papa Carne finally breathes his last, and Samuel says that he will do as he was told, go out into the world and save souls. “Do ye join me, brother?” Drake crosses his arms and looks away.
Caro runs into Ray’s room- she’s not too late. “She tells him that she came back, there was nothing that couldn’t wait. “Will you stay with me now?”
Elizabeth isn’t dead, and neither is the baby- a boy. He’s strong, and “appears no worse for coming a month early.”
The moon is covered, save for a sliver of red, and Ross is full of thoughts, and he gallops off. Really, all this galloping around in the dead dark is bad for the horses.
George comes in, and Elizabeth looks wary and afraid. George tries to send Enys on his way, but Enys is too good a doctor for that – Elizabeth’s labor was difficult, and he will not leave (“Much as it inconveniences me”) until he’s sure she doesn’t need any more help. Elizabeth tells George that the baby favors him, and George is like “YES HE DOES.”
Ross skulks through the bushes and stares in the windows at Trenwith and sees the baby. “My I present my son and heir.” George tells the assembled Trenwithians. “So that’s what an 8-month brat looks like!” Aggie snarks. Cary snaps at her to hold her tongue, before he has her tossed on the midden. Morwenna asks what his name will be, and Aggie suggests some family names- Joshua, or Francis, or, you know, just throwing it out there, ROSS? No, George says the kid’s name will be Valentine.
Morwenna asks to take Geoffy-Chuck up to see Elizabeth. George asks if he can’t wait until morning, and Geoffy-Chuck is like, no I cannot. After he leaves, Cary tells George to chastise him for his insolence, and show him “who is master here.” Aggie snipes back, and George calls in for the big burly footmen, and tells them to take Miss Poldark’s chair to her chamber- and Miss Poldark with it. They look perplexed, but know who pays the bill around here, and it ain’t Aggie. They pick her up, and she demand they they put her down “STAY YOU VERMIN, I WOULD SPEAK.”, and they do.
“That child of yours… cursed, born under a Black moon. No good shall come to he.” She makes a gesture at him, and the footmen carry her away. George looks out the window at the moon, which is now completely blood red.
The next morning, the waves are crashing angrily, and Ross is walking on the beach, until he starts running. You can’t outrun this shadow, Ross.
Ray is still hanging on but has some things to say. He never married, but he was happy to be privileged to be Caro’s guardian. She tells him to save his strength, but for what? He wasn’t ever married, so he doesn’t know what makes women happy, but he feels bad he prevented Caro from being happy with Enys. “Can you forgive me?” “Uncle Ray, what if I told you there was nothing to forgive?” she lets him see her wedding ring, and he smiles, “My dear girl! My dear dear girl!” and as last words go, that’s pretty good. Caro sobs.
Enys rides to Falmouth and his ship.
Ross rides back to Nampara, where D is outside, pumping water. She knows Elizabeth and the baby have survived, and the look on her face is similar to the look when Ross came back from his night with Elizabeth. Ross is pretty wrecked, but says he must speak with George. “Why?” “There is a conversation which can no longer be avoided.”
Geoffy-Chuck and Morwenna walk along the clifftop, and Geoffy-Chuck is grumpy that little Valentine (Seriously, George?) doesn’t look like Geoffy-Chuck at all. Well, kid, when you were his age you were a loaf of bread, so… Morwenna points out that he’s Geoffy-Chuck’s half brother, and may be more Warleggan than Chynoweth. Geoffy-Chuck takes her hand – this poor kid has had so little affection in his life, save from Elizabeth. “Now that he’s here, you must be prepared for change.” Elizabeth won’t have undivided attention for Geoffy-Chuck now… but “Where are we?” They’ve crossed into Nampara’s lands. Morwenna says that George said not to go on Nampara’s lands, but Geoffy-Chuck don’t care. “Let’s go further!”
He runs off, and Morwenna follows.
