All right, let’s tie this thing up.
Several months have passed, and Ross is now deep in with the French and… pretending to have an affair with Tess? At least, stringing her along. Why?
Yeah, we’re about two minutes in and I’m already baffled. Isn’t Tess only involved with the ore thieves? Now, I’d totally buy that the ore thieves are working with the French (selling them the ore? Buying the contraband from the French?), because it seems unlikely that these two groups not only just happened to decide to use the same abandoned mine to carry out their illicit activities, but did so without ever running into each other, but once Ross came along, wouldn’t the ore thieves make a run for it? Suspend activities, at least, considering the fact that it’s Ross’s ore they’re stealing. Seriously, they’re kind of dumb, but not that dumb. They have to know that Ross knows by now that he’s being ripped off and would be searching for the perpetrators.
As Ross predicted, all the sneaking around and generally strange behaviour is making Demelza feel hurt, suspicious, and confused. Fed up with the secrecy, she follows him to the mine one night and sees him canoodling with Tess. She takes some time to process this, and then when he comes home asks him how much he thinks trust matters in a relationship. He basically answers, ‘Well, do you want me to know everything you’ve ever done?’ Point taken. But it’s not like he’s never cheated before either.
In response, Demelza packs up Prudie and the kids and goes to stay with Dwight and Caroline. Ross is ok with this because now a French general is coming ashore and Ross needs to play host to him, so it actually suits him to have the house empty, even if it means the destruction of his own family.
As if all this isn’t enough, Ross takes it upon himself to verbally attack Hanson and Merceron, who are, for some reason never explained, still hanging around Cornwall. Even Ross is like, ‘Why are you still here?’ Also, it seems unlikely that in the last five months this is the first time they’ve all crossed paths. Oh, and then Ross basically announces to an entire tavern full of people that he’s willing to commit treason. Nice, Ross.
Speaking of things that probably should have resolved by now, things are still a bit tense in the Enys household. Why is Caroline still so worked up? Kitty’s long gone now; it’s not like Dwight is talking about following her to Jamaica or anything. Well, put a pin in this one.
Other relationship news: Tess, in her arrogance at having supposedly won over Ross, is now a total bitch to Sam, who just shakes his head in a, “Should’ve known” kind of way. Yeah, Sam, you should’ve. Morwenna, who’s getting ready to go on maternity leave and place the school in Rosina’s hands, starts gently hinting that maybe Rosina should give Sam another chance? Geez, folks, how many times can this poor young woman get screwed over by a Carne man? Let her have some dignity!
Over at Trenwith, little Valentine asks his dad for a mine the way most rich kids ask for a pony. Carey thinks that’s ridiculous, but George sees only opportunities to piss Ross off and decides to give his young son Wheal Leisure as a plaything.
They ride over so Valentine can see his new toy, and notice Ross talking with Tess on the beach, and then the two of them meeting some men bringing large boxes of something off of a boat. It’s clear they’re up to no good, and they’re doing all of this in broad daylight. I take it back about these people not being so stupid–they are stupid. They’re the stupidest. They’re too dumb to live.
George and Carey take this news right to Merceron and Hanson (why are they still working with these men? Didn’t they want to sever that connection just last week?), who are all, ‘Treason! Awesome!’
So, Demelza and the kids arrive at the Enys home (Killewarren, apparently). Dwight decides this has all gone far enough and rides to Nampara to tell Ross to abandon this crazy plan, whatever the hell it is. During the ensuing argument, Dwight points out that Ross’s actions have consequences and, in a completely bizarre moment, Ross seems confused by this. He demands to know what these “consequences” are and Jesus, Ross, WTF? Is it that you don’t understand the concept, or do you really not realise that everything you’ve done has had some negative outcome? Like driving away your wife and children?
For an equally bizarre reason, Dwight does not mention this but chooses instead to tell Ross to ‘ask George. He lives with them every day.’ Daaaaaamn. But it turns out he’s not talking about Valentine (or maybe he is and just chickens out here), because he goes on to say that he’s really talking about having lost Elizabeth, and knowing she always really loved Ross. Dwight begs Ross to make things right with Demelza, but Ross mumbles that things have to play out now. Also, he lies that he no longer loves his wife. Wow, he’s really not planning to come back from this at all, is he?
Ross ropes in Geoffrey Charles and asks him what he knows about the French general, Toussaint (not this one, presumably), who’s coming ashore. He’s a noted strategist, ladies’ man, all that French stuff.
