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: Enys is alive, but still imprisoned. Morwenna is facing a marriage crisis. George continues to be a murderous dick. D gave birth to a baby girl.
Among the Family Poldark, D describes the current plan to rescue the prisoners in France – a band of Royalists will land in France and…. Overthrow the Republic, I guess. Ross is as dubious about this plan as I am, but D thinks they should give it a chance to work before Ross goes off to Ross things up.
In France, Enys is still doing his best, with Armitage’s help, but it’s hard going. Armitage muses that he’s not surprised that Enys isn’t married, since he’s so married to his work. Enys allows as to the fact that there is someone, but he’s doubtful he’ll ever see her again. Armitage is part of a great and noble family, so he’s expected to make a splendid marriage. “Some great and beautiful heiress,” Enys says, thinking of his own. Armitage would rather choose his own bride.
At Killewarren, Caro gives more details on the plan to D: she’s got a bunch of French Loyalists crashing on her various couches, and they’ll all land within 20 miles of the prison and release everyone while overthrowing the revolution! It’s SO MUCH BETTER than ransom, right? D hugs her, but Ross is still dubious.
“I admire Caroline’s optimism, but war is never simple. Nor is human nature.” D asks what it is about war that makes men act like savages, and Ross says it’s because war is dehumanizing and turns the enemy into symbols, and that there are no depths to which people won’t sink in committing atrocities. “You fear for Dwight.” He does: the landing could start off a slaughter of the prisoners.
In Truro, Baby Val cries. Apparently the poor kid has rickets, according to Dr. Choake. George is appalled. His son was not fed on gin! No one must hear about it, and he will NOT be deformed. WELL GET HIM SOME FUCKING MILK AND SUNSHINE. Elizabeth gasps that George shouldn’t say that, and Dr. Choake believe he can be cured. She passes him off to a nurse.
There’s to be another fancy party, with all of the ancient families, and the Warleggan’s invitation is conspicuous by its absence. He’s very pouty. Elizabeth: do we have to go, these parties are so dull. George: THIS IS HOW WE GET INTO SOCIETY. Elizabeth: fine, Lady Whitworth will be there, talk to the odious Reverend Whitworth. “I could, but your ungrateful cousin hasn’t agreed to marry him yet, so I can’t ask for favors.” George thought that with Morwenna spending weeks at Trenwith, she’d have come around out of sheer boredom.
Well, she’s not bored, because Drake is hanging around and putting frogs back in the pond with Geoffy-Chuck. Aggie reads her cards: she turns over the Lovers, and sees Morwenna and Drake kissing in the garden. She sighs.
Ross and Henshawe handle the payroll, and Zacky enters with news. Trencrom, the smuggler, has just put into port with a Dutchman lately released from the same prison where Enys is. “It’s like a hellhole, man.” Men are dropping like flies, and the ones that aren’t dying are getting executed for sport. Henshawe sighs that it is a sorry end, but Ross is like… does it have to be, though?
In France, soldiers pull Enys and another prisoner up, and one asks the other, “blue or brown?” The roll a die, and the one that called brown wins, and drags off the other prison and shoots him. He had brown eyes, while Enys has blue. Armitage asks what the hell is going on. “A new entertainment has begun. Dicing for officers. Execution based on the color of a man’s eyes today. Tomorrow? Who knows.”
Morwenna serves Aggie tea, and Aggie notes that “Geoffrey-Charles’ friend was here today.” Morwenna’s like, oh was he? Oh, right, he brought toads. He’s fond of G-C. Aggie: Yes, he’s fond of you, too, I’ve observed. Love makes us careless, and how do you think George would react to this? “Oh yes, I’m usually the first to defy him, but I have little to lose.” Morwenna says she can’t marry Whitworth. Aggie: You can’t marry Drake Carne. George Warleggan is a cruel man. Who do you think he would take it out on? His wife’s cousin? No, it would be Drake. “Give him up. For his sake.”
