Poldark, Episode 8: Everything Is Awful

Here we are.

It’s the final countdown.

If you’re looking for a ‘Previously On,’ do us and yourself a favor by clicking the link to get to the last recap because this is already emotionally taxing as it is. Please don’t make us relive it when we’re facing what’s bound to be the worst hour of our goddamn lives.


We’d like to say, though, that it’s been such a pleasure doing these recaps, in spite of how much we’ve screamed and sobbed over the course of the past seven weeks. It’s a joy to write about the things we love, and Poldark truly has become one of those shows we’re surely going to watch over and over again.

Well, the first five episodes, at least. The rest is iffy.

Erika: So, uh. Let’s do this, I guess. Just get right into it because that way, the pain will end faster, right? RIGHT?
I can already guess that I’m wrong.

Leah: The episode starts with Demelza feeding starving children with Ross at the mine while she sings over the entire scene and there’s just a glance between Demelza and Ross that speaks volumes. It’s just a single look, it only lasts a couple seconds in the scope of the episode, but it perfectly captures what’s going on between them.

Erika: Two minutes into the show, and I’m already crying. Pretty sure this is a record. The combination of Eleanor Tomlinson singing this song combined with the shots of Demelza baking and delivering the food is somehow so heartbreaking, just in the sense that the last time we got to hear her sing, we saw Ross falling madly and resolutely in love with her.

Now, everything is different.

Leah: They haven’t recovered yet from Demelza’s deception eventually leading to the dissolving of Carnmore, though it looks like they’re both trying.

Erika: Well, Ross did say he’d try, and he’s always been a man of his word. The times we’ve seen him outright lie on the show only ever had to do with protecting people he cares about so this certainly wouldn’t be an easy thing for him to just get over. Still, he’s proven himself to be an incredibly forgiving person, evidenced by the number of times he’s been willing to let go of the bullshit Francis spouts on a regular basis.

Even now, we learn that Ross knows damn well that Jud and Prudie have apparently been living in the barn at Nampara. He likes to put on airs of not caring, that Ross Poldark, but the man has an enormous heart. People just keep stomping all over it. THEY REALLY NEED TO STOP DOING THAT.

Demelza and Ross do share a sweet moment, though, which is unsurprisingly brought on by their daughter. Demelza mentions that Julia’s got a new tooth coming in, and ROSS COMPARES THEIR DAUGHTER TO THEIR DOG.

“She’ll be able to bite like Garrick.”

ROSS, PLEASE. What a delightful idiot.

Leah: THE MOMENT DOESN’T LAST LONG. The tension is still so obvious when they receive a letter from Verity and neither of them say anything, they just look at each other.

Erika: At least Verity is happy? She’s literally the only Poldark who seems to be right now, which gives Ross and Demelza both a little bit of comfort, no matter how empty it may actually be.

Leah: Demelza is trying SO HARD to make amends, though. She actually got on her knees to beg for Ross’ forgiveness at end of the last episode and now, she’s willing to sell everything she owns if it means Carnmore can continue on. It isn’t just the company, of course, she needs to make things right with Ross and this is really the only way she thinks she can do it.

Erika: Ross, on the other hand, has no interest in selling Demelza’s belongings to save the company and on the one hand, it’s really sweet that he doesn’t want to take the kinds of things his wife has never had from her but on the other, YOU GOTTA FEED YOUR FAMILY SOMEHOW.

They both just want each other to be happy, and it’s horrible because there’s really no way to achieve that right now.

Leah: Meanwhile, everyone at Trenwith is sick, even the servants, so there’s nobody left to care for the family. THIS BODES WELL.

Erika: We learned from Jinny that putrid throat is all the rage right now, tons of people have been contracting it, so from this fact alone, I’m going to go ahead and guess that MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO KICK THE BUCKET IN THIS EPISODE.

Can it be Francis? Please, please, please, can it be Francis?


Leah: Dwight lets Ross know everyone at Trenwith is sick and when Ross rides to see if they’re okay, the seriously arrogant and forever irritating Doctor Choake insists everyone is fine, because he’s SUCH A GOOD DOCTOR, so Ross goes on his way to the auction.

