Poldark, Episode 6: The Battle of the Two Poldarks
Last week’s episode of Poldark gave us some wonderful riches in terms of story: Francis has had to shut down his mine because he’s gambling, drinking and generally throwing all his everything he has away (INCLUDING THE MINE. DUMB IDIOT.); Elizabeth is two hundred percent done with her stupid husband but doing the best she can to rise above it (because she is a queen who deserves so much more than the wiener husband she’s ended up with); Mark Daniel, one of Ross’ miners, married Karen the Actress–whose name, as it turns out, is actually spelled KEREN–and she’s already trying to stir up trouble because she’s got a crush on Doctor Dwight (understandable but listen, lady, YOU WERE MARRIED ALL OF TWO SECONDS BEFORE YOU SET YOUR SIGHTS ON ANOTHER DUDE); Ross and Demelza continue to be perfect, now with bonus baby Julia; and Verity and Blamey have rekindled their romance through Demelza, who’s been going behind Ross’ back to do it. Oh, and Ross is going to start his own smelting company with some other guys, partly because they want to stick it to the Warleggans. IT WOULD BE A WELL-DESERVED STICKING, WE MIGHT ADD.
All in all, we’re pretty sure it’s finally time that shit starts hitting the fan so read on for our recap of Part 6 of this emotional shitshow.
Erika: Ah gawd, we’re already looking at the Desolation of Cornwall, also known as Bodmin Jail, where Ross’ young protege Jim was sentenced to two years in prison a couple episodes ago for poaching.
Leah: Yes, we’re brought back to Jim’s story right off the bat, with a look into the horrible jail conditions in which he’s living. Jinny is at home with their baby, counting down the days until he’s back.
Erika: Jinny is actually keeping track, she adds a tick mark to the walls for every day Jim is gone, and I think it’s one of the most heartbreaking images in the series. These two are so young and as Ross argued for Jim in court and later mentions again, it’s not like Jim was poaching for sport; he was doing it so he could feed his family because of how insanely unfair the wages for workers like miners are. Including himself, Jim has three mouths to feed, but he’s already missed over a year of seeing his baby grow because he did the only thing he could think to do for his wife and child.
The shot of Jinny adding another tick to the wall just makes that realization so much heavier; at least, it does for me. Obviously.
Leah: We see Demelza trying to give Jinny the best reassurance she can, and I’ve obviously been a huge fan of Demelza right from the beginning, but I really love how moments like this give us a look at how much she’s changed over the course of the series so far. She’s still prone to sassing Ross and being more forward than women were expected to be in those days — which is why I love her — but she’s matured a lot, too. She understands other people, she sees what they’re going through, she’s very compassionate and giving. I love that so much about her.
Erika: One of the major themes of the show is the difference in classes, and I would agree that Demelza understands others’ struggles but a large part of that is because for the majority of her life, she’s been part of the lower class. Even now, married to Ross, she isn’t fully accepted as a lady rather than a kitchen maid. She’s somewhere in between, resistant to fully turn over to the upper class because she knows her roots and is able to use where she’s come from to help where she can. It’s exactly what she praised Ross for when he tried to speak for Jim at the courthouse, that he can see the ‘hurts and feelings’ of the lower class and know that in that sense, they aren’t so different from the gentlefolk.
There is a struggle that bonds them all, Demelza has always been able to see that even if the upper class refuses to see what’s right in front of them. The difference between her and the rest of her class, though, is that she’s found someone, Ross, who’s willing to take steps to close the gap.
Leah: It’s too bad Francis can’t take a lesson from Demelza because the first time we see him since the mine has closed, he’s being a whiny bitch. BOO HOO, HE HAS TO SCYTHE HIS OWN FIELDS. CRY ME A GODDAMN RIVER.
Erika: He’s just pressed that he’s getting blisters on his delicate palms while Ross looks all nice and tan and ripped when he’s scything. It’s also a great way to remind the audience, as if we could ever forget, that Francis has never actually known struggle. Leah and I are both reading the book right now and there’s actually a great description of Francis that sums his entire character up:
“[Francis] looked what he was, carefree, easy-going, self-confident, a young man who has never known what it was to be in danger or short of money, or to pit his strength against another man’s except in games or horseplay.”
