Poldark Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: Rumour Has It

Eleanor Tomlinson and Aiden Turner in PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Ross decided to reopen his mine, Wheal Leisure, and look for copper, with the backing of some locals. Verity fell for a nice captain with a shady past, but once he got into a duel with her brother that whole thing got kind of ruined, so now she has a broken heart. Francis is proving to be a jealous, shrill kind of brat, but a fertile one, because Elizabeth’s pregnant.

Some months have passed, and now Wheal Leisure’s ready to open. Ross walks around, making some last-minute checks and probably enjoying the fantastic view. Miners come out of their homes, greet each other, and make their way toward the mine. Ross greets Henshawe at the mine and they watch the long line of workers snake up the road. Some of the investors are there as well, to see their money go into action. Once everyone’s assembled, Ross welcomes them with a speech and declares the mine open. Everyone cheers. Demelza beams at him. Some of Ross’s buddies come by to thank him for doing this, while Demelza goes and serves drinks to the investors and they stare at her, then wonders if the rumours that she and Ross are hooking up are true.

Charles and Francis look on poutily from a distance and Francis asks his dad if he’s forgiven Ross for daring to host Verity and Blamey in his parlour. Charles has, since Ross saved Francis’s life and all. Charles warns Francis they need to stem the flow of mine workers from their mine to Ross’s. Francis says they’ll have to do something about their terrible wages, if that’s what they want.

Elizabeth’s now hugely pregnant and dealing with backaches.

Ross heads down into the mine and declares they’ll have iron ladders down the main shaft, as wood rots and would be dangerous. He and Henshawe talk about further steps they need to take to find this copper they think is there, and then Henshawe shows an investor signs of the copper they’re looking for.

The Warleggans measure money and write in the ledgers. George looks a bit tense.

Demelza returns to Ross’s to find Prudie and Jud rolling around on the floor, having a scrap. She breaks them up and Prudie whines that her arm’s broken. Demelza checks her out and says it’s just a sprain, but that’s enough to keep Prudie from doing her cooking duties for a while. Prudie orders her to brew up some tea while she rests her ‘broken wing’. I hate Prudie. And Jud. What a useless pair of characters they are. Why on earth would any self-respecting person in Ross’s position keep them around? All they do is laze about and drink his liquor. Who cares if they were friends with his dad?

Back at the mine, one of the men pulls Ross aside and tells him there’s a problem with Jim, the kid he took on as a farmhand last week. He’s gone and knocked up the guy’s daughter, and now he’s dragging his feet about marrying her.

Ross goes to see the kid, finding him plucking two poached pheasants. Ross calls him out on the poaching, and Jim says this is to help feed his mother and sisters. Ross brings up Ginny and takes her and Jim to a cottage on his land, which he’s prepared to give to them for free, if they’ll fix and keep it up. How is this idiot kid going to manage a wife and kid when he’s struggling to feed himself and his mother and sisters? Nobody seems to see any of this as an issue. Ross warns the boy to get rid of the nets and stop poaching. Seriously, Jim, you could get hanged for that.

Demelza makes a really gorgeous pie and serves it to Ross, who takes a bite and asks if they can keep Prudie out of commission a while longer. Heh. Demelza practically glows at the praise.

Ross and Demelza canter along the coast. I’d suggest that should be a drinking game for this show, but we’d all be dead within the hour. They’re going to Jim’s and Ginny’s wedding and reception. It’s a merry party.

Elizabeth and Verity, meanwhile, are passing a quiet afternoon, embroidering. Elizabeth notes that Verity’s down and says she wishes Verity could forget Blamey. Verity sadly says he’s not so easy to forget. Elizabeth apologises, and then doubles up with a labour pain. Verity rings the bell and calls for the doctor.

At the party, the reverend hints that he’s heard the rumours about Ross and Demelza. Ross excuses himself and goes to talk to the parents of the bride, who thank him for intervening.

Elizabeth, in bed, holding Verity’s hand, looks a little panicky at the sight of the forceps the doctor puts down beside her.

Party! Ross smiles as he watches Demelza dance, happy to see her so happy. It’s pretty cute, perhaps the most genuinely joyful he’s seemed since we met him. He even allows himself to be pulled into the dance.

