Poldark: A fan’s review by Celia Fox
Well it was all going on in Sunday night’s penultimate episode: it went a bit Fifty Shades with Demelza staying in the red room and there were lots of conflicts as expected after Ross and Elizabeth’s night together! Celia Fox (one of our lucky readers chosen to write a fan review of the series alongside Sarah-Vita Younan) is back again to share her thoughts on Sunday night’s episode. Take a look at Celia’s thoughts below:
* Warning: spoilers. Do not read if you have not seen Poldark series 2 episode 9 *
‘We Reap What We Sow’… Repercussions and Broken Hearts!
After the tensions and charged emotions of last week it was with some trepidation that I waited for this week’s penultimate episode to unfold…
A breath-taking sunrise sets the scene and reminds us of past glorious Cornish skies and happier times and we hear the lovely voice of Demelza, Eleanor Tomlinson as she sings to little Jeremy, the adorable Edison Spinola-Scott as he lies in what was once the marital bed. It is beautiful, poignant and almost unbearably sad.
Ross, Aidan Turner staring through those dark expressive eyes, sits and broods at Wheal Grace Mine as shafts of sunlight filter through wooden slats piercing the darkness and creating an angelic halo of light around him- but Ross is a fallen angel and for Wheal Grace there is no brightness, no hope and as the trap door to the mine shaft slams shut it seems final. We wonder if it will be the end for Ross and Demelza too.
Riding home to Nampara Ross encounters George, Jack Farthing crowing, self-assured and surely taking risks in riling Ross, but this is a different Ross- dispirited and inwardly struggling with his emotional demons, as well he might! George rides away- triumphant! Ross seems defeated.
Sporting a black eye from Demelza’s well-aimed fury, Ross’s cowed and hesitant body language, tentatively pushing open the bedroom door leads us to suspect that he is a little contrite as he faces Demelza, sitting regally and apparently icily calm in their lonely bed. He mutters something about selling the head gear from the now defunct Wheal Grace Mine but normality is gone and Demelza is in control now- surprised that Ross hasn’t left to move into Trenwith, suggesting Elizabeth, Heida Reed planned it all and Ross was totally complicit in giving her what she wanted.
We all know what she must be feeling as she looks at this man to whom she gave her heart, her love and her loyalty. His betrayal must be hard to bear- it is for us viewers too! Ross looks uncomfortable realising from her harsh words that her trust is lost- forfeit! She almost spits her words at him but honestly can we blame her and are we all not on her side?
Hopefully Ross is now beginning to realise-‘we reap what we sow’! He’s not a quick learner in the relationships game is he? Jeffrey Clymer told him to grovel to save his neck when he was on trial, but he could not- now if there ever was a time to grovel, to get down on his knees and beg forgiveness this would have been it!
At Trenwith Elizabeth waits and hopes but tries to hide it… oh don’t be coy! Aunt Agatha, Caroline Blakiston knows! Of course she does- nothing gets past her! She is convinced Ross will return and it’s a shame for the poor little scullery maid, but after all isn’t Trenwith where Ross should be with Elizabeth by his side? No, Aunt Agatha it isn’t! To Agatha natural order has been re-established but Ross does not come to Trenwith. Of course he doesn’t- he doesn’t seem to have a clue what to do now! Poor deluded George, is oozing with smug satisfaction and thinking he has at last dealt a serious blow to Ross by being about to marry Elizabeth and having what Ross has always coveted and will never have. (We won’t even go there!)
However, he finds his plan thwarted for he receives a letter from Elizabeth to beg a postponement of the wedding. He rides to Trenwith and he knows somehow Ross is behind this but not exactly how- pray he never finds out! Elizabeth is pushed into setting a new date but still waits and hopes. She thought she could control Ross and keep him by her side (yeah-good luck with that!) so when a visitor arrives she believes it is Ross but… it is Verity, Ruby Bentall very pregnant, all fuss and fluster rushing to her sister-in-law’s side. Elizabeth, thinking Verity might know the truth and realising at last that Ross isn’t coming for her falls to the floor in a faint! (I hope it is only shock- how long has it been since Ross’s night time visit?) Verity reminds her later as she languishes in bed that Francis would understand if she marries George (are you sure about that? ‘Come back from the grave and haunt her’ springs to mind) and that Ross is not and can never be hers… so sister- Leave him alone! Oh Verity- if only you knew!
Demelza believes that she has lost Ross to Elizabeth’s charms and she isn’t going to make this easy for him- and he deserves everything she throws at him- literally as the plates and food are swept from the table! Even Jud, Phil Davies and Prudie, Beatie Edney recognize that Ross is still behaving like a wazzock! Has he actually said ‘Sorry’ yet? Ross plans to go to see Mr Tonkin, Rory Wilton in Truro but of course Demelza thinks for ‘Truro’ read ‘Trenwith’! Despite Prudie’s wise words about not behaving like Ross, Demelza goes to the Bodrugan’s Ball.