In Truro, Ross walks into the Warleggan bank. George is smirking. “Are you here to congratulate me?” “Fatherhood changes everything.” George pours a drink, and asks why Ross is really there. “To make a bargain with you.” Ross offers to get completely out of George’s life- and here’s the terms. George has things Ross holds dear-the mine, the home, Aggie, and Geoffy-Chuck. (“is that all?”) And if George takes care with them, and doesn’t use them to try to harm Ross, Ross will take care not to cross paths with George. George doesn’t answer, and Ross leaves.
The Brothers Carne are walking- Drake asks “will ‘ee ask her, or shall I?” Samuel puts his nose in the air and says that the good lord will guide him. Okay. Drake: did the good lord decree that we meet the souls up yonder? It’s Morwenna and Geoffy-Chuck, and Samuel is like we’re the fishers of men! It’s our first catch!
Drake asks Morwenna and Geoffy-Chuck if this is the way to Nampara (Samuel: we know it’s the way. IDIOT. Drake: OH MY GOD shutup) Morwenna says that she’s a stranger, but Geoffy-Chuck knows what’s up, and gives them directions. Drake asks if Morwenna is staying around these parts, and G-C is like “MORWENNA IS STAYING she’s the best.” And Drake’s heart goes boom. “Tis a lilting, musical name.” He hopes they meet again, and both of them go in opposite directions but look back at each other and smile.
D is dealing with the horses, and her brothers appear. They look both hopeful and hangdog, and she’s like, yeah, I know why you’re here.
She and Ross walk on the beach, and Ross notes that this is a change of heart. “There was a time when you fought to escape your family.” “As you now mean to escape yours?” “George is NOT my family.” But Geoffy-Chuck? “I must entrust him to his mother’s care.” “And the child?” “To his father’s.” D thinks that a more solid separation between them and Trenwith can only be good. And, since he’s lost a part of his family, can he not embrace part of hers?
Elizabeth stares at the baby, much as she used to stare at Geoffy-Chuck, when George comes in to annouce that “we are rid of him.” “Who?” “Ross! Finally, he has admitted defeat. He will never again approach our house or any member of our family…A new chapter begins, without him.”
D has one more thing to tell Ross- she’s pregnant, and she’s worried he won’t like it. He admits that he wishes the timing were better, what with the war and all. But with her, and beside her, he has a life sentence. They can face it all.
Morning, and D walks along the beach, Elizabeth holds little Val, and looks just pissed at her life. Ross ponders the sea, and goes to mine to break some rocks. D’s brothers are working at the mine – rather, Drake is, Samuel is preaching. Henshawe, Zacky, and Ross watch him, and Ross is like, is he a Problem? The other two admit that Sam works his ass off, so there’s not much to be done about him. Henshawe also notes that in times of war and famine, there are people looking for something to believe in.
At Trenwith, Elizabeth tells George that Verity will be coming home for Val’s christening. G-C excitedly tells Morwenna that Aunt Verity is a Poldark like him and Aunt Aggie. Morwenna innocently asks if the other Poldarks will be coming. George snots that Morwenna is lucky to never have met the Nampara Poldarks and that Ross has severed ties with Trenwith (G-C looks MUTINOUS). “We feels nothing but relief at being spared his intrusions.” Elizabeth looks nothing of the sort.
Ross, D, and Prudie are sitting down to dinner in the cottage the Brothers Carne have moved into. Sam offers thanks to the Lord for everything he’s given them, like this house. Prudie remarks that it wasn’t God who did that, is was Ross. Well, because God moved him to do so! Ross: nah, it was your sister. Sam also prays for new beams to mend the roof, and then they’ll bring the light to the dark places of Cornwall. Drake, EVER SO CASUALLY asks if Trenwith is a dark place. Ross: why do you ask? Drake: it was your family home, but now it’s in unfriendly hands? Ross: true, and you’ll do me a solid by never going there or dealing with any of their household.