If we think back to the first episode, as this excerpt is from the beginning of the book when Ross first returns to Cornwall and visits the family at Trenwith, this is exactly how Francis was shown to be. I have to give accolades to Kyle Soller for transforming Francis over the course of the past six episodes into what he is now, a man whose bitterness over his life and what’s become of it has almost completely overtaken him.
He’s certainly not the man he used to be: the cousin Ross grew up with and continues to do his best to care for, the brother Verity loves but can no longer truly support, and the husband Elizabeth truly did love once upon a time. In a way, one might look at the larger picture and feel pity for him. I DO NOT. He still has his moments, some even in this particular episode, but Francis let the influence of others poison his mind instead of opening his eyes to what’s in front of him. The choices he’s made are what’s led him to his own personal hell, and he can cry all he wants but ultimately, Francis is pretty much digging his own grave.
Leah: He acts like the world owes him something and it’s just getting exhausting. Not even Verity wants to talk to him anymore, and she generally loves her brother when most other people would give him a smack.
In Ross news, though, our wary hero is now at auction in Truro and as far as I can tell, he pretty much buys out every share in the world ever. His smelting company does, anyway.
Erika: I love this because Ross has a perfect poker face going on while the ‘Carnmore Copper Company’ schools everyone at that auction and 90% of the other shareholders involved in the company are being SO SHIFTY ABOUT BEING PART OF THIS SECRET CLUB. First rule of Carnmore Copper Company, you don’t talk about Carnmore Copper Company.
Also, Carnmore? Which one of these guys has a wife whose maiden name is Carne? GEE, I WONDER WHO’S ORCHESTRATING ALL OF THIS.
Leah: Well, this random dude who looks like Lucius Malfoy–
Erika: He also goes by the name of Matthew Sanson, just for the record. As we learn later, he’s also cousin to the Warleggans, which explains a lot about what a douche he is.
Leah: –is wondering the same thing about where the hell this supposed company came from because he’s never heard of it before. Really, he’s just pissy that he’s losing everything, but the general crowd seems to be against him. Probably because half the general crowd is part of Carnmore. Everyone is just tired of the goddamn Warleggans and nobody can really blame them. Except for maybe the Malfoys. WHOOPS, I MEAN THE WARLEGGANS.
Erika: Honestly, though, I’d rather watch an hour of the Warleggans taking tea at another one of their so-called epic house parties than have to watch another second of Keren’s fuckery like in this next scene. We saw in the last episode that the house Mark had all done up for her didn’t please Keren enough, and it’s clear the only reason she married him is because she assumed she’d get better and you know what they say about assuming you’ll get money out of someone who genuinely loves you: IT MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE.
Leah: Keren manages to seem pleased by Mark here for about ten seconds before she starts giving him a hard time about not doing enough for her and then making eyes at Doctor Dwight. Mark seems like such a nice guy and her treatment is upsetting, but it also makes me nervous for Dwight because I’m pretty sure nothing good can come of this. I LIKE DOCTOR DWIGHT SO HE’S PROBABLY GOING TO CONTRACT SOMETHING AWFUL AND DIE. Preferably not but let’s face it, people were always dying of random stuff back in the day.
Erika: Seriously, though, if Dwight gives in to Keren’s flirtatious nonsense, I’m going to be so pissed. Dwight’s a smart guy, and I think the reason Ross likes him so much–aside from the whole patching up his wounds and not letting him bleed to death thing, which is clearly just a small favor between buds–is because he believes Dwight to be the kind of person who will always do what’s right. It seems to be that above all else, Ross values that in a friend. DON’T DISAPPOINT ROSS, DWIGHT. JUST DON’T DO IT.
Leah: Keren, on the other hand, doesn’t worry about disappointing anyone, not even her own husband. Being an exceptionally dramatic sort of dumbass, Keren ends up throwing herself off a ladder BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES. Also because she knows Dwight will come see her if he knows she actually needs medical assistance. Seems like the most logical way to get his attention, break your damn arm.