It’s a very important auction. The entire future of Carnmore hangs in the balance and this auction will decides its fate, IT’S THAT KIND OF AN IMPORTANT AUCTION. And of course, it doesn’t go well because they pretty much lose all the copper they needed to win to keep Carnmore afloat.

Back at Nampara, Jinny tells Demelza that everyone at Trenwith is sick and they don’t say Choake is an idiot, but they might as well. Because Choake is a goddamn idiot.

Erika: Well, with a name like DOCTOR CHOAKE, how could you possibly be a trustworthy medical expert? I would ten thousand percent rather be treated by Dwight, who would have been willing to see Francis and Elizabeth if it wouldn’t mean Choake would throw a fit over his patients basically being poached.

Leah: Since there’s nobody to take care of the family, Demelza decides to go tend to them, which… I mean, it’s selfless but DEMELZA, PLEASE. YOU AND ROSS JUST LIKE TO PUT YOURSELVES IN DANGER, IT’S TERRIBLE.


Erika: It’s not even that she’s being totally selfless. Another reason for her going to Trenwith, aside from how utterly good she is as a person, is because a large part of her views this as her chance to make amends with Francis. In the last episode, he kicked her out of the house when she admitted she was the one passing Blamey’s letters to Verity so for Demelza to look past that and be willing to care for him and his family is something Francis would never be able to ignore.

If Francis can forgive her, it would mean he can forgive Ross and thus, the cousins would no longer be broken and the families would be back in each other’s good graces. This is what Demelza has said will make her happy, and Ross didn’t believe it could be fixed. Demelza can’t possibly let the opportunity to make up for what she did go, even if it means chancing that she might get sick herself.

Ugh, Demelza. You know Ross loves you too much to be angry with you forever, JUST LET IT RIDE, GODDAMN IT.

Leah: While Demelza is trying to rebind the family ties, we learn that the Carnmore Copper Company is officially dissolved. Ross isn’t in the best of moods to begin with, but then George appears and starts his smarmy bullshitty bullshit.

“Oh, I miss you at card games, Ross. Oh, my cousin the cheater will be sad you’re not there, Ross. Oh, I’m going to buy some shares in your mine, Ross.”



Erika: I’m so effing done with George. He and Uncle Cary toasted to the destruction of Carnmore, and the Warleggans have pretty much reached the pinnacle of destestability for me at this point. I just cannot fathom how people can be this selfish, especially people whose roots were in the lower class. I know George has never wanted for anything himself and that he was raised into this greed so it’s not like his views of the world weren’t already going to be skewed; but to be so cruel to those around them when they’ve been gifted with such good fortune in their family is what makes them truly despicable.

George, of all the Warleggans we’ve seen, is the one most within grasp of the chance to be a better man. We’ve seen it in Farthing’s performance, these moments George faces that could change him if only he made a different decision. That he chooses not to take the higher road is what makes him so horrible, thus truly an excellent villain.

Leah: The Warleggans are gross. They just sit and act greedy in their gorgeous, uninfected house, which provides such an excellent contrast to what we’ve seen of the dull, dark Trenwith. At the Warleggans’, everything is lit brightly, the colours are vivid, and the sunlight is pouring through the enormous windows. It’s a visual reminder that they’re taking everything, prospering while the rest of Cornwall is failing.

When we return to Trenwith, things are ominous as shit and no one is answering the door, so Demelza takes that as a good sign that she should let herself inside, right into a giant cesspool of GERMS AND SICKNESS.


Now I feel like it’s Demelza’s turn to be lectured about how she has a husband and a child to worry about. She can’t just be running all over the place, helping sick people who might actually die.

Erika: Rather, she can, but if The Powers That Be could ensure that she will remain in good health afterward, that would be FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC.

Leah: I know I’ve said it countless times before, but one of my favourite parts of this show (aside from EVERYTHING) is the exchanges between Demelza and Elizabeth.

