It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Sunday evening must be in want of a period drama

Poldark Four: Episode Three

Poldark Four: Episode Three


A good episode which again sets up much for next week, but it didn’t quite reach the dizzy heights of brilliance seen in the last episode and was occasionally over laboured.

Letters from October, November, January and March indicate that Ross is away for a jolly long time – no emails or phone calls here to warm the heart and cheer the soul. Ross is supporting the anti-slavery debate with his excellent speech-making ‘there is suffering and injustice closer to home which also requires our attention… children employed in the mills of the north are dying of overwork… where is our compassion for these slaves.’

Speaking of overwork, Demelza is in charge of everything at home – ploughing the long field, taking in the apples, seeing to Ross’s farm, his household, raising the children, matchmaking her brother, and overseeing the mine. Although, one could be forgiven for thinking that other than the addition of the mine, this workload has altered little due to Ross’s absence.

Verity visits Elizabeth, ‘my dear this was your home before it was ours, you must visit whenever you choose, mustn’t she George’…. ‘No, no she must not’ (I paraphrase). During Verity’s second visit, Elizabeth acknowledges her interference in Verity and Morwenna’s respective marriages. ‘How different might so many lives have been without such an interference’ – they would have been pretty dull though, let’s be honest. Ross and Elizabeth would have been hopeless together. Verity and Caroline got their men in the end. The only sufferer from this interference is the lovely, sweet-natured Morwenna, who deserves someone infinitely better than the Rev. Osborne Whitworth.

Caroline does a cracking job of keeping calm and carrying on while heavily pregnant and is clearly smitten with her daughter, Miss Sarah Caroline Enys. Horrace, Dr Enys and the horses are being horribly neglected. I’m not sure if you noticed (I jest, you’d struggle to miss it) later on in the episode, Dr Enys seems rather concerned about his offspring. Caroline… ‘I hope she won’t grow up to be a spoiled brat’ …. Dwight ‘no’ (‘as in no not spoiled or no, she won’t grow up?’, the nation cries).

London is most sophisticated don’t you know: there are performers, lights, wine and harlots. Ross drinks with his cousin’s son but declines the services of the harlots while Demelza lies awake fretting about the mine in Cornwall. Geoffrey Charles is another case of overdoing it in this episode – the actor has changed (I’m still team Harry Marcus at the moment) and there is a nice little joke with his Aunt where he beseaches her ‘please, don’t tell me how much I’ve grown.’  He also drinks wine in almost every scene to prove how old he now is (we get it, he’s grown up).

Lady Whitworth has a cameo role sweeping in, being mean, critical and barking at Morwenna for about 30 seconds before sweeping out. It is this kind of thing that makes me thing that this episode is a platform for stories to develop over the course of the series.

Osborne is looking for more money, bemoaning his wife’s refusal to give him his conjugal rights and visiting his sister-in-law, alone, to pick up some of his books that she ‘inadvertently carried away’. They do still struggle to make ends meet, if only there was something she could do to augment their meagre income, something she could turn her hand, or perhaps foot, to. Rev. Whitworth also discovers that Nat Pearce has embezzled money and puts this fact into the hands of the Warleggans which sets them up to act against Pascoe in the future.

Monk Adderley is marvellously cold, calculating and confident. He proves to be an excellent advisor to George in the matter of getting a borough. I imagined Monk to be more effeminate, more dandy and more slick but he certainly seems dangerous.

And so, to George. I would like to mount a defence of George, obviously he’s horrid and mean and does terrible things but his ambition and desire to rise through the ranks are seemingly scorned here – portrayed as over-weaning, over-ambitious and greedy just because he wishes to have his seat in parliament or buy a borough. Is it not fair to want to succeed and want one’s wife to be ‘Lady Warleggan’? I would argue that his ambition is sound, his methods, clearly, are not. He also makes Elizabeth smile her beautiful smile far more often than Francis seemed to in the earlier series.

Ross is back but they don’t like his interference at the mine (has Zacky forgotten who fought for his son and comforted him as he swung?) See how soft and fat Ross has become…except we don’t see, we see an almost naked Dwight coming out of the waves on Holywell Beach this time, the writer has a great sense of humour. The friendships with those at the mine are only restored when the Widow Crocker is discovered not to be a widow and they have to fight ‘they there miners’ from Illogan due to Tholly’s cavorting. Tholly’s rum-drinking and fornicating with the Widow Crocker becomes somewhat irritating, he’s like an older, Cornish-version of Captain Jack Sparrow, with all the rum but none of the charm.

There is a glorious party at Trenwith, it looks fun. Ross, fool that he is, decides to swing by on a whim. Thankfully, it’s Elizabeth and not George that he runs into. He wouldn’t want to be defenestrated, would he?

Demelza and Sam both blatantly contrive to help Drake ‘choose another’ in Rosina. He resists, but she is a good young woman and Morwenna ‘belong to Whitworth, what’s done cannot be undone.’ Is there the potential for romance?

Ross and Demelza are like strangers – ‘would we ever laugh again, like we used to’, ‘I don’t know Ross, will we?’ The shadows of Hugh and Elizabeth still hanging over them,  ‘I cannot compete with a ghost’… ‘no more can I compete with an ideal’ but Ross apologises, gives her some rather lovely earrings and declares that she deserves better than his doubts and mistrust.

All this sets up lots of questions for the next episode: Will Drake succumb to Rosina’s charms? Will Ross and Demelza build on their reconciliation? Will George oust an MP and return to Westminster? Will Osborne or his horrendous mother ever say anything nice to Morwenna? And what is wrong with little Sarah Enys?

Next episode, 9pm, BBC1, on 1st July.