At Nampara, Ross flops into bed, and D asks him if he REALLY needs to forbid the boys from setting foot on Trenwith land. Ross: they’ll just get into trouble. D: Like you? Ross: I am a simple country squire, I don’t GET into trouble anymore. D: mmmmmhmmmm. Ross has a home, a mine, a family, and a wife. And he will make the most of what life has to offer. “Including me?” “Especially you.”
During the day, Drake is washing in a stream. He still has his breeches on, but no shirt, and while he’s young and kinda scrawny, there’s potential there. Prudie walks by, carrying wood, and after a moment of contemplation, she tosses one down, and laments about how life is sooo difficult for a maid with no man to care for her. Drakes hops up out of the water to pick up the stick, and Prudie mentions that she has….other…. needs that a body might have. Drake turns white and grabs his clothes and runs away, while Prudie chuckles.
Up above the sea, Caro puts fresh flowers on Uncle Ray’s grave, and muses that it feels like a lifetime since she married Enys, but it’s barely been a month. D assures her that he’ll be home soon. Caro thinks soon is relative.
At sea, Enys writes to Caro that they’ve seen the French fleet near their position, they don’t know when the fight will be, but there will be one.
Back in Cornwall, Ross asks when Caro will announce that they’ve married, and she’s like, oh, you know. We’ll have a big to-do when Enys gets back. She’s worried that it will seem disrespectful to Ray if people know she married in secret.
At YET ANOTHER GIANT HOUSE, another posh man, Sir Francis, is talking with George, about the sad loss of Ray Penvenen. He notes that Ray had a lot but lived a simple life, and that “We of less… exalted… stock would do well to follow his example.” George: You, yourself, have risen far, Sir Francis, in both wealth and status. Sir Francis is like, yeah. That’s true. So have you. “Do you believe that we who have acquired privileges of wealth should enjoy superiority in all matters?” “I believe that power should always be in the hands of those who know what to do with it?” “And justice?” “Superior intellect will always ensure that justice will be done.”
(There’s a really interesting thing happening here in body movements. Sir Francis, whose previous circumstance I don’t know, walks like a tradesman. He’s got a rolling motion and is centered around his core in the manner of someone who’s done physical labor, unlike George, who was born into money the way his father and uncle were not, carries himself up higher. It’s a really interesting comparison, and I don’t know if it’s intentional, or if that’s just the way John Hopkins walks. But I like it.)
The point is, Ray Penvenen was a magistrate. They now need a new magistrate. Sir Francis is having a small gathering, and hopes that George and Elizabeth will join them.
At the Carne Cottage, Drake asks D if she ever goes to church, and she admits to once a day on Christmas, but does try to avoid sin the rest of the time, and she thinks more highly of love. Her husband, her son, her dog… Sam is most distressed at this, and even Drake is a bit nonplussed. Drake also says that Sam thinks D likes Drake the best. D says she like’s them both the best, but Drake will have the young maids all a-tremble in these parts.
Morwenna and Geoffy-Chuck are giggling over a book, and Elizabeth waspishly asks if it’s a comical book. Morwenna admits no, it’s the book Elizabeth was using to teach G-C his letters. G-C says that it never used to seem funny BUT IT IS NOW. Little Val starts fretting, and Morwenna and G-C start giggling again. (Aggie is delighted by all the awkwardness.)
At the mine, a fight has broken out. Henshawe is pretty much waiting for it to run its course. Ross comes up, and asks what’s up, and Zacky and Henshawe are both like, this is YOUR mess, an old friend of YOUR family. Ross takes one looks and exclaims “Tholly!” an older man in the process of pummeling some other poor schmuck is like, oh it’s you! Tholly gets sucker punched and knocked out, and Henshawe wakes him up by pouring a bucket of water over him. Tholly, who has a hook for a hand, gets up while Ross glares. “I thought you were dead!” Tholly is not, but he’s cheated death by a whisker- or a hand- a few times.
