Man alive. Ross is at the bottom of an empty well! With Ned hanged and Demelza distracted by the stealing of the ore, who will save him now? Although perhaps a more realistic question is: how much more fake jeopardy can our blood pressure take, ‘Darkers? I don’t know if I can stand much more of this. Which is just as well, as there are only two episodes to go.
There has been a tension this series between what’s going on (the plot) and what we really care about (the characters). Most of the plot has been about the characters we care about the least. This came to a head in this tricky outing. The trouble with the Ned storyline is that no one apart from Ross likes Ned. We don’t give a fig if falsehood and tyranny are vanquished; we just want Ross and Demelza to be happy. Plus, Ned was so evidently set up that there was no point resisting in the first place. And the bit with the pardon-that-wasn’t-a-pardon was pointless melodrama. “Oh, good, you’re just going to hang me and not disembowel and behead me. Thanks, prime minister.”
The trial scene was entertaining, especially when Ross took to the stand. Do not disrespect Ned, he argued. He has always been in service to the crown! He has dug ditches! He has done the full Joe Wicks programme in prison to keep himself trim for his celebratory exit gavotte! Set him free! I’m not sure you’d want Dr Enys telling everyone that you’re probably not guilty, you’re just brain-damaged. But never mind. The judge’s sentence was shocking, especially in view of the jury expressly asking for mercy. It was almost as if it was a setup, paid for by Sir Evil George and the slave traders …
Of course Ross was always going to break Ned out of jail. With Ned disguised as Benny from Crossroads, this was one of the noisiest and least discreet prison breaks ever. And in the middle of it, Ned – already extremely annoying – decided he definitely didn’t want to get into a sewer and escape anyway. “Leave me here, and go finish what I could not.” No idea how Ross managed to do a reverse prison break without punching Ned.
I wondered, too, about Sir Evil George’s cruelty towards Geoffrey Charles. After all, he is Elizabeth’s son. And unlike some of the other young people in Sir Evil George’s life, he is clearly not Ross’s son. No matter. Geoffrey Charles gave as good as he got, emboldened by his witch-finder general’s hat. “Her heart belonged to one man only. And it wasn’t my father and it wasn’t you.” (Yes! It was Ross Poldark!) And then we had this zinger of an exchange: “I gave myself body and soul to Geoffrey Charles.” “So if you wed her, you will always wonder … Is your first child mine or yours?” Holy moly! For once I felt sorry for Cary Warleggan who must be exhausted with all these shenanigans, especially at his age. He’s right, of course: we definitely need considerably more pliable females.
In Cornwall Jacka was busy stealing sacks of rocks or similar. I wasn’t sure they would do the smuggling in broad daylight, or that Demelza with her flaming red hair would spy on them in broad daylight. Again: better not to think too much about these things. In happy news, there was quite a bit of Prudie in this episode. In even happier news, Morwenna has finally let Drake near her. “If it were up to I, I would never leave this bed.” All we need now is for Tess and Sir Evil George to replace Ross in the well, Rosina to marry Sam and Kitty to have her lovely baby. I am sure this can be managed in two episodes.
Pewter tankard award for bonkers brilliance as supporting actor
“Dr Enys will do whatever is required.” “Caroline, are you mad?” I love the double act of Dr Enys and Sindy Doll, with or without Horace the Pug. A great partnership built by two brilliant actors (Luke Norris as the good doctor and Gabriella Wilde as Caroline Enys nee Penvenen). We really aren’t seeing enough of them this series. But in the moments where they intervene, they light up the screen. And Dr Enys seems able to carry the anachronistic elements more convincingly than any other character. (“Guys, have you heard of mental health? It’s, like, really important to be compassionate towards the patient. Step away from the leeches.”) I’ve missed the interplay between Demelza and Caroline this season too. But ‘e cannot have everything.
A special mention must go to their corpulent sidekick. I’ve recently found out that Horace the Pug has an Instagram account and has been moonlighting on the set of the movie Kingsman, where he had his own trailer. I thought you would want to know about this.
Classic Poldark lines
• “The pain will be all the keener when they come to be parted.” Sir Evil George honouring Elizabeth’s memory by destroying the life of her son. Well done, Sir Evil George.
• “Uncle Ross’s friend should go free.” Speak up, sweet Valentine! You see the truth.
• “You’re breaking me out?” “Did you think this was a social call?” Crazy banter.
• “So we will not lie together until we reach Gretna Green?” Racy!
• “There will be no other female.” Females everywhere pray that this will stand.
Regulation reverse sexism bare chest moment
There was nothing of this kind here tonight for viewers in the Netherlands or anywhere else. Hopefully Ross’s shirt – or maybe all his clothes – will melt off at the bottom of the well.
It’s like Ross has melted off the face of the Earth! Everyone thinks Demelza is widowed! Tess be up to some wickedness (again). And Sindy Doll takes to her high horse.