Erika: For real, though, is this not the work of a sociopath??? Keren is like the Dennis Reynolds of Poldark right now, she’s got the D.E.N.N.I.S. System from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia down pat already.
She’s already demonstrated her value by her supposed excellence on the stage, which we really don’t get to see much of but hell, it was enough to woo Mark–though the poor guy seems like he likely could have been wooed by anyone willing to give him a second glance, which is a shame because he seems like a sweet ol’ bear. I can’t imagine that she hasn’t engaged Mark physically, though we learn through Demelza later when she goes to see Keren that all the women within a fifty-mile radius basically hate Keren because she flirts with all their husbands.
She seems to somehow nurture dependence, neglect Mark emotionally, and inspire hope in him all at once, though, which I have to say just might make her more terrifyingly skillful than Dennis is at fucking up people’s lives.
Finally, she’s in the process of trying to separate entirely by getting Dwight to succumb to her wily charms. Let’s just hope he doesn’t fall for it like Mark did within like, 2.3 seconds. All of this can be seen as another comparison, by the way, to the way Demelza carries herself. While Keren was looking for riches, Demelza was only following her heart when she pursued Ross. Demelza even tries to give Keren some friendly advice later (or a warning, if you want to read it that way) by telling her the truth about the rumors surrounding her because Demelza has been the subject of gossip before, but Keren basically just admits that she’s only into one guy and clearly, it’s not her husband.
Leah: While Erika is still seething over Keren’s idiocy, George and Uncle Cary are having a talk about Ross. It’s clear that as much as they hate Ross, they respect him a great deal more than they respect Francis.
Erika: Not like that’s a surprise. I’m pretty sure we’re down to ZERO when it comes to the number of people who still respect Francis.
Leah: I wish Francis could see how he’s being used and what an idiot the Warleggans take him for, though I don’t know if it would make any difference at this point. He’d probably just throw another tantrum and make Elizabeth and Verity do all his work for him.
Speaking of Queen V, VERITY AND BLAMEY ARE MEETING IN SECRET. Oh, lord, this is bound to end so poorly for everyone involved, I’m very worried. I want her to be happy, but this is just not the way to go about it.
Erika: The weird thing is, they’re not really making it THAT much of a secret? THEY’RE WALKING AROUND IN PUBLIC LIKE IT AIN’T NO THANG! Subtlety, they do not know it! Blamey makes Verity promise that she’ll tell Francis about them before the upcoming Warleggan ball that they’re to attend, and with her words she’s like, “OH, YEAH, TOTES!” but with her face she’s like, “LOL NOT A CHANCE!”
Leah: I mean, considering the last time they were caught together, it ended with a duel and Francis got shot in the neck, telling Francis might not be the best idea right now. Wait, actually, maybe they should just continue on as they are on the off-chance that Francis will get some sense smacked into him by Blamey.
Erika: Or maybe he’ll get smacked into an early grave and Keren can fall off a ladder again, except this time she can fall right into a ditch that’s six feet deep. SORRY, GUESS I’M STILL A LITTLE PRESSED ABOUT WHAT A DICKWEED SHE IS.
You know what makes it a little better, though, is Ross sneaking up on Demelza to give her kisses while she’s PRACTICING THE HARPISCHORD BECAUSE SHE HAS LEARNED TO READ MUSIC. DO YOU KNOW HOW EMOTIONAL THIS MAKES ME? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY UGLY TEARS I HAVE CRIED OVER ROSS CALLING BABY JULIA HIS FAIR MAIDEN? SPOILER ALERT: AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TEARS.
We also see that Demelza is pretty much vibrating with excitement over the fact that they get to go to the ball because it’s her first real outing as part of Ross’ class. I guess it can be called her societal debut, in a way, because going to Trenwith for parties doesn’t really seem to count, since it’s technically visiting family.
Leah: Well, here we are now at Trenwith, and LOOK. FRANCIS IS THROWING A LITTLE FIT ABOUT THE BALL. SHOCKER!
