Poldark Recap: Lighten Up, Francis

Aidan Turner as Ross, Heida Reed as Elizabeth. Photo: Courtesy of BBC One


Episode Four Season 2 Episode 4
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Listen, Cornishmen, if you haven’t learned by now that there’s no future in “free trading,” you deserve to die of some unspecified lung ailment in Truro Jail. This isn’t, like, NAFTA. It’s buying stuff from boats without paying tax or whatever.

We open tonight’s episode with some of Ross’s friends being hauled off in cuffs, with the implication that an informer hides in our midst. I trust no one. Does Ross want to get involved? You bet. Does Demelza muzzle him successfully for once? She sure does.

Happily (or sadly, depending on your view of class structure), Francis is one of the magistrates for some reason? Anyway, he gets the criminals off with three months hard labor, but I am really not sure why he was allowed to weigh in. Are rich people just allowed to put on wigs and roll into court? What a country!

The Warleggans hope to acquire Ross’s large promissory note to torment him, as per usual. This town could really use a credit union. Surely there’s a market for someone to make better terms than “40 percent interest, also we can call it in at any time, also you can be thrown in jail.”

Pug Lady is engaged to some helpless-looking aristocrat (well, he hopes she is, because the engagement party is tonight), and immediately sweeps off inquiring after marzipan for the Fat Pug. Lady, if you’re feeding a pug marzipan, you’ve brought this on yourself. I am concerned about this party, as we have not yet seen the Poldarks pull off attending a party without disaster, either romantically or economically. George is there, having most recently been tossed across a room by Ross, so that’s a good start. More dangerously, some mouth-breathing idiot has seated Elizabeth and Ross next to each other, which IMMEDIATELY becomes a full-on flirt session.

Elizabeth is the one running her mouth here, for sure. Ross is all, “Oh before I left for the war, it was so long ago, you were so young, let’s enjoy our dinner,” and Elizabeth flat-out says, “I thought I loved Francis more than you but I was wrong,” like this is a normal thing to say to your cousin-in-law during a DINNER PARTY. I am an ardent feminist, but Francis needs to get this lady in line, stat. Ross is like, “Oh, shit!” and drains his drink as quickly as possible. I have to say, Elizabeth’s chutzpah has raised my impression of her a few notches, even as I disapprove.

George and the Poldarks have their usual unpleasant encounter, which makes George move heaven and Earth to get his hands on the aforementioned promissory note. George, of course, is still engaged in his psycho-sexual clinch with Elizabeth, and offers to give the note freely to Ross in exchange for … her friendship. (Is that what you kids are calling it nowadays?) On his way out, he straight-up tells the old lady that he hopes she’ll be dead the next time he sees her, which caused my mouth to literally fall open. If I had pearls, I would have clutched them. SHE IS YOUR ELDER, SIR. New money is so crude. The old lady, in return, says, “Big mistake.” I hope she poisons him. You know she could!

Pug Lady (who has jilted her aristocratic suitor) and Dr. Enys meet in the woods, and their feelings are made known. Personally, I think she’s no good and he could do better, but considering how much trouble everyone is getting into with promissory notes, the allure of wedding an heiress does make sense. Being able to tell the Warleggans to go stuff themselves, what fun! They part on the understanding she will return in December, when she comes of age. (She looks like she’s 30, but I guess if Stockard Channing could play Rizzo, Pug Lady can pretend to be a teenager.)

Francis, having found some massive hunks of copper in the mine, runs to Nampara to tell Demelza, and goes on to confess that he sold her and Ross out back in the day. She reassures him it’s water under the bridge, he says this is why Ross loves her.


She says, “I think he loves Elizabeth more.” Which, for the record, I don’t think is true. I think he loves Demelza more, he just carries a torch for Elizabeth and really wants to bone her. But I can’t believe Demelza TOLD Francis that! Everyone is trying to get along! Francis, to his eternal credit, proceeds to very sweetly tell her that she constantly underestimates herself even though she’s the best thing that ever happened to their weird family. Good for you, Francis! You are getting your shit together.

Or at least he was. After Francis said good-bye to his son and made things right with Demelza, I was seriously concerned. I’ve seen television before! Obviously, he falls into water deep in the mine, alone. This is why we now have OSHA. To my complete shock, this is curtains for Francis. I really thought Ross would save him in time. I’m going to miss him. He was a good egg, all things considered.

What does this mean for the Poldarks? Watch this space for more.

Shirtlessness Report: The usual mining sweatiness, dwarfed by a very pleasant glimpse of him in the bathtub flirting with Demelza. Our persistence has paid off.

Poldark Recap: Lighten Up, Francis