Even if it hadn’t already been revealed in the trailer at the end of last week’s episode, it would have been obvious from the subtle-as-a-scythe “happy, happy, happy, SEE HOW HAPPY THEY ARE?” montage at the beginning of this week’s that everything was about to go horribly, horribly wrong for the Nampara Poldarks.
I mean, they’re living it up in London without the kids, loving it up in a bed bathed in beautiful sunlight, and laughing it up everywhere they go – the sheer amount of determinedly animated laughing (with no sign of any actual jokes) has to mean that something terrible is about to happen, and so it does, the something terrible being Monk Adderley, a man whose first name might not suit him but, since he’s utterly poisonous, whose second definitely does. Adderley’s insistence on seducing Demelza whether she wants him to or not is resolutely thwarted by the lady herself and her judicious use of the servants’ bell, but Ross is too jealous and Adderley is too much, so everything turns toxic anyway. Despite Dr Dwight’s best efforts – he is so sensible, I love him to bits – there’s a duel, it ends badly (or too well, depending on your perspective) and Adderley sort of redeems himself on his deathbed, but that won’t be of much consolation if Ross ends up on the gallows anyway. I do hope George and the writers take the advice of the pragmatic (and delightfully contemptuous of Warleggan’s sliminess) Attorney General and just let. it. go. We really don’t need Ross to go on trial for his life again.
Not that we need Ross and Demelza’s marriage to be put under strain again, either, but there we go. And just to add to the deja vu, Geoffrey Charles helpfully points out to George that Valentine is the “very spit and image of Uncle Ross!” so that storyline’s back again, too. Lather, rinse, repeat. When I said last week that Valentine’s parentage would eventually be revealed, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so soon.
At least the Morwenna story is moving forward, rather than round in circles, although her utter devastation means it’s hardly a comfortable watch. Still, she’s away from the awful Whitworths at last, and she’s at least talking to Drake about what’s wrong, even if it’s terrible to hear. It’s a brave storyline for the show to tackle, and made far more powerful by the removal of the Rowella element that was always played in such a jarringly comedic, inappropriate fashion when juxtaposed with the torture heaped on her poor sister. Would some hope for Morwenna be too much to ask for, though? Will George leave the duel business alone and concentrate on freezing out Elizabeth and Valentine instead? And will the Nampara Poldarks ever laugh again, or was all this week’s hilarity their lot? We’ll see what next week’s season finale brings.