Erika: He’s upset because he has to go to this thing with his name all sullied and his wife in old clothes. I’m upset because everything he says makes him sound like the spoiled little brat he is, and I’m so done with him. HE HAS NOTHING OF VALUE TO SAY RIGHT NOW.
Actually, thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure we should just be allowed to rearrange all the couples on the show. If we could put Keren and Francis together and then just kill them off, Verity wouldn’t feel like she has to hide her relationship with Blamey anymore so the two of them could ride off into the sunset on his boat. That way, Dwight could treat Elizabeth the way she deserves and Ross wouldn’t even be like, ‘Dude, what about the bro code?’ because he loves Demelza too much to even be anything but happy for his friends.
SEE? I FIXED EVERYTHING. HIRE ME, BBC ONE, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH OF THE IMPENDING EXPLOSION OF FEELS THAT HAS TO BE COMING I CAN TAKE, MY HEART IS SO FRAGILE, OKAY FKDLJSA;FWEIAFJEK;ASFDSA
Leah: You okay?
Erika: Never, but we can keep it moving.
Leah: Back at Nampara, Ross specifically asks Demelza if Verity is meeting Blamey again and she sort of dodges the question by saying what’s said in confidence shouldn’t be repeated.
Erika: It’s the worst dodging of all time. I would say I’m shocked Demelza didn’t just pretend she heard Julia crying and run away but ain’t nobody going to bail on Ross Poldark while already in bed with him. Their conversation is actually kind of hilarious:
“Hey, I heard rumors that Verity and Blamey have been OPENLY WALKING AROUND TRURO TOGETHER, is it true?”
“Maybe it is… but also, maybe it isn’t.”
“Sooooooooooooo, is that a yes or a no?”
“OMF IT’S A SECRET, ROSS, GAWD, HAVEN’T YOU EVER KEPT A SECRET BEFORE?????????”
Just to be clear, I’m paraphrasing. In any case, this breaks my heart a bit because Ross’ best and worst trait is that he’s always been very open and honest with the people in his life.
Leah: This plot genuinely stresses me out because while I don’t think Verity and Blamey should have to be apart, I do hate the idea of Demelza so blatantly lying to Ross. Throughout their whole relationship, they’ve had a certain level of transparency between them. The fact that they really are both such open and forthright people is what let them develop this trust between them even before they were a couple.
Erika: Right, when telling Demelza about things like what’s going on with the mine or with Jim or whatever else, Ross doesn’t even sugarcoat. He respects her enough to tell her the hard truths, which I think is why the sweeter things he says to her–like his promise to make the world a better place for their daughter–really land. He means every single word.
Leah: I’d hate to see anything undo that. Even if what she’s trying to do is a genuinely good thing, I can’t imagine Ross reacting well to finding out she’s gone behind his back.
Erika: No, not at all. I understand why Demelza would hesitate to admit her part in Blamey and Verity meeting again, but I think that if ever there was an opportunity to be honest with Ross about it, this would have been it. She doesn’t exactly outright lie about knowing what’s going on with Verity, but she doesn’t offer up the whole story either, and I think there’s no way he’s not going to find that to be a sincerely damaging blow to their relationship. THIS IS GIVING ME GREY HAIRS ALREADY.
Leah: The next day at the mines, Jinny’s father gives Ross the news that Jim is sick with typhus, which is extra upsetting given how close he is to being let out, so Ross grabs Dwight and takes him to the jail so they can treat him. Except Ross isn’t actually bringing Dwight to just treat Jim, THEY’RE TRYING TO BREAK JIM OUT OF PRISON.
ROSS, SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL??? THIS SEEMS LIKE A REALLY BAD IDEA. I mean, I know Jim’s in danger because of the awful conditions in Bodmin and everything but it seems like breaking a guy out of jail might not go over so well with, you know, the magistrate who put him there. YOU MIGHT GET IN A LOT OF TROUBLE FOR THIS, ROSS POLDARK, AND YOU HAVE A WIFE AND A DAUGHTER RELYING ON YOU AT HOME.
