Poldark, Episode Seven: The Poldark of Doom
We have to do two episodes this week, which is really nice. TWO EPISODES OF WHAT IS SURE TO BE INEVITABLE PAIN.
We don’t even know where to begin with the recap of what happened last week because we’re already too stressed out about what’s to come. Here’s an attempt: stuff happened, Ross was drunk and dumb, he did stupid stuff, people were mad at him, everything is awful, the Warleggans are lying, cheating manipulators, Francis is still dumb, Verity loves Blamey and Demelza is lying to Ross to help them, etc.
Basically, THINGS ARE GOING GREAT FOR EVERYONE IN CORNWALL.
Leah: This episode begins with Blamey putting a secret note for Demelza in a rock, thus continuing on with the whole being secretive and lying to Ross thing that I’m definitely not even remotely the slightest bit a fan of. I understand that she wants Verity to be happy, I really do, but this is such a dangerous way to go about it. Ross isn’t going to be happy, not because she helped Verity at all, but because she lied about it.
Erika: Demelza, for all that I love her, really is just so naïve. We’ve already learned that when it comes to love, she and Ross have very different views on how to go about achieving it. While Ross is hasty, shall we say, as he’s demonstrated by marrying Demelza pretty much instantly, as well as encouraging pretty much all his friends to get married at the drop of a hat, the difference between him and his wife is that he thinks about the larger picture.
Maybe he hadn’t been head over heels in love with Demelza at the time they first got married, but Ross thought that he could be. He also knew that he cared enough for her that he’d rather wed her than let the gossip run wild enough to put Demelza to shame. This whole time, he hasn’t cared about what marrying his kitchen maid would mean for his name; he’s been more concerned about making sure Demelza feels comfortable in her role as a lady in his class.
With Verity, it’s a bit different. Yes, Queen V absolutely deserves to find love and be loved in return, I believe this as strongly as Demelza must; but this isn’t just a matter of a smearing of the Poldark name. Her reunion with Blamey would cause chaos within the family because Francis has made it clear that he won’t budge on the matter, and Ross, in spite of his desire to do the right thing, would rather do right by his whole family than see it completely torn apart.
So yes, as Leah said, I can understand why Demelza thinks she’s doing the right thing because it aligns with the ideals she’s already spelled out for us before, that love should conquer all. The problem is, by helping to bring others together, she’s betraying Ross’ trust. Her husband is a man who values honesty above most other traits, and I just get more pressed every time she’s seen digging herself deeper and deeper into this HOLE OF LIES.
Leah: Here’s someone I’d actually like to see in a hole in the ground. I know this isn’t exactly breaking news but George Warleggan is a giant bully. He’s gone to see one of the men, Mr. Tressider, who does business with Ross’ not-so-secret-anymore smelting company–
Erika: NO, DON’T TALK ABOUT THE CARNMORE COPPER COMPANY! Oh, wait, crap.
Leah: –and he “gently encourages” him to consider where his best interests lie. Especially since he has outstanding loans with the Warleggans. SEEMS LIKE BLACKMAIL TO ME, GEORGE. If you can’t get the business by honest means, YOU DON’T DESERVE IT, SIR. Not that the Warleggans seem to have any idea at all what it means to be honest.
Erika: The bad news that Tressider has pulled out is delivered later while Ross is at the mines, and I’d have more to say about that if I wasn’t so distracted by CHEST HAIR CONTINUITY. I ain’t even mad at whoever was Aidan’s chest hair wrangler on the show but goddamn, the lack of it in this particular scene makes me weep. LET THE CHEST HAIR LIVE. LET IT RUN WILD AND FREE.
Anyway, on his way back home, Ross slo-mo rides past Keren and gives her the hardest of sideeyes. It’s raining and the music is intense so we already know we’re well on our way to a devastating end to this episode.
Leah: Verity doesn’t have it so bad, on the other hand. While Elizabeth and Francis are away and Aunt Agatha is asleep, Verity sneaks away but not before tucking a note in Agatha’s shawl. She’s only carrying a tiny little box, but by the looks of it, she’s sneaking away for good to be with Blamey.
Erika: YOU GO, VERITY COCO. FOUR FOR YOU, VERITY COCO.
And none for Francis, bye.
