Poldark s2 ep 10

*SPOILERS*

“My arrogance, my idiocy has been spectacular.”

Better late than never, eh? Even if “late” is something of an understatement since it’s not till the final minutes of the season finale, that the handsome, brave, yet unconscionably stupid Captain Ross Poldark realises that he’s been a total prat for most of the season, Demelza’s his true love and all Elizabeth ever offered was a fantasy, rather than a future in any meaningful sense of the word. DUDE. It certainly took you long enough.

So long in fact that, before we get there, we have to sit through yet another hour’s angst.

At least the Poldark finances seem to have steadied for now – even if, as I’ve said before, past experience suggests we’d best not get too comfortable – and the mine’s making money. As our man’s business prospers (for once), however, his brain apparently continues to atrophy through lack of use; somehow surprised and aggrieved that the admittedly unusual feel of cash in his wife’s hand isn’t cheering her up any, he ignores my advice to throw himself wt her feet and decides that whining is the way forward instead. “It was one night! How long will it take for you to forgive me?” would be bad enough, but to then move on to some nonsense about it being different for boys…. Oh, ROSS. You might as well punch yourself in the face this time, and save your wife the bother.

In fairness to Demelza, mind you, she chooses a verbal assault instead of a physical one this week, but her “sauce for the goose”-style account of the Captain MacNeil debacle doesn’t really help matters, as, now filled with self-righteousness to go with the aforementioned arrogance and idiocy, Ross is still not minded to grovel, deciding instead to re-join the army and run away, because that worked so well for his love life last time.

Before signing up, though, he goes on a sort of farewell tour, popping in to say thanks to Caroline and do some fervent matchmaking for an audience by now desperate for someone, ANYONE, in this show to make a half-decent fist of a relationship. It’s lucky then that, for one so hopeless at sorting out his own romantic affairs, Ross proves surprisingly adept at fixing other people’s, bringing Caroline and Dwight back together in a scene as glorious as it is unlikely and all the sweeter for it. Awwww. It’s just a shame Dwight has already re-joined the Navy (because even the nice male characters in this show can be numpties) in a misguided bid to forget about her but at least they get to enjoy one night together before he sails off to war. “Where is your room?” asks Caroline, a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t going to mess about waiting for it any longer – cf Elizabeth Warleggan, formerly Poldark, currently doing my head in. Dwight is, at last, delighted to oblige.

As Ross is away filming his own very special episode of Friends Reunited, meanwhile, Demelza heads off on a farewell tour of her own. Her first stop is Verity’s house to deliver her baby (which means all three cousins have children now, and the cast of Poldark: The Next Generation is complete), while the second is Elizabeth’s, to deliver her unvarnished opinion of that lady’s conduct and character in a speech as beautifully, damningly delivered as it is entirely well-deserved. Huzzah!

Despite having thus vanquished her principal foe, though, it’s not long before Mistress Poldark is heading right back across enemy lines, to warn them that there’s a literal mob with torches and pitchforks outside. The odious Warleggan, who has no breeding, simply insults her, and his ungrateful wife, who has no shame, isn’t much better; after two seasons of dithering, it looks like Elizabeth has finally picked a side. Of course, it’s the wrong one; Demelza is proved right almost immediately, and it’s left to Ross and his last-minute speechifying and smouldering – just like old times! – to save the day, or, more accurately, the night, as he stops the mob from finishing the job he started earlier and setting George’s face on fire. (Is it wrong that I’m a bit disappointed?)

Since Demelza has failed to pick up on Ross’s giant hint that he didn’t come back just for crowd control, it’s both unfortunate and ridiculous, albeit par for the course this season, that, when they get home, the first thing he mentions is his ex-girlfriend’s forthcoming baby – you’re killing me here, man – while failing to notice his wife actually PACKING HER BAGS around him, but it’s worth that one last moment of lunacy in the end as he finally declares that he’s been an idiot and a jerk, and thank GOD we can end the season with a good old windswept and soulful embrace on a Cornish clifftop – it’s been so long, you guys – between two of the prettiest people on tv. Hurrah! The title card and post-credits teaser say “Poldark will return!” and so will I, because Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson are tremendous, and Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde wonderful, but if season 3 Ross could give up season 2 Ross’s habit of behaving like an unspeakable ass, that would be much appreciated.

