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)
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
- Read my recap & review of Episode Two of Poldark
- Read my Poldark Season One Character Guide
- Read Ross Poldark, and 15 Other Ultimate Romantic Heroes to Fall in Love with This Summer
- Visit the World of Poldark website on Masterpiece PBS
- Enter a giveaway chance for the first two novels in the Poldark Saga
Images courtesy of Mammoth Screen, Ltd & Masterpiece PBS © 2015; text Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com