Ross is outlining his newest reckless plan to D: the Royalist army would have it’s hands full, it would be better for a small party to hit the prison. D: “Involving Tholly.” Well, and also Zacky and Henshawe. “Respectable family men?” Ross says that they hold Enys in high esteem, so they’re willing. They’d go over with the Royalists, and then leave them to the fighting and free the prisoners themselves. Well, I’ve heard of WORSE plans….
George has also heard of worse plans: Whitworth has told George and Elizabeth that his mother said that there’s talk of Ross being elected to Parliament. George is APPALLED. “How could he even presume?” Whitworth: I don’t know if anyone has told him yet, so he might not actually presume. Other people are presuming on his behalf, though. “WELL.” snits George. “He won’t be getting my vote.”
Ross visits Aggie to tell her that he’s going to be a bit busy invading France, and won’t be able to visit her while doing that. Aggie nods that it’s a good cause, and hey! After he’s fetched Enys home, Ross can bring him to her party! “Which?” “My hundredth birthday!” Ross grins, and Aggie’s like, BRING EVERYONE, your kids, your little bud, and even her brother. Ross: “You’ve met him?” Aggie: “…..oh. Yes.”
Drake and Morwenna walk in the woods, very chastely holding hands. Morwenna pulls her hand from his, and he’s like, you seem upset. Morwenna says she is troubled: she’s done a wicked thing. She’s allowed him to visit and she’s not really free to do so. Drake: “how not free? Our friendship…” “…has gone beyond the bounds of common acquaintance.”
Morwenna can’t quite meet his eyes. Drake: but we both like LIKE each other? Morwenna: “I was flattered by your attentions and thinking I feel love. But I do not.” Drake doesn’t buy it, and Morwenna flees, crying.
Drake slowly walks along the cliff edge to brood. He looks very good in his brooding, but he is very very sad.
Ross is readying the horse and giving D the final instructions: she’s in charge at the mine, and they’ll be expecting her to drop by every day. She cracks that maybe she’ll pop down below and take up the pick ax, and Ross grins that he expects that she’ll find a new lode all by herself. D won’t tell Caro what he’s up to, and Ross nods. He tells her to tell Drake not to go to Trenwith, and D’s like, why would he do that? “Ask him.” Drake has made his way home in the dark, and even his silhouette in the moonlight is sad. Ross mounts, “I do not ask you to not be reckless. For I know you cannot promise something that is so against your nature.” Ross kisses her goodbye and rides off.
Inside, Drake is pouring his heartbreak out to his sister. She never loved him, and now he doesn’t want to go on in the world. D tells him that she felt much the same when her daughter died, but she got through it. “Life is precious, and should not be scorned. The thing is the find some purpose, and to go on living. And if Ross were here, he’s say the same thing.” Drake asks where Ross is, and D tells him that he’s going to France. Drake nods, and declines the invitation to supper. He’ll think about what she said about purpose, and try to find some.
Morning finds him hitching ride towards Falmouth.
In Falmouth, the French royalists are arguing Frenchishly, while Ross grumbles that they can’t agree on shit. Tholly notes that another problem with this plan is that most of the French troops the Royalists have are former French POWs…so they’re asking French soldiers to fight their countrymen. Ross understands how that can make it even more complicated and less likely to be a success. “If you were French prisoners brought to your own shores, would you fight your own people, or desert?” Tholly: This is not gonna work. Ross excuses himself, saying he’ll back in an hour.
At Caro’s, D tells her that Ross has been called away to the shipyard for a while, and Caro is looking for distraction while the Royalist invasion is underway. She invites D to the same party George has not been invited to, since the cream of Cornish aristocracy will be there. D: I’m not an aristocrat! Caro: you have nobler blood than many who will be trying to get in. Come with me!
More French arguing, and Ross signals to his boys. They sneak out while the French continue to French at each other.
On the ship at sea, Ross and his posse laugh about how Henshawe is the first actually respectable person to be aboard Trencrom’s ship. Henshawe says he’s got tricks of his own up his sleeve, and Tholly asks about the plan. They’ll get to Roscoff, and Trencrom will do his usual thing. The rest of them will get a smaller boat and go up the river to a creek that’s near the prison. Cool.