She dresses herself up in a scarlet silk gown with her hair curled and coiffed and little patches on her face like the primped and overdone ladies of society- normal for the time, but somehow it sits uncomfortably and seems brittle on the naturally lovely Demelza.
It hurts to see her like this. She allows Captain Mcneill, Henry Garrett to kiss her but it is obvious she finds his kiss less pleasurable than those she once shared with Ross. Captain Mcneill clearly expects more and Demelza isn’t thinking straight or she would refuse his advances- Oh Demelza two wrongs don’t make a right! She recognises the confused emotions that have led her to this position and in so doing draws back from the brink of disaster. Captain- call me Malcolm- Mcneill is somewhat frustrated at this turn of events and abruptly leaves. (Close the door on the way out… and I hope he takes the high road all the way back to bonny Scotland!)
Tankard, the wonderfully creepy Sebastian Armesto who has been encouraged by George to try and seduce Demelza in order to hurt Ross (does this man’s dastardliness never end?) meets sleazy Hugh Bodrugan, Patrick Ryecart tiptoeing up to Demelza’s room with seduction on his mind. They argue and cannot decide who she would prefer- in your dreams boys! It should have been more of a comedy scene as they toss a coin to see who enters her room for a night of passion but somehow it just feels disturbing. Flee Demelza! As Tankard bursts into her room we see that a distressed and unhappy Demelza has indeed flown like a frightened bird out straight out of the window.
Meanwhile Ross and Mr Tonkin meet. How lovely to see a jolly friendly face in amongst all the furrowed brows this week! It seems that Ross gave money to Mr Blewitt, to help him after the demise of the Carnmore Copper Company and wonder of wonders, Mr Tonkin, not long out of debtors’ prison, and now a business partner of a successful Mr Blewitt (How quickly fortunes can change, eh?) wishes to offer Ross some recompense for previous help given. Hallelujah! A little ray of light shines in dark and troubled Poldark world!
Dropping into the tavern instead of going home like many a recalcitrant husband who cannot face his wronged wife (What is wrong with you Ross?) Ross meets the ever loyal Zacky Martin, Tristan Sturrock who makes it clear that if Wheal Grace could be re-opened they would all return to work and with Ted’s ghostly blessing! These determined Cornish miners know the risks but need the work. It’s a tough old world in Poldark land!
Returning to Nampara Ross finds a desolate Demelza wandering along the beach, the saltly waves soaking into and ruining that scarlet dress, not caring, despairing with her face streaked with tears. (Powerful acting from this talented young actress who never fails to deliver) As she believes that Ross has been enjoying the delights of lying in Elizabeth’s arms and bed- again, Ross’s attempts to explain and share the good news are lost in this continued wreckage of what once was love. He cannot find the words to even begin to build bridges and she is far from ready to listen. He tells her he doesn’t want Elizabeth. It is no comfort.
George and Elizabeth are married in a swirl of ivory silk and white confetti petals. They travel to London, take tea with Caroline, Gabriella Wilde (someone should tell her that Dr Dwight Enys, Luke Norris has decided to join the Navy and go to sea to forget her and she should do something before it is too late!) and although she is as polite as ever she lets us see that she is more than aware of George’s over blown pretensions. The newly-weds generally seem to be having a good time though- well George is pleased anyway as in the bedroom he kisses Elizabeth’s neck (it’s hardly full of passion though) and Elizabeth baring her shoulder for further kisses (Did anyone else shudder? Oh Jack Farthing you are playing this wicked man too well!) lets her robe fall to the floor around her naked feet. Let’s hope she is as pleased with him!
Back at the newly cleared and re-opened Wheal Grace Mine (and we hope under good pit props) the miners discover huge, and by the astonished and slightly bewildered look on Ross’s face I really do mean HUGE, quantities of tin. It seems at last that the Poldark’s could actually have money- and even wealth! Ross is desperate to share the joy of this good news with Demelza as once he would have done without hesitation, but things are different now, the relationship is so damaged and it might be too late to share anything anymore. It should be a time for happiness but it is a moment of tragedy.
Aunt Agatha feels she now will be mistress of Trenwith, thinking the newly married Warleggans will live elsewhere. George, however has decided differently- a final nail in the coffin of Ross’s self-esteem he thinks, they will take up residence at the Poldark family home of Trenwith! The look between Aunt Agatha and George speaks volumes as he steps down from the coach- the battles lines have been drawn- be afraid George Warleggan, be very afraid! Beyond the gates of Trenwith dark eyed Ross watches…
There has been no redemption for Ross and no real resolutions but there must be still be hope mustn’t there? The uncertainty and distress really hurts- How can we wait another week to find out?
This continuing story, though heart-breaking at times, with its complex characters, stunning visuals and superb music make Poldark nothing less than utterly compelling TV drama.
Poldark continues on Sunday nights on BBC1 at 9pm