Erika: I am sighing the heaviest of sighs. Sweet Ross, I know you feel guilty about not being able to keep Jim out of prison in the first place. I know you’ve known Jim since he was a kid, and you feel like you owe him somehow. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU GET TO KISS YOUR WIFE GOODBYE AS SHE’S PRACTICING HER DANCING FOR THE BALL AND THEN RIDE OFF TO A DISEASED PRISON WITH YOUR BESTIE TO RESCUE SOMEONE WHO’S PROBABLY GOING TO KICK IT ANYWAY AND COULD POSSIBLY INFECT YOU, TOO.
Even worse, when they get to the prison and Ross pretty much lies to get them in, Dwight is just like ?????? so I imagine he had no idea what he was really getting into when he was asked to come. BUT HE STILL GOES WITH IT BECAUSE DWIGHT IS A GOOD FRIEND. HOPE YOU’RE READY TO BUY DWIGHT MANY ROUNDS AT THE PUB AFTER THIS, ROSS. They do make a good team, though, don’t they?
But seriously, this goddamn bleeding heart of his gets him into so much trouble, and I love how passionate Ross is about helping those less fortunate than him but dude really needs to learn how to pick his battles.
Leah: He picks poorly this time around. Ross and Dwight break Jim out, even though the jailkeeper freaks out on them with warnings that there’s no way they won’t catch at least one of the trillion different diseases that are probably festering in that cell. Besides that, it looks like Jim is almost definitely going to die in about fifteen seconds, he’s just beyond destroyed. Ross convinces Dwight to take Jim’s arm, which is horribly infected, in an effort to save him but then we cut to Ross burning his shirt on the beach and it’s clear that they don’t succeed.
Erika: I really don’t know why I was surprised that Jim died. It’s not like we didn’t know devastating things were well on its way with this show, especially so close to the last episodes, but I still cried like a baby child. Ross just looks so guilty and if his reaction to Jim being jailed in the first place is any indication, there’s no way in hell he’s going to take Jim’s death well.
Leah: Ross is furious at the magistrate who sentenced Jim in the first place and when he returns home, he tells Demelza in no uncertain terms that they can’t attend the ball anymore.
I barely even know where to start with this scene. Demelza wanted so badly to go to this ball because she’s finally comfortable enough to attempt presenting herself as a lady and as Ross Poldark’s wife. She’s been building it all up in her mind, practicing her dancing, and getting advice from Verity on all the right things to say; but she has all that taken away from her because Ross refuses to dance with the same people who are responsible for Jim being in jail in the first place.
Erika: He’s boycotting the party, that’s basically what’s going on here, and I’m so torn because Demelza looks absolutely crushed but I guess I wouldn’t want to go party with the bigwigs after seeing my good friend die thanks to their ignorance, either.
Leah: Demelza understands his reasoning but her disappointment is still so evident, especially when Prudie brings in a package from the dressmakers in Truro that Demelza definitely didn’t order herself.
Erika: This scene makes me feel like my heart is being crushed repeatedly because ROSS BOUGHT HER THIS DRESS BECAUSE HE KNEW HOW EXCITED SHE WAS ABOUT THIS STUPID BALL. He keeps doing this, buying her things and pretending in her presence that he’s not sure she’ll even like the gifts when he knows damn well that she’ll absolutely love them. He knows what she likes and what Ross likes is to see his wife happy.
Leah: It means so much to Demelza that Ross tried for her but the fact that she has no occasion to wear the dress now obviously comes as a bit of a blow.
But then Verity, EVER THE GODDAMN QUEEN, shows up at Nampara to tell Ross he needs to get his shit together and go to the ball because if he reminds those jerks who put Jim in jail that he’s still a gentleman like them, maybe they won’t put him away for breaking Jim out.
Ross tells her he’s disgusted by that logic, but Verity is, too. That doesn’t make what she says any less true, though, and she’s the only one to point out to Ross that he has a wife and child to consider now. She’s so firm with him. No, she’s more than firm, she tells him off in a way very few people will.
Erika: I’m pretty sure Verity is the only person who could chew Ross out like this without resistance on his part, and I think it’s because she’s usually so gentle that seeing her take a stance like this is just really effective. It would sure as hell work on me, that’s all I know. I do have to say that I’m pretty pressed that Ross needed someone to verbally say to him that he needs to think of more than just himself. ROSS, YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. I guess it’s good that he at least seems to realize that Verity is right.
