‘So what have you been up to?' Ross blundered when he returned to Demelza after months in Westminster. But the hero was soon back to his best down the mine and on the kitchen table in Poldark, by Jim Shelley
There were encouraging signs that the hero was rediscovering his swashbuckling swagger in Poldark.
Having spent the best part of a year and two series suffering all manner of humiliation, this week saw Captain Ross finally evoking the man (the real man) he was in the old days (back in 2015).
Here was the all-action, impassioned, lover/fighter (and tin miner) from his heyday (Season One) adored by everyone – his wife (Demelza), his ex (Elizabeth), the local villagers (his staff/servants), and (most importantly) us.
Back to his best: There were encouraging signs that the hero was rediscovering his swashbuckling swagger in Poldark
Last Sunday’s episode had seen Ross seemingly exiled to London but the newly elected MP for Truro was quickly neglecting his duties, returning to Nampara, to mindlessly swing his axe down t’pit, beat up dozens of mal-nourished peasants on the beach, and ravage Demelza on the kitchen table (all with his shirt off naturally).
Frankly Poldark had never looked happier, although which he enjoyed most was open to discussion.
Obviously not everything was plain sailing.
Swagger: Having spent the best part of a year suffering all manner of humiliation, this week saw Captain Ross finally evoking the man (the real man) he was in the old days
Having lost his seat to Poldark (as it were), George Warleggan was plotting revenge and Poldark’s mining prospects were looking shaky, as is traditional.
His main problem, of course, was recovering from Demelza’s dalliance with the bad lieutenant/poet Hugh Armitage and repairing the damage he/she/it had done to their marriage.
Here are the 10 key events for Poldark in this week’s episode.
1.Poldark’s letters to Demelza
It would be mean to say it was surprising to find that Demelza could actually read but some of the words in Ross’ letters home (like his ‘trepidation’ at entering the Commons and the government’s ‘contentious’ legislation) did seem slightly optimistic. They showed that whilst his wife having passionate, sandy, sex on the beach with Lieutenant Armitage was admittedly regrettable, her newfound interest in poetry/the poet had done wonders for her vocabulary.
Long distance: Writing to her husband in London, Demelza’s letters opened with news such as ‘today we ploughed the long field’
2. Demelza’s letters to Poldark
Captain Ross’ correspondence implied that he, rather than Demelza, had got the short end of the stick with their new circumstances, lamenting how the debates ‘raging on’ kept him in London and acknowledging her role ‘managing affairs at home a little longer.’ (It was probably better not to mention ‘affairs.’) Demelza’s letters meanwhile opened with news such as ‘today we ploughed the long field’ and were accompanied by footage of the flame-haired supermodel spending her days ploughing a very long field, cleaning, cooking, and digging for copper (all in her green dress, naturally).
3. Poldark in the House of Commons
‘Ridicule is nothing to be scared of !’ Poldark declared in one of his letters, valiantly vowing to rise above the London MPs giving him the nickname ‘Wurzel Gummidge.’ ‘I am resolved to do what I came here to do’ (i.e. whatever Lord Bassett and Lord Falmouth told him to/wanted). We saw the Man of the People/firebrand in action, commending the bill by William Wilberforce in a speech that raged: ‘I submit there is suffering and injustice closer to home which also requires our attention - children in the mills of the North!’ Not to mention the tin mines of Cornwall.
City life: ‘Ridicule is nothing to be scared of !’ Poldark declared in one of his letters, valiantly vowing to rise above the London MPs giving him the nickname ‘Wurzel Gummidge
4. Poldark becoming seduced by the debauched ways of ‘that London’/female Londoners
Ross would have to be pretty dumb not to realise why his wife had ended up pretending she liked poetry and swooning over Hugh Armitage, or foreseeing that it could happen again. But of course pretty and dumb described our hero perfectly. Demelza’s cousin Verity turned up from Lisbon and wondered ‘how has it been without Ross?’ ‘Ross? Do we know any Ross?!’ mused Demelza mockingly, causing roars of laughter from Caroline, Prudie, and even the children. Poldark meanwhile was down in ‘that London’, attending a fancy ball and then retiring to his room with two ladies of dubious morals.
‘May I offer you some refreshment?’ he purred (unwisely).
‘We thought to offer you some my lord,’ one beauty purred back (keenly) as the second moved closer (even more eagerly).
Poldark thankfully made his excuses but the way he uttered ‘another time perhaps’ didn’t bode well.
Seduced? Poldark was down in ‘that London’, attending a fancy ball and then retiring to his room with two ladies of dubious morals
5. Poldark hopelessly re-uniting with Demelza
Demelza’s heart skipped a beat when she spied Ross riding along the cliff-top and up to the house after a coach journey from London longer and more tedious than travelling by National Express. The moment was somewhat ruined though (along with the hope and romance) when Poldark greeted her: ‘you look…thinner.’ Her infatuation with Hugh had shattered his confidence so badly he had totally lost the gift of the gab – as he demonstrated by adding: ‘So, what have you been up to?’
(What are you, 13?)
