Poldark Season One Episode Three on Masterpiece Classic PBS – A Recap & Review

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson in Episode 3 of Poldark (2015)

Last week in episode two of Poldark we saw Ross and Elizabeth’s sexually charged dance at the assembly ball reveal their continued attraction, the wile Warleggans planting seeds of destruction and Demelza, cleaned up and earning admiration from her employer.

This week in episode three we witness two weddings and a scything.

Fair warning. This episode is packed with so many plotlines that even this most astute fan needed to take extensive notes. In addition (if you did not blink) we witnessed a mine opening, scurrilous gossip, two births, a near fatal heart attack, more scurrilous gossip, a court trial, accusations of sin, said sin actualized, and of course, more slithering on the sidelines by those dastardly Warleggans.

(there be spoilers ahead)

RECAP

Are the rumors true do you think? — Dr. Choake

Well, he’s a damn fool if they are not.” — Horace Treneglos

Rumors are afoot in Cornwall. Captain Poldark may have employed the13 year-old Demelza with honorable intensions to save her from beatings and starvation, but society can only see the scandal in it. Are these comments telescoping what will come now that she is 17 and a beautiful young woman?

Jason Squibb and Aidan Turner in Episode 3 of Poldark (2015)

Rev. Odger (Jason Squibb) lays on the implied guilt to Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner)

Always remember the purpose for which it was ordained.” — Reverend Odgers

In particular?”—Ross Poldark

As a remedy against sin. To avoid fornication.”—Reverend Odger

While attending Jim and Jinny’s wedding reception, the local vicar bluntly reminds Ross of the impression that his employing an attractive young woman as his kitchen wench is making on the community. When I heard the reverend’s speech, I was immediately reminded of the wedding ceremony during Pride and Prejudice (1995). I wonder if this was a tribute to it by screenwriter Debbie Horsfield?

Oh, women. They make a song and dance about it. But if things are properly managed.”—Dr. Choake

LOL! One is stymied by this comment about child birth coming from an educated doctor who has probably botched more than a few deliveries. Robert Daws, who plays the “good” doctor, is a great example of the excellent casting in this production. He portrays dry and bristly and arrogant with perfection!

One feels that the gentry and the vulgar should keep to themselves. Otherwise it gets so confusing.” — Mrs. Chynoweth

Another great line exemplifying that society does not approve of Ross Poldark’s proletariat sympathies. Sally Dexter, who plays Elizabeth’s snooty mother Mrs. Chynoweth, is so haughty that she could easily mingle with the French court and feel they were her inferiors.

Kyle Soller as Francis Poldark in Poldark (2015)

Francis Poldark’s (Kyle Soller) top hat is bigger than his brain

Do you regard marriage as a misery?” — Verity Poldark

That is because you have never experienced it.” — Francis Poldark

For which I have you to thank.” — Verity Poldark

Wimpy Francis is on a downward spiral, I fear. Angry with his family’s expectations and comparisons to his cousin Ross, he strikes out at his sister Verity, who has no power and cannot fight back. It’s like kicking a dog. He has finally become the sort of aristocrat that Ross abhors—expecting the privileges and comforts of his class but not lifting a finger to work for them. I don’t see a bright future for him.

Anything else, sir?” — Demelza

Yes. If you could somehow avoid the inference that I am utterly predictable.” — Ross Poldark

We see Demelza anticipate Ross’s every need. I wonder if Ross feels played or is he just using witty sarcasm as self-depreciation? Their relationship is becoming less master and servant every day.

Robin Ellis as Rev Hulse in Poldark (2015 )

Rev. Halse (Robin Ellis, center) is a puritanical piece of work

Step down Captain Poldark or we will have you committed for contempt of court.” — Reverend Halse

I can assure you that such a committal would be an entirely accurate reading of my thoughts.” — Ross Poldark

Ross’s attempt to attain leniency for his poaching farm laborer Jim Carter at the local assizes does not prove as fruitful as he hoped. Again his sarcastic retorts are just priceless. Robin Ellis, who portrayed the first Captain Poldark on screen in the 1975-77 series, has a cameo role as the imposing and righteous judge. Even in this brief scene he steals the show. It was an exciting moment to see the two Poldarks face off.

If you don’t take it off (the dress) this minute you can pack your things and go back to your father.” — Ross Poldark

Taken out of context this sounds a bit 50 Shades of Greyish! The dark Poldark can be very domineering.

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson Episode 3 of Poldark (2015)

Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) put it to bed

You know what people say of us?” — Ross Poldark

Yes.” — Demelza

If we behave like this it will be true.” — Ross Poldark

Then let it be true.” — Demelza

A collective sigh just escaped the lips of every incurable romantic around the globe. Ross Poldark can whisper in my ear any day.

That dress is the culprit! Demelza really played her cards right. How did she get into it the dress if she can’t get out of it?

In Ross Poldark, the novel that the screenplay is based upon, the dress belongs to Ross’s deceased mother. It is a shame that the viewer does not know this because it explains more clearly Ross’s reaction and anger in seeing her in it. The association of a past love, his mother, and his attraction to and desire of Demelza is alarming to him.

