I am so worried for our protagonists. They’re just smiling at each other so much. TOO much. This is Poldark. Nothing good can come from smiling. I didn’t spend years watching soap operas without learning that if you spend all your time talking about how great it is that your ex-husband, Roman, gave you his blessing to be together before he died, then any minute Roman’s coming back with amnesia and thinking you’re still married to him.
Ross and Demelza walk by the sea and do absolutely zero pensive gazing into it because they are too busy being happy. Demelza sings a nice song. Towards the end of the episode, Ross bathes her. What is this, season one? Not to harp on a point, but all my red alerts are blaring for these two. Surely by series end, Ross or Demelza or both will be run over by a rampaging ox.
The themes of this episode (aside from my suspicion) are terrible parties and madness. You’d think that would make for one of the more entertaining hours of this season, but instead it’s just exasperating. Why is Caroline so bad at throwing parties! What else is she doing with her time? Hopefully commissioning fancy outfits for her dog, but we have thus far seen no evidence of that. If we don’t by season’s end see that pug in a Marie Antoinette costume, I will begin seriously questioning Caroline’s priorities.
Said bad party comes about because the Despards have come to Truro and someone spits at Kitty. Dwight almost duels him, but Caroline says instead she will hold a party to solve racism. Her strategy for this is to invite every awful person in town to be in a room together where they can all be terrible at once. There is literally no rationale for this. But it does get all the rich people of Truro in a room together, including Lady Whitworth. If you will remember, she stole Morwenna’s baby from her and won’t allow her to see him. She of course then also invites Drake and Morwenna, and I am almost literally tongue-tied. Why, Caroline! Why did you do this! This is such an awful party!
The guy we keep seeing who sells mahogany and enslaves people is also there (is Caroline thinking she’s going to change his mind by letting him mill around and insult the only nice people in town? What is the GAME PLAN here, Caroline?), and not only tells Kitty he knows of her “savage origins” but also gets extremely gross and in her space. CAROLINE, YOUR PARTY SUCKS. Then Ross sucker-punches mahogany guy, which no one is probably sad about, and so the party ends.
Meanwhile, at George’s house, he continues to see Elizabeth, and his uncle has had enough. He has George dragged to his room. Bedrest isn’t good enough, though, because now on top of seeing Elizabeth, he hallucinates that his uncle is Ross and shoots at him. This results in the horrors of the early 19th century mental health plan, which here involves leeches, ice baths, and being strapped down to a bed. Surprisingly, this does not work, and by episode’s end, George looks like the walking dead — walking because he escapes! Escapes in his nightshirt to Ross and Demelza’s home, where his son is cozily sitting inside with the person we all know is 100 percent his biological father. Note I don’t say “real” father, because George has raised him, albeit at arm’s length. Speaking of which, if you feel distant from him, George, it’s because you spend zero time with him and he is wandering around the village on his own.
Dwight sees George out the window and follows him, which is good because George is standing on a cliff over the sea. This would be the end of him right here if Dwight didn’t grab him at the last moment. Dwight and George clinging to each other is the first gay energy this show has seen. Do I ship Dwight/George? Probably not, but … maybe.
Due to Dwight’s intervention in George’s treatment, it appears the leeches and ice baths are to be banished and replaced by “kindness and patience,” which the other doctor rolls his eyes at. I’ve enjoyed “doesn’t have all his wits about him” George because he’s less outright awful, but the time has come for him to recuperate. The clock is ticking and we only have five episodes left! I need to know if the Poldarks and Warleggans foster some sort of peace or go down fighting like Gandalf and the Balrog.
In this episode’s other storylines, Geoffrey Charles and Cecily continue to flirt, but Cecily’s father is onto them and pretty sure his daughter won’t enjoy anything in this life if he has anything to say about it. Ross blackmails George’s uncle into paying for Geoffrey Charles’s first year at the military academy, so he’s off to do that probably. There’s a whole thing that happens where people get trapped in a mine and the Warleggans are just kinda gonna leave them there, but Ross, Despard, and some others save them. Despard behaves recklessly to the point of worrying both Ross and Dwight. In the plus column for Despard is his talk of “vittles and rum,” which is my new band name, but in the minus column are basically all his other actions.
Questions For Next Time
• How long can this smiling go on?
• Can Morwenna ever have nice things?
• Will anyone tell Caroline how terrible her parties are or are we all just going to hang around feeling awkward about it?