Leah: You know, it’s really a testament to Kyle Soller’s performance because for a moment, when Francis sat down to talk to Ross earlier in the episode, I was really hopeful that he and Ross were going to make up. I’d have liked to believe that Francis is more than the whiny little wiener he’s proven to be time and again. It’s pretty clear Ross doesn’t trust him, though, and with good reason.
Erika: But then he finds out that Verity’s left, and he loses his shit.
Leah: Francis questions their servants about who might have helped her meet with Blamey and one of them, having seen Demelza, tells him. Rather than blame Demelza, though, Francis immediately jumps to the conclusion that Ross is to blame.
Erika: Because of course he does. The servant could have said that Verity found the note attached to a goddamn pogo stick, and Francis would have believed Ross planted it. EVERYTHING IS ROSS’ FAULT, ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES.
Leah: Francis tries sometimes, but he’s just too blindly jealous of Ross to believe anything but the worst about him. And it never helps matters when Elizabeth defends him, because Francis thinks it’s only because she’s still in love with Ross. BASICALLY ALL A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
Erika: Francis plays with my emotions because sometimes I think he might actually have figured out how to think like a functioning, decent human being. But then he says things like, “[Verity]’s had no post, I’ve seen to that,” and I’m pretty sure that my foot up his ass wouldn’t be nearly enough to emphasize how much I truly despise Francis Poldark.
The reason Demelza has had to pass secret notes between Verity and Blamey is because FRANCIS WOULDN’T LET VERITY HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE MAIL. FRANCIS WOULDN’T LET HIS SISTER HAVE COMMUNICATION WITH ANYONE HE DIDN’T DEEM NECESSARY FOR HER TO TALK TO AND THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY REASONS WHY NOBODY GIVES TWO FUCKS ABOUT THIS DIPSHIT ANYMORE.
He’s keeping his own sister captive in her own home, and it makes me sick.
Leah: Ross really would have been a good influence on Francis, one he desperately needed. His amazing sister and wife would be so good for him, too, if he’d let them be, and it’s unfortunate that none of the bridges Francis has been burning could possibly be repaired.
Erika: Francis is a goddamn trainwreck. These past seven episodes have been a slow burn of Francis destroying his life bit by bit, BUT I SIMPLY CANNOT LOOK AWAY.
Leah: AND NOW IT’S TIME TO START WITH THE REALLY HORRIBLE STUFF.
Erika: ALL THAT’S BEEN GOING ON SO FAR HAS JUST BEEN CHILD’S PLAY.
Leah: Back at Nampara, Jud gets super drunk on Ross’ rum and stumbles into the kitchen before starting to spit cruel things at Demelza.
Erika: I think it’s kind of hilarious that Jud tries to claim that Ross fathered Jinny’s baby. I mean, I guess Ross has earned himself a reputation (not that he deserves it, obviously), considering he married his kitchen maid; but a few episodes ago, we saw Jud praising Ross for his efforts in trying to help keep Jim out of jail. In this scene, he pretty much accuses Ross of sleeping with everyone in the county. OKAY, JUD.
Leah: Demelza looks like she’s about to kick Jud’s ass, but Ross bursts in and takes care of it for her.
Erika: How long do you think Ross was just hanging out behind that door? Just waiting for the right moment to beat Jud down, which I can’t say I’m sad about seeing.
Leah: Jud’s never been too bad, more comedy relief than anything, but this is a really gross outburst and it upsets Demelza a lot. Ross tells Jud to leave and never come back, which also upsets Demelza because she knows it means Prudie will go with him. As annoying as they both can be, they’re the closest thing to family Demelza has ever had outside of Ross and Julia.
Her own father beat her and the family she married into is generally kind to her, but she’s not really close with any of them except for Verity. Jud and Prudie may be crude and unkind in a lot of ways, but they are the people she’s closest to besides Ross. After she marries him, she tells Jud and Prudie that they only have themselves to blame because they’re the ones who taught her and educated her and helped her learn to aspire to grander things.
At the time she’s annoyed with them, giving them a talking to for being rude about her marriage, but she means it. These are the people who raised her in a lot of ways.
