Previously on Poldark: Demelza made getting Verity and Blamey back together her new project, Ross became the public face of a new smelting company and exposed George Warleggan’s cousin as a cheat, and Mark’s unsatisfied wife, Keren, started making the moves on Enys.
Someone besides Ross rides along the coast! Maybe just take half a shot? It’s Blamey, going to leave a letter in a secret hiding place for Demelza to recover and pass along to Verity, who receives it, observed from a distance by a female servant.
George calls Tresidder, the man whose mill provides services to Carnmore, and reminds the man that he has lots of outstanding loans with the Warleggan bank and he should be really careful who he gets into bed with.
Francis finds Ross working at the inn and sits down with him, saying he heard Carnmore cleaned up at the last sale. Ross confirms it, saying that this should start forcing prices up, in the short term, at least. And long term this helps break the Warleggans’ stranglehold over the area. Win win! He wishes he had Francis’s support but will settle for his discretion. Francis promises he has it.
Keren gives her husband a crap dinner and says she didn’t have time to bake that day because she was so busy helping Enys. Mark’s not pleased to hear that, because she should be serving her husband first and Enys second. She tells him she’s proud to serve Enys, who’s a respected and necessary man.
Enys is at work at the mines, tending to the workers. Jud passes by with a barrel of rum he had hidden away in another old mine of Ross’s father’s. Ross warns him he’d better not start dipping into it before Ross gets home. Ross goes over to Enys and they talk business for a moment before Ross quietly warns him to have a care, while eyeing Mark. He then goes over to Mark and observes that the man looks weary. Mark says his wife has him up at all hours mending the roof. Ross tells him to mind he doesn’t wear himself out and Mark glares at Enys and darkly says he’s not the one who needs minding. Jinny’s dad then rides over and informs Ross that Tresidder won’t do their rolling and cutting anymore. Ross is annoyed but unsurprised.
Demelza and Prudie find Jud extremely drunk on that rum, relaxing at Ross’s desk. Prudie, who seems to have turned over a new leaf and actually become somewhat useful, yells at him and kicks him out of the room. Demelza just seems somewhat amused.
Verity watches Francis and Elizabeth leave for a walk with their adorable toddler, takes a deep breath, and heads to her room.
Ross passes Keren on the road and looks down at her while he rides by in slow motion, so we know THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Verity, dressed for travel, tucks a letter into her sleeping aunt’s shawl, kisses the old lady on the forehead, grabs a tiny travelling case, and leaves.
Jud is still wasted, wandering around the house singing, while Prudie sucks some lemons in the kitchen. He comes in, still drinking the rum, and starts talking shit about Ross having slept with half the women between there and Truro. He completely goes off the deep end, claiming that Jinny’s child is his and that Ross went to the jail to make sure Jim was good and dead. Wow, this is all coming out of nowhere. Demelza starts to get frowny, and Jud snarls at her not to ‘bend her brows’ at him because she’s nothing but a ‘trull from Luggan.’ At this, Ross bursts in, grabs Jud roughly, and kicks him right the hell out of his house. FINALLY. I can’t think why he kept the man on as long as he did.
Francis and Elizabeth return home and wonder where Verity is.
Demelza tells Ross that, if Jud goes, Prudie will, and that he didn’t mean what he said. Ross says the man’s disrespected her and the house too many times. Seriously.
Jud and Prudie leave, she complaining about him having cost them the best place they ever had.
Francis and Elizabeth finally ask Agatha where Verity’s gotten to. She produces the letter, which informs them that Verity has left to marry Blamey. Guess how well that goes over with her brother?
But Verity isn’t thinking about that now, because she’s now with Blamey, who offers her his rooms for the night while he sleeps on his ship. The next day, they’ll be married.
Francis rages about Verity sneaking away to marry that ‘wife murdering drunkard.’ It’s pretty rich for him to be looking down on someone for drinking too much. He gathers the servants and asks if anyone saw Verity getting messages. The servant from earlier apparently speaks up and Francis starts screaming about Ross being behind all this, using Demelza as a go-between. Elizabeth tries to talk him down, but that only makes Francis angrier, since he thinks she’s speaking up for Ross. He screams and wails and then runs upstairs to sulk. Just then, George comes in and apologetically says he just stopped by for a visit, but is something wrong and can he help?
Elizabeth and a slightly calmer Francis tell George everything, up to and including the fact that Francis blames Ross for all of this. As a distraction, Elizabeth asks what George came by for and he says he wanted to make Francis’s losses at Sanson’s hands right, so he’s eliminating some of their debt and giving them £1200, which was a considerable sum of money at the time. Francis and Elizabeth are floored, and she’s so happy she willingly leaves Francis to celebrate with George, who takes one last chance to kind of flirt with Elizabeth. Francis is so overjoyed he doesn’t even notice.
