This week’s episode opens with some charming family funtime as the Enyses and the Nampara Poldarks lark around on a lovely Cornish beach. It’s obvious from poor Dr Dwight’s haunted face that the laughs aren’t going to last very long, though. You know it’s a grim week when a mining disaster qualifies as light relief: a flood means terrible danger for everyone in the mine including our hero and all his pals, but it does also mean some very impressive Poldark heroics, excellent supporting work from Sam and a nigh-on miraculous save from Dr Dwight who is determined to save somebody’s life, since a tragic congenital heart defect means he can’t save his baby daughter’s.
It’s a desperately sad story, played out in a series of heartbreaking scenes where Caroline insists on “taking it in her stride with all the dignity and stoicism of a lady of breeding, Ross tries to comfort the distraught Dwight, and Demelza’s own wounds from the loss of her child are re-opened. The funeral scenes are traumatic and Caroline separating from Dwight because she blames herself for their loss and can’t bear to be reminded of it is incredibly sad, even if he and Demelza can try and console each other while their spouses head for the big smoke.
As far as the rest of the episode goes, it’s more of the usual – precious little cheer to be found anywhere. Geoffrey Charles, bless him, is a change and a ray of light, but he can’t make up for yet more of the odious George who continues to plot and scheme and consolidate power. I’m sick of him and the enthusiastically complicit Elizabeth, who seems to have lost all finer feeling and will now happily let Cornwall burn as long as her weasel husband keeps her in frocks and jewellery. The unspeakable Osborne continues to torture poor Morwenna, meanwhile, and this week – oh God – tries to get her committed to an institution because she won’t have sex with him. Despite his own troubles, Dr Dwight is magnificent at giving this short shrift – only just stopping short of pointing out that a person not having sex with Osborne is a sign not of madness but of one hundred percent sanity – and even Dr Choake is pretty decent about the whole business. Morwenna’s still in real peril from her appalling spouse and his brutal mother though; I really hope Rowella’s husband sorts him sooner rather than later, or the rest of the season is going to be a difficult watch. If Drake could just wait a little bit longer…. I have a horrible feeling, given the Carne brothers romantic haplessness, that Osborne will not be killed till after Drake marries Rosina so everybody will still be almost as miserable than they are now. (But, on the upside, at least Osborne will be dead.)