For those of you missing Ross “Makes Huge Life Decisions Without Telling His Family” Poldark, don’t worry, he’s back in this episode. With some fresh updates! (But no topless scything.) After the action lull that was last week, a whole lot happens here, so let’s get into it.
We’re mainly all about George, Ross, and Ned Despard this week, with some other story lines popping their heads around the corner in a more beguiling way than they have in recent memory. Either the writers are tired of Mad Sir George or they miss old, evil George too much, because his recovery is both swift and seemingly complete. To Poldark’s credit, though, the show gives George and several other characters space to make affecting speeches that I may have watched multiple times.
So how does George recover? Dwight is officially put in charge of his case, and his prescriptions are sunshine and unlocked doors. Sure. They visit Elizabeth’s grave, and George talks through the pain and anger of her leaving. This all feels very healthy. They wind up in George’s bedroom, where Dwight walks him through Elizabeth’s death, which he finally remembers, speaking of his “living, breathing, beautiful wife” leaving him. You’re sitting there, possibly all up in your own feelings, when suddenly the George we’re all used to snaps back into place and speaks of the upcoming business transaction that is his marriage to Cecily.
I feel properly ashamed that Sad George is my favorite character on Poldark (the few times he shows up), but Jack Farthing is so good at breaking George’s cold, calculated, sneering face into a weeping mess that it’s inevitably moving. Now that he has started passing through his initial grief over Elizabeth’s death, will we ever see Sad George again? We’re halfway through the final season, so in all likelihood, no. I’ll miss you, Sad George.
“Wait, his marriage to Cecily?,” you interrupt, callously ignoring my ode to everyone’s least-favorite character. Yes! He is moving forward with a marriage he does not care about to a girl who definitely will not like him. This is particularly distressing because not only do Geoffrey Charles and Cecily visit what I stubbornly refuse to think of as anything but Drake and Morwenna’s wishing well, but he declares his love for her on a windswept cliff in true Poldarkian fashion.
Cecily chastises him for ruining their friendship, which can put one in mind of only Anne of Green Gables being extremely upset with Gilbert for the same. Also Jo in Little Women. Fortunately, Louisa May Alcott is not here to ruin everyone’s expectations, so by episode’s end, Cecily tells Geoffrey Charles they must elope, and I find myself finally caring about these two.
But what is happening with Ross and Ned and Demelza? Because George’s mine is still closed after the accident, people are starving and being evicted from their homes. Ned is extremely upset, and Ross decides to try to buy the mine from George. Surely, you say, this new smiley Ross discusses the purchase with Demelza first. Not really! He’ll have to mortgage his entire estate, and he just signs the document without telling her. Ross. Ross. I thought we’d moved past this. What are you doing? You’ve been so much better this season.
In an unexpected twist, Cecily’s evil father bribes Tilly to stir unrest among the miners, so she asks Ned to lead a protest to George’s house. It absolutely looks like it will end with everyone getting arrested and/or shot, but Ned only breaks George’s arm after George tries to shoot him. Then George agrees to reopen the mine. Everyone disperses, and Ross doesn’t have to mortgage anything. All’s fine now, right? Absolutely not! Because Demelza tells him she loves his heart but sometimes she thinks he takes it for granted that she’ll stand by him no matter what. GOOD JOB, DEMELZA. Then Ross ruins the moment by starting his romantic reply by reminiscing, “When I dragged you from the dog fight—.” A gold “You Tried” star for Ross.
So Ross won’t lose everything by buying a mine, Cecily and Geoffrey Charles are going to try to elope, George is back to being evil. What else? Oh, there is more, albeit seen in bits and snatches in this episode. Morwenna sees her son in the marketplace and proceeds to peer at him from behind a thicket. (Have we talked about how Morwenna got bangs? I am not a fan.) She repeats this thicket skulking later and looks 100 percent like a fairy-tale witch, but her son comes after her anyway. This time, Drake has followed her and looks painfully on as she asks her son if he knows who she is (nope). Surely this will not end well, which should really be the subtitle of the show. Poldark: This Will Not End Well.
The story line I was most surprised to care about in this episode was Caroline and Dwight’s. Caroline has been given nothing to do this whole season except throw terrible parties, so it was a relief to see her strolling the gardens with her pug, Horace, making passive-aggressive comments to him about how Dwight admires Ned’s sick wife, Kitty, only because she has faced adversity. Caroline continues to talk to her dog throughout the episode in lieu of any actual humans, which frankly worries me. I mean, who among us has not had an animated conversation with a mostly mute pet? But also, Dwight is literally standing right there, Caroline.
In the final scenes, Tess, who has spent most of the episode riling up the populace, gets fired from the Poldark house for a laundry list of reasons, including “ate their groceries without permission” and “maybe set their house on fire.” It feels like a weird anticlimax for the episode. Does this mean Tess’s employment status will become a major plot point in the future? Or do the Poldark writers just get a thrill out of staffing changes and assume we all do too?
Questions for Next Time
• On a scale of one to ten, how much revenge will Tess wreak? Is it an 11?
• Will Morwenna grow out her bangs since they do nothing for her?
• Can Caroline find a friend who is not her pug, Horace?
• Will Sad George ever return, or are we doomed to Sneering George for the rest of Poldark’s short time on this earth?