Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza, Aidan Turner as Ross.
The pacing of Poldark has felt a bit like Game of Thrones, given the BANANAS STUFF that occurred in the episodes leading up to the finale, so I was eager to see how the show would handle this last hour. Would it take everything to an eleven? Or would it just tidy it all up?
Reader, it went to an eleven. GLORIOUS TELEVISION. Glorious. I am sitting here, my bosom still heaving.
George is going Full George, and I honestly regret that Elizabeth took my advice to seal the deal. His underlings are now shooting people on sight, which is frowned upon by most polite societies. Even Grima Wormtongue is like, “Dude, maybe take it down a notch with the evil.” George also plans to ship Jeffrey Charles off to Harrow, one of the more cartoonishly terrible and brutal of the great British public schools of its time, and not where you want your small child sent.
Ross, perky as a flower, continues to drastically underestimate the degree to which he has emotionally devastated Demelza, and delightedly pours a handful of coins into her hand like Judas Iscariot might have done. Where is my full and complete apology? WHERE IS MY FULL AND COMPLETE APOLOGY?
Meanwhile, the long-suffering Dr. Enys is diagnosing Pug Lady’s uncle with diabetes. The minute we heard his pee was overly sweet, I was like HE’S GOT THE SUGAR, continuing my streak of uninterrupted successful 18th-century doctoring. The uncle informs him that Pug Lady is to marry Lord Fanciest Name I Have Ever Heard, the heir to the Really Big Castle estate. So, of course, Enys takes to the sea in hopes that he will find valor or a swift death. He’s emo, but I do love him.
Hamilton fans will relish the flurry of A. Ham/A. Burr–esque letters exchanged by Ross and George as they fight out the question of his down-low gift to Elizabeth last year. It seems the sold shares are now worth a great deal of money, so George wants them back. You can see Elizabeth busily filling with regret as she overhears that Ross was her mysterious benefactor, a moment cut short by George’s decision to tell Ross to … wait for it … “GO BACK TO YOUR SCULLERY MAID.”
All those fisticuffs lessons aside, Ross is about to shove George’s head into the fire when the servants finally pull him off. He comes home to Demelza looking for sympathy, but that unreasonable bitch is still mad at him. “It was one night!” are the words that come out of this man’s idiot mouth. It would only take ME one night to yank out all of his fingernails and force him to eat them, but I doubt “one night” would be a mitigating defense in court. Demelza picks this moment to tell him about her near-adultery with Redcoat Malcolm, which he predictably uses to clamber back onto his high horse.
“I do not admire you for this!” — A literal quotation from the world’s most self-absorbed man, Ross Poldark.
Now we have TWO men taking to the sea, a development that treats us to the very welcome sight of Ross squeezing back into his old uniform. You have a family and a tin mine, but whatever, go sulk.
Demelza heads out to see a VERY PREGNANT Verity, who proceeds to go into immediate labor (and not die, which is a great relief to those of us who white-knuckle their way through all period-drama childbirth scenes). Speaking of pregnant, so is Elizabeth! She is too much of a dummy to think “Huh, I wonder whose baby this is?” but don’t worry, the old lady is on it. “Gonna go great for you if you give birth to a ten-pound baby who’s supposed to be two months early,” she says, and Elizabeth immediately turns pale. Okay, paler than usual.
Ross, choosing to do something useful for once in his sinful life, reunites Pug Lady and Enys. I would be very “whatever, fine” about this, were it not for Pug Lady deciding to ride him like a fine Cornish stallion in the few days they have left before he goes to sea. Good for you, Pug Lady! According to hundreds of years of English common-law tradition, if you said you were getting married, you were married enough to do it, so why stand in the way of love? Many congratulations to Pug Lady and Enys.
Okay, now everything starts to HAPPEN.
Our girl Demelza decides it’s finally time to square up with Elizabeth. Honestly, I’m surprised she didn’t immediately lay Elizabeth out like she did Ross, but it’s always nice to see people blame the cheater and not the other party. Elizabeth contributes nothing of worth to the conversation, and the take-home is that Demelza elects to just pack her shit and go back to her dad’s place. That’s a terrible idea, but no one thinks it’ll actually happen.
As Demelza leaves Trenwith, one of Warleggan’s underlings literally SHOOTS HER IN THE ARM, which, as you can imagine, goes down a treat with the locals, who have been spoiling for a fight with the new-money usurpers for a while now. A drunk Jud proceeds to talk everyone into the full pitchforks-and-torches route, despite Demelza’s best efforts to diffuse things. Showing a degree of restraint that I personally do not possess, Demelza attempts to warn George and Elizabeth about the approaching mob and somehow manages to not respond to Elizabeth’s pregnancy news by ratting her out.
Of course, Ross literally rides in on a horse to act like A Good Man — acting, of course, because he is A BAD MAN. In short order, he disperses the crowd and scoops up Demelza, whom he has decided not to literally abandon as if that’s praiseworthy.
Returning home to the sight of Demelza’s packed bags FINALLY gives Ross the shot in the arm we’ve been waiting for. Confronted with the threat of a lasting consequence, he gives her a full apology and promises his fidelity. “My true, real, and abiding love isn’t for her,” he says. “It’s for you.” I’m still mad at him, but if Demelza is willing to move forward, so am I.
Meet you back here next season, where we shall see if Ross is prepared to put his money where his mouth is — and not, we hope, on Elizabeth’s.
Shirtlessness Report: Ross looks great in his old uniform, I’ll give him that.