“My arrogance, my idiocy has been spectacular.”
Better late than never, eh? Even if “late” is something of an understatement since it’s not till the final minutes of the season finale, that the handsome, brave, yet unconscionably stupid Captain Ross Poldark realises that he’s been a total prat for most of the season, Demelza’s his true love and all Elizabeth ever offered was a fantasy, rather than a future in any meaningful sense of the word. DUDE. It certainly took you long enough.
So long in fact that, before we get there, we have to sit through yet another hour’s angst.
At least the Poldark finances seem to have steadied for now – even if, as I’ve said before, past experience suggests we’d best not get too comfortable – and the mine’s making money. As our man’s business prospers (for once), however, his brain apparently continues to atrophy through lack of use; somehow surprised and aggrieved that the admittedly unusual feel of cash in his wife’s hand isn’t cheering her up any, he ignores my advice to throw himself wt her feet and decides that whining is the way forward instead. “It was one night! How long will it take for you to forgive me?” would be bad enough, but to then move on to some nonsense about it being different for boys…. Oh, ROSS. You might as well punch yourself in the face this time, and save your wife the bother.
In fairness to Demelza, mind you, she chooses a verbal assault instead of a physical one this week, but her “sauce for the goose”-style account of the Captain MacNeil debacle doesn’t really help matters, as, now filled with self-righteousness to go with the aforementioned arrogance and idiocy, Ross is still not minded to grovel, deciding instead to re-join the army and run away, because that worked so well for his love life last time.
Before signing up, though, he goes on a sort of farewell tour, popping in to say thanks to Caroline and do some fervent matchmaking for an audience by now desperate for someone, ANYONE, in this show to make a half-decent fist of a relationship. It’s lucky then that, for one so hopeless at sorting out his own romantic affairs, Ross proves surprisingly adept at fixing other people’s, bringing Caroline and Dwight back together in a scene as glorious as it is unlikely and all the sweeter for it. Awwww. It’s just a shame Dwight has already re-joined the Navy (because even the nice male characters in this show can be numpties) in a misguided bid to forget about her but at least they get to enjoy one night together before he sails off to war. “Where is your room?” asks Caroline, a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t going to mess about waiting for it any longer – cf Elizabeth Warleggan, formerly Poldark, currently doing my head in. Dwight is, at last, delighted to oblige.
As Ross is away filming his own very special episode of Friends Reunited, meanwhile, Demelza heads off on a farewell tour of her own. Her first stop is Verity’s house to deliver her baby (which means all three cousins have children now, and the cast of Poldark: The Next Generation is complete), while the second is Elizabeth’s, to deliver her unvarnished opinion of that lady’s conduct and character in a speech as beautifully, damningly delivered as it is entirely well-deserved. Huzzah!
Despite having thus vanquished her principal foe, though, it’s not long before Mistress Poldark is heading right back across enemy lines, to warn them that there’s a literal mob with torches and pitchforks outside. The odious Warleggan, who has no breeding, simply insults her, and his ungrateful wife, who has no shame, isn’t much better; after two seasons of dithering, it looks like Elizabeth has finally picked a side. Of course, it’s the wrong one; Demelza is proved right almost immediately, and it’s left to Ross and his last-minute speechifying and smouldering – just like old times! – to save the day, or, more accurately, the night, as he stops the mob from finishing the job he started earlier and setting George’s face on fire. (Is it wrong that I’m a bit disappointed?)
Since Demelza has failed to pick up on Ross’s giant hint that he didn’t come back just for crowd control, it’s both unfortunate and ridiculous, albeit par for the course this season, that, when they get home, the first thing he mentions is his ex-girlfriend’s forthcoming baby – you’re killing me here, man – while failing to notice his wife actually PACKING HER BAGS around him, but it’s worth that one last moment of lunacy in the end as he finally declares that he’s been an idiot and a jerk, and thank GOD we can end the season with a good old windswept and soulful embrace on a Cornish clifftop – it’s been so long, you guys – between two of the prettiest people on tv. Hurrah! The title card and post-credits teaser say “Poldark will return!” and so will I, because Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson are tremendous, and Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde wonderful, but if season 3 Ross could give up season 2 Ross’s habit of behaving like an unspeakable ass, that would be much appreciated.