Let’s start with something simple and sweet: Drake and Morwenna, they do expect! Hurrah! So happy for these two!
Now for the main action. Well…
We get a pretty lame resolution to last week’s cliffhanger. Ross was tossed down a mine by two thugs who were kind enough to inform him that this is the work for Merceron. Thanks, guys!
Not content to just let Ross know what he’s done, Merceron goes to the Warleggans’ house and boldly announces his nefarious deeds to Carey, George, and little Valentine. This kid is always in the room when things are happening, which definitely wouldn’t have been the case at the time, and I keep waiting for him to mean something. I thought here that he’d be the one to tell Demelza where she could find Ross, but no, apparently not. He does, however, get a very strange moment where he tips an entire plate of bread onto the floor just so he can make some poor footman clear it up. WTH?
Turns out, throwing someone down a mine is George’s official Limit of Evil. Much as he hates Ross, this is just a step too far for him. Coupled with some later scandals involving Merceron’s management of the prison, business with Merceron and Hanson gets too hazardous and George and Carey bolt.
Turns out, the mine these geniuses threw Ross into is Wheal Leisure which, as you may recall, was Ross’s own mine for pretty much his whole life. I’m starting to feel like Merceron is Bond-villain-level dumb. If he starts monologuing or threatening Ross with a slow-moving laser beam next week I’m going to die.
Ross finds his way out of the mine pretty easily, but on the way he stumbles across the stolen ore stash and a bunch of random Frenchmen wandering about. Of course he does.
Ross has been gone for a while, so Demelza’s got a full-on search party out. Dwight finds Ross ambling on home and takes him to get cleaned up. Ross tells him about how Merceron is the big bad behind all this, which totally confuses Enys. He urges Ross not to act until he’s in full possession of all the facts. Oh, Dwight, when has Ross ever listened to you when you counseled caution?
Ross goes home and lies to Demelza that he fell down a gully and was knocked out for hours. Yeah, that’s brain damage territory, dude. Bad all around, really. Cracked ribs are now the least of your worries.
He tells her about the Frenchmen he came across in the mine and they both wonder what they’re doing in Cornwall. Well, guys, it’s not as if Cornwall has a long and rich history of smuggling or anything.
Speaking of smuggling, turns out Jacka and Tess are definitely in the stolen ore business together. Rosina rats out her own father to Morwenna, who takes the news to Demelza and Drake. Turns out they’re swapping the ore for brandy, tea, and other contraband. Helpfully, Rosina also knows where the ore’s being stored.
Demelza goes to check it out and finds the Frenchmen there, along with quite the stash of weaponry. She’s unaware that Ross, too, is having the stolen ore situation looked into, because these two are, once again, not communicating properly on important issues.
Fortunately, that doesn’t last too long. Demelza and Drake tell Ross what they found. Everyone wonders what the heck the French are planning here. Ross thinks this is the start of a planned invasion and decides to head to London to tell Wickham.
Enys knows that Ross is really going to London to confront Merceron. FFS, Ross, did you learn nothing from Ned’s very recent execution? An execution which you know for a fact was completely manipulated and arranged by the very man you’re going after.
Enys decides to go as well, presumably to keep Ross from doing anything too crazy. You’d think that Ross’s very recent plan to break a man convicted of treason out of prison with Enys’s help would have taught Dwight just how much of a restraining influence he has on his friend, but Dwight? Well, he kind of sucks these days.
Yeah, the Enys marriage is having some… problems. And I don’t entirely know why, to be honest. Kitty’s staying with the Enyses, and Dwight takes it upon himself to tell her she can stay forever, if she wants to. The look Caroline gives him makes it clear he did not discuss this with her beforehand, which is totally crappy no matter what, but especially so when you consider that this is her house. Yes, I know that when women married their property became their husbands’ but, still!