D reads a letter, and tells Prudie that plans changed. Ross and the Boys will be on their own. “Judas,” Prudie breathes.
Enys stitches up a patient, with Armitage’s help. In the back ground, a pair of soldiers grab a prisoner at random and haul him out. They look at each other grimly, In the morning, D wanders down to her brothers’ cottage to find Sam putting on his shoes. He hasn’t seen Drake since the night before, being sad over “the girl.” He left D a note, though.
On the ship, Zacky pops out of the hold and announces that there’s a stowaway. Ross implies heavily that it’s not his problem, and Zacky’s like, nah, bro, it is, because this kid wants to join us. You figured out who it is, right? It’s Drake.
“Do not blame Captain Ross for this, you told me to find a purpose to forget ‘Wenna.” Sam says that he SAID there was no good that could come of the girl, and D slams the note into his chest. “Is this God’s will, too?” Sam looks upset: he doesn’t want any harm to come to his brother, he’s just coping with things as best he knows how.
Drake gives his reasons why Ross should let him help, like being steadfast and true (“Like his sister” notes Henshawe), and the other guys are like look, Ross, we could use another guy here. Ross says fine, BUT YOU WILL OBEY MY ORDERS WITHOUT QUESTION. Because if anything happens to me, your sister will eat my liver. Ross shakes Drake’s hand, and Drake looks scared, but ready, and Henshawe shakes his hand and says, “Well done.”
On the beach, D meets Morwenna, and Morwenna confirms that yes, she broke with Drake. “But doubtless he will soon forget me.” “He might. If we see him again.” Morwenna is like, what did he do (she’s too innocent at this point to understand what dealing with a Carne man leads to).
Whitworth got George and Elizabeth an invitation, but reminds George that it’s because she expects that the families will soon be connected. You know. Through marriage. George tries to say that Morwenna is a respectable girl who will not be hurried, and Whitworth says yeah, but MY MOTHER WHO IS A GODOLPHIN thinks that if we don’t get her soon, we’ll have to look elsewhere. George, I‘ll light a fire under her ass. Don’t worry.
The lady in question is heartbroken that her actions made Drake do something so dangerous and stupid. D understands, but the rifts between Morwenna and Drake’s stations and also between Nampara and Trenwith is so great…. “So I should marry a man I do not love?” D closes her eyes, because that is a terrible answer, too, and she knows it. Morwenna also knows that it’s probably the right answer. And it’s terrible. She nods through her tears, and starts to leave, but asks D to let her know when….if…. Drake returns. D nods.
In port at Roscoff, the boys are not going to the town, but they do have a long boat. They row up the river.
George marches into the parlor where Elizabeth is, and snits that Morwenna has delayed long enough, and she should be summoned from Trenwith. Now. Nah, Elizabeth says. “I have a better idea.” The better idea is going to Trenwith themselves, and Morwenna sees them out the window (George glowering ominously from the window) and she rushes over to wake up Aggie. “They’ve returned! Unannounced! What does it mean?” “Nothing good for you I fear.”
George gets a report from Constable Goon about Ross’s hair brained plan. George cackled delightedly, sure that he’s got Ross this time! (G-C glares at him murderously). “A prison break! On French soil! With respectable men!” See, if everyone knows how reckless Ross is, then no one will vote for him in Parliament! HE’S PLAYED RIGHT INTO GEORGE’S HANDS. Even Elizabeth is like, you might be the actual worst.
At Wheal Grace, D looks over the accounts when Sam comes in and tells her that the biggest gossip in the county knows about the prison break plan. At least that no one in France can find out. D sighs that she better try to keep Caro from going to the party that night to keep her from finding out.
D pleads a fever, and asks Caro to sit with her. Caro won’t hear of it. She keeps declining invitations: “I’m beginning to look like a recluse! I better go, with or without an escort.” D sighs.