You always had an inquiring mind.” — Ross Poldark

Marriage discourages such a thing.” — Elizabeth Poldark

Always?” — Ross Poldark

Perhaps it depends on the partners.” — Elizabeth Poldark

Elizabeth rides over from Trenwith and interrupts Ross scything his field. Okay. We are already annoyed with her. Then I become annoyed with Ross. He has just slept with his servant who has given him her soul and the next morning he is flirting with another woman? NO. How can you still want Elizabeth after a night with Demelza? Obsession has a devil for a master. And, then to add insult to injury, Demelza interrupts their tete-a-tete by generously offering flowers to Elizabeth who flatly refuses them. Cornflowers fade it seems. SOB! This wildflower analogy to Demelza is breaking MY heart.

Ross and Demelza's wedding Episode 3 Poldark (2015)

Ross and Demelza become Romelza

You are right. You can no longer be my servant.” — Ross Poldark

A man of honor, or guilt? Will Ross come to regret his altruistic decision?

My eyebrows flew up at the final scene in the church. They are getting married the next day? Any Jane Austen fan knows that you need a special license from the Bishop (costly) or that the bands must be read in church for three Sundays in a row. As a viewer of this scene, no context of time has been offered or implied! And, why are Jud and Prudie the witnesses? It seems like they are trying to conceal the event by not inviting family. This does not bode well.

MY REVIEW

It is a pivotal episode for our hero Ross Poldark. Despite the distractions of re-opening his father’s mine, the two women in his life are pulling at his emotions.

The news of the birth of Elizabeth and Charles’s child quickly deflates the levity at Nampara after the festivities at the wedding of Jim and Jinny. It is interesting to see Ross flip back to the darker side of the force in a flash. Aidan Turner is so skillful at broody and miserable, that we are broody and miserable too.

There was so much action in a condensed time in this episode that my head was spinning. Again, if I have one complaint about this new adaptation, it is that it is rushed and viewers cannot connect as well as they should with the characters. Coupled with the break neck-fast editing and short scenes, I feel like we are getting short shrift on this story. Is this the new way to keep the attention of the instant gratification generation? I will let you contemplate that thought while I hope, against hope, that the producers will take a slower pace in season two.

There has also been a lot of media and Internet hoopla over Ross’s toned torso scything scene. Yes, Aidan Turner is drop dead gorgeous and a total hottie, but please, let’s not objectify him so much that it is all we remember about this fabulous series. Ross taking a dip in the ocean and Ross scything his field are mentioned in the books and are things that a man would do during this time. Granted, men did not have six-pack abs in Georgian Cornwall, or anywhere in the 1780’s, but we will put aside that minor quibble and move back to the story at hand… St. Ross of Nampara! You see, I am all for hero-worship.

Ironically, the hot romance on screen in episode three paralleled the heatwave that has swept over my home town. Popsicles and fans did help cool me down, but the emotional reward from the union of Ross and Demelza still has me glowing. I cannot recall a more tension-filled build-up since Margaret Hale and John Thornton’s mutual distaste grew into swoon worthy love in North and South (2004). Praise be to the romance Gods!

Join me next Sunday, July 12, 2015 9/8c as I co-moderate the live Twitter Event of episode four of Poldark, hosted by Masterpiece Classic PBS

Images courtesy of Mammoth Screen, Ltd & Masterpiece PBS © 2015; text Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Poldark Season One Episode Two on Masterpiece Classic PBS – A Recap & Review

Poldark Season One Aidan Turner and Heida Reed

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Heida Reed as Elizabeth Poldark

We were mesmerized by last week’s premiere of Poldark on Masterpiece. Even though it was a front loading fest—to get us up to speed on the characters and lay of the land—the energy and tension really propelled our interest (and admiring gaze) toward what promises to be a swash and buckle summer.

This week in episode two, Ross dances, George wiles and Demelza washes her hair!

BRIEF RECAP (there be spoilers ahead)

A scandalous suicide and closure of another mine shocks the community, bringing the dangers of running a mine close to home. Undaunted, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) is determined to reopen Wheal Leisure, his father’s derelict copper mine. After discussions with friendly banker Mr. Pascoe (Richard Hope), they are hopeful to acquire investors in the scheme. Ross asks his cousin Francis Poldark (Kyle Soller) to join him as a partner in his venture, but he is reluctant, surprised by Ross’s altruistic reasons for resurrecting the mine to help his tenants. In a rare moment of doubt, George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) expresses concern to his Uncle Cary (Pip Torrens) of their culpability in the death of mine owner Lord Basset after not extending his loans. Continue reading

Poldark Season One Episode One on Masterpiece Classic PBS – A Recap & Review

Poldark Season One opening title x 800

We wonder why tricorn hats went out of style. They were so commanding. In the 18th century all the important men wore them: General George Washington, King George III, Catherine the Great, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and Captain Ross Poldark. POLDARK? Who is Ross Poldark you ask? Well period drama fans, if you don’t know who that is by now, let me tell you. After viewing the first episode of the new reboot of the eponymous BBC/PBS period drama Poldark you will never be puzzled by who this gentleman is again—only why you waited so long to make his acquaintance. He’s handsome. He’s brooding. He’s rebellious. He’s right there on your television screens for seven Sundays in a row this summer on PBS.

