Poldark: Look Up, and You’ll See Rock Bottom!

Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark in Season 2 episode 8 of Poldark

Previously on Poldark: Ross nearly got caught running around with the smuggling ring and was only saved by Enys’s intervention, which cost Enys Caroline. Elizabeth realised life is pretty chilly without a man, and when Ross wasn’t available to be at her beck and call, she immediately turned to George.

It’s another week, which means it’s time for things to get infinitely worse for everyone, including the viewer. Actually, that’s not entirely true–things are great for Verity, who seems to exist solely to prove that getting the hell out of this town is the best damn thing anyone can do for themselves. She comes back for a visit, accompanied by her crazy adorable stepson, who charms the heck out of everyone and possibly recruits Enys into the armed forces as a battle surgeon. Enys, drooping enormously after having been thoroughly dumped by Caroline (who returned all his letters and told him not to contact her again) actually seems to be considering it. Also: Verity’s pregnant! Hooray!

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Poldark: The Informant

Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark in season 2 episode 7 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: George started making moves on Elizabeth, Ross made extra money by helping out the local smugglers, and Enys fell for Caroline.

First things first: Enys is not dead. He is, however, single again, which is good news for those fans who lean more Dwight than Ross.

In one of the show’s more tightly plotted, tense episodes, we finally learned who our informant is (shockingly, they have no connection to George Warleggan). And Elizabeth pouts and acts like a bit of a brat, which makes me want to pull her aside and tell her, ‘Honey, you’re a strong, capable young woman, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Even though they’ve been telling you differently your whole life. You DO NOT need George or Ross to run your life. You can do this! Or, if you can’t, leave everything to Aunt Agatha. She seems to have it pretty well in hand.’

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Victoria: Young England

Jenna Coleman as Victoria in episode 8Previously on Victoria: Victoria found out she was pregnant, which did not delight her. But the railroad does, as she and Albert start checking out this whole ‘modern living’ thing.

Victoria’s reaching the end of her third trimester, and like many women at that time, she is OVER IT. Also, it’s getting a bit creepy, because the vultures are starting to circle already, the staff are tense, and everyone keeps bringing up Princess Charlotte again and again and again. We GET IT. She died young and tragically in childbirth. How come nobody’s countering that with the many, many women in Victoria’s family who came through it just fine? Like Charlotte’s grandmother, who produced fifteen children without a problem? Or Victoria’s own mother, who obviously survived?

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Poldark: Merry Christmas!

Ross and Elizabeth in season 2 episode 6 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Francis totally thought he’d hit copper down in the mine, and then he drowned.

Christmas is fast approaching, and it’s not looking like a merry one for anyone. Except Enys, because Caroline’s back! And she still hasn’t learned how these ‘relationship’ things work, but she’s willing to try and muddle through. She also tries to convince Enys to set up a fashionable practice somewhere…not in Cornwall, but he refuses to just be some bored doctor to rich hypochondriacs, because: Honour. And to her credit, Caroline is fairly cool with it.

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Ripper Street: Edmund Reid Did This

tumblr_obthyldp5g1um3yluo1_1280Previously on Ripper Street: Someone was going around biting people to death, which is bad. Very bad. And that someone has a connection to both Croker and Dove, and Jackson figures out who it is right before they all go to rob the customs house, so now he’s in a tight spot.

Hey, is that Arthurton? Where’s he been? We begin with Drake paying his old co-worker a visit, mostly so poor Drake can have his face smashed in someone else’s incredible happiness. And so Arthurton can tell Drake that the only thing to cling to in this world is someone who loves you. That’s a mean thing to say to someone who’s having serious marital difficulties and clearly has no idea how to fix them (and honestly, neither do I).

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Victoria: The Engine of Change

victoria-ep7-5-culture-large_transeo_i_u9apj8ruoebjoaht0k9u7hhrjvuo-zlengrumaPreviously on Victoria: Victoria and Albert were married, and really enjoying themselves, if you know what I mean. Francatelli did Miss S a solid and admitted he has feelings for her. Albert searched for a cause and started to make nice with Robert Peel.

Unsurprisingly, Victoria’s knocked up, and she does not receive the news with unmitigated joy. It’s not because she hates kids or anything, but because she’s terrified. Rightly so, since she keeps getting reminded (and reminds herself constantly) that the only reason she’s queen is because Princess Charlotte died in childbirth. Horribly. Really horribly. And it’s not like things had gotten all that much better in the intervening years. Victoria also resents everyone treating her like she’s some sort of invalid who needs constant naps and mushy, unpleasant food.

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Poldark: Sink or Swim

Francis inspects the mine in season 2 episode 5 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Frances totally turned his life around, and he and Ross went into business together, opening up an old mine. George continued to be a total cartoon villain, Demelza worried about her marriage and gave birth to a son, and Enys and Caroline flirted all over the place.

All right, let’s stock some tissues and do this.

A year has passed, so the Poldark sprog is a toddler now and Wheal Grace is fixed up and ready for business. Things are looking up! Which means it’s time for things to get depressing.

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Ripper Street: No Wolves in Whitechapel

Drake and Jackson examine the body of Thomas Gower in season 4 episode 6 of Ripper StreetPreviously on Ripper Street: Someone (or something) is stalking the streets of Whitechapel, biting the hell out of people and killing them. The police thought it was Isaac Bloom, but since it looks like he/it has struck again, Bloom is now an unlikely candidate.