Leah: At the ball, Demelza and Verity are both painfully aware that Ross is basically just a time bomb waiting to go off at this party. It’s a bad idea to leave him alone and it’s even worse that Ross has left his wife alone at this ball where she’s just finally making her debut and she’s still so nervous.
But he decides he wants to suck up all the Warleggan brandy and get drunk.
And more drunk.
And more and more and more drunk as George tries to tempt him toward the card room. Ross, after making Demelza promise to give him the first dance, ISN’T THERE TO DANCE WITH HER. He’s so hellbent on getting whatever kind of revenge he’s after here that he lets that take priority over Demelza.
Erika: What really gets my goat is that the second Ross walks away, SOMEONE DELIVERS ANOTHER GIFT TO DEMELZA AND IT’S FROM FRICKIN’ ROSS. He’d all but forgotten he’d ordered the dress for Demelza so it stands to reason that he would have forgotten about this, too. The gift turns out to be a gorgeous necklace that we later find out cost him a hefty penny, and I just can’t deal with this because can you even imagine Ross Poldark strolling into a Truro shop and picking out a necklace that would match Demelza’s new dress perfectly?
Not only that, he ORCHESTRATED THE DELIVERY OF THE NECKLACE TO TAKE PLACE AT THE BALL. Can my boyfriend do this for me???? It is so ridiculously sweet, but Ross doesn’t even stick around long enough to see Demelza put it on, and I am left with the urge to rip all my hair out and sob into it because he loves his wife so much but is too grief-stricken and overcome with unnecessary guilt that it’s turned him into a drunken asshat. THE BEAUTIFUL MOMENT THEY COULD HAVE HAD WAS RIPPED AWAY FROM ME SO CRUELLY. Them, I mean. Ripped away from them.
Demelza, though, she makes the best of her situation even after Verity bails because she sees Blamey and is worried Francis will flip his shit if they catch sight of each other. Demelza ends up finding Dwight, who introduces her to a gentleman with the awesome name of SIR HUGH BODRGUAN at the party, and unsurprisingly, she charms the pants off the guy. She doesn’t even manage to do that because she’s acting all prim or whatever women like Ruth do at balls like this. No, Demelza makes a comment about not hunting because she “has some sympathy for the foxes” and come on, that’s just Demelza being Demelza.
Throughout these scenes at the ball, all these gentlefolk are admiring Demelza and wondering who she is or why they’ve never seen her before, and the best example of this is Mrs. Chynoweth, Elizabeth’s mother. The second Elizabeth tells her that the woman she’s complimenting is Demelza, Mrs. Chynoweth backs right off.
“The scullery maid.”
Elizabeth is right there to defend Demelza, and it’s such a beautiful moment because she just looks at her friend with a fond smile and says, “I see no scullery maid.”
Leah: There’s a great line here from Elizabeth’s mother, too, that is pretty much all the evidence you should ever need that we’re right about the awful situation Elizabeth was placed in regarding her marriage. After George leads her away for a dance, her mother sighs and says, “A wicked shame to have thrown her away on a Poldark.”
THROWN HER AWAY.
As far as she’s concerned, her daughter is a piece of property meant only to serve as a means to status. Francis was the best prospect her mother could see at the time for gaining some kind of status and now she looks at it as having wasted her daughter.
Erika: Something else that should be mentioned is this sudden interest George seems to have taken in Elizabeth. He’s awfully flirtatious with her during the ball, and it’s strange because there’s no real precedent but my theory is that he’s doing it to bring further ruin to the Poldarks. Though Ross is married to Demelza and happily so, he loved Elizabeth once–and in a way, likely always will. Francis, of course, is the husband who’d failed her so to “steal her” away would be just another humiliation to the Poldark name.
It’s interesting because the way the show frames George in these scenes with Elizabeth is as a guy who’s a little bashful and kind of sweet, a much gentler version of the George we love to hate; but if my theory is correct, this is all just him playing her, meaning she’s just another pawn in his game.
