What a chore of an episode.
George, a man utterly devoid of grace, decency or anything resembling humanity, decides it’s time to make a big splash in the House with a speech about the awesomeness of the slave trade. Said big splash is rightfully reduced to a dirty little puddle by one Captain Ross Poldark, whose counter-argument is particularly strong because of some insider info from Cecily, passionate because of his own innate ability to be anything else, and ruined because of his innate inability to Shut. Up. About. Stupid. Ned.
George, to whom character development is an alien concept, will not be stopped there, however. As his only two aims in life continue to be his own advancement and the utter destruction of everything Poldark-related (George, it’s been five seasons, my God, man, enough), he and the irredeemably slimy Hanson happily sign on to an unnecessarily elaborate plan to frame Ross and Stupid Ned for treason. I say “unnecessarily elaborate” since Stupid Ned is quite openly and more or less constantly shouting about how mad the King is and more besides, and all it takes for him to delightedly endorse a spot of regicide is a couple of ales and his inability to Shut. Up. Himself. So hiring an entire team to try and put a bit of paper in his pocket proclaiming his political sympathies seems somewhat surplus to requirements: he’s loudly announcing them to anyone who’ll listen anyway.
As well as being unnecessarily elaborate, the plan turns out to be somewhat easily foiled. The Ross part is derailed by Dr Dwight and Caroline who are both awesome, especially Caroline who very quickly gets over last week’s bout of jealousy, remembers how magnificent she is and sets about showing it. The Stupid Ned part, meanwhile, is derailed by…. gravity. Yes, the
smoking gun super-crucial bit of paper, er, falls on the floor. Along with my eyes which roll clean out of my head. Do any of the constabulary searching for evidence of Stupid Ned’s treachery see the apparent documentary evidence as it lies there in PLAIN VIEW practically glowing? No. No, they don’t, so this plotline continues to be as ridiculous as it is ham-fisted, but there we are. It isn’t over yet, though: Stupid Ned ends up in jail anyway and liable to drag Stupid Ross down with him. Sympathising with either of them is becoming increasingly difficult.
Back in Cornwall, meanwhile, it’s just as difficult to understand why so much of this season is being taken up by Tess the Terrible’s carry-on, but once again, poor Demelza is stuck dealing with another of the permanently sulky one’s evil plans. Happily, she manages this reasonably efficiently with encouragement from Zacky Martin who is quite helpful and Brother Sam who isn’t much, but the show’s determined focus on the unspeakable Tess is still almost as annoying as whatever that muppet Geoffrey Charles thinks he’s doing going to Hanson for Cecily’s hand, which is a very, very high bar. Thank goodness then for the Enyses, and for Drake and Morwenna: without the four of them, this episode would have been wall-to-wall infuriating.