We pick up with Ross in London, having been there for two months because he is an MP and all and occasionally needs to show his face. Wickham summons him to dress him down for not sharing any dirty info on Ned, but Ross insists there’s nothing to share. Wickham tells him that, if Ned keeps his head down, he may be reinstated to his post in Honduras. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.
Ross returns home all hopeful, because apparently he knows Ned far less than the rest of us do. Ned, of course, is passing the time getting into political arguments with Tess, who seems really committed to recreating the French Revolution in Britain. As if the Revolution did the common folk much good.
Tess seems equally committed to getting herself into trouble. She not only just helps herself to her employers’ food and drink right in front of them, while they’re entertaining guests, but she also continues to very publicly whine about her mistress and make her out to be some snobby rich girl. For some reason, absolutely nobody corrects her there, even though everyone in all of Cornwall knows that Demelza is as far from some uppity brat as you can get.
The first transgression gets her a serious warning from Ross. The second gets her recruited by Hansen to keep him informed of the goings-on in the Poldark household.
Curiously, she does not inform him that his daughter is running all over the countryside, unchaperoned, with Geoffrey Charles. Which would be a huge no-no at the time and seems really bizarre considering how hard Hansen is campaigning for her to marry George. Any hint of scandal would scupper that immediately, and surely he wouldn’t want the complication of her falling for someone else?
Apparently none of that matters in this universe. Hansen and the Warleggans work out a deal (well, Hansen and Carey do. George is still not doing so hot. We’ll get back to that.) Cecily informs G-C that she’s to marry George and G-C responds by really awkwardly confessing that he’s in love with her and wants to marry her himself. She yells at him for ruining their friendship by bringing the L-word into it, but it seems she’s just covering here.
She goes to Demelza to ask her opinion on George and Demelza tells her that he’s not known to be an unkind husband. G-C, meanwhile, seeks solace with Ross, who claps him on the back all manly-like and tells him that first love is rough, but he’ll get through it.
Speaking of heartbreak, Morwenna spots her young son, John Conan, at the market one day and can’t resist seeking him out. She starts sneaking into Lady W’s garden to spy on him playing with his nurse, which is rather sad. Drake starts to notice her leaving every day and follows her, spying on her spying from afar and getting a sad face. John notices her and comes over to find out what’s up. He has no idea who she is, which is quite the gut punch for her, but she manages to hide her pain and offers to be his friend. Yeah, this’ll end well.
Enys is busy this episode! First, there’s George, who, as I said, is not doing so well. He wanders the house looking for Elizabeth and weeping loudly while Valentine listens and it’s a good thing Enys is starting to dabble in mental health treatment several decades ahead of his time, because this kid’s going to need some serious therapy in the years to come. It’s no wonder Valentine continues wandering around the neighbourhood, until Ross finds him and takes him to Morwenna’s school for the day. How does this kid not have tutors of his own? WHY ISN’T HIS NANNY WATCHING HIM?
Carey finally brings Enys in and dismisses the other doctor. Dwight immediately begins some immersion therapy with George. He takes him to Elizabeth’s grave and to the room where Elizabeth died so George can have a flood of painful memories come back. There’s some gentle talk about how this wasn’t Ursula’s fault, or George’s, and that George is lucky to at least still have his children (in a rather odd moment, Enys nods towards his own dead child, which seems strange in the moment. This is not about you right now, Dwight!) It seems like George is starting to come around, though painfully, of course.
(I’d just like to take a moment to give a bravo to these scenes with George and Enys. They’re just so touching! Jack Farthing really has done something here, making George, who is such a terrible person, just human and vulnerable enough that we don’t 100% hate him. That’s not easy!)
But Enys’s duties start to make Caroline jealous, for some reason. They really need to give her something more to do. I like this actress and she’s capable of more than just modelling some stellar chocolate-velvet outerwear!
Then there’s Kitty, who has some mysterious ‘ailment’ which is quite obviously pregnancy. She keeps putting off medical attention, but Demelza persuades her to talk to Enys and Kitty admits she’s had numerous miscarriages and is sure this will go the same way. She begs them both not to tell Ned about her condition, because she can’t bear to get his hopes up.
Maybe they should tell Ned, though. Maybe impending fatherhood would make him stop being such an idiot. Because man, is this guy determined to screw things up for himself.
Ross tells him that if he just stays calm and doesn’t mess up, he can have Honduras back. So what does Ned do? Gets involved with Tess and some disaffected unemployed miners from Wheal Plenty who are organising a march on Trenwith. For heaven’s sake–Ross, why are you putting so much effort into this idiot? I mean, if he’s not interested in helping himself in even the most minor way, why should you do so much heavy lifting?
Ross has another way of dealing with these miners: he’s going to mortgage himself to the hilt (without telling Demelza!) and buy Wheal Plenty. Great plan, Ross! The price Carey quotes is so ludicrous that Ross’s lawyer practically hits the floor laughing at it, but Ross is gonna Ross, so he pushes ahead and is prepared to risk everything and I really feel like we’ve been here before. At least once, maybe two or three times.
Ned doesn’t know it, but he’s totally being set up. Hansen told Tess to make sure Ned got involved in this march, which Ned stupidly believes is going to be entirely peaceful. He ignores the numerous guys who show up with cudgels and the like, because who doesn’t bring those to a peaceful march on someone’s home?
They head for Trenwith, singing Ca Ira, which was basically the anthem of the French Revolution. Demelza, in town to do some shopping, sees this mob march past and jumps on her horse to go and fetch Ross.
They arrive at Trenwith not long after the mob, but things have already taken a downward turn. George, only just starting to recover, refuses to speak with these people, of course, and literally looks down on them from a gallery above the hall. Ned goes to speak with him while others in the crowd eye Carey. (Hilariously, Carey just looks slightly put out by all this. Nothing scares this guy.)
Ned and George end up in a scuffle that sends George tumbling down the stairs. He screams that his arm is broken, just as Ross and Demelza arrive. They pull George aside and after a brief confab, they all appear in front of the mob so George can tell them that he’s been away, and his orders were misinterpreted: he has no intention of closing the mine. He will, in fact, keep it open and raise everyone’s wages. Hurrah!
That takes the wind right out of everyone’s sails. The mob disperses. George acts like a dick to Ross, so we know that he’s back to his old self. Or getting there, at least.
Outside, Ross is all, ‘Hey, at least we don’t have to buy the mine now!’
And Demelza: ‘Yeah, about that…’
‘I mean, look, you know I’ll support you in any do-gooding you want to do, because I am the only person in all of Britain who can go toe-to-toe with Ross Poldark in a do-gooding-off. But you should, maybe, take, like, five seconds to contemplate the effect your actions may have on me and your children, ok? I mean, risking our home without even discussing it with me first is not cool. And you do this sort of thing a lot! So, could you please, maybe, just stop?’
Ross: ‘You’re right. I’ve been a dick about this stuff. I’ll stop. Or, at least, I’ll clear it with you first. You’re awesome, you know that?’
Demelza: ‘Yeah, kinda.’
And then Demelza goes home and fires Tess’s ass. Finally.
And Hansen writes to Wickham, for whom he is an informant, and tells him that Ned and Ross were both involved in the march on Trenwith, which he of course dresses up as some near bloodbath.
And finally: Cecily finds Geoffrey Charles moping near a magical well he showed her earlier, and tells him they’ll have to elope. This is exactly why Hansen would never have allowed her to be running about on her own. But whatever.