Poldark the show tends to gallop along as quickly as Poldark the man on his horse, and this week is no different. We scoot through several months in the first few minutes of this week’s ep – Ross is in London making lots of speeches in the Commons, hanging out with the now teenage Geoffrey Charles and turning down some slightly scary female attention, till Lord Falmouth persuades him it’s time to go home with the bizarre suggestion that Hugh, of all people, would have told him not to neglect his wife and children. This doesn’t exactly square with anyone else’s recollection of Hugh, a man whose principal ambition was to separate Poldark from said wife and who didn’t give two twirls of his curls about said children, but something in what Falmouth says finally gets through to Ross and he heads back home to try and mend things with his wife.
Unfortunately, the first things out of his mouth are both unutterably stupid: “You look… thinner” and “What have you been up to?”, to which the justifiably annoyed Demelza retorts “Seeing to your mine, your farm, your household (and) your children, that’s what I’ve been up to!” and Operation Reconciliation Part Umpteen is not off to the best of starts. The night seems to pass relatively amicably however, so Ross heads down to the beach only to find that Dr Dwight has taken his “shirtless scene of the week” slot instead. Well! He’s forgiven though, because Caroline has had a baby girl, and since nobody has Instagram or Twitter in the 17th century, a guy’s got to have some outlet for his feelings, joyous or otherwise. (Sadly, given the decidedly worried face Dwight starts to sport around poor baby Sarah later in the episode, I think “otherwise” might well be the theme of his feelings next week. Gulp.)
Ross is of course delighted his buddy has become a father but less pleased that his old pals at the mine now seem significantly chummier with Dr Dwight than they are with their boss – absence has certainly not made the heart grow fonder. Happily, however, idiot Tholly almost gets himself killed by an angry husband and associates, which means a big ruckus, Ross getting to wade in with fists and feet, and everyone being delighted with each other anew. Hurrah?
It also somehow means Ross decides to pop round to Trenwith to wind up Elizabeth a bit, growling a bit at new sleazeball Capt Monk Adderley in the process. Although going anywhere near Elizabeth and Trenwith is an incredibly stupid thing to do, it does at least accomplish two useful things. One, it gets Ross and Demelza properly talking about the ghosts of past loves that are haunting their marriage and maybe – dear God, PLEASE – starting to find a way to move past them. And two, it livens up the latest instalment of the deeply tedious and irritating “George slimes his way about trying to increase his power over Poldark, Cornwall and the planet” for about two minutes. If I do give up on this show before season’s end, George will be a big part of the reason why, although the Poldark’s cyclical marriage woes and the awful Osborne storylines (his abuse of Morwenna, and the carry-on with Rowella alike) will both have played their part. Since I really like Dwight and Caroline, and I want to know what happens to poor baby Sarah, though, I’m sticking around for the moment. One episode at a time….