Poldark Recap: A Widower For One Week


Episode 4
Season 3 Episode 4
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and Masterpiece

In keeping with Poldark’s favorite theme, we open on starving villagers ambushing a corn delivery to feed their children, only to be promptly gunned down by the authorities. To no one’s surprise, this was a Warleggan ship, so you can imagine George shows a lot of mercy to the surviving villagers who get dragged before him in court. Does he break out “stealing from your betters”? He does! Ross and George get to trade insults at each other for a while, including a “Maybe you should ask ELIZABETH” in response to a “How do you sleep at night?” which made me gasp.

A now hugely-pregnant Demelza is digging potatoes in the garden when her labor starts. She proceeds to birth her daughter solo, bathe her, wrap her up, and be sitting up in bed, looking glowy and beautiful and non-sweaty and without burst blood capillaries in her eyelids when Ross wanders in for lunch. That’s absolutely how birth goes.

Speaking of babies, Elizabeth continues to be a crummy mother to hers, who unreasonably insists on crying while no one picks him up or snoogles his little head. PICK UP YOUR BABY, ELIZABETH. Stop talking about how the Godolphins aren’t inviting you to dinner!

Meanwhile, Pug Lady has reason to believe that Enys will be home by Christmas, though Ross (reasonably) looks more than a little doubtful. We cut to the French prison, which looks a lot like the hospital in Gone With the Wind.

(There’s also a boring storyline about Morwenna and Jeffrey Charles going to Truro for Christmas, and how Drake will miss them, etc. etc. Make out or don’t, kids, you’re too young for me to care about your romance.)

Ross, who has surprisingly good handwriting, pens a letter to his Aunt Agatha to invite her to the baby’s christening. Prudie delivers it to Trenwith with some of the best bitchface I’ve ever seen, when George’s man crumples it up as soon as she leaves. But Morwenna and Jeffrey Charles DO attend, and Demelza rather hypocritically reminds Morwenna that Drake is too far below her station and she needs to get over it. This does not prevent her from frenching him in the empty church, however.

Pug Lady and Ross decide to go to Trenwith in person to pick up Aunt Agatha — Pug Lady being there to keep George’s men from shooting Ross on sight — and they discover her in a freezing house, underfed and fractious as ever. Ross begs her to come live at Nampara, but she refuses to give up her one true joy: annoying the shit out of George by refusing to die.

Also annoying the shit out of George? The discovery that Morwenna took Jeffrey Charles to the Poldark’s christening. I mean, she’s not a great governess, let’s be clear.

I am worried that George is going to marry her off in a fit of pique to this horrible Whitworth man who’s been a widower for one week and is already happy about a new waistcoat and a party. Because I am a genius, George instantly proposes it as a plan to Elizabeth. Whitworth is like a hornier Mr. Collins, poor Morwenna. George offers him 2,000 guineas to take her off his hands, Whitworth wants 6,000. They go back and forth about 80 times (it’s very funny, I must admit) and eventually arrive on 3,000 guineas. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s going to result in a scandalous elopement with Drake.

(Please know that every few scenes, we flash to Dr. Enys eating a rat or picking bullets out of a festering wound.)

Ross comes up with a sweet but obviously ruinously expensive plan to feed most of Cornwall, which involves turning Sulky Sam’s proto-church back into a storehouse for corn. Demelza and Pug Lady proceed to shake down the gentry for donations. They even get 50 guineas out of George, guilted into it by Elizabeth, who’s mad at him for dropping 3,000 on Morwenna’s dowry.

Elizabeth gets the fun job of breaking the news of her upcoming wedding bliss to a weeping Morwenna. She dishes out some #realtalk to the girl about how her first marriage was for love and it sucked, but her second, for convenience, has been far more successful. Yeah, Elizabeth, you seem so happy. That’s why you’re hitting the laudanum so hard. PICK UP YOUR BABY.

Whitworth, invited to entrance Morwenna with his personality, really works his charm, being both boring and ugly and gross and horny. “Your hesitancy does you credit!” Bro, does it? Morwenna flees the room, which doesn’t seem to put Whitworth off one jot. The thrill of the chase and all that. George packs her off back to Trenwith as a punishment, one she gleefully accepts.

George’s sleazy henchman observes Ross and company dispatching the corn, and George merrily prepares “to send the lot of them to Botany Bay.” Happily, the church/storehouse gambit is successful and George departs with a flea in his ear. Yet again, Ross has pissed George off at the cost of others: George proceeds to close Wheal Leisure just to spite him, sending 70 miners’ families into deep poverty. Ross hires 30 of the Wheal Leisure miners to help him explore extra lodes near Wheal Grace, mostly just to pay them wages, but they’ll probably find something.

(Flash to Dr. Enys sobbing hysterically as the French shoot the prisoner he just worked to save.)

Now I have to share with you the grossest thing Whitworth says, to his tailor as he requests tighter breeches. He wants them to inspire in his bride “awe and anticipation.” UGGHHHHHHHHHH.

As he’s being gross, Drake and Morwenna run sexily to each other across the beach. Will their attractive, young love prevail? Watch this space for more.

Poldark Recap: A Widower For One Week