The Tricorn Hat Hall of Fame x 500

Masterpiece Theatre (now Masterpiece Classic) first introduced us to Cap’n Poldark in  their landmark 1975 screen adaptation of author Winston Graham’s best-selling novels. The two season, 29 episode series was a huge hit on both sides of the pond. Forty years ago English actor Robin Ellis filled those big, black boots. Teenage fan girls mobbed him like he was one of the Beatles. The show made him a star.

This time around the iconic romantic hero nonpareil is played by Irish actor Aidan Turner. Up until this point he has played the trifecta of on-screen para-normal beings: a vampire (Being Human), a hobbit (The Hobbit) and a werewolf (Mortal Instruments). Could this strikingly handsome actor play the most complex romantic hero to grace our screens since Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester or Mr. Thornton? We shall see. Continue reading

Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham – Preview & Giveaway of New Sourcebooks Editions

     Ross Poldark A Novel of Cornwall, 1783 to1787 2015 x 200         Demelza A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 by Winston Graham 2015

It’s always a red-letter day to bibliophiles when books originally published eons ago get a new life and a new audience. It usually takes a major television series or movie for this to happen. In the case of Jane Austen, we have seen new tie-in editions for Pride and Prejudice in 1995 & 2005 and Sense and Sensibility in 1996. Just the other day I saw a beautiful new movie tie-in cover for Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd in my bookstore. A good story is a good story no matter what generation it is introduced to.

Now the Poldark Saga, one of my favorite historical fiction series, is up for a remake. Some of you might remember the wildly popular television adaptation entitled Poldark on the BBC and Masterpiece Theatre in the mid 1970’s. Robin Ellis stared as dashing Captain Ross Poldark and Angharad Rees as his fiery Demelza. The two season and twenty-nine episode series was based on the first sevens novels in Winston Graham’s multi-generational saga. Now the BBC and Masterpiece have created a new production of Poldark. It aired in the UK in March and April to critical and public acclaim, garnering up to 7 million viewers an episode. Happily, US audiences will spend this summer in Cornwall swashing and buckling with dishy hero Ross Poldark when Poldark begins on Masterpiece Classic on June 21. Continue reading

Preview of Poldark Season One on Masterpiece Classic PBS

Poldark Season One banner x 500

Sooner or later, everything that is old is new again—if we wait long enough! Masterpiece Theatre, and its phoenix Masterpiece Classic, is well-aware of this. Having successfully presented period drama for over forty years they have been a bit redundant at times. I lost track years ago of which version of David Copperfield we were on, so when I heard the news last year that the BBC and PBS were joining forces again to retool Poldark, one of my all-time favorites, I was jubilant. Enough time had passed to ride the Cornish cliffs with Ross Poldark again.

Based on the cherished historical fiction novels by Winston Graham, Poldark was originally adapted for the screen and presented in 29 episodes in 1975 and 1977. It was a sensation on both sides of the pond. Period drama fans still rave about it, including this one! As one of Masterpiece’s early landmark productions it remains the second best-selling period drama series ever created, only surpassed by the monumental Pride and Prejudice of 1995 staring Colin Firth. That is some pedigree.

Poldark Season One, Aidan Turner and Heida Reed x 450

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Heida Reed as Elizabeth Chynoweth

The new seven part series of Poldark premiers on Masterpiece Classic PBS on Sunday, June 21 and continues through August 2. After following the media frenzy as it aired in the UK in March and April of this year, and seeing the new series myself, I can share that period drama fans have the summer to fall in love with Poldark. I can assure you that it will only take about five minutes to be totally besotted. Continue reading

New Poldark Series to Premiere on Masterpiece PBS on June 21, 2015

Eleanor Tomlinson and Aidan Turner in Poldark 2015

Jane Austen fans, hold on to your bonnets. The new BBC/Masterpiece screen adaptation of Poldark will air on Masterpiece PBS on June 21st, 2015.

Based on the beloved novels by Winston Graham set in 1780’s Cornwall, many period drama fans will be familiar with the first screen adaptation by the BBC and Masterpiece from 1975-77 staring Robin Ellis (Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility 1971). It was a huge hit on both sides of the pond and remains the second most popular drama series only behind the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.

This new eight part series stars Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) as rebellious Captain Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson (Death Comes to Pemberley) as Demelza, a fiery young street urchin who he employs as a kitchen maid at his estate. Airing since March in the UK to critical and public acclaim, the new series sports a beautiful and talented cast and high quality production. Filled with romantic, passionate drama and swashbuckling action, this new series introduces new viewers to an unique, swoon-worthy hero that will win the respect of fans of the original and the hearts of everyone. Here is a preview for your enjoyment.

Be sure to mark your calendars, follow #PoldarkPBS on Twitter for the latest updates and check back here for reviews of the novels and each episode after they air.

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Image and film clip courtesy of Mammoth Screen Limited for Masterpiece PBS © 2015