We begin with a reminder that the course of love in Poldark, be it false,true or otherwise, runs not so much smoothly as at breakneck speed along actual clifftops, as Elizabeth’s alarmingly rocky ride on an alarmingly agitated horse is happily (albeit not in her opinion) brought to a safe stop by old flame Ross – a handy man to have around if you need something heroic done, but an utterly useless one if you’re married to him and just looking to get through the day in a reasonably good mood.
Since Elizabeth is actively trying to have an accident to avoid anyone finding out her baby might well be something of an accident too, she’s as ungrateful and as ungracious about her ex-boyfriend rescuing her as her repellent husband is, putting Cap’n Poldark in an even worse mood than he is already in. Which is both rotten and entirely unfair on poor Demelza who, having forgiven her errant husband for the unforgiveable, now seems to have to endure him being in a constant huff about it. Dude. Lighten. Up.
Just as well then that, before Ross runs out of roof to thatch and has to find some other way to vent his frustrations, another one of his heroic missions pays off and he manages to get Doctor Dwight home for 24 hours and Lady Caroline to the church on time. Hurrah! Everybody, especially the Poldarks of Nampara, loves a secret wedding! Even if the consequences of both theirs and Verity’s haven’t always gone entirely to plan…. Ross and Demelza are still romantics at heart though, and so is this viewer, so who can blame them/us for shipping the Doctor and the Lady? Awwww.
Not that this secret wedding goes to plan, either. All of a sudden, it’s medical emergencies all over the place as Elizabeth, who is always ruining everything, decides to stage a (pretend?) fall down the stairs to mask the onset of her labour pains, and Caroline’s Uncle Bergerac prepares to mosey on off to the Midsomer in the sky. Which means Dwight spends his wedding night delivering Elizabeth’s baby before heading back off to sea, Caroline spends her wedding night at her dying uncle’s side, and Ross spends what should presumably have been a quiet night with Demelza tiptoeing round Nampara and making themselves scarce, standing outside Trenwith’s windows and just asking to be caught instead. Ross. DUDE. Smarten up.
With Demelza’s dad on his deathbed as well and this show’s death rate beginning to remind me of Cranford – a programme so brutal that if you went to the loo during an episode, there was a real danger half the cast would be dead by the time you returned – I did wonder if Elizabeth and her baby were going to make it through the night but, despite the redoubtable Aunt Agatha’s warnings and some lovely shots of the Black Moon, they did. I suppose now the question is whether they make it through the rest of the season without George picking up on the hints everyone’s leaving all over the place and finding out who’s the daddy, but one problem at a time, eh?
No miracle recoveries for Uncle Bergerac, meanwhile, but he does hold on long enough to give the Caroline/Dwight nuptials his blessing, before peacefully passing on in the early morning light. Sigh. It’s a sad, sweet scene and we have to lose Sir Ray, it’s the kindest possible way for both him and his beloved niece. *wipes away tear*
Nobody’s crying for Demelza’s dad, though, except the nameless lady in the corner. (Nurse? Aunt? Professional mourner?) With nary a look back, Demelza’s brothers pack up their troubles in their haversacks and head off to Poldark country, with the amiable one (Drake?) already eyeing up Geoffrey Charles’s charming new governess, and the annoying one (Sam?) already getting a bit peremptory for my tastes. We’ll see how that goes, but Dude: there’s already one bloke at Nampara way too keen on giving orders. Maybe slow your roll.
Unlike the show, of course, which continues to batter through storylines and characters as quickly and ruthlessly as the waves thrashing on the beach – said beach this week being the site of Ross running moodily, Ross walking moodily, and Ross finally saying something nice to his wife, albeit it takes the entire episode and Demelza announcing she’s pregnant again for him to wake up and smell the pasties. (Speaking of babies, where on earth was Jeremy this week?) Taking a no doubt temporary break from brooding about Elizabeth, the Weasel Warleggan and the Black Moon Baby, our hero declares that “everything in the world is less certain, except for you.” Aww. That would have made me swoon two seasons ago. Now though, familiarity breeds not contempt exactly, but resignation. This is Ross’s M.O – he gets all mean and moody and STUPID; realises he’s an asshat and redeems himself by saying something adorable to his wife in the nick of time; gets me all excited that he’s finally learned his lesson; then goes back to being mean and moody and STUPID again. And with Warleggan flexing his muscles around all the Trenwith Poldarks and Ross being himself, I think we all know it’s only a matter of time. I like this show a lot, and this was a very good way to kickstart the season – fast, dangerous and romantic – but moodiness is only attractive for so long. At some point, Ross is either going to have to grow up or I’m going to have to stop watching. We’ll see which comes first.