Poldark s2 ep 9

*SPOILERS*

FFS, Ross. All you had to do was say “I’m sorry.”

As I’ve said before, I understand that romantic heroes should never be perfect. A little bit of edge, a few significant flaws – all of that makes them more human. But there is a fine line between making them more human and making them complete jackasses, and after watching him cross over to the wrong side of the line so many times this season, it’s insanely frustrating to see the BBC’s version of Ross Poldark double-down on the asshattery and give every indication that he has no intention of crossing back.

Dolefully wearing his Demelza–inflicted shiner with the air of a man who considers himself as much wronged as wronging (wrong again, dude), he spends most of this episode attempting to patronise her with various platitudes, each more insulting than the last. Adopting last week’s “you must see I had no choice” as his general theme, he trots out such infuriating gems as “I have never claimed to be perfect,” “your pride is wounded” and “perhaps I might have hoped for some understanding, knowing you as I do,” before the crowning glory of “I don’t blame you for your anger, but how does it serve us now?”

My God, man. Stop acting like you broke her favourite casserole dish. You cheated on your wife. Nothing short of throwing yourself at her feet and begging for forgiveness is going to even begin to cut it, but you don’t even offer up an apology?

Never mind asking for her “patience,” you’re lucky she didn’t give you her right hook. Again.

Not that Elizabeth is any better. While her paramour is moping around wondering how he can have his Cornish pasty and eat it, the widow Poldark is just as deluded, postponing her Warleggan wedding, not because she’s thought better of marrying a psychopath but because…. what? As the groom himself wonders, “What do you imagine will happen in the meantime?” Captain Poldark will move in? For heaven’s sake, woman. Get a hold of yourself. And take some responsibility for your own actions for a change. Having the effrontery to suggest that in NOT abandoning his wife and child, he’s left you with “only one possible choice” makes you almost as bad as your ex is.

Thank goodness then for Demelza, in all her wounded majesty, who lights up the episode like a firework on the fifth of November. Her trip to the Bodrugan party is ill-advised, her dalliance with the doltish Captain MacNeil – “your duty now is not to your husband, but to me”? Get over yourself, you odious little snake – unpleasant, but, like Prudie and Jud, I can’t find it in myself to blame her for either. Especially since (unlike her walking excuse of a husband) rather than breaking into a house to dishonour her marriage, she climbs out of one to avoid it.

Be it walking wearily on the beach in her sodden finery, offering sardonically to help her errant husband pack or even just standing quietly on a clifftop looking out to sea (both the clifftops and the sea get a lot of action this week, incidentally, presumably to reflect the precarious and potentially stormy moods everyone’s in), every shot of Demelza is like a painting and every expression on Eleanor Tomlinson’s face is mesmerising. For all this episode is about Ross’s behaviour and Elizabeth’s selfishness and yet another upturn in the Poldark finances (no point in getting excited, I’m sure there’ll be another catastrophe along in a minute), and for all Aidan Turner and Heida Reed are doing a great job in thankless circumstances, the main reason to watch is Demelza. She is tremendous.

Poldark s2 ep 8

*SPOILERS*

This is not really how my weekend tv was supposed to go. First, the “evening wear” episode of Hooten and the Lady had the pair of them getting mixed up in a murder and fighting instead of flirting. And now Ross Poldark has gone mad with lust and pique, so I have to write about consent and rape culture instead of curly hair and romance. Why has all my easy viewing suddenly gone difficult? All I need now is for Mel and Sue to go nuts and burn the Bake Off tent to the ground for the madness to be complete.

(NB – Mel and Sue, this is NOT a hint.)

Sigh. Not that you’d think it, given the tenor of the press coverage this morning, but this week’s episode packs in quite a lot of other news before it gets to the complicated, tiptoe-through-the-minefield, be-shouted-at-on-the-Internet bit so let’s have a quick look at all of that before we get tangled up in the hard stuff.