Erika: Family is a tricky thing on this show, and it seems like most of the time, blood relations mean a hell of a lot less than they’re supposed to. Look at Ross’ ‘band of brothers,’ as he calls them, the friends he’s known since childhood. People like Jim and Mark, they’re the ones Ross chooses to stick with, to put his neck on the line for, and I feel like a lot of the time, he thinks so little of what doing things like trying to break Jim out of prison would mean for him because his entire life, he’s been the one better off. Ross doesn’t take the law particularly seriously because he thinks it’s a corrupt, nasty thing–and in some cases, he’s not wrong.
THE THING IS, ROSS, THINKING YOU’RE ABOVE THE LAW DOES NOT MAKE IT SO. I love, love, love that Ross cares so much and that he always tries to do what he genuinely believes is the right thing when the majority of his class, save for those who have been supporting Carnmore, couldn’t care less unless it serves them well.
Leah: Speaking of those who are self-serving, THERE’S KEREN. I have no words. Erika, take this one. You were good with it last week.
Erika: I have no words! What makes you think I have words????? JK, OF COURSE I HAVE SOME GODDAMN WORDS! This entire storyline between Keren and Dwight makes me feel like a disappointed mother, I just want to shake Dwight by the shoulders and yell at him for being SO STUPID!
Leah: Keren just needs to GET OUT and Dwight needs to GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER.
Erika: Watching Keren’s seduction of Dwight is just like… I don’t even know, there are really no appropriate words that I could write for it.
I can’t help but make parallels to the way Demelza and Ross first got together because at that time, we could watch them and know that nothing outrageously bad would happen (at least, not right away, shit’s pretty much crumbling to pieces by now but at least they’re still precious). Ross was still sad and starry-eyed over Elizabeth but with Demelza’s company, we actually saw him start to brighten and smile so much more.
Everything we’ve seen of Dwight with Keren screams of uncomfortable tension, the kind that nobody would want because THIS GIRL IS FREAKIN’ MARRIED. See, Dwight, the biggest difference now between you and Ross is that ROSS DIDN’T MAKE OUT WITH HIS MARRIED LADY FRIEND. A married lady friend that he was in love with for years, might I add.
Leah: I don’t know if it’s really to his credit, but Dwight does try to stop it. HE DOESN’T TRY VERY HARD, THOUGH. Keren kisses him and is all like, “I’m gonna do this until you tell me to stop.” GIRL, HE DID TELL YOU TO STOP. BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED.
Erika: I brought a Tyra gif in on the last recap but I think she’s the only one who can truly encompass all that I want to say:
“BE QUIET, KEREN!
I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this! When my mother yells like this it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you! (Note: Few to no people were rooting for her.) How dare you! LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS![When] you go to bed at night, you lay there and you take responsibility for yourself — because nobody’s going to take responsibility for you.
You’re rolling your eyes and you act like it’s because you’ve heard it all before — you’ve heard it all before [. . .] Take responsibility for yourself.”
AND YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT GOES FOR DWIGHT, TOO. GODDAMN IT, DWIGHT, YOU KNEW BETTER.
Leah: Ross even warned Dwight to keep his dick in his goddamn pants earlier in the episode because Mark’s heard the rumors and clearly believes them.
Erika: Well, Keren doesn’t seem to work very hard to hide it. She told Demelza in the last episode that she doesn’t care what’s said about her because she’s got her eyes on one prize, WHICH I GUESS SHE JUST GOT. BUT AT WHAT COST?
Leah: The cost of a neck that works, apparently, because Mark comes home early after an explosion at Wheal Leisure to find an empty house. He waits it out for hours until he catches her sneaking back in and at first, Keren tries to be outraged that he could ever suggest she would sleep with Dwight and then, realizing there’s really no lying her way out of it, she goes for the whole ‘poor me’ thing.
“Twas only a kiss. He pestered me. He wouldn’t let me be.” AND THEN SHE BLAMES MARK. She’s using pretty much every acting skill she has and then she starts to hit Mark and THIS IS NOT GOING TO GO WELL AT ALL AND OH, JESUS, THERE GOES THAT NECK.
Erika: My face right now…
Leah: Mark doesn’t even realize he’s killed her at first. I KNEW PEOPLE WERE GOING TO START DYING. I don’t even like Keren, but I’m really upset.