In the books, there’s a lot more animosity between them, though mostly on Demelza’s side, and I really appreciate that they didn’t go that route with the show. For me personally, it’s far more interesting to watch this unlikely bond bloom under pressure that might break other people or cause them to resent each other. When Demelza offers to stay at Trenwith and look after Geoffrey Charles, when she says she’ll stay and look after them all, Elizabeth is so grateful that in her exhaustion, she just breaks down into tears. I love the selflessness in Demelza’s offer, the kindness she shows for these people who have been kind to her in turns, but who have also made her nervous. And in Francis’ case, has said some really nasty things to her, not the least of which has been that Demelza is a smear on the Poldark name.

Erika: There’s a really great moment when Elizabeth tells Francis that Demelza is planning to stay, and he’s out of his head with his illness but much like when people can get when they’re drunk, I think this is Francis at his most honest. He says that it’s good of Demelza to overlook past quarrels, and Demelza smiles because at least in part, it was her aim to get it through Francis’ head that family is what they should most value.

Francis, through his gambling, knows what it feels like to lose everything and now, Ross is in the same position. It would be with each other’s support that they can move forward, especially when Francis was the one to give up the names of the Carnmore shareholders in the first place. Whether or not Demelza’s part in getting Verity and Blamey back together led to that doesn’t matter, Francis just needs to get this poison that George has been feeding him over the years out of his mind.

Fingers crossed that by the time he’s done being sick, that will stick. Assuming he doesn’t die, of course. I guess he can live if it means he’ll stop being a wiener.


Leah: When Demelza returns home, she tells Ross she went to Trenwith to care for the family, and he gets super pissy. Demelza just turns it around on him immediately because he did the same thing for Jim Carter at Bodmin, and he knows she’s right but it’s obvious he’s still worried about the fact that she was around terribly sick people for such a long time. AND SO AM I, because in the next scene the baby and Demelza are both CLEARLY GETTING SICK and I hate everything right now. I hate absolutely everything. What if I just turn this episode off. WHAT IF YOU DON’T EVEN GET A RECAP BECAUSE I’M DONE?


Leah: Ross calls on Dwight, knocking desperately at his door in the middle of the night, but Dwight is forced to give his friend the bad news: both Demelza and Julia have the putrid throat. Ross asks if they’ll be okay, and Dwight is like, “Oh, yeah, for sure. IF THEY MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Oh, btw, you can’t do anything but pray.”

I’m not sure Ross is much of one for prayers, but this might be the thing to get him to do it. He sits with Demelza, holding her hand, and Dwight stays with Julia and I’M HAVING A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS.

Erika: How good a friend is Dwight, by the way? As far as I’m concerned, he’s forgiven for being such a dumb turd in the last episode because even though he’s a hell of a lot weaker in keeping his dong in his pants, Dwight is ultimately a good man. At least, he tries very hard to be, and I think that’s what Ross sees in him. Dwight doesn’t have to stay to tend to Demelza and Julia; after all, Demelza got the putrid throat by surrounding herself with the ill at Trenwith.

But he does it because these are his best friend’s two best gals. There’s a shot of Dwight gently offering a finger for Julia to grab onto and just thinking about it makes me want to ugly cry because it’s just the absolute sweetest thing. So if that alone gets me crying, imagine what the rest of the episode does to me.

Leah: While Demelza starts to hallucinate, seeing her father, Francis, and worst of all, Elizabeth and Ross kissing, Dwight tells Ross that Julia won’t recover.



Leah: I don’t even have anything to say about this. ROSS STAYS WITH HIS BABY WHILE SHE DIES SO SHE WON’T BE ALONE AND I CANNOT HANDLE ANY OF THIS. IT’S NOT OKAY. I have no funny jokes to make about anything, there are zero things about this that I can talk about without becoming a wreck.


Erika: I legitimately cannot believe Julia dies. Like, I knew something horrible had to happen but this is probably the most upsetting things I’ve watched on television since the Series Three finale of Being Human UK. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, BOTH STAR AIDAN.

Everyone on this show does an incredible job, but I really have to hand it to Aidan in this one. I’ve moaned about the fact that he gets so much attention for his looks on Poldark but that’s because we get to see him do things like this arc, watching the two people he loves most in the world get sick without being able to do anything about it, and if you’re like me, you start to notice things that might not be immediately obvious upon first viewing.