Kicking things off with Ross and Dwight in court over their smuggling shenanigans made me groan at first – what was I saying last week about a rinse and repeat of eps 1 and 2? – but I needn’t have worried. For once in his life, Ross manages to talk his way out of trouble instead of deeper into it, and for all Dr Enys decides he’ll just swap personalities with his pal and give insolence in the face of authority a go, the presiding magistrate clearly can’t face going down the trial route again either. So all we get’s a frown, a fine, and we’re out of the courthouse and back in business. Hurrah!

Not that poor Dwight, busy pretending that Caroline hasn’t broken his heart, is very happy about either of his escapes. “It would never have lasted and would have led to misery on both sides,” he says of their being together, which would be a very healthy way of looking at things if it weren’t clear that their not being together has led to nothing but misery on both sides as well. Still, at least there are some signs of movement on the Enys front: from being so desperately unhappy about leaving Cornwall last week, a couple of words from Verity’s impossibly enthusiastic stepson (that dude is insanely happy) this week and the good doctor’s suddenly ready to run away to sea, so perhaps the idea of running away to get married might be less of a problem next time. If there is a next time. Come on, Caroline! Do you really want Dwight to end up with Rosina Hoblin?

While Dwight hangs moodily round the mine prescribing his usual fruit and fresh air combo (at this point, I feel like I could treat scurvy), Ross and co find tin, which means two things. One, someone has to say the Poldark fortunes are changing (every time). And two, just when it seems like it’s all about to go their way, disaster strikes (EVERY time) and everything crumbles, by which I mean literally crumbles – the mine collapses, Wheal Grace claims two more lives and, once again, the Poldark fortunes are in ruins. Poor miners, poor families, poor everybody, except of course, rich Warleggan the Weasel who uses the opportunity to finally secure Elizabeth’s hand (if not her heart since, as Aunt Agatha points out, she’s already bestowed that elsewhere) in marriage because Elizabeth is as mercenary and mercurial as she is hopeless at fending for herself.

I should feel some sympathy for Elizabeth, of course, because she lost her husband and her mum’s had a stroke, but her selfish, stupid behaviour over the past few weeks, and utter lack of respect for both Ross’s marriage and Ross’s wife has made that a challenging prospect. That, of course, makes her controversial encounter with Ross this week even more of a messy one, from my perspective at least. No matter what Elizabeth did beforehand, though, what Ross does is on him, no one else. However their sex ends, it begins with him forcing himself on her, and that is Not OK. Ever. Yes, it’s set in a historical context where attitudes to consent were less evolved. Yes, she’s been trying to regain his affections for weeks. And yes, there’s a weird, disturbing undercurrent to the whole scene suggesting – dear God – that she’s almost daring him to make a move on her, but while that and her ultimate, enthusiastic capitulation might make the issues more complicated, it doesn’t erase how the sex starts. It starts with a man in a rage, determined to exert physical, sexual control over a woman who chose someone else over him. Not. OK. Ever.

In the end, though, Elizabeth is the person who has to decide if she was violated, and it looks like she’s decided she wasn’t. This does of course bring with it the risk of the show perpetuating the notion, the bedrock of many a historical romance, that controlling, domineering, violent behaviour can be masterful and attractive, but, in fairness to the BBC and Debbie Horsfield, I can’t imagine anyone watching that scene last night thinking Ross’s behaviour was masterful or attractive, or indeed anything but appalling. And just in case there is any confusion, at least the magnificent Demelza, dishing out some well-deserved summary justice, is immediately on hand to set him and anyone else tempted to excuse his behaviour straight. “You must see I had no choice?” Think again, dude. Think again.

Poldark s2 ep 7

*SPOILERS*

imageTrouble at t’mine once again this week as the cash is running out and along with it any hope of finding the much anticipated cache of copper. What’s a Poldark to do?

“If I were you”, counsels Zacky Martin(?), “I’d not throw good money after bad,” which is entirely sensible and practical advice. Obviously, Captain Poldark ignores it, since throwing good money after bad is basically his entire business plan but, before he has time to burn the last lump of coal, news arrives of the now near-mythical Mark Daniel himself! Why not ask him where the pot of gold copper at the end of the rainbow bottom of the mine is? He’ll know, right? I mean, what else has he had to think about?