Elizabeth delivers a son, and Charles and Francis celebrate with wine. Charles congratulates his son, who passes on all the credit to his wife. Good man.

Ross and Demelza return home to find Jud and Prudie passed out drunk, as always. Prudie wakes long enough to pass along a letter that arrived from Trenwith, announcing the birth. That kind of ruins Ross’s party mood. He tosses the letter into the fire and goes upstairs.

The local gentry gather at Trenwith for the christening. Elizabeth and Francis coo over the baby. Verity looks a bit subdued. Ross arrives and is immediately confronted by the Warleggans, who suggest he’s foolish for trying to open a mine in such difficult economic times. Carys also sneers that Ross should mix less with the lower orders. Elizabeth’s mother sidles up and agrees with him. Ross moves away and apologises to his great aunt for not having been around more. She pouts that it’s been dull with only a sad Verity to keep her company. Charles chimes in that he hopes Ross learned his lesson as far as interfering goes and Ross readily promises not to do so again.

He moves on to admire the baby and Francis offers him a seat beside Elizabeth before going to chat with George. Elizabeth tells Ross she hoped he would be godfather, but Francis went with his bestie George. Francis looks on from a distance as Elizabeth and Ross grin at the baby, and suddenly he gets jealous and calls Elizabeth away.

Charles gives a toast to little Geoffrey Poldark and how great it is that there’s an heir to Trenwith. And then he has a heart attack. He’s carried out of the room and great aunt sees this as a bad omen.

Charles is put to bed, with Verity tending to him and the doctor bleeding him or something as Ross looks disturbed and Francis looks creepily intent. Ross slips out of the room and overhears Elizabeth’s mother and the Teague ladies gossiping about him and Demelza. Man, there’s not much going on in this neighbourhood, is there? Though I guess it’s better that the gossip is about this and not Ross and Elizabeth. Ross stomps past the ladies, making it clear he’s heard them, and gallops home.

Elizabeth puts her baby to bed in a cradle beside her, just as Francis comes in, reporting that his father’s rallying. Francis tries to get a little something going with his wife, who asks that he hold off until she’s a little stronger. He says she seemed very animated with Ross that afternoon, and doesn’t she wish that her baby was his? She pushes him away, asking how he can think such a thing. He whirls out of the room and runs right into Verity. He accuses her of listening at keyholes, even though all she was doing was walking past the room, and she’s like ‘WTF is your problem? I was tending to our father.’ He accuses her of taking Ross’s side and she’s now really confused and insists she’s not taking any sides. He snarls that if Ross had his way she would be living in shame and misery with ‘that scoundrel’. She calls after him that she doesn’t regard marriage as misery and he responds that that’s because she hasn’t yet experienced it. Yowch. ‘For which I have you to thank,’ she murmurs, sneaking a look at a locket with Blamey’s picture inside.

Jim goes out poaching again, because he’s an idiot, leaving poor Ginny to sit up and worry in their cottage, hugging her swollen belly.

The next day, she goes to talk to Demelza and tells her how worried she is. She asks Demelza to talk to Ross and have him ask Jim to stop. Demelza agrees.

Back at the house, she goes looking for Ross, but finding him not at home, she goes poking through his rooms again. She finds some paperwork for the mine and tries sounding out the name. She also finds a beautiful silk dress in a trunk. I’m guessing it belonged to Ross’s mother. While she’s admiring it, Ross returns home. She shoves the dress back in its trunk and goes to see what he wants.

Charles is getting better, but is still bedridden. He tells Francis he needs to go and be a leader at the mine. Francis seems confused, since his father has apparently kept him from doing anything useful for pretty much his entire life, but Charles insists that he learn quickly, because if Ross continues paying halfway decent wages, soon there’ll be no one left to mine Grambler. Charles advises Francis get his hands dirty, like Ross does. Francis’s method seems to be to rather stiffly welcome the workers to the mine for the day, while Ross actually gets down in the mine and helps shift rock with his own two hands.

Demelza serves up some dinner, anticipating Ross’s needs before he even has a chance to ask. He invites her to sit down and eat with him and she digs in, hardly able to believe this. He asks after her work and notes that she gets more in a day than Prudie does in a month. Yeah, how about that, Ross? He asks how Ginny’s doing and Demelza tells him that Jim’s still poaching and maybe he could have a word with the boy? Ross decides to do it one better and offer Jim a better job, up at the mine. Demelza’s relieved. They share a smile. Later, she serves him some brandy and tries out her (still awkward) curtsey. Ross seems somewhat charmed.