Tholly’s been off apirating or a-freetrading, and doing okay by it (his accent is really thick, and you guys know I’m pretty good at this, but even I am having trouble following along). Tholly regrets none of his adventures, and maybe Ross will join him? Ross: nope, I’m not adventuring anymore. Tholly: yeah, okay. He carries the bones of his hand in his belt pouch to remind him how fragile life can be- you know, like in France, which is full of blood and strife and murder and mayhem. “Live in the moment, say I! And be damned of the consequence. It’s in the blood, son! Old Joshua could never resist.” Ross, however, intends to resist.
At Trenwith, George is excitedly pacing and saying that of course Sir Francis did not explicitly offer the position of magistrate… Elizabeth says, in the tones of someone who knows she’s not actually required for this conversation, “You expect him to.” Yes, at the party on Monday. “I’ll need robes, of course, and a suitable wig.” and he can see himself on the bench, dispensing justice. Elizabeth tells him that Francis (her dead husband, not Sir Francis, who is both alive and not her husband) thought it a terrible bore. George sniffs that Francis didn’t understand what he had, and besides, it’s a means to an end. Which is? “To ensure my son and heir does not need to fight for his place in society.”
On the bluffs, Ross and D walk, Ross musing that he and Francis used to play up there. D hopes that G-C will do the same with Valentine. D asks if Ross is worried about G-C, and Ross is like yeah, growing up with George? YEAH. D peaceably says that if they keep their distance, all will be well. For the Nampara Poldarks.
A carriage comes to Trenwith, and it’s Verity! And the baby! Aggie is as delighted to see them as I am.
“The little mite! Takes after his father, do he?” Elizabeth comes out to greet them, and says it’s quite the family gathering. Verity asks if Ross and D are there, and Aggie’s like, pffffffff. Elizabeth: Ross and George are still Ross and George, and pivots to cooing at the baby. “The image of his papa!” “And Valentine? Who does he favor?” Elizabeth walks into the house pretending to not have heard.
On the beach, Ross is riding, and finds the mast of a ship, and rides off.
D kneads bread dough (in a kneading trough! I want one) while Prudie sympathizes with baby Valentine having to grow up a Warleggan. D grimaces and pokes at her belly, and Prudie asks if “he” is giving her grief. D: Who says it’s a he?
On the beach, the Brothers Carne look at the mast- that’s what they need to hold up their roof. Sam says they’ll thank God for sending it to them, and pray for the poor souls on the ship that died so that they might have a new roof. Ross is like, IDGAF what you do with it, just don’t stir up shit in the village, please. There’s been enough unrest. He just wants a little peace. Sam: “you’ll find peace in the Lord!” Ross: sure, whatever.
Tiny Valentine gets baptised with the Trenwith family around him, while Ross and D work in the garden. They hear the bells ringing, and D says that Verity will be there, along with Caroline. Ross doesn’t answer.
As they leave the church, George blathers about how Val was so excited to make his entrance in the world, and Verity says that yes, he’s a true Warleggan. George tells them smugly lists all of the improvements he’s made to the church- new roof, new windows, candlesticks… “As head of the premier family of the district, I feel it is my duty to lead the way.” Caroline mutters to Verity, “Isn’t this the Poldark family church?” Verity: “George has a short memory.”
As the Brothers Carne bring their mast back to their cottage, they pass the church and Drake sees Morwenna, and asks if maybe they could go to this church? They seem Christian enough. Sam merely looks at him like, bro.
Verity and Caroline remark over Val and how he maybe favors his mother, when George smarms up and asks Caro if she’ll have an announcement soon. Caro sort of flails about for a second. “Your engagement to Lord Coniston?” OH THAT. “No. I could not possibly consider it so soon after my uncle’s death.” Varity changes the subject and says she heard Enys was assisting at Val’s birth. Yes, but he’s back with the Navy, with the Western Squadron. George hopes the Western Squadron wasn’t involved in “this latest skirmish.” The George and Cary heard that there was a storm than a 12 hour long battle, 3 French ships lost, four British. Caro gets whiter and whiter, and then George mentions a merchant ship that was caught up in it, as well. Verity anxiously asks if they know any names of the ships involved, but George isn’t sure. Caro turns and crumples slightly, and Verity swoops her away to Nampara.