Keren peruses Enys’s stores and he explains that they’re as good as Choake’s remedies, but far cheaper. She comments that he won’t make much money that way and he says he only wants to make his patients whole again. ‘You made me whole again,’ she says, giving him serious sex eyes. He tells her she has to stop coming over, because her husband won’t like it. She asks if he likes it and he can’t say no. She asks him to kiss her, just once. He’s smart enough to know it wouldn’t just be the once, and he’s worried about where it would lead. She takes his hand and kisses him and he gives in and has sex with her.
Mark, meanwhile, is hard at work in the mine. Moving from the scene with Dwight and Keren to Mark hammering away is a possibly unintentionally funny cut.
At Nampara, Demelza guesses that Ross is upset about more than just Jud being Jud. She knows that Carnmore is weighing on his mind and he tells her that there are forces working to put them out of business. But he’s determined to beat George, and he should be able to, as long as George doesn’t discover the names of the shareholders.
They’re interrupted by frantic bell ringing from the mine. Ross runs over. There’s been some sort of explosion, it looks like. Workers and smoke both come pouring out. Mark makes it out ok and refuses to agree to go have Enys look at any of his injuries.
Francis starts drinking and George starts playing up his rage at Ross until Francis, drunk and angry, tells George the names of the Carnmore investors.
Mark returns home to an empty house, because Keren’s still snuggled up in bed with Enys. She finally gets up and steals out of the house, watched by Mark, who’s hidden behind a nearby building. She gets home and somehow Mark’s already there, waiting for her. He asks where she’s been and she lies that she went for a walk. He accuses her of being with Enys and asks how long she was out. She says it was just an hour, but he’s waited three for her. She breaks down and says that it was just the once, that Enys made her, and then that Mark made her because he didn’t love her enough. He says he loved her more than she could know, and she jumps on him, shrieking that he doesn’t know what love is. He grabs her tightly—too tightly—and accidentally breaks her neck. He freaks out when he realises what happened.
The following morning, Mark stumbles out of his house and hits the road, with one last backward glance. He passes Jud and Prudie, who are cooking some breakfast nearby.
Later, Enys goes to the cottage to face Mark and apologise for having slept with his wife. He finds Keren’s body.
Mark’s brother, Paul, and Jinny’s dad bring the news to Ross. Paul insists Mark must have done this accidentally, because he loved Keren too much to ever hurt her. Ross seriously says that he needs to speak to Mark ASAP and asks Paul if he knows where Mark is. He does not, but he comments that Enys had better watch himself, because Mark could snap him right in half. Paul reminds Ross that Mark is as likely to get justice as Jim was. Ross doesn’t seem sure what to do.
He goes to Enys and asks if the broken neck was deliberate. Enys can’t say one way or another. Ross suggests his friend leave and lay low for a while, until Mark is found, because surely he’ll be wanting to take his rage out on the man who wronged him. Enys won’t hear of skulking away instead of facing the man. Also, he has patients and won’t abandon them. Oh, he’s so good.
Ross rides home and Demelza asks if everything she’s heard about Keren’s death is true. She also asks what will become of Mark and learns that the constables are out in force, looking for him. As it turns out, there were some soldiers in the area already looking for smugglers, so they’ve been called in to help the search.
The search will be unnecessary, however, because here’s Mark now, walking over to Ross with a hangdog look and the feeling that he deserves to be hanged. He tells Ross that he killed his wife accidentally and Paul argues that Keren brought his brother to this. Mark is ready to turn himself in, but Ross won’t hear of it, because that would just be a waste of a good life. His plan, as he explains to Demelza, is to send Mark off in their boat that night to seek refuge in Ireland or Brittany. She warns him that this is illegal, but she’s not going to stand in Ross’s way.
There’s a noise outside and Ross sees a contingent of soldiers coming their way. He tells Demelza to go upstairs and change and prepare to be the great lady of the house. She obediently puts on her Christmas dress and goes back downstairs. The leader of the soldiers, Captain McNeil, is an old friend of Ross’s from the war with the colonies. McNeil asks about Mark and any boats hereabouts he might use to escape. Ross says he has one, but it couldn’t be managed by one man. He offers McNeil some brandy and then sees him off. As he and Demelza watch him go, Ross says they mustn’t underestimate the man. They turn to go back insidie and Demelza hands over a letter from Elizabeth, reporting Verity’s elopement. Demelza’s pleased but Ross is like, ‘great, more drama.’ He kisses Demelza and heads out to set Mark on his way and call at Trenwith and see what he can do to help.
Verity and Blamey have dinner together and she observes that this is their first meal together. He asks if that feels strange. She says no, but remarks that they’ve only met a few times, really. He says that, if she’s ever unhappy, he swears it’ll never be because of him. He kisses her hand. Aww.
Demelza lights candles at Nampara, looking out the windows and trying to remain calm.
