Copious shots of ripening apples and brambles in the hedgerows let us know that it’s autumn now, and Ross is back in London, passionately fighting the good fight. He’s so passionate he catches the eye of Prime Minister William Pitt, who asks him to dinner and compliments his benefits scheme. Pitt totally plans to introduce a bill making that scheme universal, and he totally expects it to fail. He advises Ross to keep fighting, though, and to really step up for those he knows he can help.
At the moment, that appears to be Geoffrey Charles, who’s fallen under the dissolute wing of Monk Adderley. We can all take a moment to wonder, in some bafflement and perhaps horror, why Monk, a full-grown man, would want to hang out with a schoolboy and seemingly encourage every vice, especially when he’s shown a skeevy interest in said boy’s mother. Surely he must know this won’t win him any points with Elizabeth? Or George, for that matter, because it’s his money GC’s gambling and partying with.
Ross and Caroline step into parenting roles and decide it’s about time for everyone, GC included, to head home for a bit. Ross drops GC off at Trenwith, and since George is out, this means Ross can have a little wine and chat with Elizabeth, who warns him that it appears her husband’s scheming something against Ross.
Well, not Ross, necessarily. Or, at least, not directly. George is scheming against Pascoe’s bank. Nat Pearce, the embezzler, has finally ‘croaked’ (George’s words), and word of the crisis about to hit Pascoe’s is leaking out even as the man is buried. Pascoe’s daughter, who’s married to a snivelly douchebag I don’t recall having met before, asks her father if the rumours she’s heard are true, but he reassures her that, although there may be some belt-tightening, it’ll be fine.
Oh, but he hasn’t reckoned on George! George sends out anonymous letters to every major investor in Pascoe’s bank, spilling the beans on the embezzlement, claiming that Pascoe’s will soon be insolvent, and even going so far as to intimate that Pascoe was in on the whole thing.
Naturally, a run on the bank begins. Demelza hears about this doomsday situation and takes herself down to the bank to pull out the miners’ wages, as usual. When she sees how stressed out Pascoe is, though, she finds she can’t do it, so she goes to Falmouth and asks for a loan of several thousand pounds to cover the wages. Falmouth is no idiot and realises she intends to just deposit the money in the bank in order to prop it up, because no way does she need £3K to cover wages at the mine. Not unkindly, he warns her against making such big-hearted gestures and offers to lend her the amount he’s pretty sure will cover said wages (£800, which is the equivalent of more than £35,000 today, so this is not an insignificant debt Demelza’s taking on here). Before she goes, he reminds her that this is to be used ONLY for the miners’ wages.
Of course, Demelza does exactly what he told her not to do: she rounds up Prudie, Sam, and Zacky, hands them all literal bags of money, and the four of them make a big show of arriving at Pascoe’s bank basically screaming, ‘HEY! I’m here to DEPOSIT MONEY POUNDS! BECAUSE PASCOE’S IS THE BEST BANK IN ALL CORNWALL, OBVS!’
No good, though. Even these theatrics can’t get them around George, who, along with Carey, goes to work on Pascoe’s son-in-law, who turns out to be a cousin of Ross’s (man, there are Poldarks EVERYWHERE). This idiot banks with Warleggan’s, and he’s in debt. They first threaten to call in said debt, claiming to be hurting themselves due to some bad investments. But once he’s good and scared they backpedal and say, actually, it should all be fine in a couple of months. I… don’t know what was going on there, exactly. It seems super risky for them to be putting about a story that their bank is in trouble as well. I mean, this guy does not seem like the type to keep a secret. I’m sure there’s some plan afoot here, I’m just not quite clear on what it is.
Pascoe’s must close its doors. This is the news Ross comes home to. But Ross, curiously, is super chill about being completely penniless (well, less than penniless, since he now also owes Falmouth £800). He knows all about Demelza’s scheme but cheerfully laughs it off because… eh, reasons. I guess even he knows it’ll be ok in the end for him.
