Poldark: A fan’s review by Sarah-Vita Younan
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! Sarah-Vita Younan (one of our lucky readers chosen to write a fan review of the series alongside Celia Fox) is back again to share her thoughts on Sunday night’s episode. Take a look at Sarah’s thoughts below:
* Warning: spoilers. Do not read if you have not seen Poldark series 2 episode 9 *
If you thought this week’s Poldark was going to start off on an even remotely happy note, you were wrong. Though Demelza’s beautiful signing of “When the Tide Rushes In,” made me happy, the opening scene was not.
Ross, sporting a black eye from Demelza’s recent wallop, has closed Wheal Grace and is selling the mining equipment.
At home, Demelza does not wish to do anything other than stay in bed or play with Jeremy. She’s clearly still angry, and rightly so.
On his way home, Ross runs into George. He makes a rather haughty remark about offering commiserations for Ross’s recent losses, and offers news of his and Elizabeth’s engagement (Oh, Ross already knows quite a bit about that, George…) “So in the grand scheme of things, you appear to be in disarray, and I appear to have won.”
“As you say, George,” Ross gets closer. “You appear to have won.” And he rides off. I was quite surprised, yet proud, that Ross didn’t pound him right there!
Reaching home, Ross sees already what lack of Demelza’s presence causes in the household. Prudie’s cooking is inedible, chores have already begun piling up, and the house is not clean. He goes upstairs to see Demelza and is met with the expected coldness. She thinks he will soon be leaving for Trenwith. She also suspects Elizabeth’s letter was just a ruse to get Ross to declare his hand.
“I realize that I betrayed your trust,” he begins.
“Forfiet.” She cuts him off.
“And that your pride is wounded…” Oh Ross, you’re making it worse.
“Pride?” she asks. “My pride? And to think I did always look up to you. To think I did always look up to you. Respect you, revere you as my master long before you were my husband. For it did seem to me, unschooled as I was, that you were not like other men. You had a kind of nobility, not of birth but of character. And I was so proud to think that such a man had married me. So now, to discover that you are so uch less than other men, and fallen so low because so far. Tis not my pride that is wounded, Ross. Tis my pride in you.”
Whoa… He leaves speechless.
While Demelza expects him to go to Trenwith, so do Aunt Agatha and Elizabeth! Aunt Agatha pretty much encourages the thought, as if it’s Ross’s duty, and that they should be patient and he will return. And audiences everywhere facepalm…
Elizabeth takes this so seriously that she even resorts to writing to George that they postpone the wedding! Of course, he rides over. Of course, he presses her further for an officially date. Of course, she agrees. A month from the day.
Later that day, Demelza’s mood has not changed. She is just as cold to Ross as she sits at the table with Jeremy.
“Demelza, we cannot go on like this. If you could at least see this from my perspective…”
“Soon you’ll be asking me to see it from Elizabeth’s.”
“She can hardly wait to have you installed in her house. Or in her bed.”
“Demelza.” Now he’s getting annoyed.
“Indeed, I do suspicion that’s exactly what her letter says.”
When Ross asks for the letter, she tells him it’s in the library. On his pillow. He nods and walks away, finding a cot set up by the fire in his library. Well, if you weren’t in the doghouse before, you are now, Ross!
Turns out it’s not from Elizabeth, but Richard Tonkin, who has been released from prison. But Demelza does not believe it. Again, Ross tries to apologize, but he’s not very good at that, is he?
He tells her that he would never do anything to deliberately hurt her, and that felt that he had no control over himself at the time. This might sound like it’s going somewhere, but then he messes up again. “Perhaps I would have hoped for some understanding, knowing you as I do.” Oh, you put your foot in your mouth there, Sir.
“Knowing me to be kind and simple, and giving?” She stands up and starts yelling. “Would you like me to throw myself off Hendrawna Cliff, so that you might bury me at your convenience, and marry again at your leisure?”
“I don’t blame you for your anger, but how does it serve us now?”
Aaaaaand, facepalm again! Just stop talking, Ross!
“How does this serve us?” she tells and throws the cookery off the table.
The first night Ross sleeps in the library, I have to point out the epic editing in this scene! It fades from Elizabeth alone in bed at Trenwith, thinking about Ross, who is asleep alone. Then from Ross, it fades to Demelza, who is also alone in their bedroom. Just the almost ghostly imagery… Absolutely beautiful!
The next day, Ross leaves for Truro. As he is leaving, a servant comes to ask if the Poldarks will attend Sir Hugh’s party. Demelza sends word that she alone will attend. She’s got something up her sleeve, and Prudie makes it plain to her that she knows it.