Ross brings the oars for his boat to a smugglers’ cave along the coast and leaves them there for Mark. He waits until the soldiers patrolling the cliffs have passed, then makes a run for it.
Enys, meanwhile, stops by Nampara, startling Demelza and telling her he has no plans to leave, but doesn’t want to be alone. She explains that Ross is out.
Ross arrives at Trenwith and catches up with Elizabeth, who says that she admires Verity for finally taking action, though she must outwardly disapprove. Francis comes in and accuses Ross of arranging all this, which Ross tells him is total nonsense. Francis calls this Ross’s revenge, and Ross guesses Francis is drunk and just talking nonsense. Francis starts slagging off Demelza, and Ross goes after him, so Elizabeth throws herself in between them and tells them to knock it off. Ross collects his things and leaves. Elizabeth urges Francis to go after his cousin, but Francis says that Ross is as dead to him as Verity.
Demelza tells Enys that tonight might not be the best time for a visit. There’s a knock on the door and she goes to admit Mark and Paul, who tell her that they have nowhere to go with soldiers all over the place. As she lets them in the front, Enys comes out of the kitchen and he and Mark catch sight of each other. Mark freaks, thinking this is a trap, although it’s some trap, considering nobody knew you were stopping by tonight, Mark. Demelza asks if he’s lost his mind. Enys accuses Mark of killing Keren and the two men start circling each other. Just like Elizabeth, Demelza gets in the middle and tells them that they’re not going to go killing anyone in her house, and they can trust Enys not to betray Mark’s wereabouts. Enys promises not to fetch the soldiers. He and Mark retire to separate rooms and Demelza breathes a sigh of relief.
Ross returns home to a very relieved wife. After she fills him in, he sees Enys off, then takes Mark and Paul down to the shore to collect the boat. While they wait for soldiers to pass, Mark tells Ross that he’s been hiding in Ross’s dad’s old mine, and there’s a ton of copper there. Ross is pretty much like, ‘yeah, whatever, later, mmkay?’ Mark nearly gives himself up to the passing soldiers in despair, but he’s held back by Paul, and after the soldiers pass, they all dash out of their hiding place only to run headlong into a young soldier. The soldier starts loading his gun as Ross begins to sweat, but Paul shoots the young man dead remorselessly and gets Mark into the boat. More soldiers come running, but Paul and Ross hide and then Ross races home, where he makes a show of pretending to be in bed. There’s a knock on the door, and Ross waits a bit before sleepily opening the window and asking what’s up.
He goes down to let McNeil in. McNeil tells him that Mark escaped in Ross’s boat. Ross basically just shrugs. McNeil warns Ross to have a care for the law, lest it entangle him someday. Honestly, it’s amazing it hasn’t already. McNeil shakes Ross’s hand (noting that his hand has been harmed in the escape). Ross lies that he caught the hand in a rabbit trap and McNeil leaves. He knows Ross is lying, but he can’t pin anything on him and is probably not too keen to arrest a friend anyway, so he lets it go.
Verity, all smiles, is welcomed aboard Blamey’s ship by an applauding crowd and a husband with a bouquet of flowers. She’s glowing with happiness. Aww.
Demelza tends Ross’s hand while he complains about Jim dying and Mark going and Francis breaking with him, possibly forever. Demelza looks terribly guilty. Ross doesn’t seem to notice, because now he’s being called to a meeting with the other Carnmore shareholders. And a meeting called at such short notice can’t be a good one.
While he goes to that, Demelza goes to see Francis and begs him to forgive Ross, explaining that she acted alone. Francis screams at her to leave his house and to never darken his doors again. That goes for Ross, as well.
Ross doesn’t fare any better at his meeting. One of the men tells him that the Warleggans have called in his debts. Another man had the same notice. The first guy continues that George puts this sudden cruelty down to the man’s interest in Carnmore. Now, not only does he not have any more capital to contribute, he’s about to be declared bankrupt. Woah. Can he not look to Pascoe for a loan? Or is he so far underwater that he has absolutely no assets left to mortgage? I guess that’s the case. Carnmore is dead.
Back home, Demelza spills everything to Ross, how she sought Blamey out and brought him and Verity together and passed letters between them. Ross pales, then tells her that her actions have ruined them and many, many other people. She unwittingly tipped the first domino that brought this whole thing down. Who could have guessed that Verity’s romance would lead to at least one man’s total ruination, the destruction of the relationship between Ross and her brother, and possibly the ruin of Ross’s marriage? Because now that the magnitude of what’s happened sinks in, Demelza asks Ross if she’s totally lost his faith. She asks if she can ever win back his trust and he honestly says he doesn’t know, explaining that Poldarks are a passionate lot. He does realise that she couldn’t have forseen any of this and will try to forgive her. She bewails having caused a rift in their family and says she’ll never be happy until it’s healed. He tells her she’s going to be sad for a very long time and then slowly wanders out of the room.