He makes an effort, on Pascoe’s behalf, to pull things back from the brink by visiting every investor who pulled their funds. Although they’re sympathetic to Pascoe’s plight, they politely turn Ross away. He asks Demelza what he should do and she sighs, shrugs, and says the only thing left is to ask Caroline and Sir Francis for yet another loan to cover the miners’ wages. Hold up, doesn’t Caroline bank with Pascoe’s?
Anyway, Ross does go to Sir Francis, but he doesn’t ask for a loan, he instead asks for help in saving the bank. He produces one of the letters that was sent around to the shareholders, and Francis is appalled by that, but still declines to help. Business, you know.
Ross goes away, and he and Demelza throw a little party for their employees to thank them for being so patient about not getting paid and all.
While all this is going on, Drake is moping all over Cornwall. Sam invites him to move in, which kind of begs the question of where’s Drake been living since the forge burned down? Drake turns down the offer, because he thinks it’d be cruel to move so close to poor Rosina. But he hadn’t reckoned on Rosina’s awesomeness, because she intercepts him one day and basically tells him to suck it up and get over this whole thing, because if she can still keep her head high in the village than he can too. She’s unbelievably forgiving, this girl. I desperately want good things for her. Maybe she can marry Sam?
Sam, too, has some great moments this episode. First, when he goes all Brother Bear on Tom Harry’s thuggish brother (Harry Harry, heh) when said thug threatens Drake on move-in day, and then later when he gently urges Drake to give things with Morwenna another go. Drake takes the advice, goes to Morwenna’s house, and begs her to give them some sort of a chance. But she declines once more, dropping the extra bombshell that she’s pregnant. Ugh, poor thing. Why is it always the worst, most dreadful men who manage to be the most fertile?
Speaking of fertility… Elizabeth’s pregnant again too. She’s already feeling rotten, but recalls the conversation she and Ross had at the church last season, in which he urged her to get knocked up and muck the dates around so George would think that once again she’d had an eight-month-baby and hey, look how full-term they tend to appear! So, she’s keeping this pregnancy to herself.
Enys and Caroline have a super sweet reunion that just makes me love them more, and not five minutes after she magically appears in their garden he’s kind of asking if she might consider having another baby. Dwight, too soon, I think. She dodges the question, leaving herself enough room to consider it, so there’s that.
Dwight’s been keeping himself busy with the foundation of a new charitable hospital in town, and all the locals with money go to the grand opening. Amidst this swanky crowd, Ross loses his temper and starts railing over George’s foul trick against Pascoe’s. The whole thing ends with a scuffle, broken up by the crowd and the distraction of Elizabeth fainting.
Dwight tends to Elizabeth, delicately asking if she might be pregnant, because that’s the only reason women ever faint (or vomit) on television. She lies that she’s definitely not, but then her morning sickness arrives in full swing and a concerned George sends for Choake. Choake prescribes his usual round of bleedings, purgatives, and six different kinds of lead tinctures that she has to take every day, and Elizabeth wisely gives up the game and tells George that they’re expecting a child. He’s so sweetly happy and excited, it’s kind of adorable and I actually find myself liking him for a little while there. See, he can have multiple facets!
But then Carey comes striding in to break up the fun with the news that Sir Francis has rescued Pascoe’s bank after all, incorporating it with his own and putting both Pascoe and Ross on the board. So, not only is Ross’s money now safe, but he’s also acquired the new job of banker. Say it with me:
Ross always wins!
And the time has come for Ross to head back to London. But this time, high on his recent success (and probably tired of every single person he meets asking where his wife is), he invites Demelza to come with him. Caroline, too, is longing for the distractions of the capitol, and she also requests the company of her spouse. So, the fab foursome head off to London town. Dwight’s gonna hate every last second of it, but apparently having Demelza with him in London makes Ross super horny, so I doubt it won’t be long before we’ve got three new babies on the show.
Next week: Demelza samples the delights of the city, and Ross does not appear to like it!