So, that happened. And when Ross sets out, Dwight tells Kitty to gather all the evidence she has of the abuses going on at Merceron’s prison so they can go too. And Caroline is not keen on being left out of everything, and figures she can actually use her social connections for some good, so she hitches a ride as well.
Ross immediately goes to Merceron, who’s not at all surprised by his visit. Apparently he’s like Varys and has little spies everywhere. Hanson’s skulking about, and we get the entirely random titbit that he and Merceron are half-brothers. Okaaaay. Why did we need that? It seems so odd, so late in the game for that to come out. And why does it matter? Does the writer not think that we’d accept lots and lots of money as sufficient motivation for these two to be working together? Because we’d accept that! It happens all the time! It’s pretty much why all businessmen do things together!
So weird. Anyway, just for good measure, Hanson tells Ross that they totally had Ballantine killed (yeah, Bond villains for sure), because they think they’re so powerful no one can ever touch them. K.
Ross goes to Wickham and yells at him for not telling him earlier that Hanson and Merceron are connected and that Merceron is super powerful. Valid. That all would have been good information to know. Merceron is also passing information to the government via Wickham, and so everyone turns a blind eye to his nefarious dealings. Wickham urges Ross to get actual proof that Merceron tried to have him killed, if he wants to get anything done here.
Time for the ladies to try another mode of attack. Kitty and Caroline take to the park to hand out pamphlets and urge the wealthy and powerful of London to read up on Merceron’s behaviour at the prison.
Enraged by this attack on their reputations, Merceron and Hanson arrange to have someone jump in front of Caroline’s horse in the park. Egad! She seems to have an extremely nervous horse, because it completely freaks out and it takes her a while to calm it down. But she keeps her seat. Well done.
She returns home and Dwight notices she’s a bit shaken. She merely says someone accidentally startled her horse, but he immediately jumps to the conclusion that this was a deliberate action. He tells her she should really go home to Cornwall, before her reputation takes a hit from being too closely associated with the wife of a traitor. Caroline snaps back that he seems to think she’s just an empty-headed heiress, and I’m not sure where her hostility is coming from here. But she did just have a scare, so I guess I’ll give her a little wiggle room. She accuses him of getting too close to Kitty, who overhears and scurries away. Dwight gets kind of icy and says it’s probably time for all of them to go home.
Back to Cornwall, then, where Demelza is desperately trying to steer Sam away from Tess. He insists it’s his duty to save souls. Demelza next turns to Tess and tells her that she gets it, it sucks to be poor and see others with so much, but that doesn’t excuse thievery. Tess continues to play the innocent.
While all this has been going on, Geoffrey Charles and Cecily have been trying to figure out a way to escape. They finally manage it, and flee to Cornwall with Ross’s help. He brings them to Nampara, then makes arrangements for the two of them to run away to America.
There’s a bit of a wait before they can go, so Ross gathers his closest associates and stations them around Nampara to keep watch for Hanson’s men.
Merceron, meanwhile, shows up at Trenwith (why are George and Carey still living there? It’s not their house! I thought they were staying there when George was crazy because it soothed him, but there’s no reason for them to be living there now!)
Ok, so Merceron tells them that Cecily’s run away and the Poldarks and Enyses are helping her and Geoffrey Charles. Furthermore, that pamphleting in the park and Kitty’s letter-writing campaign have caused the powers that be to start looking a little more closely at Merceron, so he’s decided it’s about time to step things up a notch.
And by step things up, I mean he decides to have Caroline’s dog, Horace, poisoned. In her home.
The timing’s bad. Just before this, Caroline happened upon her husband’s case notes for George Warleggan, which he left just lying out on his desk and which clearly state that George was insane. Dwight finds her looking at these and accuses her of having too great an appetite for scandal. Jesus, Dwight, if you’re so concerned with patient confidentiality, maybe don’t leave your notes just out on your desk for anyone to see.