At Trenwith, George buffs his coat, and then presents Elizabeth with a truly huge and vulgar necklace. I mean, it’s hideous. Elizabeth expresses doubt and delicately says that maybe they’d seem like they’re trying…. Too hard to impress? George reluctantly agrees, but outlines their plan of attack: discredit Ross so everyone thinks he’s the best candidate for parliament. Morwenna comes in, dressed up with a feather in her hair, and asks if she really has to go. “No more ingratitude.”
Ross and the Boys hop off their boat and take cover in the woods. It’s just dusk.
George, Elizabeth, and Morwenna are announced into the party, and they see one Lord Falmouth. George looks around for someone to introduce him, when the herald announces “Miss Penvenan and Mistress Poldark.” George grumbles that he’s forced to suck up to Whitworth for an invite, and “the scullery maid strolls in on the arm of an heiress.” D, for herself, growls that the Warleggans (and the rest of the nobility) are strutting about like there isn’t a war and “Men risking their lives.” Caro tells her to cool it a bit: they’re to gather what ever info they can of the landing.
Ross lays out the plan: he’s got a map of the prison, the guard changes at midnight, so they’ll go in at 1 am, and hope to catch them napping. Legit. He chews his lip, and Henshawe asks what’s wrong. Ross first came up with this plan when they were part of the French landing, and they’d be able to use the chaos as cover. Now it’s just them, so he’s worried. Now everyone is worried. Ross offers everyone else the chance to back out, but no one does. Ross is like, bros, are you sure you want to take the risk? Henshawe: “Mining’s a risk. Loving’s a risk. Living’s a risk.” He’s willing to take risks, great risks, for a friend. So shut the fuck up Ross, let’s go. Ride or die. Ross sends Tholly’s boys with no names to guard the boat. “No fool like an old fool!” Henshawe says cheerfully. “Or a young one,” Ross says. He’s got that gleam in his eye: he’s ready to rock and roll. They move off.
At the party, Lord Falmouth is expounding on a most “able lad” to a circle of men, and George attempts to sidle up to him, but Lord Falmouth excuses himself before George can achieve his aim.
The Boys sneak up on the prison, Ross estimates around 14 guards, but isn’t sure. Tholly advises eliminating some quickly, and the rest will lose their desire to fight, but Ross thinks that’s unlikely. Drake asks what the plan to get past the guards is. Ross tells Tholly to tie his hands, and the march up to the gate. Tholly bellows in French, and the gate opens, and Tholly and Ross knock out the guards that open the door. They call the other boys in.
They find some other guards, gags them, and ties them up. Ross tells everyone to be quiet, since most of the prisoners will be sleeping. They’re not going to be able to rescue everyone. They all carefully pick their way through the rooms, but a young soldier wakes up and asks what’s going on. Ross tells him that they’re “newly arrived” and have a message for Doctor Enys. The kid tells them where the infirmary is, and follows them.
At the infirmary, Armitage meets Ross at the door and tells them they are full up. Ross asks for Enys, and introduces himself, while the kid says that he thinks the Ross and the Boys are up to something. Ross: “We seek Doctor Enys, and mean only his good.” The kid says but they’re armed! Tholly loses his patience and holds a blade to the kid’s throat and tells him to shut the fuck up. Armitage, oh, you broke in? Why didn’t you say so? Follow me.
Ross and Henshawe find Enys holding a patient’s hands, and without looking up he says, “What is it? Do you want me?” Ross: “yes, Dwight. We want you.”
Ross is like, bro, we came to get you. Enys says he can’t go. There’s only 4 surgeons in the entire camp, so he can’t go. Armitage tells him to not be an idiot, anyone who got the the chance to escape would take it, so please, for the love of god, go! The kid heard only one word: escape. He runs off screaming “ESCAAAAAAPE” and things go off the rails. Ross and Drake scoops up Enys and ask for another way out. They go one direction, and Armitage runs in another.
The alarm bells start ringing, and all the guards are roused. They boys are trapped.
Back at the party, George has found his in. He sidles up to Whitworth and asks if he heard the news? “Ross Poldark’s latest folly! His reckless assault at a French prison?” He speaks loudly about how he heard that maybe Ross was being considered for some high office? “Is that the kind of man we want representing us in Parliament?” Lord Falmouth hears him, and cocks an ear.