Ignoring Demelza’s advice as usual then, off we sail with Trencrom and co, only to find a very bearded Mark so wrapped up in guilt and pain that, never mind detailed mine workings, he can’t even be trusted with directions to the house next door. Oops.

Still, the journey isn’t entirely wasted since it at least serves as something of an awakening for our handsome but hotheaded hero: “To pin everything on the ramblings of a man crazed with grief and rage – what was I thinking?” he wonders. I don’t know Ross, maybe you weren’t thinking at all?.

It’s been a long time coming, but Ross’s contemplative mood/ actual use of his brain doesn’t end there, either. “These last few years, often I have known failure” he muses. “Tell us something that isn’t bloody obvious,” at least one exasperated blogger replies. “I didn’t just gamble with money, I gambled with the happiness and security of my workers.” He adds. “And…?” the blogger prods hopefully. “And most especially that of my wife and child!” he remembers. Hallelujah! Since it’s something that we’ve all been yelling for weeks now, I should be delighted, but since it’s Ross Poldark, whose lurches from attentive husband to asshat and back again are both frequent and bewildering, I’m sure he’ll have forgotten again by next week.

While the much-in-demand Captain is away learning this week’s life lessons, however, cousin-in-law/pen pal Elizabeth’s wondering why he’s not responding to her letters. “It’s unlike him to be so remiss” she pouts. “I wonder what could have detained him (from dropping everything to dash immediately to my side. I mean, I’ve snapped my fingers, haven’t I?)”

I may be paraphrasing.

The redoubtable, hilarious Aunt Agatha, not wasting her time waiting on any man, proposes a different solution. “The male of the species,” she declares, “Inadequate at best. Better to rely on one’s own resources.” Which is fair enough when one’s own resources include a sharp tongue and a large pistol, but since Elizabeth lacks both the pluck and personality of her great aunt, she decides not to bother with taking care of her own business and heads off to Nampara to simper at Ross in person instead. Only to find Ross’s wife and her now steadfastly loyal servant instead. “I expect he was too busy to reply” says Elizabeth, the note of entitlement in her voice unmistakeable. “Yes, I expect he was” replies Demelza, the “Get your horse off my land and your mitts off my man,” being implied.

Remember when Elizabeth and Demelza were friends? They don’t.

imageDr Enys is doing enough remembering of everything for everyone, though. His affair with and the death of Keren Daniel – which I thought he and the writers had totally forgotten about since – is suddenly back on his mind, as is everything and everyone else. He and Caroline are in love, she wants to elope, but he’s uneasy: “You may find the reality less romantic than you imagine,” he cautions. Or, in other words, sometimes love just ain’t enough.

The date is set and the trunks are packed, though, so all Dr Enys has do is to survive the episode, heal Rosina Hoblin-Again, unmask the informer, save Ross and co from arrest, try not to be killed by repeated blows to the head and body, and meet his lady at their love shack in time. Phew! Alas it’s the last of these that proves too difficult, thought; poor Dwight has such a busy (and genuinely exciting, compelling) week sorting and saving everyone else that I thought he would be dead before the episode’s end. After all, this show has previous for killing off a significant character just when they’ve reached their best. (Which means I’m now terrified Aunt Agatha won’t make it to the end of the season.)

Thankfully, though, the good doctor lives to heal another knee, and I’m delighted – he’s a thoroughly decent, kind, likeable character, and his friendships with both Ross and Demelza are lovely. It’s just a shame that he had to miss his own elopement to do it. Still, much as I liked his love story, and sad that I am it’s over, if the alternative was Ross getting caught (again) and being tried (again) and a rinse and repeat of episodes 1 and 2, then sorry Dwight, I know it hurts now, but I’m glad you picked your Cornish pals over Caroline. Chin up.

Poldark s2 ep 6

Would it be shallow to jump right to the smouldering and the stockings?

Oh my.