D asks if they’re certain and Verity says that nothing is certain, but she’s the wife of Captain Blamey, goddammit, and she can get information. She’s wringing her hands, and Caro has collapsed to the bench. D bellows for Prudie to go get a message to Ross. He’s gotta go to Truro.
The Brothers Carne are still walking their mast, and it’s getting heavy. The plunk it down on the fence that surrounds Trenwith (which a sign that says “No Trespassing by Order of George Warleggan”) and Sam says this is the land Ross told them to stay away from, so they’ll have to go around. Drake: that’s like MILES AND MILES and this thing is fucking heavy. He hopes the fence,and reasonably points out that they don’t mean HARM, so it’s fine.
Morwenna is out picking flowers, and G-C is being a kid, saying that christenings are dull. They see the Brothers Carne and their Mast (BAND NAME) and G-C yells that they are on private property. Sam explains that they just need a short cut, and could young Master Warleggan- “MY NAME IS POLDARK.” Oh, well, that’s a horse of a different color, isn’t it, and we met you before! You directed us to my sister, Demelza Poldark’s house! “That’s my aunt! Does that mean we’re related?” I mean, kind of. Morwenna sends G-C back to the house, and tells Drake that if they hurry, they’ll avoid the men George has patrolling the grounds. She also suggests that they not mention this to Elizabeth or George, since George gets all worked up over trespassers and literally everything else. “Do you think they’re really related to my Aunt Demelza?” “it seems unlikely, they seem very low-born.” And Drake comes running back with flowers he picked, since Morwenna got distracted from picking them herself.
I love the print on her dress so much.
Everyone has left the christening reception, and George brings Elizabeth a gift of a fancy necklace to thank her magic uterus “The first of many, I hope.” He puts it around her neck, while she grumbles about Verity, leaving so suddenly and dragging Caro with her! “What on earth could she mean?”
What she meant was to send Ross to Truro to get news, and he comes back with vague rumors “not to be relied upon.” The lost merchant ship is rumored to be the Esmeralda- and Verity starts to cry- and the Travail, Enys’ ship, was lost off the French coast. Ross comforts Verity while D embraces Caro, and Ross says that at this point, there’s no way of knowing if anyone made it to shore.
In the morning, Verity stands on the cliffs and cries (even though she’s looking towards Ireland, and not France, because Nampara is on the north side of Cornwall – never give a girl a map when she’s reading, she notices these things).
Ross rides to Sawle, and Zacky tells him that he hasn’t seen Tholly for a while. He’s probably in someone’s bed, and Ross is like, well, it was a thought, but involvement with Tholly comes at a price. And also I have my own connections. “In the trade?” Ross is like, yeah, I did promise D that my dealings were done with them, but this is for Enys and Verity. So he’s ridden up and down the coast, and if there’s any whispers of rumors, he’ll hear of it.
The next morning people, including the Brothers Carne, file into the church (I guess the Christening was on a Saturday? Not during a regular service?). The priest looks a bit anxious about the Brothers Carne, and goes back to reading his Bible. Sam tells him it’s time to start, and the priest is like “we start when Warleggan shows up.” Sam says fine, lets sing while we wait for his sinning ass.
At Trenwith, Elizabeth and Aggie are also waiting for George’s sinning ass, and Aggie asks if Verity will be joining them. Elizabeth is all “no, Verity will do what she does” and Aggie muses that Verity must like her Nampara cousins better. Elizabeth calls for George, and Aggie observes that Francis was never late, but Francis also didn’t assume that the service was “conducted purely for his benefit.”
In the church, Sam is lustily leading the congregation in song, much to the dismay of the priest. George leads the Trenwith contingent in, and Drake and Morwenna exchange a Look. George is Not Amused, and the priest apologizes to George.