If you have the strength to watch this episode again, pay attention to Ross after what happens with Julia because you’ll see that in pretty much every scene, he looks like he’s on the verge of breaking down in tears. His eyes are always a little red-rimmed with heavy, dark circles underneath and in the scenes in Nampara, they’re always glassy and wet. I can’t handle crying Aidan Turner in general, even a single Kili tear in Battle of the Five Armies did me in, so to watch him act his pants off like this for another half hour is really just a great motivation to bust out my bottle of wine because THIS IS INTOLERABLE. I DO NOT ABIDE.

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Demelza still might die, and he has to bury his baby.

Erika: Not a good day for Ross Poldark.

Leah: I’m just about prepared to turn the episode off so I can go back to when everyone was happy and everything was okay.

At least there’s a moment with Francis and Ross at the funeral for Julia. Francis reaches for Ross’ shoulder and it’s not much, but it’s something.

Erika: I think it really does say quite a lot. Francis knows that the reason Demelza and Julia got the putrid throat in the first place is because Demelza came to care for his family while they were sick. Now here he is, well enough to be out of bed and around other people while his cousin is mourning for his daughter. Francis would have to be truly soulless not to care about this, very much like Uncle Cary is when he casually mentions that Ross isn’t going to be a problem for the Warleggans for awhile.


I want to scream and pull my hair out because he says that, by the way. His fucking daughter is dead and that’s why Ross isn’t going to be an issue. How callous and cruel do you have to be to say something like that? It makes me physically ill, and I know it’s just a TV show but I HAVE VERY REAL FEELINGS, OKAY.

Leah: Unlike his uncle, George Warleggan does seem upset to hear Julia died. Uncle Cary is so blasé about the whole thing, but you can tell that George isn’t quite that heartless. The news definitely has an effect on him.

There have been some great moments between George and Uncle Cary this episode. In these moments, you can see the war going on in George’s mind. He doesn’t want to be this evil super villain, he doesn’t want to be that terrible of a person. All this time, he’s been asking the question of why Ross hates him so much and what he’s done to deserve such ire. He’s not a good guy by any means, but he does have some principles left and whenever Cary says something particularly awful, especially in this episode, it’s really evident that George is uncomfortable with a lot of the things that are happening.

Erika: I wish I could say this endears him to me in some small way because I adore Jack Farthing and what he does as George, but I can’t. After everything he’s done, I just don’t feel like there can be any redemption for him. I don’t say this as a bad thing because the complexity we continue to see in George is so important to that character, and I love that it exists; but feeling bad that someone’s daughter died, no matter what the circumstance, doesn’t make George a good person. It just makes him a slightly better man than his uncle.

Leah: To continue with the trend of hating on the Warleggans, Ross decides he’s going to steal their shit.

Okay, full story. Dwight tells Ross there’s been no change in Demelza so he should get some rest but instead, he goes for a walk in a giant storm like an idiot and sees the wind about to blow a ship into the rocks. NOT JUST ANY SHIP, THOUGH. YOU GUESSED IT, THE SHIP AND WHAT’S ON IT ALL BELONG TO THE WARLEGGANS.

Erika: Ross is full on like, “WITNESS MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” and rides off to do this thing because he can’t save his wife and he couldn’t save his daughter, but this is something he can do. The Warleggans have played such an enormous part in ruining his life and now, Ross is ready to do a little fighting back. He calls everyone and their mom to the beach, which is Poldark land, where things from the ship are washing ashore and directing everyone to gather up what they can so they can get food home to their families.

I just want to spell it out that Ross isn’t even doing this for himself. He sees an opportunity to fuck over the Warleggans by helping the people who have been screwed over, the same people whose children were eagerly taking bits of food from Demelza and Ross at the beginning of the episode, and he snatches it right up because unless his wife wakes up from her illness, he’s really got nothing left to lose.

