Ross and Elizabeth in season 2 episode 6 of Poldark

Poldark: Merry Christmas!

Previously 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.

But her uncle is not cool with any of this, and he summons Enys to his study to basically do this:

approval deniedHe meanly threatens to cut off Caroline’s inheritance, leaving her with a measly £6000. Although that was definitely enough to live on quite comfortably at the time, it’s nowhere near the kind of money needed to keep Caroline in the sort of lifestyle she’s been raised in. Enys, however, will not be bullied and basically shrugs and says: ‘bring it’. Because: Honour. And also: Looooooove! I ♥ Enys.

But everyone else is in a bad place. That copper Francis thought he found was actually fool’s copper, so the mine is useless. Elizabeth’s got no money whatsoever, and because she was raised to be about as useful as Caroline’s pug, the only thing she can think to do is to never smile at home, because that might give her wrinkles, and nobody wants some wrinkled old crone.

Demelza, being more practical (and, let’s face it, sensible) is battening down the hatches at Nampara. Ross’s debt to the Warleggans is coming due, and with absolutely no way to pay it, he’s likely to wind up in debtor’s prison on Boxing Day. While his wife secretly stockpiles long-shelf-life food, Ross desperately tries to track down a former miner who swore there was copper in Wheal Grace before escaping to the Continent. The smuggler he’s been working with offers to make inquiries into the man’s whereabouts if Ross allows him to stash some smuggled goods right in his house. Ross, being an idiot of sorts, is all, ‘Sure! What could go wrong?’ but when he reports to Demelza she basically screams, ‘WTF is wrong with you?’

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Ross takes all his money and gives it to his ex, leaving his own wife and child in very real danger of complete and utter destitution[/cryout-pullquote]

And I start to ask myself that as well, especially after he decides to use the very last bit of money he has to anonymously offer to buy up Elizabeth’s son’s shares in Wheal Grace. Let’s allow that to sink in for a moment. Ross takes all his money and gives it to his ex, leaving his own wife and child in very real danger of complete and utter destitution. Even though Elizabeth has a mother who’s still getting about quite well in fashionable society, so it’s not like she doesn’t have anyone else she can lean on. Unlike Demelza, Ross. Even Pascoe’s like, ‘Uh, maybe you should reconsider this?’ But no, it’s all Elizabeth all the time. My husband breaks up with this show at this very moment and declares a desire to punch Ross repeatedly in the face. I agree he can, if I get to knee him in the balls at the same time.

Anyway…the Warleggans are gleeful that they’ll finally bring Ross down, and decide to celebrate with a little Christmas party. Carey’s invited all the local breeding stock–I mean, cute teen girls–for his nephew to look over, but all George wants is Elizabeth. He invites her to the party, and though she demurs, her bitch mother forces her to go. The woman’s not my favourite, but she certainly does seem to have a better sense than Elizabeth of what needs to be done for Elizabeth and her family to survive. That £600 Ross has offered up won’t last forever.

Judgement day. Ross and Demelza go to see Pascoe, who happily tells them that a mysterious benefactor has agreed to front Ross the money to pay off the debt, and that they, in turn, will offer a much better interest rate. Well, it’d be hard to offer a worse one. This mysterious benefactor is Caroline, which baffles me slightly. Why is she doing this? Is it because she likes the look of Ross? Because he’s Enys’s friend? This feels a bit like how situations like this were resolved on Downton Abbey: hurrah! Money has almost literally fallen out of the sky! We’re all saved! We can continue living our lives just as we did before, without having to learn a damn thing along the way!

Ross and Demelza happily go to the Warleggans’ and hand over the cash. George pouts slightly, but Carey throws an insane wobbler and starts screaming about how he’ll destroy Ross. Have I missed something? Why is Carey suddenly so invested in this? I know why George has a bone to pick with Ross–there’s quite a history there, and while it’s petty, at least it’s something, but what’s Carey’s deal? Is this still about Ross revealing Sanson’s cheating ways? If you didn’t want to be humiliated in front of the neighbours, Carey, then don’t have your cardsharp relative come to stay. Idiot.