Down on the beach, Zacky tells Ross that no one knows anything, and Ross bellows that he’ll give a guinea for solid information. They know where to find him. At Nampara, both Caro and Verity decide to return to their respective houses.
After the service, Drake and Morwenna make eyes at each other some more, and Sam offers God’s Grace to George. George, of course, does not want God’s Grace. He’s miffed at how the Methodists “…set themselves apart.” They act superior, and that’s GEORGE’S JOB. He tells the reverend to deal with them in the appropriate way. George. Come on. You don’t burn heretics anymore.
We get a shot of the Reverend visiting the Brothers Carne, and then it cuts to Nampara, where Ross is angry that there’s still more conflict with the George. Turns out, the Reverend has told the Carnes they can’t go to church anymore. Sam says the Lord must have some purpose in these “runctions.” and Ross is like, bullshit, I don’t need the Lord (or you) messing with my affairs. “If you will excuse me, the Lord has seen fit to consign hundreds of souls to the bottom of the sea, and I must see if my friends are among them.”
At Trenwith, Verity is playing cards with Elizabeth and Aggie, and keeps looking at the door. Elizabeth tries to tell her not to worry, that no news is better than bad, and Verity says that Ross promised to send word as soon as he had any. Aggie sniffs that Ross will do what he promised, “It is the Poldark way.” Verity says that this feud is ridiculous, and can’t there be anything that will heal it? “When you married Andrew, against the wishes of your family, did you not vow to take his part in all things?” Well, yeah, but… “I am Warleggan now.”
Ross comes home to Nampara, and reports to D that the Esmeralda (Blamey’s ship) seems to have completely vanished, and of the Travail (Enys’ ship) there is a report a ship that smashed up on rocks, the crew made it to the shore, and they were set upon by a lawless rabble. No idea where they were taken or if that ship even was the Travail. But there’s no way to find out. On this side of the Channel. D: hold the fuck up. France is a shitshow right now. Ross: what should I do? D: wait to see if we can find anything else out? Ross: okay. D: why are you agreeing? Ross: we have an invitation to a party with Sir Francis, and he’s got French noble refugees staying with him, and they might have heard about the Travail. So….we’ll go, and see what’s up.
Drake climbs on rocks and gathers tiny shells from the tidal pools.
Baby Val screams in his crib while Elizabeth gets ready for the party. Verity comes in, with a somewhat concerned looking Baby Andrew, and asks if Val is in some distress. “Yes, he often seems so.” Verity: shouldn’t you…like… pick him up and figure out what the problem is? “And have him learn that he will always get his own way? Geoffrey-Charles never cried.” Verity: you never let him. Elizabeth: children are different, and if you ever have another one, you’ll know that. Verity’s mouth tightens, and Elizabeth sort of apologizes, and hopes that should Verity get that chance, the next baby is as amiable as G-C. Now we mustn’t be late to the party!
Said amiable child is walking on the beach with Morwenna, and crowing that this is the best beach in the world, and it belongs to his Uncle Ross! Morwenna, reasonably, asks if maybe they shouldn’t be there, since the grownups are fighting? G-C: It’s not MY fight. Speaking of not the grownups, here comes Drake!
Drake is delighted by the waves, and the holy well he found- it’s a hollow in the rocks where the waves crash up, but the water is sweet because it wa consecrated 1000 years ago by Saint Sol(?). He asks if they’d like to see it, and Morwenna is like, no, that’s not a great idea, and G-C, who knows how to be a wingman, says that of COURSE they would. Drake leads them to a cave.
Ross, D, and Caro arrive at Sir Francis’ house- it’s even bigger than Killewarren. D slyly eyes Ross and notes that the mine at Grace is still producing. “In ten years I might be able to build us a small outhouse.” Inside, it’s quite elegant, and D is delighted. George and Elizabeth enter the room, and everyone eyes each other awkwardly. Verity sidles over to D and Caro, and they plan out their mission- to get news of the two ships by any means necessary.