Most importantly, we get the actual most dangerous and sinister smirk I’ve ever seen, and it actually makes me want to cheer because Ross knows damn well that the Warleggans aren’t going to let this go once they find out about it but HE HAS RUN OUT OF FUCKS TO GIVE.


Leah: The problem now becomes that yes, the Warleggans are intent on prosecuting everyone who’s stealing their stuff from the wreck.

Erika: The soldier they call in to take care of the situation basically says, “Finders keepers, tho, bro!” BUT NO, GEORGE GETS A COOKIE FROM THE DARK SIDE AGAIN AND PAYS THE SOLDIER OFF TO ARREST ANYONE CAUGHT TAKING THINGS FROM THE SHIP OFFSHORE.

Leah: As survivors start to be swept in from the water, more and more fights break out over the things still left behind. With the soldiers getting closer, this is just going to turn into a shitshow, and the survivors are pissed because everyone is acting a fool and stealing their stuff. We also find out that the cheating Warleggan cousin was on the ship but when Ross reaches him, he’s already dead.

Erika: What a loss, I’m really going to miss him.

Leah: Ross warns the soldiers to let the people on the beach continue doing what they’re doing rather than jump into the fray to make arrests because if they do, nobody will escape without injury. These people are desperate, they all know that, and it’s actually wiser to let them do their thing.

Ross, for all that he’s seemed generally disconnected from all the fighting, offers the survivors shelter in his house.

Erika: I love that Dwight is asleep on the couch when Ross walks in, and he just looks up at his bestie like, “Bruh, I know your wife is ill but that’s a lot of dudes to bring home at once.”

Leah: Ross basically leaves everyone to their own devices because Dwight is obviously not watching over Demelza and goes upstairs to find Elizabeth there. She’s come to care for her just like Demelza did for her family and IT’S FINE, I’M JUST CRYING AGAIN. ROSS LOVES DEMELZA SO MUCH, ELIZABETH IS A FREAKING GODDESS, I AM SO SAD AND SO HAPPY ALL AT ONCE.

Erika: It’s a lovely gesture, though I do cringe when Elizabeth puts words to what Francis said with the hand he put on Ross’ shoulder earlier.

“She saved my child.”
“And lost yours in return.”

I’m not in any way upset with Elizabeth for being here, but I don’t know what Ross is meant to say to that. He can barely look at her, and he only manages to tell Elizabeth that all she can is pray that he doesn’t lose the love of his life before leaning over his wife and begging her to come back to him.


Leah: It’s such a painful moment, too, when Demelza regains a bit of consciousness and asks if Elizabeth has come to take Ross from her. He promises she will never take him, which Elizabeth hears and although she knows it, although it’s kind of impossible to miss how much he loves Demelza, it must still sting to hear.

Erika: Especially because she must not be certain that her own husband, who she knows has already cheated on her, might not say the same thing. It’s not like Elizabeth came to Nampara to get in Ross’ good graces or to steal him away from a dying Demelza, but it’s so sad that even with Demelza nearing death, it’s clear that Elizabeth envies her for what she has with Ross.

Side note, I’m a little bit pressed that in her hallucinations, Demelza would see Elizabeth as an opponent. Maybe that’s just me, but I think after all we’ve seen of them together, there should be no reason that she should believe that Ross would run away with Elizabeth. Yes, I know that she’s seeing the worst of what’s in her mind right now but at the same time, everything else she sees is based on things that have actually happened or have been said to her.

So why pit Elizabeth and Demelza against each other, even in a sickness-fueled nightmare? It’s one of the only moments of the show that I conceptually have an issue with, and I’m really hoping that Series Two doesn’t fall into the trap of making these two strong, wonderful women constantly jealous of each other. IT’S 2015, GODDAMN IT, COME UP WITH A NEW TROPE.

Anyway, aside from that, it’s just a relief to see that Demelza seems to have broken through the worst of her illness enough to at least say actual words because if Demelza died in this episode, too, I don’t know that I’d still be writing this recap at all.

Leah: The next morning, Ross decides to go back to the beach to check out the damage.