We’ll get to it, I promise, but for now I suppose I should borrow the show’s trick of leaving the best bit to the end, or this entire post will just turn into a series of gasps, sighs and wide, starry eyes. Which, coincidentally, is also how one might describe the way Rosina not-Hoblin-anymore-since-he-fixed-her-leg (ba-dum-tish!) looks at Dr Enys, but Rosina has about as much chance with him as I do, since Caroline the talking calendar is back again to a) let the viewer know how much time has passed since Francis died (“Seven months away!” she announced; last week it was “(After) a year in London,”) and b) race horses along the beach with the dashing doc as some sort of eighteenth-century Cornish metaphor for really wanting to get it on.

Anyway, Uncle Bergerac might disapprove but Uncle Bergerac can go, er, race himself; Dwight and Caroline are completely adorable together, so here’s hoping they can make it work and her £6000 a year is enough to fund her two most important habits – riding, and making anonymous but exceptionally fortuitous charitable donations, as and when the plot requires. Thanks for the £1400, Caroline!

Not that Ross deserves it. As I’ve said before, dude is lucky he’s hot; there are times when, frankly, he has precious little else going for him. As is becoming all too common this season, he spends most of this episode behaving like an idiot, and, as usual, his two biggest weaknesses – Elizabeth and his pride – are at the centre of every insanely stupid, annoying thing he does.

While the grimly determined, quietly devoted Demelza does every job she can find (almost every scene she’s in, the poor girl is toiling away at something) to keep Nampara going, the perfectly-coiffed, purely-decorative Elizabeth floats about making limpid eyes and loaded remarks at Ross, who spends more time and money on his cousin’s widow than on everyone else in his life put together, never mind his long-suffering wife. My GOD, Ross and Elizabeth are maddening this week. She misses Francis because he balanced the books? He needs to focus on looking after Elizabeth because Demelza is “a miner’s daughter” and can look after herself?

WTF is wrong with these people?

It’s almost enough to make me wish he would just go to debtors’ prison, except he’s always so bloody keen on martyring himself, he’d probably enjoy it. And, as he doesn’t seem to understand, it would be Demelza and Jeremy who would suffer, not just him and his precious Ex.

ARGH.

As if Ross and Elizabeth flirting it up by the fire (and everywhere else) isn’t enough, we also have the odious George Warleggan sliming his way round there every five minutes, meaning that, were it not for the tremendous Aunt Agatha, every scene at Trenwith would have put my blameless but perilously proximate remote control in real danger of being thrown across the room. Not only does the redoubtable old lady know exactly what everyone’s up to but she’s not remotely shy in telling them, since the writers have clearly realised what a gem they have in Caroline Blakiston and are giving her lines to match: “Beware that man’s pitchfork and his tail!” HEE.

Awesome though she may be, though, it’s not Aunt Agatha who eventually sets Ross straight and saves the Poldark marriage (for now). Surprisingly, it’s Prudie, whose current Judless state has significantly improved both my opinion of her and her opinion of Demelza. With even Caroline noting that Mistress Poldark is “universally adored” and “the sort of woman all men desire except her husband,” it’s hardly surprising that, after an entire episode – or more like half a season – of him essentially ignoring her, poor, valiant Demelza begins to think her handsome husband doesn’t really love her any more. Neither Prudie nor the audience is having that, though; a word in the Master’s ear and the writers remember what an asset they have in Aidan Turner, Ross remembers what a wonder he has in his wife, and the audience remember why they fell in love with Captain Poldark in the first place, thanks to a sizzling final scene involving stockings, garters, and so much smouldering there are burn marks on my screen. Wow. The man may be aggravating, infuriating and downright exasperating, but… Wow. Merry Christmas, Demelza. And to all a good night.

Poldark s2 ep 5

*SPOILERS*

Courtesy of the tv critic who tweeted days before the episode was shown that this week’s Poldark would feature “tin bath and tragedy,” I had already guessed that this would be the week that a certain member of the main cast died, so let me start by saying thanks a bunch for spoiling that for me.

imageTweet or no tweet, though, I would have guessed while watching anyway, since everything was going so swimmingly (sorry) for Francis that there was no way the poor man was going to make it to the end. In the same way that a star burns brightest before it’s snuffed out forever, Francis (and the superb Kyle Soller) had an almost feverishly good week.