So, he’s already pretty pissy with her. But then when she finds Horace and begs Dwight for help, he just shrugs and says this is from Horace eating too much. Caroline, who’s clearly still frightened (as she should be!) tells him that this was a deliberate act. ‘How can you know that?’ he scoffs.
Excuse me? Who the hell is this man? Was he not the one who immediately assumed that the attack in Hyde Park was just that–an attack? So why would he be so disbelieving now? Does he truly think they’re so safe in Cornwall, when he knows that Ross was thrown down a mine shaft by these very people? Come on, Dwight!
And this seems so out of character for him. Yes, he’s upset with Caroline, but he’s just being a gaslighting douche here, and that’s not him at all. What’s even happening here?
Since Dwight’s f-ing useless, Caroline takes matters into her own hands and goes to Trenwith to tell George and Carey that she and her dog have both been attacked, and that’s not ok. She alludes to George’s illness, revealing that she knows that a prominent local gentleman was recently treated for insanity and wouldn’t it be a shame if that got out? She tells Carey to ensure that her family, the Poldarks, and Geoffrey Charles are all left alone from here on out.
She leaves and George wonders why they’re protecting some local lunatic. Carey reveals that it’s not just any local lunatic, it’s George.
The what now? George was unaware of his, uh, difficulties? Since when? Didn’t Hanson mention something about it recently, and didn’t George insist he was fully recovered? Did he just blank all those (weeks? months? years?) What, did he think he just had the flu during that time or something? I’m so confused.
Over at Nampara, Sam’s distracted from his guard duties by Tess, who is really interested in the loaves and fishes. I don’t think that’s a metaphor.
Ross leaves to get a boat ready to row the lovebirds out to the ship that’ll take them away. On his way to the boat, however, he’s captured by those Frenchmen who’ve been skulking about and taken to their leader. He’s someone Ross has crossed paths with before. Are we supposed to remember him? Because I have to be honest, I have no idea who this guy is. There’s a quick flashback to an earlier scene with him, so I guess Ross met him when he went to go rescue Enys. We’ll go with that.
He’s ready to go ahead and kill Ross right now, so it’s time for some quick thinking. And Ross quickly thinks that the best thing to do is to offer to spy for France, since England’s pretty well screwed him over.
Ross has been gone too long, so Demelza prepares to take the lovebirds to the coast herself. They barely get two steps beyond the door before they’re accosted by Merceron’s men and Cecily and G-C are taken away.
George goes to see Merceron and tells him he needs to back off of pretty much everyone. Merceron shakes him down for a large sum in order to do so. Good thing George’s bank balance can take it.
George does not realise that, at this moment, Geoffrey Charles is being nearly beaten to death by Merceron’s thugs. Once they’re done, Cecily is brought in to see his broken body, and her father informs her that, if she tries to run away again, these men will finish the job.
Once G-C comes around, Cecily breaks up with him, telling him that she no longer wants to be married, because she has too much to do and she couldn’t get it done if she were a wife. But she could as Hanson’s daughter? I doubt it.
G-C is sent home to Nampara. Ross, too, is released and hears everything from Demelza.
Kitty has decided it’s time to move on. Demelza and Caroline sweetly bid her farewell on board the ship. She reassures both ladies that she’ll be just fine–she’ll go back to Jamaica, build a home, and raise her child.
Turns out, Hanson and Cecily are going to be on the same ship. Awk. Ward. Or maybe just Cecily is–it’s kind of unclear. Cecily and G-C have one last, tender, tearful farewell before she climbs aboard. The Enyses and Poldarks watch the ship sail away and Demelza reassures Geoffrey Charles that it will be hard for a while, but he’ll survive this.
Ross pulls Dwight aside and asks him to have a care for Demelza in the coming months, because his actions are going to seem…odd to her. And heaven forbid he maybe give her a head’s up, but then, I guess he does want to protect her. Maybe best after all to keep your wife out of your treason, especially when you still have small children at home.
Next week: The LAST EPISODE EVER