I really just want all the women on this show to get together and scream, “WE ARE NOT THINGS!”
What Mrs. Chynoweth says, though, is another perfect example of how this show so expertly manages to tell us everything with just one shot or one line of dialogue. Earlier in this particular episode, we saw that aforementioned shot of the wall, a shot that’s called back after Jim’s death to remind us of how long Jinny’s been waiting for him and how their child will now never know her father. In the last episode, we saw Ross stopping to give money to the poor folk on the road. We also got this shot of George:
This recap would never end if we went into all the different visual cues we’re given, like the blurry entrance into the Warleggan ball that is disorienting because that’s what Demelza would have felt when walking into it. I mention it now because so often, the initial focus and praise for Poldark that’s supposed to get everyone watching has strictly to do with Aidan Turner’s body or hair or general face area–all magnificent things, of course, but this show is so much more than that. I JUST HAVE A LOT OF PASSION FOR THIS PROGRAM, OKAY, DON’T LOOK AT ME.
Leah: Well, nobody’s worried about Ross’ body or hair or general face area right now because he’s picking fights with the magistrate who put Jim away, which means we get to see Robin Ellis again!
Erika: The joy of seeing O.G. Poldark is short-lived, though, because Ross stirs a pot o’ shit up in here by going on a rant about the conditions at Bodmin and how unjust it is to essentially send a young father there to die for trying to feed his family. Robin Ellis gets so pissed off that he bails on the card game he joined like eight seconds ago, and I’m just like, does this mean Ross won his money?
Leah: Meanwhile, Francis is wandering around the ball and spots Blamey, leading him to throw the weakest of punches ever to be seen on television.
Erika: Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer threw better punches than that, and he didn’t learn shit about fighting in seven seasons.
Leah: It’s really too bad because right before this, we see Francis having a private breakdown for a moment, and I actually did feel sort of bad for him. But then he forbids Verity from seeing Blamey ever again and all the sympathy I had for him disappears because he’s such a complete jerk. He takes out all his stresses on other people and never seems to take responsibility for himself.
Erika: He even says in the card room that he’s learned “never to stake on women” because YEAH, FRANCIS, WOMEN ARE THE ROOT OF ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.
Leah: And here is the inevitable argument between Ross and Demelza that just leaves me feeling sad. I don’t even want to watch the rest of the episode anymore. Ross is drunk and he’s being an ass, treating Demelza worse than we’ve ever seen because HE NEVER TREATS HER TERRIBLY, I HATE ALL OF THIS.
Erika: Ross even kind of pulls a Francis here, trying to tell his wife how she’s supposed to behave, but Demelza won’t have it. You know why? BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HIM, AND SHE KNOWS THAT HE WOULD NEVER DARE TALK TO HER LIKE THAT UNDER OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES. It’s really too bad Verity isn’t around to hear the way he talks to Demelza in this scene, she could have given him a proper kick to the dick.
Leah: Ross storms away from Demelza to go back to his game, but she follows him into the card room and sits behind him, watching as he loses all his money. It’s so reminiscent of Francis that it’s appalling.
As the scene goes on, it becomes very evident that something deeper is going on here, but I swear on all things holy, if he bets their mine and loses it like Francis did, I’m going to shoot him out of a cannon right alongside his dumb cousin. OH, THERE HE DOES. BETTING HIS STAKE IN WHEAL LEISURE AGAINST LUCIUS MALFOY, THE WARLEGGAN COUSIN WE MET AT THE AUCTION EARLIER IN THE EPISODE. Everyone sits up, everyone is interested, and even Francis looks worried. Because this is clearly a real bad idea.
Erika: You know that if Francis is there going OHHHHHH SNAP that Ross is making Very Bad Decisions. This is just so frustrating to watch because we know he’s smarter than this. I know he’s feeling like crap over what happened to Jim but come on, man, you have so much more to think about now than just your own goddamn self. It’s strange because this is so unlike him, at least in my opinion. We didn’t even see him participate in any of the card games at the Warleggans’ house party where Francis lost his mine and while that doesn’t mean he didn’t play at all, he certainly hadn’t staked anything like this.
