Drake actually thinks that this thing he has going on with Morwenna is going to end up well for everyone. Bless.
Now Elizabeth and George are gone, sweet Drake can openly visit Trenwith, ostensibly to spend time with his little buddy, Geoffrey Charles. But his real motives are so obvious that nobody bothers to point out it’s a bit creepy for a grown man to want to be BFFs with an eight-year-old. Aunt Agatha uses the situation to her advantage by passing on a, ‘you know, you haven’t visited me in a really long time,’ message to Ross.
Ross hears it and immediately invites her to the christening of his and Demelza’s newborn daughter. Demelza worries a bit, since Ross did promise to steer clear of Trenwith, but he points out that this is his aunt we’re talking about, and he’s damn well going to invite her. Unfortunately, she does not get the invitation. Later, Ross goes to visit her and realises she’s being kept in freezing cold rooms, doubtless in the hope she’ll fall ill and just die. Ross is, understandably, not happy about this.
Geoffrey and Morwenna attend the christening, and afterwards Demelza gets a full read on the situation between her brother and Morwenna and pulls the girl aside for a very gentle but very necessary, ‘you know this can’t happen, right?’ talk. Morwenna does, and agrees it’s best to break this thing off.
Caroline’s the baby’s godmother, with Enys godfather in absentia. Caroline’s hopeful that he’ll be ransomed soon, and trying to keep herself busy in the meantime. But the glimpses we get of Enys in that awful prison, trying his damnedest to keep men alive with no medicines or clean water, when their jailers actually have it in their best financial interest to see them dead, suggest he’s stuck there for a while. And even if he isn’t, he’s not going to be the same man when he returns.
It’s Christmastime, so Geoffrey and Morwenna are summoned to Truro, where George soon learns of their christening escapade. Elizabeth insists that this is unacceptable and that Morwenna must be punished. George agrees, and his idea of punishing her seems to be to marry the poor girl off to the most odious man he knows: Reverend Whitworth. Whitworth is essentially what you’d get if you crossed Mr Collins with Nigel Farage and threw in a touch of Gollum, just for good measure. Even George thinks the man’s a reptile, which just goes to show how awful Whitworth is. After all, George’s response to the news of the new Poldark baby’s birth was, ‘let’s hope they’re more careful with this one.’ What sort of a reprehensible sociopath says something like that?
Once she’s told she’s about to be married off, Morwenna panics and does the whole, ‘but I don’t love him!’ thing. Elizabeth tells her that love doesn’t put food on the table, though it doesn’t sound like Whitworth puts food on the table either. The man’s in a huge amount of debt and clearly looking to this marriage as a way of clearing it. It may do just that, but it’s not going to fix the bigger problem. And I’d just like to point out that this man lost his wife only a week ago. Yeah, he’s a piece of work.
Back home, Ross and Demelza realise just how dire things are for many of the locals. The harvest failed, and people are starving. Ross gathers together his wealthiest and most reliable friends and sets out a plan to buy grain to distribute to those in need. They’re all like, ‘we’re so in!’
Demelza and Caroline doll themselves up and set out to raise funds from wealthy locals, playing on all their petty jealousies, ‘Oh, but so-and-so gave us 25 guineas! And we’re sure you’ll do better, right?’ and raising quite the sum. In a note that manages to be both playful and disturbing, these scenes are intercut with those of Whitworth and George bargaining over Morwenna’s dowry. So, we have two women flexing their muscles and exerting their power, and two men exerting their power over another woman. Steps forward, steps back.
The funds are collected, and the grain bought, but since there are so many desperate people about, the grain can only be moved late at night, and then stored in Samuel’s new church. Sam pouts about his church being used for this purpose, apparently forgetting that the building was originally a storage spot and also this is food meant to help starving people. I guess Sam’s Christian the way many in the Republican party are Christian: he’ll talk the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.
George’s Head Thug sees the grain being moved and thinks this is smuggling at work. He immediately reports to George, who’s gleeful at the possibility of getting to arrest Ross and sit in judgment on him. Unfortunately, when the soldiers George sends arrive at the church, all they find is totally legally obtained grain being distributed to poor people. George, who’d gone along so he could be there personally to see Ross arrested, is so incensed at this humiliation he closes down his mine, throwing 70 men out of work and their families into poverty. Ross, of course, tries to mitigate the damage as much as he can by hiring 30 of them to explore a seam in his own mine. But even Ross can’t save everyone.
Morwenna’s not playing ball, so she and Geoffrey are dispatched home. George and Elizabeth think the tedium of Trenwith will set her straight, and Whitworth is so confident he starts ordering his wedding clothes. None of them know that pretty much the first thing Morwenna does when she gets back is to run to Drake across the beach and kiss him.
Oh dear. This will not end well.