The body of Thomas Gower is found, and Whitechapel is in an uproar. Miss Goren hears about it and arrives at the scene of the crime to very publicly grieve before being taken back to the orphanage for a steadying drink by Reid. There, she tells him the children still see this ‘Golem’ they’d been talking about, and she shows him pictures the kids have drawn of a wolf-like creature. She also reluctantly tells Reid about Castello’s friendship with Matilda, because she’s a bit concerned about the nature of it.

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Victoria: The Queen’s Husband

Prince Albert attends an abolitionist meeting in Victoria episode 6Previously on Victoria: After a fair bit of wrangling, Victoria and Albert got married.

Victoria and Albert get to enjoy a whole two days’ honeymoon before it’s back to business. Well, back to business for her, anyway. All Albert gets to do is wander around the palace, examining the dust and occasionally blot her signature. Joy! It takes about .00003 seconds for him to become bored out of his mind. But at least the sex is good, so there’s that.

So good, in fact, that Victoria is not eager for any wee ones to come along and spoil the fun. She turns to Lehzen for advice on birth control, which would make sense if Lehzen weren’t a lifelong spinster. Come on, Victoria, it’s not like you don’t have other ladies you’re close to who are actually married that you can ask. Lehzen gives predictably terrible advice that sees the queen hopping up and down on the furniture post-lovin’. Albert catches her at it one night and is basically like, ‘WTF are you doing? Is this some strange English thing?’ Victoria explains herself, and Albert explains to her that the only way to actually avoid pregnancy is abstinence. Does she want that? No, she definitely does not. And that’s how these two ended up with nine children (it sure as hell wasn’t because Victoria liked or actually wanted them).

Domestically, then, things are ok, but officially, they kind of suck. Victoria throws a dinner party, and on the way in she talks a big game about Albert taking precedence over her uncle, the Duke of Sussex, but as soon as Sussex actually shows his face, she gives in right away and lets him escort her into the dining room, leaving Albert trailing behind with his aunt. He’s not happy about this, and Victoria realises she screwed up (mostly because Albert won’t have sex with her that night), so she sets about trying to fix it, and in the process, shows she’s finally starting to get the hang of political maneuvering.

Victoria finds out that Sussex married a commoner in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act, and that even though everyone knows about this wife, she’s not officially recognised. In return for Sussex giving way to Albert in precedence, she agrees to welcome his wife to court and makes her Duchess of Inverness. Sussex takes the deal.

Albert, meanwhile, finds a cause: the abolition of slavery. The British abolition society really wants Victoria to speak at their big meeting, which will welcome such luminaries as Sir Robert Peel. Victoria totally supports their cause, but gently tells the men that, as monarch, she really can’t be seen to take a side here. But Albert can! He agrees to not only attend, but to give a speech. His new secretary, Anson (formerly in the employ of Melbourne), gives Albert a lot of help with said speech, translating it from the original German, editing it down, and coaching him during practices. He also provides some sage political advice (essentially: extend an olive branch to Peel. The queen’s still sulky about him, but he’ll be PM someday soon and you all need to be friends with him). His help wins him Albert’s respect.

Unfortunately, Albert does not have a lot of respect for his brother’s antics. Ernst is still hanging about, both because he’s reluctant to part with his brother and because he’s getting veeeeery close to the Duchess of Sutherland, one of Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. Albert notices this flirtation and eventually, gently, tells his brother it’s time for him to go back to Coburg. Ernst departs, with one last really heartbreaking look, while Albert’s like, ‘well, that’s a shame, but I’ve got my wife now!’ which seems a little heartless to me, honestly. You can love multiple people at a time, Albert.

Albert heads off to the abolition society meeting and gives the speech, which is received with a lot of applause. He and Peel make nice, and it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Or, at least, a functional working relationship.

Belowstairs, word comes through that there’s cholera in Seven Dials, which is where Miss Skerrett’s cousin and little girl live. Miss S tries to go visit them but is turned away by the policemen because the area’s basically under quarantine. Francatelli figures out she went there (bizarrely telling her that ‘a chef’s nose can smell out all sorts of things,’ which…what? Could he smell slum on her? That’s kind of gross.) He tells her he knows of ways to get past the police, so she gives him some money to pass on to her cousin. He slips into Seven Dials and not only passes along the money, he also arranges for Skerrett’s cousin and the kid to move elsewhere, at his expense. Aww, that’s sweet. Skerrett is appropriately grateful. And he admits he has a thing for her, like that wasn’t totally obvious.

Poldark: Family Time

Aiden Turner and Elinor Tomlinson in episode 4 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Francis and Ross buried the hatchet, Caroline started moving in on Enys, Demelza found out she was expecting, and George had Jud beaten almost to death.

I’m so glad we still get to see Verity! Poor Verity, though, is pretty bummed out that her brother won’t speak to her, and her stepchildren shun her. But, happily for her, things are moving in a positive direction on both fronts. Blamey runs into Ross and Francis in town, and Ross basically orders Francis to just get over it already and take a nice walk with himself and Blamey. And Francis does! (He’s in a good mood, for reasons we’ll get to a little later). So, while Francis is not exactly inviting his brother-in-law over for poker night, he’s at least on cordial speaking terms with him.

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