Ross has decided it’s high time Dr Enys came home, so he’s formulating a plan. And it’s about the Ross-iest plan imaginable. He and several friends are going to join a French emigre invasion force, peel off from them, break into the prison, and free Enys. Simple, right?
Unfortunately, the French can’t seem to stop squabbling amongst themselves. Ross has no time for that, so he secures his Rescue Rangers a boat and they head off to invade France and manage a prison break all by themselves. As if we expected any less from Ross!
One of the men on this expedition is Drake, who’s nursing a heart that’s well and truly broken. Aunt Agatha spotted him and Morwenna canoodling well within sight of Trenwith, which is kind of stupid of them considering George’s right-hand thug is still lurking about. Teenagers. She has a word with the girl, warning her that George is a cruel man, and if he gets wind of this, it’s Drake who’ll suffer. Morwenna hears it and lies to Drake that she doesn’t love him. He goes and cries on Demelza’s shoulder, doing the whole, ‘life isn’t worth living anymore!’ thing. She says she felt the same after she lost her daughter, which is a much, much bigger deal than your girlfriend dumping you, but she found purpose and Drake must too. And he does: by stowing away on the ship taking Ross and the Rescue Rangers to France.
Meanwhile, George is having a very bad week. First, there’s the news that his son has rickets. Rickets? Really? How? Are they not letting this child out in the sun at all? Are they not feeding him? George is aghast at the notion that his ‘son and heir’ (notice he almost never refers to this child by his name? It’s always ‘my son and heir.’) might be crippled, though apparently the doctor thinks little Valentine can be cured. I hope so, for his sake. Also, rumour has it Ross is going to be approached and asked to become the local MP, which George is not ok with. And, finally, George and Elizabeth have not been issued with an invitation to Lord Falmouth’s ball. George manages to finagle one by leveraging his connection to Whitworth, who’s expecting a bride out of the deal, thank you very much.
George and Elizabeth arrive at the ball and George is incensed to see Demelza there. Demelza’s only accompanying and supporting Caroline, who’s going kind of insane with worry. She’s also trying to conceal Ross’s rescue attempt from Caro, worrying about possibly getting her friend’s hopes up unnecessarily.
George spends the ball slithering around, trying to impress Falmouth and failing spectacularly. He also gets marvellously cut off at the knees by both Falmouth (who conveys a beautiful, ‘who are you? Oh, right, I don’t care.’ in one glance) and Demelza. In a last-ditch attempt to discredit Ross, he loudly announces that Ross is at that very moment leading respectable local men to certain death at a French prison and you wouldn’t want someone that crazy representing you in Parliament, would you? Actually, I get the feeling most of these people would LOVE having someone like that in Parliament, because that’s a person who gets shit done. At any rate, George is completely ignored. Ha!
Off in France, Ross and the Rescue Rangers make their landing by nightfall and sneak their way into the prison in the middle of the night. Ross reminds everyone that they are only there for Enys, so they’re not to warn any of the other prisoners, almost all of whom are fast asleep. On the one hand, I get it: they don’t want everyone going crazy and waking up all the guards, but on the other hand, if they’d thought this through a little more, brought some extra weapons and maybe armed some of these guys, they could give them a fighting chance at least. It just seems a bit cruel to be stepping over all these other men who basically have zero chance of ever being released, in a quest to free a single man, even if he is a great guy like Enys.
With one soldier’s help, they find Dwight, and it was at this point I said: ‘Oh, man, he’s going to refuse to leave, isn’t he? Because he’s Enys and he’ll get all noble!’ And, of course, he does. He claims he can’t leave all these men, because there are hardly any surgeons in the prison, although considering the French seem to take particular delight in summarily executing whatever poor bastard Enys has just finished patching up, it doesn’t seem like he’s making that much headway here. A young officer he’s befriended, Lt Armitage, gently tells Enys he’s done more than his duty, and at that point another soldier realises what’s happening and starts screaming about an escape, so the Rescue Rangers just grab Dwight and book it. They get trapped for a bit, but then Ross and Drake manage to get the jump (literally) on two French soldiers, clearing the way.
But, of course, it can’t be all smooth sailing. On the way out, Henshawe, one of the nicest guys in Ross’s immediate circle, gets shot, and then Drake gets shot helping Ross drag Henshawe to safety. They all hunker down in the woods and Henshawe dies. Drake is helped into the little skiff they used to get up the river from their ship, and the men start hauling at the oars. Enys warns Ross that, if he can’t get to important things like clean water soon, Drake’s not going to make it either. And Tholly’s in Ross’s other ear, reminding him that the ship will be sailing any second now and they’re never going to make it. Ross goes into a slightly crazed state, imagining Demelza and Caroline both blaming him for the deaths of their loved ones, and he pulls and pulls at that oar and they reach the ship in time. Of course.
Drake is saved! Enys makes it back to England! And around 20 other guys, including Armitage, managed to get out of the prison in the chaos! Armitage managed to catch up with the Rescue Rangers and hitched a ride back to England with them. There, we find out that he’s none other than Lord Falmouth’s nephew, which means two things: 1) Falmouth is going to be seriously beholden to Ross, and 2) George looks like a huge dick for slagging Ross off to Falmouth, even as Ross was (inadvertantly, not that it ultimately matters) risking his life to rescue Falmouth’s nephew.
Oh, George. You can’t win. May as well give up now.
Enys is brought to Nampara to recouperate, and he asks that he be given a couple of days before Caroline is notified of his safe return. Again, I kind of get it, but at the same time, geez, Dwight, she’s been worried sick for months. Maybe you don’t think another couple of weeks will make much difference, but let me assure you, it will!
At any rate, Ross is like, ‘Uh, that ship has sailed,’ because of course Demelza ran over to Caroline’s to fetch her. She and Enys have a tearful, kiss-filled reunion and, well…
Dwight and Caroline 4EVA!
But where there is joy, there is also sadness, and we must finish by burying Henshawe. Poor Henshawe, he was a good guy. But he died in a good cause, and the song Demelza and the others sing at his funeral is really pretty. And we got Dwight back, so SURELY HE WILL BE PERFECTLY OK, RIGHT?!?!?!?!