“Give me hope.”
Give me strength. If I was supposed to be sad about Armitage dying, it might have been a better idea not to have him spend these entire first two episodes trying to blackmail Demelza into resuming her relationship with him on the basis that he’d die if she didn’t. And doing so quite blatantly in front of her preternaturally restrained husband, who does little more than wince and excuse himself in response. At this point then, it’s not so much a tragedy as a relief Armitage and his poems are gone, except that, as Dr Dwight points out, the big drip’s now “immortal in everyone’s memory and we poor souls will look pale in comparison.” Which I think means we’ll never be free of him, will we? Argh.
Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza’s grief beautifully, and it’s a smart move to link her feelings to her broader grief for Julia and “this sad, sorry, broken world” – Demelza being one of so many of us bewildered by the horrors around us these days – but it still doesn’t really move us away from the basics of this storyline which is yet another excuse to have Captain Poldark and Mrs Poldark fight a bit, make up a bit, talk a bit, and question their relationship some more. At least the talking’s calmer and more productive than it was last season and the season before, though, and it does result in Ross accidentally winning the election and becoming the local MP. On the one hand, this is great because it means weasel Warleggan isn’t the local MP any more and Ross can put those speeches he likes making to even more effective use. On the other hand, though, I also means Warleggan will be redoubling his efforts to destroy every Poldark/ Poldark-adjacent person in the vicinity, and I didn’t realise that it also means Ross and Demelza will spend most of his tenure apart so there’s your next excuse for fighting/ making up/ talking / questioning their relationship some more. Tin baths and steamy snogs are all very well as a distraction, but at some point somebody really needs to change the record.
As far as the rest of the episode is concerned, Dr Dwight and the pregnant Caroline are blissfully happy which is nice, but unlikely to last because this is Poldark. Evil Tom Harry is evil. The Carnes are unlucky in love. And lather, rinse and repeat. Caroline and Demelza’s political machinations are good fun, and the election and an adorable scene of secret brothers Valentine and Jeremy playing delightedly together (before their spoilsport mums split them up) shake things up a little, but as I said last week, we’ve seen all the rest of this before. I’m getting less and less keen on seeing it all again.