Ross Poldark on his horse

Poldark Season 5 Episode 1 Recap

Welcome back for the final series (until the inevitable reboot in five years, that is)! Exciting times: Debbie Horsfield decided she’d rather not jump ahead 10 years, as the books do (I mean, we’re already stretching credulity by ignoring the fact that this story has been going nearly 20 years already and everyone still looks exactly the same). So we are, officially, off book which means that anything goes. Will there be crazy twists and turns ahead? Will Ross actually come out on the losing end for once? We’ll see!

So, Ross’s former commanding officer, from his army days, Ned Despard, is in trouble. He’s been thrown in prison without trial and is being treated pretty poorly there. He has good reason to believe that there are higher-ups involved here, because during his later career he served as a governor in Honduras, where he set about granting land to freed slaves. Which did not make the businessmen who were making a fortune harvesting all the mahogany growing down there happy at all.

Ned sends his wife Kitty, a former slave, off to Nampara to plead the case to Ross. Ross, of course, is like: ‘Wait, we have a social justice crusade with a high likelihood of failure that could very well end with a man dying and me making some powerful enemies and possibly being ruined socially, politically, and possibly financially?’

Ross heads off to London with Kitty and Enys, who also served with Ned and, I guess, wants to lend some moral support. And possibly keep Ross from getting into too much trouble because, let’s face it, Ross needs some babysitting.

But just before Ross leaves, a couple of things happen. First, Geoffrey Charles shows up to tell Ross he doesn’t want to go to Harrow anymore; he wants to train for the army. But that requires money, so Ross and GC go to try and squeeze some out of George. George has left Trenwith and is back in the Warleggan mansion. He’s also not even pretending to like GC now that Elizabeth’s not there to intervene, and he flat-out refuses to help the lad. GC heads up to London as well, to try and figure things out, but just before he leaves he holds a dinner at Trenwith and asks Drake and Morwenna to look in on the place from time to time.

George, being the kind and caring individual that he is, cuts wages at his mine so far that the workers finally feel compelled to speak up. And then he fires them. Naturally, they wander over to Ross’s mine, because everyone knows Ross is a soft touch when it comes to hiring the dispossessed. But even Ross can’t hire everyone, and he and Demelza tell the people that, regrettably, they have no jobs for them. One of the women, Tess, gets really mouthy over this.

Ross heads off, and Demelza tries to see what she can do for these miners. Turns out Tess is a true pain in the ass. She corners Demelza one afternoon and trash talks her for a while, talking about how she married up and is now a stuck-up snob who doesn’t remember where she came from. Uh, all evidence to the contrary, Tess. Demelza explains that she totally remembers what it’s like to be poor and that she’s trying to find jobs for Tess and the others.

‘We don’t want charity,’ Tess spits. Tess, it’s not charity, she’s trying to find you guys jobs. That’s not a handout. And if you don’t want jobs and you don’t want charity then what do you want? I already hate this woman.

Tess goes on to say that maybe they should have a revolution, just like they did in France. Start burning big houses and beheading the rich. Someone needs to tell this girl what happened to some of the early ringleaders of the Reign of Terror.

There’s a sense of unease in the countryside. Windows at some of the mansions are being broken, and Demelza keeps being awakened at night by noises and the dog barking. She ends up hiring Tess as a farmhand, but that very night someone sets Nampara on fire. They manage to put it out, and Tess swears she had nothing to do with it, but who knows?

Meanwhile, the Warleggans have a new friend: Ralph Hanson. He’s–wait for it–in mahogany and has extensive interests in Honduras. And if you guessed that he’s the one who had Ned thrown into prison, then you win this week’s prize!

Yeah, Hanson’s a dick. But he has a pretty daughter, Cecily, and a lot of money, so naturally Carey is trying to play matchmaker between Cecily and George.

George, however, is uninterested because he’s too busy having a complete psychotic break. He keeps acting as if Elizabeth is still there, mistaking the nanny for her at one point, and insisting that she come to London with him when he receives his knighthood. At first I thought this was an act, to try and get Carey to back off, but then we see things from George’s POV at one point, and he’s actually seeing Elizabeth sitting down at the table with him. So, yeah, George is not at all well just now.

So, Ross. Ross gets to London and just doesn’t like the energy there. But he does like Kitty and accompanies her to an anti-slavery talk where she gets to speak. And guess who else is there? Cecily. She and Geoffrey Charles, who’s also come along to the talk, have a nice interlude, so now I think we can all guess they’re going to hook up and I’m sure the Warleggans and her dad will love that!

Ross and the others decide to head to the theatre for the evening. The king’s going to be attending, so that should be fun.

At the theatre, Ross notices a guy who seems a bit suspicious. Ok, that’s downplaying it significantly. This guy practically has NEFARIOUS CHARACTER UP TO NO GOOD in flashing neon lights over his head, with arrows pointing down at him, just in case you missed it. He’s acting so suspiciously I don’t know why everyone isn’t keeping an eye on him. Ross follows him into the theatre, and then foils the man’s attempt to shoot the king. Yes, of course Ross Poldark manages to save the king’s life. All in a night’s work, right?

Ross is then immediately taken into a box where a creepy guy, Wickham, essentially asks him to be a spy. Ross is unsure, until Enys points out that he might be able to use his kingsaving skills to get favours in return.

Ross, presumably, agrees to do some work for Wickham in exchange for Ned being freed. Ned’s out of prison! He’s joyfully reunited with Kitty! Nampara did not burn to the ground! All is right with the world! For now…

9 thoughts on “Poldark Season 5 Episode 1 Recap

  1. Okay, I realize that you are not interested in relating to the novels but this episode takes the cake. Characters who never appeared in the books, situations that do not make any sense. Also, “Stranger From The Sea” takes place in the future. I am going to stick with it for a few episodes. (living in the US it was a chore finding a website) If the series does not at least follow some of the story, I am out.

  2. Let’s see how Debbie Horsfield can screw up Winston Graham’s saga even further. George Warleggan mentally going around the bend over Elizabeth’s death? Check. George asking Drake and Morwenna to keep an eye on Trenwith? Ha ha ha ha . . . check. Geoffrey Charles trying to become an army officer before the age of 16? Check. Ross Poldark saving the life of George III? Oh God . . . check. Ross becoming a spy? Ha ha ha ha! Check.

    Ah yes . . . Debbie Horsfield’s “Poldark” fan fiction saga has finally commenced.

    1. It was not unusual for young gentlemen to become army officers in their teens. Naturally, they would be junior officers , such as ensigns, not COs.

    2. Geoffrey Charles, NOT George, asked Drake and Morwenna to take care of Trenwith – it’s HIS house, when he comes of age. Also, yes, very young men can join the military as officers at this time – gentlemen could buy a commission (or their families would pay for it) and uniform/kit, and some naval and army officers were as young as 12 or 13.

  3. “My name is Wickham. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.” Why yes, you were the villain in Pride & Prejudice. A spymaster people have heard of is an pretty bad one, IMHO. Is the actor playing Hanson the same one who played Wickham in P&P ? He looks like him to me.

  4. I don’t know how to process Ross Poldark, of all people, being tactful and diplomatic to George Warleggan, of all people. It really sells the ‘”For Elizabeth’s sake” element.

    How old is Geoffrey Charles at this point in time, and how much longer until he reaches his majority?

    1. I can’t recall his exact age, but I think he’s meant to be in his late teens. Maybe 17 or so? I’m guessing the age of majority would be around 21

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