Leah: He runs into George and lord, GEORGE, PLEASE DO NOT BE ALL KIND AND MAKE ME APPRECIATE YOU EVEN A LITTLE. He’s the bigger man in this scene, though, and he gives Ross condolences about Julia, which I believe he sincerely means. But Ross is a dick in return and I mean, I get it, he’s mad about a lot of the shitty things the Warleggans have done, but now seems like it’s maybe not the best time to poke the beast, Ross. JUST LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE FOR A LITTLE WHILE, MAYBE?

George asks if Matthew could have been saved and rather than tell him he was dead already, Ross is just like “Pfft, why would I save his sorry ass,” which sort of makes it seem like he killed George’s cousin. Ross, you dolt.

Erika: I just want to slap everyone in the face to make them wake the fuck up. More specifically, in this moment, I want to slap Ross because he’s not doing himself any favors. I don’t think George deserves Ross’ tact or respect but the Warleggans are an extremely powerful family. It’s one thing to piss them off by trying to be independent of them and start his own copper company but to pretty much say that he’s pleased one of their family members is dead is such an ill-advised move–confirmed by the look on George’s face as Ross walks away.

Leah: I stop caring about George and what might happen to Ross for a minute because now, Ross has to tell Demelza that their daughter is gone. I have nothing to say. I’m honestly sitting here sobbing, so that’ll have to suffice.

Erika: I’ve sobbed myself to the point of numbness, so I’ll say Eleanor and Aidan are perfect in this scene. Ross tries to be strong for his wife, as I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been a single time he’s cried in the episode while someone’s been watching, but Demelza breaks down crying as she blames herself for not being there when Julia passed and Ross can’t help but let the tears fall because he was there.

He held their little girl until she had no life left in her and as if that wasn’t enough of a blow, he had to wait to see whether his wife would follow. Ross gives Demelza the little ribbon embroidered with Julia’s name, and I prepare myself to jump off a cliff because my heart is already torn to pieces anyway.

Leah: While Demelza tells Ross that she wishes she could have said goodbye, we see that Francis is finally paying proper attention to his own child. It’s awful that it took nearly dying for Francis to get his shit together but even Elizabeth seems at least moderately pleased to see him acting like the father he should have been all along.

Erika: Nothing like a good case of putrid throat to make you love your family again. Goddamn Francis.


Back to Ross and Demelza, though, because they’re all I can manage to care about anymore. To give Demelza a way to say goodbye to their daughter, he takes her out to the cliffs to do just that. She makes Ross promise to make amends with Francis, and he doesn’t seem convinced that it’s a good idea but for her, for the family he has left, he’s willing to do it.

Leah: He says he’ll ask Francis to join him at Wheal Leisure, that the two of them will rebuild, and although everything is horribly sad and I’m genuinely still sitting here sobbing, there is a sense of hope surrounding the whole scene. I don’t know how they do it, how they manage this perfect balance where I’m both crying and devastated, yet hopeful for the next season.





Is it 2016 yet?

Filming for Series Two of Poldark starts in September. Until then, recapture the joy and devastation of Series One over and over again with our recaps and don’t forget to get your copy of the DVD or Blu-Ray at Amazon.

It’s been such a wild ride, and we thank you again for sticking with us for these past seven weeks. Stay tuned for our other recaps and reviews, along with articles in which we simply cannot hold back our need to CAPSLOCK.

The season finale of Poldark airs tonight on Masterpiece PBS at 9ET.

Photo Credit: Tumblr, BBC One

Wiener Soldier

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2 thoughts on “Poldark, Episode 8: Everything Is Awful”

  1. Rosie says:

    I was really annoyed by Ross’ reaction to George’s condolences. I’m not advocating that those two become good friends. I don’t see that ever happening. But George was sincere and polite when offering his condolences over Julia’s death. And how does Ross reply? By being insulting over Matthew Sanson’s death.

    I found that incredible rude and just as tasteless as Cary Warleggan’s comments about Julia. I suppose Ross can get away with it, because he is the hero of the story. But honestly . . . his reaction struck me as another example of the rudeness of the upper-classes. And since Ross expressed that rudeness to a man he considers his social inferior, I found his comments almost abhorrent.

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