Erika: Same, I just… It’s such an intense scene, and I have to say that this whole episode is full of fantastic performances. Watching Sabrina Bartlett and Matthew Wilson play this out had me on the edge of my seat. Okay, so it had me rolling around in my bed but WHATEVER, it’s all put together so impressively. Keren goes through so many different emotions in the span of SECONDS–shock that Mark’s caught her to fear that he’s figured it out to anger that he wouldn’t believe her fake story about going to see Dwight for something to ease the pain she didn’t have except for in her lady parts to an ugly frustration that leads her to lash out at him for not being the husband who could provide her with everything she wanted.
In a way, you might even say that this is a parallel of Elizabeth’s journey so far with Mark playing the part of Francis, the disappointing husband who can’t give Keren what she needs, and Dwight as Ross, the dreamy one who could have provided her with a very different life than the one she’d ended up with. I can’t say I’m very sad that this blew up in Keren’s face, but I certainly don’t think she deserved to die. Fingers crossed her fate isn’t an indication of any of our Poldark queens’ ends, if ever they do come.
I do have to note, though, that I found it so brilliant that Mark accidentally kills Keren by HOLDING TOO CLOSELY TO HER. From the moment he first saw her, all he’s wanted is for Keren to let him show her just how much he loves her, and he’s tried so hard to do that but without any real sign of those feelings returned. Aside from her marrying him, I guess?????? Which is hardly an indication of love, if most of the relationships on this show are anything to go by. I just love that Mark finally gets what he wants, to be as close as he can be to his wife, only to lose her through his inability to let her go.
Leah: In case you’re wondering what’s been going on at Trenwith all this time, the Poldarks on that side of the fence have been treated by a surprise George Warleggan at the door. He’s shown up to apologize for his cousin’s cheating ways with cards that we learned about in the last episode and apparently wants to cancel some of their debts.
Erika: Do you think he might have underlying motives? Is there any chance at all that George might be trying to toy with Francis and look good in front of Elizabeth at the same time? COULD IT BE POSSIBLE THAT HE’S MAKING DAMN SURE FRANCIS OWES HIM MORE THAN JUST MONEY JUST SO HE CAN BRING DOWN THE POLDARKS WHO AREN’T SO EASILY FOOLED?
See, here it is already! George is clearly trying to get in Francis’ head during this super friendly fireside chat. Francis has already mentioned Verity’s elopement and that he thinks Ross is responsible, which George actually seems a little surprised about. This is the thing about these two, I cannot begin to describe just how much I want to karate chop them both in the throat, but at least George is smart. You can see it on his face that he’s about 98% sure Ross Poldark didn’t orchestrate this whole thing but is that going to stop him from taking advantage of the fact that Francis thinks so?
HELL NO, HE’S A WARLEGGAN AND WARLEGGANS THRIVE ON TWISTING PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS AND WORDS. THEY’RE SNAKES, I TELL YOU, SNAKES!
Leah: Francis asks George what he’s EVER done to deserve this betrayal~~~ from Ross and George is like, “Uh, bro, you married the woman he loved, remember?” Francis is like, “……right, that.” But he also seems convinced that’s not the problem at all. If Ross is trying to get back at him, it’s definitely not on THAT score.
Erika: This entire exchange between Francis and George is absolutely masterful, and I am legitimately so impressed with both Soller and Jack Farthing’s performances in this scene. You can actually see the thoughts warring in Francis’ mind through the way he keeps vacillating between trying to understand why on earth Ross would betray him by setting Verity back up with Blamey and just being furious that he did. Each time he seems to even remotely approach the conclusion that maybe Ross wouldn’t because, y’know, HE WOULDN’T, George weasels in and plants another rotten seed in Francis’ mind.
“You married the girl he loved.”
“He betrayed you… and your family.”
He’s been doing this from the beginning, suggesting that Ross doesn’t value friendship or family, that Ross is arrogant and entitled, all these things that slowly form an idea in Francis’ head that Ross is the worst. WARLEGGAN INCEPTION.
The scene is perfectly played out because every time Francis starts to sway back to maybe thinking he’s overreacting, George just looks so frustrated because HE’S NOT USED TO FRANCIS THINKING FOR HIMSELF! That’s what I love most about this scene, actually, that Francis uses what little of his brain is left to work through this thing he’d reacted so instinctually and strongly to. Granted, that tiny nugget of brainpower isn’t enough to keep him from being a GIANT FUCKING TURD AND BETRAYING ROSS WHEN ALL ROSS HAS DONE THIS WHOLE TIME IS TRY TO KEEP THE PEACE IN HIS GODDAMN FAMILY.