Back in the prison, Ross tells everyone to ready their weapons. They’ll make a last stand there. “My apologies, Dwight. This would appear to be a poor attempt at a rescue.” Drake appears from nowhere and says he’s found a better way, as the guards begin shooting anyone standing up.
Drake has found a window above two guards at an outer door, and he and Ross jump the guards, open the door, and the race is on.
Morwenna paces by the refreshment table, and Whitworth ooooooooozes into frame. “I was thinking Oxford. Or Bath.” Morwenna: for what now? Their honeymoon, of course. Morwenna politely asks that he not speak of such things, but he does. “You cannot imagine…” Whitworth lets his eyes roam over her, and slimes, “Oh but I do. All the time.” Morwenna shoulders past him to go throw up.
The boys make it to a gate, but it’s locked. The guards are hot on their trail, and they can’t go over. Henshawe prepared for this: he’s got dynamite, and sets it in the gate. “Leave it to the experts!” HE BLOWS UP THE GATE. AWESOME. Ross and Drake provide cover as everyone else runs out the gate, and Drake gets hit. Henshawe runs out to help, and is shot in the final retreat. Ross drags him to the woods. Henshawe is gasping, wetly, and they find a place to stop for minute, and Ross begs Enys to do something for Henshawe. Enys says there’s nothing to do. “Try.” Enys would try if there was anything to do, but there isn’t.
“I told him not to come. But he wouldn’t listen.” Ross remembers what Henshawe said at the beginning of the night: there’s no fool like an old fool. Drake tells them to leave him with Henshawe, he’ll stay with him so he isn’t alone. Enys says that’s not necessary. Henshawe is gone.
The French soldiers are yelling in the background, and everyone starts to make their way to the boat, leaving Henshawe there. Ross is the last to leave, not wanting to leave his friend alone in a French wood, but in the end, he has to go.
At the party, George and Elizabeth wander over to the refreshments table, where they run into D. Elizabeth curtseys, and D simply looks at her. “Excuse me, I promised Lord Falmouth the almande.” And Elizabeth books it. D stares at George. “Do you not dance, mum? Does your husband disapprove of the sport?” “Not in the least.” “How could he, when his own pursuits are much more hazardous? Is it not appalling to be married to a hothead?” George continues in this vein, ending with “do you think he’ll ever grow up?” “I don’t know George. Will you?” D drops the mic and exits stage right.
In the woods, the boys hear someone coming, and get ready to shoot whoever it is. There’s a tense moment, but it’s Lieutenant Armitage. In the chaos, a dozen prisoners or so escaped, and they all got separated. He couldn’t stand the thought of staying in the prison, duty be damned. The French have wind of the Royalist landing, so the Republican troops are mobilizing, so they need to go and NOW. Tholly snaps “UP” and they make for the boat.
Elizabeth ends her dance with Lord Falmouth, he bows and leaves her, and she walks back to George. He bitterly notes that Chynoweth’s go where Warleggans fear to tread. “Did you advance our cause?” “How?” “By the subtle disparaging of Ross?” Elizabeth notes that he was not that subtle himself. Also Lord Falmouth’s nephew is currently a prisoner of war in France, so talking about it might be… tactless? George stalks off, and Elizabeth calls Morwenna away.
At that moment, Caro finds D and tells her that she’s heard that the Royalist landing has failed.
Dawn in France, and they’ve made it back to the boat. Zacky rows, heartbreak etched on his face, and Enys does what little he can for Drake on a longboat with no supplies.
D comes home, where Prudie has been waiting up all night. D has tucked Caro into bed, and thanks God that Ross wasn’t part of the landing. But she doesn’t know where Ross is, or what’s happened. She can only wait and worry.
On the boat, Ross has been rowing for hours. They need to get back to Roscoff before dark, because the ship is leaving on the evening tide. Tholly doesn’t think they can do it, but they have to. If they don’t, they’ll be stuck in Roscoff for a fortnight, and Drake won’t last that long. He needs to have his wounds cleaned as soon as possible, or he won’t last a day. Ross rows harder, and starts having hallucinations of Caro, of Mrs. Henshawe, of D calling him vainglorious and reckless, and George agreeing that Ross is “the most despicable of men.” He hears D yelling his name, and then Tholly yells that Trencrom’s ship is still there! They made it.
