Poldark: After the Flood

Ok, let’s start off by considering some good things in life. Has anyone else been enjoying some beautiful weather? Did you get some beach time in? A holiday planned? An exceptionally delicious lunch/dinner?

Let’s all find something good that’s happened lately and cling to that, because we’re gonna need it.

Ok, here goes.

Things are all right-ish Chez Poldark, though Demelza still wonders if their marriage will fully heal. Ross is all, ‘What? I thought it was all better now. I had sex with you on a table!’ But Demelza likens their relationship to a broken bone which can heal but isn’t ever truly the same. That’s almost certainly true, but bleak nonetheless, Demz.

She takes some joy in the fact her brother, Drake, seems to have accepted that pining over Morwenna will get him nowhere, so he’s looking more kindly on this whole Rosina matchmake. Let’s be honest: it may very well be for the best. Rosina’s a sweet girl, and Morwenna’s never going to be able to escape Whitworth, unless he dies (fingers crossed!) So, maybe it is time for Drake to try to move on. Sad, but that’s the way it goes.

Sam Carne, on the other hand, is having no luck in the love department. It’s been a year since Emma left to find herself, and it’s time for her to return. And return she does… to tell Sam that she’s marrying someone else. Ooof. She explains that she’s just not cut out to be a preacher’s wife and wouldn’t really be any good for him. He accepts it, though sadly, because he really did have his hopes up.

Whitworth, unfortunately, shows no sign of dying. He’s back to schtupping his sister-in-law, swinging by her house in the middle of the day, which even he realises is stupid and reckless. And sure enough, he runs into Elizabeth right outside and lies that he was trying to broker a peace between the sisters. As he hustles off, Rowella’s cuckolded husband watches him go with a, ‘What the…?’ look on his face, followed quickly by a look of dawning realisation.

Whitworth next puts his efforts into wringing the names of the soon-to-be-ruined families out of that dying embezzler. He delivers the list to George, who is pleased by what he sees and anticipates the imminent ruin of Pascoe’s bank.

George, too, is a busy little bee. He’s managed to get control of that rotten borough, and then has one of the MPs around so he can bribe the man to stand down at the next election. Elizabeth, a little bafflingly, seems to really like this George, even though she was so grossed out by his naked ambition just last season that it was driving her to drugs. I guess she suddenly finds his wheeling and dealing hot? Or does she just miss London that much? I don’t really know.

Elizabeth may have also taken against Demelza: she reveals to George that Demelza was the one who brokered the peace between Sir Francis and Falmouth that cost George his seat. She leaves out Caroline’s involvement, though whether that’s because she doesn’t know (doubtful, since the meetings took place in Caroline’s house) or wants George’s wrath to fall squarely on the Nampara crew is unknown.

With things settled down at home, Ross turns his attention to the mine. They’re shortly to dig into a defunct section, looking for a new vein, and the work is keeping him close to home instead of heading back to Westminster for the new session. Falmouth summons him for a debriefing, during which he says it’s fine if Ross takes a little time to tend to his affairs, but once he’s back in the Commons, he needs to start pursuing some legislation that Falmouth wants to see pushed through. Ross pouts a little, although he really should have seen this coming, despite Falmouth’s original agreement to let Ross do what he wanted. Did Ross honestly expect that to last long?

Ross isn’t so distracted by other things that he doesn’t notice that Enys is really down these days. Dwight doesn’t actually want to talk about it, because it’s too awful for words, but he unburdens himself anyway and tells Ross that his daughter has a congenital heart condition, and at the first infection, no matter how minor, she’ll be gone. Wow, if it’s a condition that serious I’m amazed she survived this long, to be honest. I know she’s very well taken care of, but the 18th century wasn’t exactly known for its high hygiene standards. And I’m not sure how he could tell this just by looking at her either–it’s not as if she’s a blue baby. She’s a bit pale, though, so maybe that’s it?

Ross asks if Caroline knows and Dwight confesses that she doesn’t. He hasn’t managed to find the right way to tell her, so he’s just not going to. And he also tells Ross not to tell Demelza because she might tell Caroline.

Dwight!

Seriously, that’s a terrible thing to do to Caroline. Despite her joking about how much she hates this kid, it’s clearly just that: Caroline’s odd way of joking. She very obviously adores this baby. To keep something like this from her, to not give her a chance to prepare herself, is incredibly cruel. What, is she just going to wake up one morning to a dead daughter and not know what the hell happened? Give the woman some credit for being able to handle herself and LET HER SAY GOODBYE TO HER CHILD.

The men on this show, I swear.

As if Enys didn’t have enough on his mind, now he gets to deal with something really repulsive: Whitworth has decided that the best thing to do right now is to have Morwenna committed. Not because of the deep, deep depression she’s obviously exhibiting, but because she still won’t have sex with him. The thing is, if he wants to keep this horrifying plan on the down-low, he needs some doctors to play along. Enys listens to this proposal in horror, and straight-up refuses to help him. I don’t know why on earth Whitworth ever thought Enys would go along with this disgusting plan.