Leah: George is just SO manipulative and he’s playing Francis so hard. The fact that Francis is falling for it so easily is really upsetting. GDI, KYLE SOLLER, YOUR PERFORMANCE IS SO GOOD. Francis craves approval in a way no one else on this show does, and he can’t get it. He couldn’t get it from his father, he can’t get it from his wife, and his sister ran off to be with someone else instead of sticking with the family.
Erika: The messed up thing is that Ross, after everything, is still willing to give Francis a break. I remember being pretty surprised while watching the last episode that Ross and Francis were so casually hanging out, and I realize that enough time had probably passed within the confines of the show that whatever squabbles they’d had before that would likely have been resolved to the point that they could be amicable; but Francis just gives Ross so much shit and treats him, one of the only people who is patient with Francis until he just can’t be anymore, like complete garbage.
Ross has tried to be good to him (and frankly, so have Verity and Elizabeth, even Demelza), but Francis isn’t interested in anyone but himself. I’d feel bad for the guy if he wasn’t so goddamn selfish and blind to everything that’s right in front of him. His desire to be seen as a better man is thwarted by the fact that he can’t stop being jealous of the man he’s always compared to, Ross, and that seems to firmly set in place the biggest of mental blocks. Francis doesn’t have to be Ross to be a good man, and he can’t see that. Francis is his own worst enemy.
Everyone in Francis’ life is fed up with him at this point, as they should be, and it actually gave me such relief to see Ross actively trying to avoid letting Francis stick his nose into seeing anything to do with Carnmore in this episode. TOO BAD IT DOESN’T WORK. TOO BAD FRANCIS’ ONLY FRIEND IS A GUY WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE HIS FRIEND AT ALL.
Leah: George is the only person who gives him any attention that doesn’t involve regular lecturing or serves as a reminder of the Poldark he can’t be, and Francis just laps it up, desperate for someone to care about him. It’s SO SAD and what’s worse is knowing it’s going to be used to hurt Ross. George doesn’t care about Francis, he just wants to bring Ross down. FRANCIS, SERIOUSLY, IF YOU CAN’T SEE THAT YOU’RE BEING MANIPULATED, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU.
Erika: Francis doesn’t see it, of course, because he’s both a wiener and an idiot. He also may be a tad bit vulnerable to emotional turmoil, seeing as his sister has just turned her back on him to be with Blamey. Oh, and he’s been drinking. It all just adds up to a perfectly rational mind.
Leah: He just starts giving George the names of people who are with Ross on Carnmore. HE GIVES HIM A WHOLE BUNCH. MAYBE EVEN ALL OF THEM. I take back all my defences of him from earlier. Now I’m just furious.
Erika: Even more infuriating is that Ross seems to have taken it upon himself to help protect Mark, who’s on the run from killing Keren,
Leah: He tries to advise Dwight to get the hell out of dodge for a bit so Mark doesn’t come looking for and bear hug him to death, too, but Dwight’s like, “Nah, bro, I gotta take what’s coming to me.”
I really hope he doesn’t die.
Ross tells him if he wants to stay, his blood is on his own head and Dwight just says, “Keren’s is there already.”
Everyone is so goddamn sad!
Erika: Dwight is too handsome to die, it just wouldn’t be right. Although, I do think he kind of welcomes the punishment. He claims that he wants to stay because he can’t leave the people of Cornwall when they’ve been so good to him, but I’m also pretty sure that a small part of him does want Mark to find him. We saw him knocking on Mark and Keren’s door earlier because he’d already wanted to confess everything but alas and alack, a dead Keren is all he found. Sad trombone.
Leah: Well, this whole situation definitely puts Ross in a weird predicament. He and Mark have been friends for a long time, and Ross plots with Demelza for a way to send Mark off onto the ocean with their boat and supplies. At first, it doesn’t seem like Demelza will approve, as she tells Ross it isn’t lawful, but then she says some might say its a justice in itself. We’re reminded all over again of what brought these two together, the similar sense of justice they share. Even from such different backgrounds, they both understand that the law isn’t always the same as justice and that people are often treated unfairly. Beyond that, they’re both willing to go beyond the law for someone they care about.