Then everything starts to make sense.
As Lucius Malfoy (again, actual name is Matthew Sanson but whatever) is about to flip his cards, Ross catches him with a card ALREADY IN HIS HAND.
Leah: George tries to defend Lucius, but it’s Dwight and Francis who leap to Ross’ defense and insist that Lucius has definitely been cheating. I hope this shows Francis what an idiot he’s been for trusting George. This is George’s cousin, after all, and the same guy who won the mine from him in the last episode. It’s obvious now that he’s swindled a lot of people out of their money and their livelihood.
Erika: Which is exactly why George would jump to defend him. The Warleggans pulled themselves up from their bootstraps to reach their status, they’re not about to take the public humiliation of one of their cousins being proven to be a cheater pass them by without a fight.
Leah: I just want to know if there’s any way Francis gets his mine back because even though he’s a giant wiener, it’s not fair that he lost his mine to a cheater.
Erika: Very true, but I really doubt it. Ross is able to prove in this instance that Lucius was screwing him over but there’s no definitive evidence that Lucius did the same to Francis, or even to Ross throughout the entire evening. Demelza does ask him later how long he’d known Lucius was cheating, and Ross says almost from the start but that he needed to be absolutely certain before taking action. He lost a bunch to the guy, even the gorgeous necklace he’d bought for Demelza, WHICH STILL MAKES ME MAD, so think of how difficult it would be for anyone to point fingers–especially at someone related to the Warleggans.
Ross didn’t even know Lucius was related to George & Co., by the way, genius that he is. Francis warns him that George and Uncle Cary are probably already plotting action against Ross for this whole incident, and you can see it in Ross’ face that he knows he probably should have been just a little less reckless. JUST A LITTLE, ROSS. A SMIDGE.
Leah: The Warleggans are plotting against Ross now, we’re shown, and they’ve managed to get their hands on information about Ross’ smelting company. They have the name of one of its shareholders, a man who unfortunately banks with the Warleggans, and they toast to that because once they’re able to find out the names of the others, they’ll be able to tear Ross down completely.
Erika: George even says what I’ve pretty much been saying this whole time:
“What we know is that Ross Poldark, while clever, has a weakness. He plays it straight and trusts others to the same.”
In other words, Ross is an honest man and expects everyone else to be honest, too. That’s why the way the episode starts to come to a close makes me all kinds of nervous.
Mark comes to Nampara after Jim’s funeral to tell Ross, finally sober after FIVE GODDAMN DAYS, of the rumors he’s been hearing about Keren while Demelza is sitting just a few feet away reading a note from Blamey. She can hear their conversation, of course, and the worry on her face isn’t just from Blamey’s ultimatum that Verity should choose between him or her brother.
Mark is saying that he doesn’t know how he can continue on with his marriage if he can’t trust his wife, and Ross tells him to “have faith. Without that, there’s no hope for a marriage.”
GEE, THINK THAT’S GOING TO COME BACK TO BITE ROSS AND DEMELZA IN THE ASS NEXT WEEK?
Leah: Saving the best for last, there’s no way we can’t mention the best line in the episode.
Francis is bitching and moaning about something or other, there’s no point in even keeping track of what he’s rambling about anymore, but he finally ends his little rant with the question, “What is wrong with the women in this family?”
Without missing a beat and in another excellent sum-up line, Aunt Agatha simply says, “THE MEN.”
TOO TRUE, AUNT AGATHA. TOO GODDAMN TRUE.
It is on that beautiful note that we must wrap up another Poldark recap. Next week, the final two episodes will air on Masterpiece PBS, meaning we will be nothing but empty shells of our former selves as we humbly offer our last reviews. We hope you’ll join us then for what’s sure to be an excessively devastating two hours’ worth of crying time.
Poldark airs tonight on Masterpiece PBS at 9ET.
Photo Credit: Tumblr, BBC One, Comedy Central
- Previous Poldark, Episode Five: The Poldarks Strike Back
- Next Poldark, Episode Seven: The Poldark of Doom