As a magistrate, he proved far more adept than his hotheaded cousin at manipulating the legal system, saving a man’s life and earning even Ross’s admiration in the process. As a man of pride, he vanquished the Warleggan Weasel with a speech so exquisitely cutting, I could see George bleed. As a mineowner, he finally reached the promised copper. And as a married man, he managed to get his wife to admit him to her bedchamber again – has it really taken a year? –  even if she was thinking of the other Poldark the whole time (don’t think you’re getting a free pass on that one, by the way, Elizabeth, I’ll get to you later).

Three and-a-half out of four is pretty astonishing, given how ignominious a failure on all fronts poor Francis was in season 1, but tv law means that, of course, this incredible uptick in both his fortunes and popularity could only be temporary: death stalked poor Francis right from the opening flashback this week, just waiting for us to forgive him and like him, maybe even love him a little (if we hadn’t already succumbed, that wonderful scene with Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza would have sealed the deal) before snatching him away. Sigh. A few episodes ago, he was ready to shoot himself in the head and I wouldn’t have missed him, but now I’m wishing death had taken his appallingly self-centred wife, instead.

Yes, Elizabeth spent the week sniffing round her brother-in-law once again – after his carry-on at Christmas, it seemed to be her turn once again to lead the chase, with quite the dinner party come-on. “Did I think I loved Francis better? How soon I realised my mistake!”was clear enough to unsettle Ross, but just to make doubly sure – and no doubt give the unknown gentlemen sitting on her other side some terrific gossip to take away with him – she threw “Cannot a woman love two men? Cannot a man love two women?” into the mix as well, presumably because “How’s about it, big boy?” might have been a bit uncouth for Sunday night period drama.

To his credit – for once – Ross seemed more shocked than anything else, and very sensibly spent the night with his delightful wife instead of his brazen sister-in-law. In fact, before Francis’s demise, it was actually quite a sweet week for the Nampara Poldarks, all things considered. I mean, there was the obligatory spat over the smuggling and that soldier with the comedy Scottish accent (I live in Scotland, guys. That’s not how we talk.) but baby Jeremy was fat and safe, and, instead of Ross’s callousness and cruelty of the past few weeks, there was a lot of charming, giggly sparring; a joyously smiley, splashy, shirtless (I’m trying to pretend I don’t care, but I’m not even convincing myself) bath scene and a general feeling that things might actually be on the up.

However, tv law clearly had to intervene here too: just as Ross and Demelza were at their happiest again….. whoosh! Francis was dead, Elizabeth was back in Ross’s arms (innocently for now, but Demelza and the audience know it won’t be innocent for long) and the apparently unstoppable Warleggan Weasel had them all in his crosshairs once again, because he can’t resist Ross any more than Elizabeth or Demelza can, he just has a decidedly less agreeable way of showing it.

imageUnlike the lovely Dr Enys, bless him, who is as agreeable as the Cornish coastline is long. Having charmed everyone around him (including a girl with a leg problem who’s name is, I kid you not, Miss Hoblin – is it wrong that I laughed?) and cured Aunt Agatha’s hypochondria and the entire village of everything else, there’s still a big old hole in the good Doctor’s heart which only the feisty Miss Penvenen can fill. He’s adorable, she’s hat-over-hunting-boots for him too, and they finally tell each other that this week, which means that no matter what Ross and Elizabeth and the eminently punchable George Warleggan are all about to get up to, at least somebody in the show might have a chance at long-term happiness, even if the rest of the season is about to take a very grim turn.

Poldark s2 ep 4

image

If I were a member of the 18th century landed gentry, or even just a member of their local police force, I imagine Ross Poldark would get right on my, er, wig.

This week’s episode begins with him treating some weary lawmen (and a slightly bored audience? No?) to his favourite lecture on the desperation of the poor and the institutional unfairness of the legal and taxation systems. Again. The man has a point, of course, and I do like my romatic heroes to have a social conscience, but even I, sitting comfortably on my sofa, want him to give it a rest, never mind the lawmen who have “I’ve been working a double-shift,””I’m not getting before midnight, am I?” and “tell it to someone who can actually do something about it” written very clearly across their long-suffering faces. “I couldn’t resist,” chuckles Ross when questioned by the long-suffering (this season, anyway) Demelza. “Try” says at least one recapper, rolling her eyes, “since we’ve heard it all before and it never does you any good.”