Mark killed his wife in a fit of anger and no matter what she did, no matter how awful she was to him, Keren didn’t deserve to die. He shouldn’t get away with the crime, but Ross and Demelza both know he’ll hang for it and neither of them see the sense in wasting another life.
Erika: Things get a little more complicated when soldiers show up looking for Mark at Nampara. There’s a line here that I think is so brilliant, too, Ross tells Demelza to go change when he sees the soldiers coming so she can “prepare to be the lady” and there’s every chance that this line could be misinterpreted but I love it. He’s not telling Demelza to “be the lady” because most of the time, she’s less than that. They’re both fully aware that they have to play a part here, the parts of a married couple of a higher class that wouldn’t dream of hiding a wanted murderer on their own property.
This is basically proven when they’re watching the soldiers leave later, and Demelza tells Ross that he was “so good” and “no one would have guessed you knew a thing.”
I have to say, though, that when speaking to Captain McNeil, a fellow soldier Ross had once marched with, the primary indication that Ross is covering anything up is really in how friendly he’s being, which I think is hysterical. He’s so accommodating, much more so than we ever see him with people who aren’t part of his family in his own home, and I would be inclined to suspect that McNeil probably finds that a little suspicious, if he knows Ross at all.
So in fact, while Ross is playing the part of the gentleman, he’s kind of doing himself a disservice because in some ways, that’s just not who he is or even wants to be.
Leah: Ross seems aware of this, telling Demelza that McNeil is much smarter than he looks–
Erika: Ross, you dick.
Leah: –and they shouldn’t underestimate him, but that isn’t going to stop Ross from getting the boat ready for Mark to make a getaway. While I understand what he wants to do and that he has Demelza’s approval, it still stresses me out. He’s breaking SO MANY RULES. He’s going to get in so much trouble.
When Demelza and Ross head back into the house, Demelza hands him a letter from Elizabeth that mentions Verity’s elopement.
Erika: It starts with “as you know,” which Ross can’t get over because he can’t understand why Elizabeth and Francis would assume that he’d known. It’s all very yiiiiiiikes because Demelza is like, “UHHHH, MAYBE EVERYONE IN TOWN ALREADY KNOWS ABOUT IT. YOU KNOW THAT GOSSIP MILL HAHA WORD TRAVELS SO FAST, DOESN’T IT? LMFAO!”
Ross says that before he goes to help his homicidal friend, he has to go to Trenwith to clear shit up, and I’m like LAWWWWWD because there’s no way this ends well but hell, Ross asks Demelza if she feels comfortable enough staying home alone with the dog to protect her and gives her the cutest little smirk on his way out.
FOR ABOUT THREE SECONDS, I FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY AS LONG AS THESE TWO ARE OKAY BUT THEN I REMEMBER THAT DEMELZA HAS BEEN LYING TO HIM FOR THE PAST FEW EPISODES AND LIFE WILL NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN.
Leah: Ross shows up at Trenwith, and I laugh so hard at Francis and his righteous indignation at the sight of Ross. There’s something about his face and the way he says, “Clearly it was you” that just kills me, and I can’t stop laughing.
Erika: Probably because Francis is acting like SUCH A DOUCHENOZZLE that it’s kind of just shtick by now.
Leah: He’s just SO WRONG, and I know this has to end badly but GOD, FRANCIS, YOU’RE SUCH A TOOL SOMETIMES.
In fact, proven statistics show that he’s a tool 97% of the time. It’s gone down by 1% since the last time I measured.
For his part, Ross is like, “LOL NO WAY, MAN, IT WASN’T ME.” It doesn’t matter what he says, though, Francis doesn’t believe a word of it and it’s clear that what George said to him earlier has stuck. Of course, he implicates Demelza, too, so we all know where this is going.
Erika: Ross is irritated that Francis is being such an idiot, but he was willing to just walk away UNTIL FRANCIS DISSED HIS WIFE. I love that this is what gets him, not the accusation or that Francis is being so utterly dim and rude to Ross, it’s the disparaging things Francis says about Demelza that gets Ross really upset.
