Poldark: The Real Thing

Ross disperses a mob in Poldark season 2 episode 10Previously on Poldark: Ross screwed up big time, and the repercussions are likely to be far-reaching. Elizabeth married George, Caroline spurned Enys, and Demelza very nearly cheated.

Well, at least they ended strong.

George continues to prove that he’s not only an arrogant little idiot, but simply has no concept of when to stop already. It’s not enough that he’s married Elizabeth and now lives in the Poldark family’s ancestral home. Oh, no! Now he’s fencing in the land around Trenwith and setting those two thugs who almost killed Judd to policing the fenceline. They do, with quite a bit more force than is warranted. After some local faces are introduced to a pair of rifle butts, resentment in the neighbourhood begins to seriously seethe.

George has also decided to give Ross a hard time about buying Geoffrey Charles’s shares in Wheal Grace. Wheal Grace is now doing extremely well–Demelza even has a new dress! So, despite the fact that the kid’s shares were, at the time, nearly worthless mine and bought out for the same amount Francis put in, and everything was totally aboveboard, George is trying to make a case that this was all illegal. Ross manages to keep his cool much longer than I expected, but then he gives in and punches George and a tussle begins. For a little while, it looks like George’s boxing lessons may have actually been worth the money, but Ross has rage on his side (and, you know, he’s far tougher than George is), so the whole thing almost ends with George’s head in a blazing fire. He’s only rescued by the timely intervention of Tankard and two footmen. Tankard, by the way, tries to warn George away from this whole fencing-in project. And you know that when a weasel with no scruples like Tankard is trying to tell you you’ve gone too far, you’ve gone waaaaaay too far.

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]You know that when a weasel like Tankard is trying to tell you you’ve gone too far, you’ve gone waaaaaay too far[/cryout-pullquote]

So, Ross is still miserable. And Demelza still hasn’t forgiven him. Nor should she. He whines about how he only cheated that one time, because I guess in RossWorld everyone gets one free pass. Demelza decides to test that rule by telling him about her assignation with McNeil. Ross, predictably, acts all put out and disgusted.

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Ross.

With not much to stay home for, Ross takes some inspiration from Enys and considers re-enlisting. I mean, his uniform still fits and there’s a war on with France now, because why have a massive army and navy and not use them? Similarly, Ross figures there’s no point in a nice uniform and shiny sword that are just going to sit in a trunk.

And Enys? Well, he went and joined the navy as a surgeon after learning from Penvenen (who has diabetes) that Caroline’s about to marry the eldest son of an earl.

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Ross figures he should tie up some loose ends, so he visits his lawyer and finally gets him to ‘fess up to who gave Ross the loan that saved his ass back at Christmastime. When he learns Caroline was behind it, Ross takes a field trip to London to visit her in the incredibly gorgeous house she’s living in. He thanks her, tells her he’ll be paying her back, and congratulates her on her engagement. She rolls her eyes a bit and tells him the guy’s proposed more than once, but she finds herself unable to say yes. Ross jumps on it and brings up Enys, and when she tries to argue that she’s come to the conclusion that she and Enys would never be happy together, he remains unconvinced.

Back to Cornwall Ross goes, with Caroline in tow. He brings her and Enys together in a tavern where the good doctor’s spending the last few hours before he boards ship. The two of them have a really sweet scene, and I have to hand it to the hair, makeup, and lighting people: these two actors are done up and lit in such a way that they both look so incredibly beautiful I almost want to run away with the pair of them. Seriously, I’m actually mesmerized by how much pretty there is here right now. It’s almost enough to distract me from what they’re saying. Almost. They get engaged, and he ties a piece of leather into a little ring for her (awww!) and it’s all so sweet and everyone’s so happy that now I’m assuming Enys is a goner. But before that, he and Caroline get one night together. Make it count, you crazy kids!

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And there’s more good news: Verity has her baby! And her stepdaughter’s stopped being such a snotty little bitch! Yay!

On her way home from helping Verity with the birth, Demelza stops by Trenwith and meets up with Elizabeth (by the way: I totally called it on Elizabeth being pregnant. George is over the moon because he has no idea this child is clearly Ross’s). Demelza admits she really wanted to let Elizabeth have it, but now she sees her, she actually feels sorry for her. But also hates her for breaking Demelza’s marriage.

