Poldark: Dark Moon Rising

Hello, Poldarkians! How’s your year been? Have we all managed to put season 2 Ross behind us in an effort to move on? Good: let’s get started.

Ross gallops along the coast! Dri– Oh, wait, no, that’s Elizabeth, now hugely pregnant and on a runaway horse. Drinking would probably not be appropriate just now. But then! Ross comes galloping along (go ahead and drink, then!) and rescues her. George canters up, incredibly nonchalant about the fact that his pregnant wife was just runaway with and nearly pitched over the side of a cliff. He’s too busy snidely telling Ross to keep his hands off of all of his property.

It’s possible the horse bolting may have been deliberate: it sounds like Elizabeth’s doing all she can to make it plausible for her to claim early labour, when this baby inevitably comes a good month ahead of its expected due date. George is still none the wiser, and so, oddly, is Ross, but both Aunt Agnes and Demelza know the score.

Generally speaking, things are going well for Ross. His mine and estate are thriving, and his family is healthy and happy. But Demelza can’t help but notice a certain restlessness in her husband, which he doesn’t deny. But there’s not much that can be done about it because he’s having a lot of trouble even identifying just what his problem really is. Probably because it’s a fairly complicated one.

And George, of course, is riding high. He’s got the woman he wants, the heir on the way, and a massive new bank open in Truro. Even his uncle’s constant snark can’t bring him down. The only thorn in his side is Geoffrey Charles, his stepson, who appears to have magically aged about three years in nine months. But I’ll forgive him that, because this kid has also developed a ‘take no shit’ attitude that I very much appreciate. The Agatha is strong in this one. And are we sure he isn’t Ross’s son too?

The kid’s restless as well, chafing at George’s rules and missing his aunt and uncle from Nampara. When he spots Ross in town one day, he’s inspired to go visit the mine where, at his request, he goes underground and digs up some quartz of his own. Start ’em young! George is not pleased to hear of this little adventure and decides the kid needs someone looking after and controlling him, so he drafts in Elizabeth’s pretty, fallen-on-hard-times cousin, Morwenna, who, within five seconds of arriving at Trenwith, definitely looks like she’s regretting getting into this family drama. But she seems to bond with her young charge nonetheless.

Speaking of family drama: one of Demelza’s brothers, Drake, comes to Nampara to ask his sister to visit their dying father. She’s reluctant to go, but then feels guilty about it, so heads that way after all. She sits at his bedside while her father makes her other brother, Samuel (who clearly drank the same crazy religious juice as dad), promise to carry on their father’s work of converting the sinners.

Demelza stays for a while, but then leaves because she has somewhere to be. That somewhere is the church so she can act as bridesmaid to Caroline (!!) who’s marrying Enys (!!) while he’s on 24-hour leave. Squee! Sorry, I love these two. Obviously. Demelza and Ross look on, beaming like crazy, while their two friends tie the knot.

Afterwards, they all head back to Nampara for drinks and to send the newlyweds off to bed. And it’s all lovely, until things go pear shaped.

First up: Elizabeth’s labour has begun. Still desperate to cover this whole thing up, she fakes a fall down the stairs and is put to bed. The local doctor is away and can’t be summoned (we later learn it’s because he’s tending to Caroline’s uncle, who’s on his deathbed), but luckily Geoffrey Charles happened to see Enys earlier, as he was getting into the carriage with Caroline after the wedding. Alarmed for his mother, the boy sends a message to Nampara begging the doctor to come. And Enys, of course, does. Would we expect any less? Of course not.

And shortly after that, Caroline receives word that her uncle is swiftly dying, so she hurries home. These two kids can’t catch a break.

Night falls, and things get tense. There’s a total eclipse of the moon, which confuses and scares everyone. Aunt Agatha foretells evil omens, as Elizabeth labours. It’s a rough delivery, but a son arrives safe and sound, and remarkably healthy, for a preemie, wink-wink.

Back at Nampara, Demelza finally points out the incredibly obvious to Ross: that Elizabeth’s baby is his, so he sneaks over to Nampara to spy through the windows and spot George coming downstairs, cuddling the baby. He also witnesses the scene that follows: George calls for his thugs to take Aunt Agatha and bodily remove her to her rooms and, presumably, keep her there. Before she goes, she tells George his child was born under a cursed moon, and no good will come of that.

At the Penvenen residence, Caroline comforts her uncle in his final hours. He whispers that he would have liked to see her happily married, so she goes, ‘Good news, then!’ and shows off her wedding ring. Sadly, she and Enys do not get their wedding night, as he doesn’t get back from Trenwith  until just before dawn, and then he has to leave immediately to rejoin his ship.

Ross takes an Anguished Run along the coast at daybreak that seems to calm him down a little. He arrives home to the news that Elizabeth and her son are both alive and well, and then he leaves to have a word with George.

They meet at George’s grandiose new bank, with George sitting in a chair that looks, for all the world, like a throne. Of course. Ross offers him a deal: Ross will stay out of and as far away from George’s life as is humanly possible in a small community such as this one, but in return George has to promise not to try and use Aunt Agatha or Geoffrey Charles as weapons against Ross. ‘They are dear to me,’ Ross explains, ‘and I’ll not have them hurt.’ He follows that up with a threat to make George’s life miserable if he doesn’t go along with this.

Agreed. Ross leaves and returns home, where he discovers Demelza’s taken in her two brothers, one of whom seriously started charming Morwenna when they met her and Geoffrey Charles on the road to Nampara. Ross and Demelza take a walk along the beach, where she tells him that she’s pregnant again. For once, he actually seems happy to hear this news, which is refreshing. I think these two crazy kids might just be ok yet!


4 thoughts on “Poldark: Dark Moon Rising

  1. I must say that I was a bit disappointed with this episode going so afar afield from the novel. I hope this is not a sign for things to come. I realize that the screen writer often takes liberty with the original material, but still…. I am fortunate that I found a website allowing me to view the UK series since the US will not be able to view it until October.

  2. I never thought I would agree with anything Cary Warleggan says, but I, too, am puzzled by Elizabeth’s hold over George, Francis and Ross. With her long face, long nose, long neck, thick lips, big teeth and high-strung air, she reminds me of nothing so much as a nervous horse. She has neither wit nor charm nor any strength of character. She doesn’t know how to do anything except sip tea and gaze out windows, and isn’t interested in learning, preferring to sit passively and wait for someone to take care of her.

  3. Demelza wants three things from her marriage : Ross’ love, to be treated as an equal partner, and for Ross to be honest, with her and with himself. She knows he’s working himself to exhaustion every day in an attempt to not think about the fact that, if Elizabeth’s baby is born this month, he’s the father. But deep down he knows he is, and so does Demeliza. Who else knows ? Aunt Agatha, of course – she was the one listening to the bed creak on that memorable night; whoever made Elizabeth’s bed the next morning knows she had a visitor, and probably who it was, if she found curly black hair among the sheets, which means all the servants probably know. Dwight is a competent doctor, and must know a full-term infant when he sees one, although he probably assumes that George and Elizabeth slept together before the wedding and are pretending the birth is premature to save face socially. It would be more to the point to ask who DOESN’T know, aside from George.

  4. The Carne siblings look nothing alike. In fact Sam, with his dark, brooding good looks, strongly resembles Ross. I wonder if that was a deliberate casting choice – a hint that Joshua Poldark may have left his own cuckoo in a Cornish nest ? Mind you, Tom Carne had black hair too.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.