On board, they all finally have time to contemplate the cost of the venture. Drake has been tended to, and Enys has a confession. Henshawe hadn’t actually yet died when they left him. “He was dying, he could not live an hour, but in the hour, I knew that you would willingly die alongside him.” Ross nods a bit, and asks about Drake. “I think you will have one less life on your conscious.” Also, you came and got me, so… “When I first saw you, I thought you were a figment of my imagination.” Enys expected to die where he stood, surrounded by men he couldn’t save. “Now…already, I’ve seen that I must keep myself occupied, or else I will ask myself the impossible question.” And that is? “Why am I here and they are not?”
D and Prudie are in the kitchen, when Sam bursts in. “The cove… Nampara cove.” They run, and D crashes into Ross. I mean, she runs FULL TILT into his arms.
Sam runs to Drake, and in a shaky voice says “See, brother? My prayers did work!” D sees that Drake is hurt, and asks what happened, and of course Drake’s like, nothing, I’m fine. Mostly. Enys collapses on the beach, home again. D gathers her boys to her, Enys and Zacky and she grasps the hands of Armitage. “I don’t know this gentleman, but I’m happy to see him, too!” He introduces himself as Hugh Armitage. “This means that you all returned home!” She looks around, and realizes she didn’t count noses correctly. Up on the cliff, Morwenna has also heard that the boat is back, and when she sees Drake, she staggers in relief. As they head back to the house, D and Morwenna’s eyes meet.
In the house, D calls for Prudie to get two beds made up, one for Drake and one for Enys. Prudie, who is SO MUCH MORE COMPETENT without Jud around, says it’s already done.
At Trenwith, the Warleggans are eating breakfast, when Constable Goon comes in to announce that the ship has returned from France, and Ross Poldark with her. (Geoffy-Chuck smirks.) With Doctor Enys. “As expected,” Aggie declaims. George asks about casualties. One wounded, one dead. “Well, that it can hardly be called a success, to rescue one man at the expense of another.” Well… twenty other men escape. And one was a “person of great importance, a Lieutenant Armitage?” “Hugh Armitage?” asks Elizabeth. George: Do you know him? “Only by name. He’s the nephew of Lord Falmouth.”
Enys has been tucked up in bed, presumably has had a chance at a bath, and has a few glimmers of his old snarky self peeking through. He asks for a week of D’s care before they tell Caro that he’s back. “I think it may be too late for that.” Ross grins wryly.
D finds Caro in her parlor, and asks if she’s strong enough for a small surprise.
Caro barrels her way into Enys’ room, where he can’t bring himself to look at her, she’s shining too bright. She takes him in for a moment, and swallows. “Doctor Enys. Do I detect scorpius?” She does. “Then I prescribe oranges, fresh air, and kisses without end.” She embraces him, and it takes a few kisses on his forehead before he can kiss her back.
D sits with Drake, who is sleeping somewhat comfortably, while Ross holds the baby. “Still think he’s a pest?” Yes, Ross does think he’s a pest. A brave pest that saved his life. “He has something of your spirit. I must learn to love him, too.”
Near Wheal Grace, everyone gathers for Henshawe’s funeral. There’s a stone that’s been carved very fast, and D sings. Once it’s over, she cries in Ross’ arms.
“I should never have let him come.” Ross thinks he should have been able to see that this would happen, and D’s like, how could you, though? How can any of us see the future? Hugh Armitage agrees (he looked better with his prison beard, but whatever).
“A month ago how could I have foreseen that I would be a free man? How could your husband have seen that in freeing his friend, he’s liberate a man he never met?”
D tells him that he should take full advantage of whatever consequence comes of his newfound liberty. “Believe me, mum, I intend to.”
Are you keeping up with Poldark? How are you liking this season so far?
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