Back at Nampara, Ross stumbles across Demelza’s food stash and Prudie (who I’m actually kind of liking this season) snaps that he doesn’t know the half of what Demelza does to keep body and soul together in that house. And Ross has one of those moments of, ‘oh, right, my wife’s awesome and I treat her like shit. Maybe I should stop doing that. For, like, a day or two.’ He goes and gives Demelza some stockings, which she appreciates, but she admits she feels like he doesn’t love her the way he used to. Ross clearly doesn’t get it and essentially responds that he totally does–because he still likes having sex with her! Oh, Ross. Idiot. Also, this is becoming a tiresome pattern in their relationship. Ross takes Demelza for granted, then treats her really poorly for a while. Then he realises he’s been an ass and is nice to her for a tiny bit, and she’s happy with that. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Maybe Enys and Caroline will have a better time with marriage? That’s if the previews for next week aren’t true and Enys does not wind up getting shot, which I think would push me right over the edge.

15 thoughts on “Poldark: Merry Christmas!

  1. Elizabeth’s got no money whatsoever, and because she was raised to be about as useful as Caroline’s pug, the only thing she can think to do is to never smile at home, because that might give her wrinkles, and nobody wants some wrinkled old crone.

    Really? Really? Elizabeth was raised to be as useful as Demelza or Caroline. Are you really going to join the band of Elizabeth bashers as well?

    1. Honestly, that was meant to be more of a commentary on Elizabeth’s upbringing/how she’s being written and portrayed on the show rather than her as a person. I like Elizabeth and feel for her and want her to be happy. But the show’s kind of gone out of its way to show her as being fairly helpless at anything practical. Caroline’s really no better, she’s just able to get a bit more done because she has money.

    2. While Elizabeth was trained in basic domestic chores, I do not think that scrubbing floors, washing windows, mucking out the stable were among them. Also, Elizabeth was raised with servants. I personally am not bashing Elizabeth.

      1. I don’t think anyone’s expecting her to do any of those things–she’s not Cinderella, after all! But a woman of her class and time would, at least, have basic management, handcraft, and housekeeping knowledge that Elizabeth seems to lack. But that’s more to do with her upbringing (and how she’s written–let’s not forget, this is based on books written by a man a good 200 years after the stories are set) than with her, personally.

  2. I’m sorry but I have to add this. As a woman of the rural upper classes, Elizabeth was probably trained to maintain the household of an estate. Which meant that she might as well had been trained to be at the same level as a hotel manager. The idea that she was a completely useless person was probably was class fantasy of Winston Graham. Men, I swear!

    1. Agreed. Ladies in charge of households seriously needed to have it together and were trained to be managers. The idea that she wouldn’t even know how to handle the servants and basic finances is absurd.

  3. It is I from the US again….so happy I do not have to wait until our local stations broadcast the series….I was just wondering if you have read the novels? If you have not some of your perceptions are right on….Can’t wait until next Sunday…

  4. Your recap doesn’t mention how Caroline saves Ross and Demelza by giving them anonymously, a new loan at a much lower rate of interest. This enables them to pay off George just when he thought he was about to triumph. The only thing that would have improved that scene would have been Demelza singing “We wish you a merry Christmas” while Ross forcibly inserted the bank draft up George’s , er , nose.

  5. Ross has this annoying habit of trying to show Demelza how he feels by buying her expensive presents ( which he cannot afford). Silk stockings, for instance, cost 15 shillings a pair, or about what a miner would earn in a month. Demelza is not a material girl and doesn’t need presents, just his love. He’d have better luck with Elizabeth; presents make her purr like a kitten.

  6. In the 1953 novel, “Warleggan”, George was surprised to discover that Elizabeth had managed the Trenwith rather well, considering that the estate was bankrupt. The idea that she was “useless” is just ridiculous to me. And yes, she definitely had good sense. She certainly had more sense than Ross.

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