On her way back over the fence, Thug 1 actually shoots at Demelza, who, startled, falls and hurts her arm. She yells at the guy for being so careless, then goes home. Judd and Prudie take one look at her arm and go

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Judd goes to the local tavern and whips up the locals, who grab their torches and pitchforks (yes, really) and march on Trenwith. As soon as Demelza hears what’s up from Prudie, she races to the house to interrupt George and Elizabeth’s dinner and tell them they really might want to lock the doors. Both of them sneer at her and accuse her of just making this up. To what end? What purpose would making this up serve Demelza? George also drops the incoming baby bombshell on Demelza, who gets this really great face for just a second there that somehow runs through about eighteen different emotions. I love Eleanor Tomlinson, I really do.

While everyone’s standing around being idiotic, the mob descends, pausing to burn those crappy fences. Demelza runs outside and urges them to turn back, because there are women and children inside (her concern is mostly for Aunt Agatha and Geoffrey Charles. Pretty sure she’d be fine with Elizabeth being lynched alongside her husband). George comes out with his thugs and Tankard (who surely must be updating his resume by now, because I’m pretty sure facing down an angry mob was never in his job description). It’s not looking too good for anybody here–the mob has numbers on their side, plus rage, but George has guns.

And then who should come along to save the day and disperse everyone but Ross (of course!). He fires his own pistol in the air to get everyone’s attention, convinces everyone to go home, collects Demelza and rides off without putting a bullet in between George’s eyes.

After that, George relaxes by the fireside with his wife and tells her he’s going to send Geoffrey Charles off to Harrow. I mean, the kid’s, what, four? Five? Getting on in years! Besides, she’ll be too busy with the kid who matters, right? Elizabeth pouts as he heads off to bed and then Agatha comes in to growl that this serves Elizabeth right, seeing as how she made a deal with the devil. Elizabeth desperately tries to convince herself that George will be more amenable once the baby arrives, but Aunt Agatha shrugs and says he might be–unless the baby comes unexpectedly early. And has a full head of black hair and punches George in the face as soon as he sees him. The shocked look on Elizabeth’s face, as if this is the first time she’s considered this, suggests she’s about as bright as she is useful. Oh, Elizabeth.

Ross and Demelza return home, where she immediately starts gathering up her things and informs him that she’s taking their son and leaving him. Returning home to her father (would he even have her back?). She says she deserves better than just being someone’s second best and Ross finally reaches into that stony heart of his and pulls forth the right thing to say. To wit: what he felt for Elizabeth was basically an idealised, Disney-princess sort of love. And once he tried to make that real, it all fell apart, because that sort of thing is super thin to begin with. But what he has with Demelza, for all its imperfections and challenges, is real, and solid. And it’s the reason he couldn’t rejoin his regiment.

She begins to thaw. And we end this season with the two of them on that cliff, overlooking the water, watching the fleet (and Enys!) sail away.

Ok. Not bad overall, but there was some uneveness here, and a lot of the story is starting to feel repetitive. How many times can Ross really run afoul of the law? How many times can Demelza put up with his bullshit? Seriously, this guy’s supposed to be the main character. He needs to develop a bit. I feel like we’re still seeing the exact same Ross we did in season 1 episode 1. And that’s kinda boring. George is kind of boring too. Can we not have him just be a cardboard villain? Isn’t there any dimension to him at all? It’s so cheap to just give us someone you feel nothing but hate for. This is a sprawling epic, you have time to develop people!

But Enys was great, wasn’t he? And hey! Look at Judd and Prudie and Caroline growing on me! Well done, folks! And I’m glad to see Verity so blissfully happy, because she always seemed to deserve it. And now, it’s Demelza’s turn, don’t you think?

Back next year, everyone!



One thought on “Poldark: The Real Thing

  1. Demelza admits she really wanted to let Elizabeth have it, but now she sees her, she actually feels sorry for her. But also hates her for breaking Demelza’s marriage.

    So . . . Demelza hates Elizabeth for the strain io her marriage and not Ross? Hypocrisy much? I would have felt sympathetic, except Ross’ one night with Elizabeth bordered on rape. Oh wait. It was rape, more or less. And why did they add that stupid scene in the first place? It wasn’t in the novel. Just an attempt to raise Demelza on her pedestal even higher? Perhaps if Ross had told the truth on what really happened, we would have been spared of this scene. As for the Trenwith near riot . . . another scene that was not in the novel. An attempt by the producers to regain Ross’ “heroic” image?

    At the end of Season One, people were hinting that Ross’ “infatuation” with Elizabeth was over. Now, they’re saying that it’s over at the end of Season Two. Is this going to be the norm for every season? It seems like. And by the way, I think Ross genuinely loves Elizabeth. He just seems incapable of realizing that it was over for them a long time ago. At least Elizabeth does.

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