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

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

Ross! Just say yes to the dress, already!

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!

Eleanor Tomlinson and Aidan Turner in Poldark (2015)

Ross and Demelza ignite! Just in case you need a quick re-watch

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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

  1. Great recap, Laurel Ann! Only three episodes in and I am already becoming way too invested in the relationships in this series. I can’t stand Elizabeth and it infuriates me that Ross can’t seem to let her go. And poor Demelza! She deserves so much better than someone who cannot give her his whole heart – even if that someone is a brooding, ex-soldier with six-pack abs!

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  2. I will just say… we don’t actually know they get married “the next day”, do we? There’s no caption to say that. Yes, it cuts quickly to the church, but could easily be a few days later when Ross has had time to get a special licence (Demelza also has a new dress). I think what confused things here was Demelza’s father saying he’d come back the next day then we never hear anymore of that. Possibly a scene/line explaining that he didn’t come back or Ross sent a letter was cut, even in the UK version. A Poldark actor active on Twitter said about 10 mins worth of footage shot for each episode wasn’t used in the final cut (again, having to pack too much story into too short a time).

    Overall, a lot is packed in to each episode, but I think this is merely the result of the writer only being given 8 episodes in which to adapt the first two novels, and her wanting to do as much justice to the source material as possible. IMO, she did the best she could with the run time she had available to her. There’s definitely an argument to be made that they needed more episodes, but more episodes were not paid for by the BBC/PBS.

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    • I wondered what happened to Demelza’s father too. Maybe there will be DVDs released that put back the 10 minutes cut from each episode so we can see what happened.

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    • Hi Mink!
      Regarding the wedding, this is the info I have:
      Jim’s process took place on May 30.
      Ross and Demelza got married on the twenty-fourth of June, 1787.
      In the book says that Ross decided to marry Demelza within two days of their first night together. But that night was the same in which Jim was sentenced to jail. So between that night and the wedding we will have 23 days?
      A few days after the banns were published, Jud went to Illuggan to see Demelza’s father with a message that the wedding was going to take place two weeks later. But he never appeared or sent word.
      I got all this info from my book… which is in Spanish. I hope my book’s translation is faithful to the original one.

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  3. Great review! I had hope to binge watch all the episodes this weekend, but it didn’t happen. I need to schedule a PBS catch up day–there’s too much good TV on Sunday nights now!

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  4. I loved Episode 3. It was great to see the two Poldark actors squaring off in the courtroom scene.

    I didn’t see his behavior with Elizabeth (during the cornflower scene) to be flirtatious at all, though it certainly was charged with emotion. Even my husband laughed uncomfortably at the awkwardness once Demelza entered. By the way, Francis is certainly on a downward spiral these days, isn’t he?

    Re. the scything: I was reading something somewhere that said a scything expert was brought on to advise Aidan Turner. Apparently scything is supposed to be very very tiny movements, but Turner decided that didn’t fit with the emotions of the character in that scene so he went rogue. Probably a good call: a large buff many making mincing little movements might have looked odd (albeit historically accurate).

    Fun series. I’m loving it.

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  5. Having missed the first 15 minutes last night due to watching the women’s soccer awards ceremony I have to catch up on the Internet or HULU. But the scenes I saw certainly gave me lots to enjoy. It continues to be rushed and I had the same thought about the dress. How did she get into it if she now can’t get out of it. Can’t imagine her going to the other servant woman for help. Good review and thank you for sharing. Loved watched P&P wedding scene again.

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  6. Great review!! Agree that it was SUCH a crazy and packed episode. I was so surprised that Ross and Demelza got married so fast though! I foresee lots of tensions resulting from their marriage, at least at first. Also agree about Francis. He’s so weak. Thinking lots of problems are ahead for him. Can’t wait for next week!!

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  7. St. Ross, indeed! He’s such a champion for the poor that he has to mess up in the love department to be considered human. And as much as I enjoyed the bathing and scything scenes, the morning after scene when Demelza rises and leaves Ross asleep in the bed bare-chested gave me all kinds of hot flashes! I just wish the camera had lingered a bit longer. I continue to love the series, and I’m enjoying your reviews each week, Laurel Ann.

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  8. I had just settled in to watch Poldark all alone when I found myself deluged with company – my DIL, her sister, my son and their two toddlers showed up. I left the TV on but went out on the porch to visit with them. My son had gone into the house through the back door and came out a little while later. This is what he said. “Mom, I can’t leave you alone on a Sunday evening even once without some half-naked guy showing up on the TV.” I knew then that I had missed the scything scene.
    I had the same question, wondering how she got the dress done up, It would appease me a bit if they produced some deleted scene where we could see how she managed it.
    As for the banns being read, I suspect that he may have procured a common license, therefore bypassing the banns without the expense of a special license, which would be hard to justify. If they had read the banns, the marriage wouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. I have to tell you, I’m thoroughly enjoying your write-ups of the episodes. They are very well done.

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  9. I’d forgotten that rather intense speech from the wedding scene in P&P! How strange for a preacher to talk about the sins of fornication during the marriage ceremony.

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  10. Terrific review. Having read almost all the novels (a few left) it is an astute observation. tThe things we (who havent read the novels) are not privy to, in turn, changes the storyline somewhat even if from one’s own viewpoint.
    May I suggest that the rushed adaptgation is perhaps adding on more season to complete the whole storyline was not yet firmed up of course. So oerhaps the team realized they had one shot at this and packed it in hoping to be offered more seasons.

    Well, it worked and we will have many more seasons.HOpefully now they can all exhale and slow it down a touch.As far as Aidan Turner goes, the guy is incredible, His looks, of course are dreamy but his on screen ability and the seemingly down to earth personality he seems to have in real life interviews make him the guy we all want after Mr Darcy. (Or maybe instead? NO NO I didnt say that did I?)

    A note to Laurel Ann: What do you think about the Knightley/Emma analogy? When Ross says to Demelza, no, you can no longer be my servant.: Demelza ummediately reacts as if the news is going to be awful. Emma Woodhouse does the same to Mr Knightley when he announces the end of their friendship. Emma gets quite upset as she thinks he is ending it because of her errors in judgment.As we get and she doesnt, of course the darling Mr Knightley just means he wants MORE than friendship. The sigh of relief on Emma’s face I am sure was the same as Demelza’s.

    Best part of it being on Sundays. My BIRTHDAY is NEXT Sunday! Oh yes and my party will be in the afternoon as I want Ross to myself and I will be tweeting live! Happy Birthday to me! Hah!

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  11. Great parallel of Mr. Knightley and Ross Poldark. I thought I was the only one who caught that too. My world is so colored by Austen that I try not to throw every tidbit light bulb moment I have at readers!!!

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  12. I am now two weeks behind…thank heavens for your recap. Can’t wait to just buy it on DVD.

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  14. 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?

    Because Ross was not in love with Demelza at this point. He doesn’t fall in love with her, until after the wedding.

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