Toussaint arrives, and said arrival at Nampara is noted by one of Merceron’s men. The guy reports back to Trenwith, and everyone there is gleeful at the thought of Ross hanging for treason, with Geoffrey Charles right there by his side (nice job getting him involved in this hugely risky plan, Ross!)
Because of course Ross isn’t really and truly working for the French, he’s turning double agent. He learns from Toussaint that the French plan to invade within the month, before a peace treaty can be signed with England. Ross immediately writes a letter to Dwight, explaining everything, and he, in turn, spills the beans to Caroline.
Turns out Dwight is now a vital part of this plan, something you’d think Ross would have worked out and mentioned earlier than this. While Ross and the general are at Wheal Leisure, Dwight hides himself under the floorboards in Nampara’s library so he can take notes of the conversation Ross and Toussaint have when they return. Toussaint, also, is kind of an idiot and doesn’t catch on when Ross baits him to reveal all sorts of details of this proposed invasion, as well as some choice titbits about how the French feel about the British Prime Minister.
As soon as they leave the room, Dwight hops out, hands his notes over to a courier, and tells the man to ride straight to London. But along the way the man is intercepted and the notes are handed over to the crew at Trenwith. George is incensed that it turns out Ross is no traitor and will, instead of being hanged, be hailed as a hero. But Hanson has a fix for that: he’ll just show this transcript to Toussaint.
Over at Killewarren, Caroline catches Demelza attempting to sneak out with Prudie and the kids. I have no idea why Demelza finds it necessary to secretly abscond in the middle of the night, but I’m guessing it’s because she thought Caroline would (rightly!) try to talk her out of this insanity. Demelza tells her friend that she simply can’t stay here, and be constantly reminded of Ross and all she’s lost. So, she’s leaving. Maybe she’ll catch a ship to Jamaica too, join Kitty and Cecily! Won’t that be fun?
Ok, may I just remind everyone here that it’s the dead of night. She’s dragging her very young children out of a safe, comfortable home to go… nowhere. She has nowhere to go right now. This is completely insane. Nobody who cares about their kids would do this. There is no cause to do this. It’s not as if she couldn’t catch a ship in the morning, if she had a mind to. What’s she going to do, just wander up and down the wharf until daybreak? What is happening here?
Caroline gets this look on her face that says, ‘Oh, man, Dwight’s gonna kill me.’
Nevertheless, she goes on to tell Demelza everything. Demelza absorbs that, and although Prudie tries to talk her out of it, she heads off to Nampara to… I don’t know, confront Ross?
Oh, and meanwhile, the Carnes and Ross’s right-hand man are heading down to the mine to literally smoke out the ore thieves and the French. Drake thoughtfully has Rosina come stay with Morwenna, which is just as good, because Morwenna, naturally, goes into labour.
While she’s getting good and uncomfortable, her husband and the others let off some sort of a smoke bomb at the mine and take the Frenchmen there prisoner.
Demelza interrupts Ross and Toussaint talking about how much they love cheating. She acts quite coquettish towards Toussaint while Ross tries not to just shit himself, judging from the look on his face. And then Hanson shows up with pistols at the ready and tells Toussaint that Ross has betrayed him.
Toussaint is greatly disappointed and politely apologises to Demelza for spoiling her rug with her husband’s execution. Demelza thanks him for his service in ridding her of a husband who’s a liar and cheater. She only asks that Toussaint use a slower method than the pistol. She wants to see him suffer, you see. Toussaint likes that.
A duel it is. With swords, of course, because–honour! Also, in moonlight, because why not? I mean, this episode has already gone off the rails so it can’t get much more ridiculous, right? RIGHT?
Oh, ye of little faith.
Just when it seems like all is lost and Ross is, indeed, about to meet his maker (though not without having put up a credible fight, in a nice callback to a previous scene of him practising swordplay with Ned), guess who shows up and saves his life by shooting both Toussaint and Hanson?
George. Freaking. Warleggan.
I’m sorry, but what the actual, everliving f*ck? George HATES Ross. Always has. He has rather gleefully anticipated his misery and death. He ratted him out to Hanson and Merceron, surely knowing what the outcome would be. He contrived to have Ross tried and executed on bogus charges of pillage and inciting a riot a couple of seasons ago. He would like nothing more than to see Ross die, and yet, here he is, risking himself to save Ross Poldark’s life?
