Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE
I begin this week’s episode with a heavy heart. As relentlessly dull as I find the Morwendrake plotline, the idea of the poor girl being stuck with Whitworth gives me no joy. There’s a reason Jane Austen didn’t dwell on Charlotte’s marriage to Mr. Collins more than necessary: A lovely young woman shanghaied into a lifetime spent with a toadlike dolt in exchange for financial security and (minor) social advancement isn’t much scope for comedy.
The mere SIGHT of Whitworth strolling out in his jammies to summon a grim-faced Morwenna to bed is almost too much to bear. What’s worse, of course, is the sight of Morwenna’s pregnant belly. I know divorces were not a dime a dozen in this time period, but there’s a rather horrid finality to the idea of her actually having his kid. She should poison him, honestly. It’s 18th-century Cornwall — no one is going to find out. Well, perhaps that pesky Dr. Enys. (He’s looking a bit less miserable, by the way, just in time to get fake-married to his real wife.)
Aunt Agatha is having a 100th birthday party, and I must take this opportunity to say what I hope we’re all thinking: Agatha is … KIND OF A BITCH? Obviously George is a hobgoblin, but he is feeding and housing her, and she devotes herself 24/7 to implying he’s a cuckold and undermining him at every turn. Not to mention that she’s going to get Elizabeth in trouble if she doesn’t start occasionally keeping her mouth shut. And she keeps saying nasty shit about the baby, which is just next-level. You can tell she’s cruising for a bruising.
George’s main interest at the moment — well, as a subset of his usual interest in social climbery — is scrambling toward a seat in Parliament, and the fact that Lord Falmouth seems far more interested in Ross than having his ass kissed by a Warleggan is really sticking in his craw. This whole plotline is resolutely boring and I refuse to learn what a burgess is, so let’s just say that the people want reform, etc., etc., corruption, Gotham needs a hero, etc. Also, Ross couldn’t bother to shave for his BEST FRIEND’S FAKE WEDDING, which is a bit much even for Ross.
Meanwhile, Morwenna is really beginning to yank on my heartstrings, especially when it becomes clear that her life sucks so much she can’t even pull an Elizabeth and just grit her teeth through it. She informs Demelza both that she had been WOEFULLY unaware of what her Marital Duties would entail and, flatly, that her husband is a monster.
POISON HIM! POISON HIM! PUT A PILLOW OVER HIS FACE AND SAY A WRAITH TOOK HIM IN THE NIGHT! WAIT A FEW MONTHS AND MARRY DRAKE!
Morwenna’s sister has shown up to help out a bit during her confinement, and is already like, “Oh my God, he sucks so much.” Maybe she’ll help dispose of the body! I said in jest, but, in fact, she is UP FOR IT. Finally, a Chenowyth woman with spirit!
Ross himself is no great shakes in the husband department at the current time. He’s doing that thing where he pays zero attention to Demelza, not even having the DECENCY to be a little jealous that the Armitage lad is sweet on her, and forgetting that she occasionally likes to go places and see people instead of brooding around about social inequality.
I have to admit that I, like Ross, was not inclined to take the mild flirtations of Armitage seriously … until their dinner at Sir Francis’s threw a lot of weird little vibes into sharp relief. Armitage is DEFINITELY eye-humping Demelza, and he’s very cute and looks like he could be in One Direction! Not content with eye-humping, he also says a variety of JUST barely kosher things to her! It’s almost as sexy as how miserable George is as an uninvited guest, cooling his heels in the hall while the Poldarks and the Enyses dine with the gentry. My favorite George is Thirsty George, so it’s all quite delightful. His look of absolute MISERY when he overhears Sir Francis finally flat-out ask Ross to stand as a candidate in the upcoming election is as sweet as sugar.
George, having finally had ENOUGH of Agatha’s shit, outsources some sleuthing to the servants and delightedly informs her that she’s only turning 98, not 100, and then cancels her party. Obviously, she goes FULL BANSHEE on him and proceeds to issue #realtalk about how his baby isn’t his baby, because she’s like that. I don’t know how he didn’t strangle her, but I legitimately felt terrible for him. For George Warleggan! Anyway, she immediately dies, so I guess the old witch got hers anyway.
In case that wasn’t enough drama for you, George wheedles his way into the candidacy Ross turned down, sparking an absolute beauty of a fight between Ross and Demelza. I think it is actually possible that she might cheat on him and I HOPE SHE DOES.
See you next week!