This is intercut with Dwight showing up at Nampara because HE’S LONELY AND WANTS ROSS TO MAKE THINGS BETTER, and Demelza is just like, “HELL NO, BRUH, WHY WOULD YOU COME HERE?????” Is it even a surprise that Mark shows up with his brother, though, because I’m not surprised at all.
Leah: Meanwhile, with Francis obsessed with the idea that Ross is ruining his life and Ross focused on the fact that Francis is being a jerk about Demelza, Elizabeth is the only sane one left and is forced to break up a fight between the five-year-olds before they really come to blows.
Erika: And Demelza actively steps between Dwight and Mark, THIS GUY WHO ACCIDENTALLY KILLED HIS WIFE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T KNOW HIS OWN STRENGTH, in an effort to keep them from killing each other.
Leah: There’s so much I love about Demelza and a lot of it is captured in the moment Mark makes a move toward Dwight. Without a second of hesitation, she steps in front of Mark with complete disregard of her own safety because she knows there are soldiers waiting to pounce at any sign of trouble. She’s not scared of Mark, she’s scared of the situation getting out of hand, and she puts herself in the potential line of fire without a second thought.
AWESOME LADIES BREAKING UP FIGHTS ALL OVER THIS EPISODE SO LET’S JUST SAY IT AGAIN: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WOMEN IN THIS FAMILY? THE MEN.
Erika: Then we go straight into the escape scene, and it seriously just threatens to give me hives because I’m 100% convinced while watching that somebody is going to die and none of this will be worth it.
Leah: Mark decides before getting on the boat that this is a good time to tell Ross that there’s copper in the Wheal Grace mine, the one belonging to his father that’s pretty much been abandoned for years. GOOD TIMING, MARK. GOOD TIMING.
ALSO, THEY KILL A SOLDIER. WITH A GUN. That’s definitely not going to draw all the others. That’s definitely not going to get Ross in trouble at all, especially not when he starts punching them. The fact that he escapes at all is impressive, but I somehow doubt they’re going to believe he had nothing to do with this when two soldiers definitely saw him.
I guess one of them is dead. The other one got punched into the water so maybe he drowned.
Either way, the soldiers come straight to Ross’ house since it was his boat Mark took, but Ross does a pretty good job of looking like he just rolled out of bed.
Erika: Quick side note before we die of how good Aidan looks in candelight, the edit from the scene on the beach to the scene at Nampara is incredible because it shows Ross booking it around a rock and seamlessly transitions to him running through his own door. INCREDIBLE, I’m nerding out over how this particular episode is actually stylistically different from most of what we’ve seen of the show so far. There’s a lot of quick editing and intercutting between two entirely different scenes, and I absolutely love it because it gives the whole thing such an intense vibe. I’ve seen each episode a few times now for recapping purposes and despite knowing exactly what happens in this one, it still puts me on the edge of my seat.
But anyway, I know what y’all are here for. Candelight. Mind the chest hair.
Leah: I know everyone loves the scything scene, but this is my favourite. He looks so good in this candlelight that I think a part of my soul just died.
Erika: I’m pretty sure there’s something going on with words here, and Ross does a hair tousle to make his curls look messy like he just got out of bed so he can go hollah at Cap McNeil, but I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Leah: Well, the Captain is like, “Ross, I know you did something bad, so I’m just going to tell you not to do that again and be on my way. P.S. Your hand is all scraped up, ya dumb idiot, peace out.”
HOW DOES HE GET AWAY WITH THIS SHIT? Does he just have a lot of really good friends or what? If I did that I’d get arrested so fast.
Erika: There’s still like, ten minutes of the episode left and only one person (plus an extra) has died so far. Plus, Ross hasn’t been arrested for aiding and abetting a criminal so I think it’s pretty clear that horrible, horrible things are going to be packed into the last bits of this episode. Or just saved for the last.
Leah: Nope, looks like it’s going to get packed in because Ross gets called to an emergency meeting, which can’t be a good thing. At the same time, Demelza decides goes to Trenwith to speak with Francis now that she’s discovered that he and Ross have had what’s probably their last falling out because really, how many can these two keep having?
Erika: This is another example of the intercutting I was talking about earlier. We actually see the results of Ross and Demelza’s respective meetings before we learn what even occurred in them, though it’s fairly obvious that neither went well.