In the cave, Drake leads Morwenna and G-C to the well. They each drink and Drake tells that it’s wishing well, too. You put your hand in, say “Father, son, and holy spirit” and your wish will be granted! G-C goes first, then Drake, watching Morwenna the whole time. Morwenna takes her turn, then giggles awkwardly. Morwenna says that Saint Sol wouldn’t approve, making their frivolous wishes at his well. Drake’s wasn’t frivolous, though. Nor was G-C’s. Nor, indeed, was Morwenna’s. Morwenna then begins to hustle G-C home, and Drake gives her a string of tiny shells that he gathered. “Just something that I made.”
Ross introduces D to Sir Francis, who asks if she’s the one he needs to thank, since Ross shuns society most of them time. Sir Francis notes that he and Ross have much in common: they employ much of the county, they have concerns about working conditions and wish to improve them…? “Will you be called a Jacobin?” Nah, Sir Francis doesn’t like Revolution, as those people over there will tell you. He nods at some Frenchmen across the room who know that revolution is a hot mess. “Let me introduce you.”
George and Elizabeth also enter the room, and George is like “I need to go hang with Sir Francis, but I can’t seem like I’m too eager, that would be SUPER UNCOOL speaking of uncool, why is Ross even here?” Elizabeth says that the Poldark’s and Sir Francis’ family go back generations, so… and then she sees the pinched look on George’s face. “Of course, Sir Francis welcomes… newer… connections. Those whose fortunes, like his own, were made. Not inherited.” She bounces to go talk to someone else.
Back on the beach, G-C muses that Drake is quite common. Morwenna: low born, you mean? G-C: I don’t care about that. He’s got more wit than most people in our class. Morwenna: don’t tell your Uncle George about that. Or anyone else. Maybe we shouldn’t come back here. “Morwenna! It’s the best beach in Cornwall!” It’s Poldark land, and Drake is a Poldark relative.
At the party, George asks D if she doesn’t find the house too grand and intimidating. She does not, it is beautiful. “But of course, these days you glide through all levels of society with ease. Why I just saw you talking with our French amis.” D says that they were talking of plans of a landing, in Brittany. To raise the Royalist flag, as the Bretons do suffer very much. And D wonders what advantage “we” might take from such a landing. We the British Navy? No, we who have friends trapped on French shores. And if they manage a landing, then they might be able to locate and free them. George, who has no friends: “Interesting thought.”
Reverend Halse (played by OG 1975 Ross Robin Ellis), comes up and sniffs that any such a landing OUGHT to have the objective of liberating all of France, not some minor English officers. George introduces D, and D smiles sweetly and says that it is a large house, so he should be able to avoid Ross without difficulty. You come at the Queen, you best not miss.
George invites Halse to play faro, and Halse says he’ll join in a minute, and goes over to Ross. Ross gets a look on his face like, “I HAVE KEPT OUT OF TROUBLE I AM CERTAIN” and it’s hilarious.
No, Halse has something else to discuss. Ray’s death left an opening on the magistrate bench. And there’s been a Poldark on the Bench for over 100 years. Ross thinks Halse should be glad Ross broke with tradition. Perhaps, but Sir Francis has asked Hawse to ask Ross (
to pass a note that says “do you like me check yes or no”) to step up. Ross: uh, you know I was on trial like, four years ago. Halse: you were acquitted. Ross: and y’all are fine with this? Youthful exuberance and all that? Halse: We’re of the opinion that a reformed sinner is a good judge. Plus you’d get a say in the administration of justice and have a say in things like taxes and the uses they are put to. Ross: but I’d have to JUDGE people. Halse: that is the deal, yes. Ross does not want to the judge people (You’re SUPER JUDGY, ROSS. COME ON.)
Halse: Okay, but I should tell you that if you do say no, this will be offered elsewhere. Ross declines. “To George Warleggan.” Ross pauses. “An admirable choice. George has all the qualities I lack.” “And lacks all the qualities you have.” Ross walks away. Idiot.