That night, Jim prepares to go out. Ginny begs him to stay with her. He keeps up with this ‘my sisters and mother need it’ excuse. Jim, your wife and child need you to not be hanged. He promises this is the last time, which is the exact promise characters always make right before they get shot or arrested. And sure enough, that’s precisely what happens. He gets caught.

Ginny goes to Ross’s the next morning and, as soon as she opens the door, Demelza seems to realize what happened. She holds the girl as she cries. Ross, once he hears the news, goes immediately to the local magistrate, who’s preparing for a hunt. He tells the magistrate that Jim’s an employee of his and he’ll gladly make good on any loss due to his poaching. The magistrate says Ross is too late, the boy’s on his way to Truro jail, he was committed for trial at 8 o’clock that morning. Ross is shocked at the early hour, but the magistrate says that he had some hunting to do and that’s important, you know. Ross remounts and gallops off.

Over dinner that night, he admits to Demelza that most members of his class disgust him. She reassures him that he’s not at all like them, that he actually seems to understand that poor people have problems and feelings just like the rich do.

The next day, Ross rides to Truro, stopping to collect Ginny before he leaves. But she’s in labour, so he has to make this road trip alone. He goes immediately to the courthouse, arriving just in time to hear another poacher get sentenced to transportation (hey, Banished crossover!) Ross takes a seat near Doctor Choake and ask if he’d be willing to swear that Jim’s asthma could endanger his life in prison, hopefully helping to secure a more lenient sentence. Choake tells him that no good will come of him being sentimental about the lower orders, who are just a different breed from the rest of them.

Jim is brought in. Ross stands and asks if can give evidence of Jim’s good character. He may. He takes the stand and says that Jim fell into bad company with a confederate who has escaped punishment. He tells the court about Jim’s family and his lung condition and offers to stand surety for Jim’s future employment and good behavior. The judge says that Jim really should have considered his lousy health and pregnant wife before he went out and broke the law.

George catches Francis walking past the pub and invites him in for a quick card game. Francis tries to resist but can’t.

As Demelza, Prudie, and Jud are coming in from one of the fields that evening, Demelza’s father comes strolling up, happily not accompanied by sidekicks. He looks quite respectable, in fact, because, apparently, he’s gone and been married and found God. Demelza seems doubtful. He wants her to come back and live with them, where she can be protected from temptation and the sin that he believes has come up between her and Ross. Aghast, she insists there’s no such sin. He doesn’t care, the rumours are bad enough. He gives her a day to give notice, promising to come back and fetch her home. He walks away and she bursts into tears.

The judges confer and the lead one says that, in view of Jim’s circumstances, they’re prepared to be somewhat lenient and just give him two years in prison. Ross doesn’t think that’s acceptable and accuses them of being overly harsh. The judge basically threatens to hold Ross in contempt and tells Ross to step down.

Demelza tells Prudie that she can’t possibly leave this place, and Ross. But she figures Ross will make her leave, because she’s less important to him than he is to her. Prudie tells her to stop stressing, because he won’t be home that night anyway.

Ross goes to the inn, where the prostitute tries to offer him some company. He tells her to get lost and she does, heading into the adjoining room, where she winds up in the lap of…Francis. Oh, Francis. Ross takes note of this as he leaves.

Demelza goes and gets the dress out of the trunk and tries it on.

Jim sits in jail and looks depressed.

Ross reports to Ginny and her dad. Ginny’s up and dressed and standing outside with her baby. Didn’t she just give birth that day? Man, she’s hardy. Ross apologises for not having done better, but Ginny’s dad knows he did his best.

Demelza wanders around Ross’s rooms, saying goodbye to everything. Weeping, she keeps saying she can’t leave him, but she must.