No. No no no no no. Do the people making this show even watch it? Do they think we don’t watch it? Do they think we all suffer from some sort of memory problem? I’m not saying that characters can’t change over time; that their feelings for one another can’t change and evolve, but we need to see evidence of that. George has pretty solidly hated Ross all this time. No way would he do this. This is bullshit. I just… ugh.
Ok, let’s finish this nonsense. Toussaint is dead, Hanson is not. George suggests Ross just finish Hanson off. Ross is tempted but decides not to because… honour? Or something? He leaves the man in Enys’s hands and goes inside with George to get the poor, shaky man a brandy.
Inside, George tells Ross that he didn’t do this for him, but out of loyalty to his country. But if that’s true, why didn’t he prevent Hanson from coming over and betraying Ross in the first place? Would have been safer, no?
Makes no sense.
Ross tells George he’s indebted to him and George promises never to forget it. They agree to revert to their usual animosity, but be all know it’s going to be ok between them. Well, ok-ish.
Morwenna’s having a baby! She has a girl and delightfully greets a returning Drake with their first offspring. Drake then wraps this whole thing up by cursing this poor child with the stupidest name ever heard on this show, and that’s really saying something, you have to admit. The new baby shall be: Love Day Carne. I shit you not.
I’m really sorry, but damn that is a terrible name.
Having had her faith in her husband restored, saved his life, and delivered a baby all in one night, Demelza returns home to Nampara so Ross can tell her what a magical, magical unicorn she really is. And, to be fair, it’s totally true. He admiringly says that she saved his life and she reminds him that he saved her life too, once, all those years ago, when he saved her from the dog fight. I think she’s more than made up for that. And then they get to have hot make-up sex.
Ross heads to London to report to Wickham. He reads Enys’s report and says this confirms other reports they’ve received. Well done, Ross. He asks England to repay him by doing something about Hanson and Merceron. Wickham agrees to do so if Ross agrees to take on spying in France full-time.
Hanson and Merceron are arrested for possessing smuggled brandy. Merceron thinks he’ll be fine, but it turns out that nobody cares who the hell he is in Truro. His connections mean nothing here.
Time to wrap up some loose ends. Rosina gets tired of waiting for Sam to get his act together and pulls him aside. She reminds him that they were engaged once (they were? Wow, Sam’s even more of a dick than I thought.) and she’s willing to be engaged to him again. This woman’s too good for all these people. Sam happily agrees, and another wedding goes ahead. Yay! I am genuinely happy for Rosina, the poor girl deserves something good, right?
Dwight and Caroline, too, have a serious talk. She admits that she was using Kitty Despard as a sort of excuse to keep her husband at arm’s length, because she’s terrified of getting pregnant again. Well, not terrified of being pregnant, but of losing another child, which she says would kill her. Dwight agrees that it’d kill him too. Man, I can’t imagine what it was like to live in a time when you basically expected at least some of your children to die, no matter how wealthy you were. How utterly, utterly awful.
The pair agree that all life comes with some risk, and they’re willing to risk it all for each other. Aww!
And George has finally decided that it’s time to close up the house that didn’t belong to him anyway. He’s decamping to Truro and London instead, and asks Ross and Demelza not to let Valentine visit them, as the child is, after all, no relation. Sure, just cut the kid off from the only functional family he seems to know and care about, George. I really hope Dwight continues with his research into psychology because this kid is going to need so much therapy someday.
George takes one last, wistful look at Trenwith before he leaves, imagining Elizabeth walking slowly away from him, through the door.
Geoffrey Charles gets back into military school!
And Ross is heading to Paris to spy. And Dwight’s going too, under the guise of studying with an eminent doctor at an insane asylum outside the city. Not sure why Dwight needs to go since, as I’ve mentioned before, he hardly manages to work as a restraining influence on Ross. But fine, whatever.
Demelza promises to give her blessing as long as Ross returns in September. She’s pregnant again, you see, so it’d be nice if he were around to greet the new sprog.
The two talk names (Henry and Isabella Rose. Spoiler alert: It’s a girl.) and both admit that they’re kind of scared of what lies ahead. But Demelza tells Ross they need to cling to their faith and show some gratitude for all they currently have. Also: live in the present, and appreciate every moment. It’s sweet, really. Doesn’t make up for the bonkers nonsense that went on this hour, but it’s sweet and as good an ending as I guess we could have hoped for.
And thus ends Poldark! It’s been quite the ride, and I’d like to thank everyone who accompanied me on it. Cheers all, and I hope you find something else to fill the Ross-shaped hole in all of our lives!