On the stairs, Verity looks at her miniature of Blamey and tries not to cry. D finds her and tells her not to lose heart, and Verity is like, I have to prepare myself. But if it is the worst, don’t pity me, pity Caro, who’s life with Enys barely started. Verity has had six years of happiness, and a delightful baby, and it’s six years and far more joy than she ever expected. “You’re too good,” D tells her. “I’m not. You learn to make the best of things. To be grateful for whatever you have in life.”
Ross and George cross paths, and there should be a tumbleweed rolling past them. D asks if she should be grateful for this mess with George? Verity: “I confess that disquiets me. Poldarks are quick to anger and slow to forgive. But you, are you so like Ross that you cannot let go of ill will?” They’re all in this room, bound by blood, but cannot speak. It’s ridiculous. And Verity doesn’t even know what caused this. Before D can answer, Caro runs over to tell Verity that word from the Admiralty has come- the Esmeralda put into Lisbon two days ago, and they’re unharmed. Verity bursts into tears.
Once she’s calmed down a bit, and sitting on a couch, Ross brings her some port, while D tells him how stupid he is for turning down the magistrate position. “The common folk need someone on their side!” “But I wouldn’t be permitted to be on their side, I’d be obliged to be fair.” D: But you could use your power wisely, with justice? Turd.
In the morning, Ross, D and Caro leave, and Ross admits that the French had no news of Travail that he didn’t already know. Back at Nampara, with Caro left at Killewarren, Ross tells D that didn’t want to distress Caro, but he was told that if there were survivors, the lists would have been published by the French to boast of their capture. But there aren’t any lists.
At Trenwith, George struts about that he’s the first Warleggan to be called to the Bench. “Are you impressed?” Elizabeth is unsurprised. After all, what other candidate could there be? Aggie, there with her bucket of ice water: “Ross?” No, George, says, no. He wasn’t offered it. Aggie: Maybe he was though. George doesn’t like that thought. Not at all.
Verity stands with Baby Andrew on the cliff- they’re heading to Lisbon soon, and will see Captain Blamey soon.
The Brothers Carne swim in the ocean, and elsewhere, Morwenna is wearing the shells Drake gave her around her wrist.
At Nampara, Ross and D are getting ready for bed, and D is hoping for a bit of peace in their lives. Ross lays down, pants still on, when there’s a knock at the door.
It’s Tholly, and he’s got news. The Travail ran aground and hundreds of English prisoners are being held in an old prison. D: Enys? Ross: If he survived, and old friend of my father has contacts there. D: smuggling. Ross: yeah, well. Yeah. We might be able to get info, for a price. So? “I think I must go.”
Verity hugs Aggie and Elizabeth and Geoffy-Chuck goodbye. Aggie thinks she’ll never see Verity again. She might be right. Verity leaves.
Caro stares out the window, anxious, and across the channel, French soldiers fire at British sailors- Enys isn’t one of them, but they are aiming at him next. Ross, Tholly, and a few other men launch the boat to go to France, while D sees them off. So much for that quiet country squire life, eh?
RHG: WE’RE BACK
Ross has a lot to do to redeem himself for the douchebagginess of last season, but to counterbalance him, we have Demelza, and we have Carolight (the official name of the Caroline/Enys relationship) and we have her adorable brother Drake, and Morwenna, and the now VERY INTERESTING Geoffy-Chuck. And Aunt Aggie.
Now the question is: How much of a shithead is George gonna be this season? A lot, is my guess.
I don’t really understand the differences between the Non-Lutheran protestant denominations, or what Methodism is giving people that the Church of England is not. But I am finding this plotline really interesting.
ROSS. ROSS. You are handed the chance to prevent a lot of damage, and you say that you can’t judge people (lies) and then you hand that opportunity to GEORGE. Even Reverend Halse knows that George is a terrible choice. For fuck’s sake.
Are you watching this season? What’s your take?
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