Ross returns home and calls for Demelza. She looks down at the dress she’s wearing and panics a bit. But there’s not much she can do. She fetches some food and puts it on the table, then tries to sneak out while he’s still looking moodily at the fire. He asks her to close the window and to fetch the rum. As she does, he tells her about Jim’s sentence and how he doubts he’ll survive. She reassures him he did all he could. He doesn’t think so, he thinks he needed to grovel and suck up more than he did. He finally turns around and asks her what the heck she’s wearing. She says she found it and he asks how she dared to go rifling through his things. He goes on to say that she’s employed as a maid and can’t just do whatever she likes. He shouts for her to take it off, and then go pack her things and go back to her father. She bursts into tears and he immediately softens and apologises, explaining that it’s been a hellish day and he’s not himself. They look at each other for a long minute, and then she just goes for it, kissing him. He reciprocates for a minute, then realizes what they’re doing and pushes her away, saying he didn’t take her from her father for this. He orders her to go to bed.

He takes his own advice, heading upstairs. Demelza soon follows and tells him that the dress laces up the back and she can’t get out of it by herself. Which begs the question of how she got herself into it, but ok. He slowly unlaces it, clearly getting pretty turned on. He whispers if she knows what people say about them. She does. He continues that, if they behave like this, the rumours will be true. She’s fine with that. He slips his hand around her bare waist and kisses her neck. She turns and kisses him and onto the bed they go.

The next morning, she wakes before him, steps out of bed, draws the dress around her, and steals out of the room.

Later, she lies in a meadow with Garrick, looking up at the lovely flowers and the sky. Life is good.

Charles has finally managed to get out of bed and downstairs. He finds the ladies in the sitting room and asks where Francis is. Elizabeth coolly says he never came home the night before. Verity immediately guesses he stayed in town with George. Charles asks if he’s been going to the mine and Verity says she’s sure he has. Charles asks Elizabeth if he’s attending to his duties and she reassures him he is, with a fake smile.

Ross comes downstairs and tells Prudie to pass along the word that Demelza’s to work on one field, while he and Jud work on the barley. Jud can’t believe he’s actually being made to do work and Ross harshly informs him that, now Jim’s gone, he’s going to have to lift a finger once in a while.

Ross works the field shirtless, because the housewives need their Mr Darcy moment. He stops and poses like the cover of a bad romance novel for just long enough for people to get good screenshots while Jud tells him that he did good by the idiot Jim, who’d be on his way to Australia now if not for Ross. Demelza looks on from a distance, smiling, as well she might. Ross takes a brief break for a drink of water and sees Elizabeth riding towards him.

He meets her back at the house (shirt back on by now) and they have a short visit. She says she’s sorry about Jim and maybe next time he should try leaning on other people of influence to get the results he wants. He asks after the baby, who is his mother’s joy, and she mentions his mine. She’s started to take an interest in mining, since it’s what her family depends on. Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Demelza, looking windblown, holding a bouquet of cornflowers. Elizabeth compliments them and Demelza offers her the bouquet. Elizabeth thanks her, but says they won’t last. Cornflowers don’t you see. Thanks for that SYMBOLIC MOMENT, Elizabeth. She very quickly picks up on the awkwardness that’s entered the room and excuses herself. Demelza looks like she’s going to cry again as she throws the bouquet down on the table.

She goes down to a little beach with Garrick and looks out at the water for a little while.

Ross sharpens a scythe, looks annoyed with himself, and calls for Demelza. When she doesn’t come, he goes inside and asks Jud and Prudie where she is. Jud says she was last seen headed for home with her dog.

Ross quickly catches her up, reminding her that he engaged her for two years (which makes this a tad creepy, because as I understand it, in the books, she was only about 13 or 14 when Ross first met her, which means she can’t be older than 16 now. Yikes, Ross.) Anyway, he asks her if she hasn’t grown used to her tasks and him and the house? She says she has, but that after what happened… He finishes that she thought she couldn’t be his servant, and she’s right. So, he takes her to church and marries her. Woah, Ross.



2 thoughts on “Poldark Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: Rumour Has It

  1. Sorry, this is from you friend from the US, so I’m a bit late..actually I believe Demelza is either 15 or 16 in this version. In the original Demelza was 13 and the plot moved much slower.

  2. I suspect that when Ross’ mother died, his father spiralled down into drink and debauchery and left his son to be raised by Jud and Prudie. That’s why Ross keeps them around, although they are the world’s worst servants – because they were his surrogate parents.

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