Leah: She’s gone to try and defend Ross, and we see that Francis is a little asshole to her. She admits to Francis and then Ross what she’s done and everything is going to go bad here. Everything. Because Francis was so angry over Ross getting Verity and Blamey together, he gave the names to George Warleggan, which means the smelting company is falling apart and all the shareholders have to bow out because all their money is gone.
Erika: This stresses me out so much, I AM QUITE FLUSHED WITH FRUSTRATION. Ross knew at the beginning of the episode when Tresidder pulled out of the company that it could very well start a domino effect of sorts. Nearly all the shareholders involved with the copper company bank with the Warleggans and while Carnmore was founded essentially on the idea on SCREWING THE GODDAMN WARLEGGANS OVER in an effort to help make things fairer for the folk who don’t stand a chance of doing that on their own, Ross is beginning to realize that the Warleggans are far too corrupt to really be beaten.
Ross tries to climb the ladder to success by being honest, we’ve known this from the start. Even from that first meeting with his intended shareholders, he was upfront with every single one of them. Recall his words, Ross said, “Gentlemen, I’ll be straight with you. The rewards could be considerable, so are the risks.” This was during Ross’ proposal of reopening the mine, after the Warleggans had shut down another whose owner ended his own life because with his mine gone, he’d been left with nothing.
That the Warleggans are blackmailing Ross out of his shareholders now speaks to how desperate they really are to strip Ross of the control he was so close to really having. The Warleggans hate the idea of anyone threatening their power, all the more so because two generations ago, they’d been a family of blacksmiths. It can take ages to get to success but just a blink of an eyes to lose it, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here. We’re seeing Ross and his fellow shareholders lose what they’ve worked so hard for because the Warleggans don’t like competition. Moreover, they don’t like a man who isn’t willing to bend over and take it from them. They don’t like Ross Poldark.
By the end of the shareholders’ meeting, Ross is left only with the respect of the men who’ve had their futures taken from them because they had the gall to take a risk on a man with honor. I JUST REALLY HATE WHEN THINGS GO SO HORRIBLY FOR GOOD PEOPLE. GODDAMN THIS SHOW FOR NOT BEING ALL DISNEY AND RAINBOWS AND SHIT AND GODDAMN THE WARLEGGANS FOR BEING SUCH DICKWADS.
To make matters worse in Ross’ eyes, all of this has happened because his sweet, beautiful, lovely wife was trying to do what she thought was right. It’s that big picture Demelza can’t quite see because as we know, she believes in love bringing peace more than anything else. Even so, her belief in love and happiness led to her lying to her husband.
Leah: It’s not just because she went behind his back that Ross is upset, it’s the fact that the company is done as a result. People are going to go bankrupt or even be sentenced to prison as a result. She didn’t intend anything like this, of course, but it’s such a huge betrayal and a huge blow to their marriage. She understands it all in a moment, what she’s done, and she’s terrified to realize she’s lost his trust. He’s not about to leave her, he says he’ll try to forgive her, but when she tells him she’ll never be happy until the rift in the family is healed, he makes it clear that he doesn’t see it happening.“I’m afraid you’ll be unhappy for a very long time.”
Erika: It’s such an excellent scene between them, as painful as it is to watch Ross realize the truth behind everything that’s happened. He’s been slowly building this house of cards, and it’s all come tumbling down around him because his wife is only doing exactly what he would himself, which is the right thing. I think what makes this harder to watch is that he doesn’t yell, he doesn’t even look particularly ragey, he just looks tired.
All Ross has wanted to do in the past seven episodes is provide, not just for his family but everyone else’s families who don’t share in the same luxuries and opportunities that his does. I don’t blame Demelza for wanting to see Verity happy, there’s no shame in that, but she failed to see the scope of the situation. There’s something worse about Ross looking defeated than there is about him being angry, and I’d rather watch him act a fool like he did at the Warleggans’ ball than watch him looking like he’s about to give up on life.
Leah: THIS HAS ALL BEEN VERY CHEERFUL. I’M SUPER EXCITED TO SEE WHAT THE FINALE BRINGS US.
Erika: Ugh, I’m super glad Masterpiece has decided to grace us with double the pain tonight. Make sure you read on for our recap of Episode 8, otherwise known as our destruction.
Poldark airs tonight on Masterpiece PBS at 9ET.
Photo Credit: Tumblr, BBC One
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