His next step is to rope in Choake, who immediately calls in Enys, because Choake knows this isn’t right and doesn’t want to be the one to make the call. Dwight has a chat with Morwenna, and then declares her 100% sane but tells Whitworth that perhaps acting like a decent human being towards his wife would go far, you know?

At the mine, Ross and Sam are about to break through to the older section, but just as they get close, water starts trickling in. Realising the old section is flooded, and now the current mine is about to be too, they go tearing through the shafts, shouting for everyone to get up top before they drown. Men haul ass out of there, while Ross and Sam collect any stragglers.

Now, of course, this wouldn’t be an episode of Poldark if Ross didn’t get to be a Big Damn Hero at least once, so on his way up the ladder one lad slips and falls back into the fast-rising water. Some stones under there shift, trapping him, so Ross has to dive down and drag him up. Problem is, with the dead weight of an unconscious young man in his arms, Ross can now no longer climb the ladder himself. The show tries really hard to make us think his life is in peril, but come on, we know it’s not. The show’s called Poldark, after all, and the younger generation is still too young to take over chest-baring and horse-riding-across-cliffs duty.

Ross is, of course, rescued. By Sam, who throws him a rope and pulls him and this young man he saved up to the light. Dwight’s on hand to tend to the wounded, and his frustration at not being able to do anything for his daughter makes him go to enormous lengths to try to resuscitate the boy Ross retrieved. Everyone nearby keeps saying this is hopeless, but eventually Enys prevails.

He can not, alas, prevail in the case of little Sarah, though. Caroline innocently reports that the tot has a little cough, and Enys knows this is it. He finally comes clean to Caroline, who so clearly just can’t even absorb this horror. The baby only has hours to live.

When he hears about the cough from Demelza, Ross races to the Enys home so he can be there for his friend. Caroline and Dwight take Sarah to their bedroom, where she dies in her mother’s arms. Enys gently suggests Caroline put her down but Caroline refuses, saying she just wants to hold her for a little while longer. Enys goes to the sitting room to cry and be comforted and embraced by Ross. If you managed to remain dry-eyed through this whole thing I’m pretty sure you just have no soul.

And so, another horrifyingly tiny coffin joins Julia’s in the local’ churchyard. Even George looks rather abashed and taken aback at this funeral.

Afterwards, Demelza cries and says this feels like losing Julia all over again. Ross, now entering the anger phase of grief, I guess, asks if she’s really crying for Julia, or for Hugh. Demelza’s like, ‘Oh my GOD, Ross, let it go!’

But Ross is on kind of a tear. The mine is going to take months to clear out, and he has no idea what’s going to happen to the workers in the meantime, or how he’s going to pay them, with no income coming in. He couldn’t do anything for his best friend’s child, or his own, come to that. He’s being strongarmed by Falmouth, and after the mine flood he turned to some mine owners’ handbook, which handily had a little paragraph warning that old mines might be flooded, so you might want to check that before you dig into them. Also, anyone who doesn’t check that is a monster who probably locks his workers up in cages and dangles them over watery pits at night, or something. This is a super judgy book.

Yes, Ross is pretty frustrated. He takes his frustration out on a bit of fencing at the edge of George’s property, and Enys suggests he find a better outlet for this rage. Maybe Parliament? So, Ross prepares to return to London.

As does Caroline. After the funeral, she approaches her husband in the garden and starts off by trying to be all Caroline about this tragedy. She says they should try to be tougher, since children die all the time, and why should they expect to be special? Dwight waits patiently for her to actually get to the heart of the thing: she simply can’t bear to be in this house right now. I don’t blame her. It’s the only home her daughter ever knew, and now it’s full of memories of her and echoing with her absence. Caroline needs distraction, so she’s going to London to throw herself into the social whirl and hope the noise drowns out her grief. Dwight will stay behind to throw himself into his work. And before everyone accuse Caroline of just being frivolous, from what we see after her arrival in London, she’s sitting around sadly fingering one of her baby’s caps.

Ok, can we go back to our happy memories? Please?

I’m going to go hug my puppy and four-year-old now.



One thought on “Poldark: After the Flood

  1. That book is right in that Ross should have thought of the possibility that Wheal Maiden ( the old mine he was trying to break into ) would be flooded, just as Wheal Grace was when he opened her up. Hindsight is 20/20 of course.
    Dwight can breathe life into Bobby the miner, but he can do nothing for his own baby daughter. Zacky’s “Thank you !” is so fervent that I wonder if Bobby is his son. He already lost Jago, so his remaining children would be double precious to him.
    It goes without saying that the Poldark would beggar themselves before they put a hundred miners out of work. All their money is in Pascoe’s bank. I wonder how George’s plot against Pascoe will affect their finances ?

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