But then Poldark wouldn’t be Poldark this year without Ross a) giving somebody a lecture, b) throwing a bunch of money he can’t afford at a crazy-ambitious mining venture and c) being obnoxious to his wife. With a) already taken care of, then, b) this week has our man selling more shares to the Weasel Warleggan, a man now so obsessed with getting all up in Captain Poldark’s business, one might be forgiven for thinking he too has a thing for Aidan Turner’s bouncy curls. George. Dude. Do you really have nothing to do beyond sparring lessons and stalking? Because – spoiler alert! – I just don’t think he’s that into you. Even if he is into using your money to go into partnership with the still (disconcertingly) cheerful Francis and re-opening Wheal Grace.

Since I’m always getting my Wheals confused, I’m not entirely sure why Wheal Grace was closed in the first place, but hey ho; it seems our hero has high hopes of finding both copper and freedom in there, but we shall have to wait and see if the Poldark partnership, the Poldark marriages, Francis, and Ross himself (now the big idiot has decided to spice up his life with a touch of smuggling) all survive long enough for the scheme to bear fruit.

To keep everyone going in the meantime, however, fruit of a different kind is being supplied by the mercurial Lady Caroline who is now so smitten with Dr Enys that she’s lost her damn mind. The letters demanding he follow up on her close encounter with a fishbone (oh, girlfriend) are both desperate and guaranteed to have the opposite effect – Caroline, hon, if you’ve already forgotten how to play hard to get, try taking some lessons from the object of your affection – even if the ostensibly chaste scene where he finally pops in and examines her (perfectly fine, obviously) throat is surprisingly erotic enough to be worth it. I mean, it certainly unsettles him.

The way to this particular doctor’s heart turns out to be through his patients’ stomachs, however and, while Lady Caroline has all the startling, noxious callousness of the idle rich, she has none of their stupidity, correctly divining (maybe she borrowed Francis’s stick!) that a nice big crate of oranges for the scurvy-ridden villagers will bring the good doctor both back to her side and under her thumb. “You’re very impertinent,” she says, meaning “My God, you’re tremendous.””I like you very much too,” he replies, having finally learned to speak Minx, before Warleggan, that imbecile Unwin and life separate the clearly besotted pair. Just for now, though, I should think – after all, the delicate Horace is bound to need a check-up at some point, isn’t he?

All this romance in the air brings us back to c) however, and Ross being a jerk to Demelza. After his appalling behaviour last week, this ep kicks things off a bit more promisingly with them taking a nice walk on a cliff (yes again, but I don’t think they had the option of dinner and a movie in those days) but since the walk ends abruptly with him heading one way and her trudging wearily back the other, this new-found harmony doesn’t last very long. Unless you count the yelling and arguing that ensues over his smuggling and her fishing alone as nothing more than spirited debate. (Prudie and Ginny certainly don’t.)

“You think you can do as you please, while I always do as you bid me!” – Demelza has a fair point, and we all know it’s going to mean her going back out on that boat and getting into deep trouble, the only question being whether she’ll allow her heel of a husband to rescue her or not. “Where would you be if I hadn’t come along?” he shouts over the waves. “Where would you be if I hadn’t come along?” she shouts right back, and for all it’s another argument, she suddenly turns it into a pretty adorable one, as far as arguments go, the only heat in it becoming the passionate, fun kind rather than the truly angry variety. Ross striding through the water in his wet shirt suggesting they “examine my failings at a more convenient time” is something of a bonus, of course, and since it all ends with a new Poldark baby, all sides of the family – welcome back, Blameys! – reconciled and toasts all round, Demelza and I have no trouble forgiving her hotheaded husband at all. This time. With Elizabeth giving him the eye and Warleggan giving me the creeps, the Poldark marriage is hardly off the clifftops out of the woods yet. But after last week’s misery, at least this ep, even if it did cram six months into a breakneck sixty minutes, gave us something to smile about. “To the Poldarks and Wheal Grace!” indeed.