No wonder Demelza just looked at him in amazement and laughed: ‘seeing to your mine, to your farm, your household, your children’ and scoffing ‘that’s what I’ve been ‘up to’!’
Reunited: Demelza’s heart skipped a beat when she spied Ross riding along the cliff-top and up to the house
‘All the way home I wondered how this would be,’ he sulked in response. ‘Would there be anger, jealousy? Would we laugh again, like we used to?’
‘I don’t know Ross. Will we?’ Demelza chided.
It certainly didn’t sound like it, no.
6. Poldark’s continuing awkwardness with Demelza
‘We seem like strangers now,’ Demelza mooted.
‘We were strangers before I left - and not of my doing…’ Ross pointed out.
‘But of mine?’ carped his wife. ‘That’s what you’ve been thinking all this time? That I’ve been grieving for Hugh?’ (Not exactly unreasonable.)
‘Tis all past – done with,’ she maintained offended, although this was mostly because Armitage was dead.
Strangers: ‘We seem like strangers now,’ Demelza mooted. ‘We were strangers before I left - and not of my doing…’ Ross pointed out
7. Poldark is humiliated by his own miners/peasants
‘Do we hear awt from the MP for Truro or be ee now too grand for the likes of we ee ye?’ one of the illiterate, incomprehensible, villagers asked Dr. Dwight.
Ross described himself as having become ‘soft and fat’ thanks to his ‘pampered and decadent’ lifestyle in London, where he had become ‘quite the celebrite’ according to Geoffrey Charles.
Nonetheless he still took umbrage when he returned to get the mine out of a hole, sniping: ‘do you think me out of touch with my own mine?’
‘No disrespect…’ they said – with no respect – showing the answer to this was clearly: yes.
8. Poldark bonds with the villagers
‘Who will lead the excavations?’ the poor miners cried when Poldark announced he was sticking to his plan – a rhetorical question if ever there was one.
He still answered it anyway.
‘I will !’
Out of touch: Ross took umbrage when he returned to get the mine out of a hole, sniping: ‘do you think me out of touch with my own mine?’
He enjoyed himself enormously smashing up rock with his pickaxe, knocking out several peasants in a fight on the beach, before adjourning to the nearest inn with the men, drinking ale and singing songs about what a great bloke he was.
9. Poldark is humiliated by Elizabeth and the evil Monk Adderley
Elizabeth continued her inexplicable transformation in this series, pimping herself out for George Warleggan at his party to impress political big-wigs.
‘Sir Christopher Hawkins - lawyer, MP, baronet, high sheriff of Cornwall. I must make a point of dancing with him!’ she told Warleggan obligingly.
‘This is what you were born for my dear!’ he trembled, as if this were a compliment rather than a slight on her morality.
Action: He enjoyed himself enormously smashing up rock with his pickaxe, knocking out several peasants in a fight on the beach
Elizabeth had seemed positively charmed when Poldark had ‘trespassed’ and chatted her up by lavishing praise on her son Geoffrey Charles.
But she left him disappointed to say the least (for several reasons) when Captain Monk Adderley interrupted them, insulting Poldark by sneering: ‘when I saw you talking to Miss Warleggan I took you for a threadbare troubadour who’d been dismissed without a tip.’
‘I sing ill and accept tips with even less grace,’ purred Poldark only for Adderley to look at Elizabeth and leer: ‘whereas I on principle always accept what ladies have to offer.’
Poldark waited for Elizabeth to slap the bounder down, only to watch in astonishment as instead she returned to the party on Monk Adderley’s arm.
10. Poldark and Demelza ‘make up’ in the best manner possible – on the kitchen table
Ross returned home to find Demelza folding up the washing after a long day’s ploughing etc, telling her where he’d been and who he’d seen.
‘She was not UN-welcoming,’ he opined, unnecessarily, before asking: ‘You don’t suspect an attachment there still?’
‘No more than you suspect an attachment to Hugh,’ came her riposte. Touche.
‘I cannot compete with a ghost,’ he moped, although it sounded preferable to the alternative.
‘No more than I could compete with an ideal,’ she said (of Elizabeth).
Kiss: Ross returned home to find Demelza folding up the washing after a long day’s ploughing
‘Is that why it happened with Hugh? To teach me a lesson?’
‘You know it was not,’ she insisted, which was surely worse. (This suggested their affair had happened because she liked him/for the sex.)
He presented her with the earrings he had bought, although a new dress would have been better.
‘Are we strangers still?’ she wondered, rather killing the moment.
‘Yes,’ he declared, killing it further. ‘But strangers who know every inch of each other’s skin. So perhaps we should begin again from there…’
She seemed to like this idea and let him practically hurl on to the kitchen table and lift her skirt up as the camera cut to a shot of her kettle boiling (in the fireplace that is). A happy ending and a sex scene now known as: The Poldark Always Rings Twice.
Steamy: ‘Are we strangers still?’ she wondered, rather killing the moment. ‘Yes,’ he declared, killing it further. ‘But strangers who know every inch of each other’s skin. So perhaps we should begin again from there…’
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