“I know what yee be thinkin’. What’s good for the gander. I don’t blame yee, maid, but no good will come of it.” Demelza ignores her and goes anyway. She goes to the Bodrugan ball, obviously enticing the eye of Sir Hugh and Captain McNeil, but also doing little to defuse their interest.
While Demelza dances away, Ross is true to his word, in Truro with Richard Tonkin, who I was so happy to see released from prison! Ross worries he is about to ask him for a loan or investment, but instead, he offers Ross a job in a boating business with himself and some friends.
That night, at the ball, Demelza seems to further entice Captain McNeil’s attention. First, by agreeing that they call him by his Christian name: Malcolm, and he to call her by hers. He kisses her, and she offers him the name of her room, the Red Room, that he may visit her later. He departs for now, eager for the night to go on.
He does come, and is moving rather quickly… he’s handsy too. Demelza grows uncomfortable just as quick. She tries to talk to him over his kisses, and finally pulls away from his arms. She tells him of her husband’s betrayal, and that she intended to do the same to him. Malcom gets a little too excited at this… To which she stops him.
“I begin to realize something about myself… Call it weakness if you will. But I cannot give myself to any man. Except my husband. I am bound to him.”
He cuts her off. “It does you credit to be so delicate,” to which she smiles and thinks he is beginning to understand. “But think for a moment of me. Whose been looking forward to this encounter as a mortal’s taste of heaven. Your duty now is not to your husband, but to me.”
He grabs her and kisses her, holding her tightly. She tries to push him away and tells him to stop several times. She finally gets enough strength to shove him off her, and he staggers back.
“I like a woman who knows her own mind,” he says. “I thought you were such a one. My mistake.” He leaves.
She sits herself on the bed and cries. “Ross, I hate you. I hate you.” She later leaves the Bodrugan house, via the window.
When Ross returns home the next morning, Demelza is no where to be found. He sets out looking for her, and comes across her walking on Hendrawna Beach. She’s holding her shoes in her hand, her dress is soaked, her hair is askew, and her makeup is smudged from crying.
She immediately asks him if he had a pleasant time at Trenwith, and he refutes that he was in Truro with Tonkin like he said. “Whatever you say, Ross. Go and live with her if you wish,” she walks on.
“Demelza!” he walks ahead and grabs her arm. “I cannot blame you for your anger,” he says in her face. “But if you could bide awhile… Have a little patience. This thing will play itself out. Sooner or later.” Yeah, like I said earlier, just don’t talk, Ross.
“So you just expect me to twiddle my thumbs and wait, until you decide whether or not you want me?”
“It’s not a question of wanting you! It’s a question of not wanting her!” Okay, well I’m glad he finally said it out-loud! Because we knew this from episode 1!
“Do you not want her?”
“No!” he says a little to quickly. She doesn’t believe him. “I don’t know…” he admits.
“I’m not content to be second best,” she begins to walk away again.
“Why am I here, Demelza?” he calls to her, and runs again. “Why do you suppose I’m still here?!” Oh Ross, you foolish idiot. You are trying.
“I don’t know why you’re still here, Ross!” she yells in his face. “Because Elizabeth can’t make up her mind?”
“Because Elizabeth does not want you? Because she knows George is the better bet?” for the third and final time, she walks away.
He continues to call after her, trying to make her happy that he can reopen the mine, but she just walks. Leaving him there.
Now, I have to point out, this scene was another favorite in the book, and when behind the scenes images were released early this year, I was so excited. It did not disappoint! Ross has some… quite frankly, terrible lines, which are no one’s fault. We all know he’s not good with women, and has trouble speaking his mind and admitting his fault. But Aidan did this tremendously! The looks of confusion and depression on his face speak volumes. You can see Ross is truly hurting and wants to make things right. And Eleanor… Killer as always! You really get the feel of a scorned woman, it was amazing!
At Trenwith, Elizabeth is fed up with Ross not coming to see her. And I, honestly, am fed up with her waiting for him. I love Heida Reed, and her portrayal is magnificent, and Elizabeth is a character I really love, but why does she think after one night together, he’s going to uproot his life, leave his wife and son, and live with her? And Aunt Agatha isn’t helping matters!
“How can he treat me so? How can he leave things so up in the air? Once before, I waited for him to come and see me, and when he did not…”
“You married Francis,” Aunt Agatha adds.
“He’s deserted me. He tried to stop this marriage, but offered nothing in return. He has taken what was not rightfully his, and walked away from the consequences. Why did he have to come? I hate him for it. He’s left me with only one possible choice.”
She marries George.
And here, we see Elizabeth truly still loves Ross. Though honestly, I find it selfish that she cares to greatly for herself. She does not seem to think at all that Ross has been dealing with his own consequences. Does she not expect his wife to hate him right now? I think if Ross had never come to Trenwith that night at all, she would still be upset.
But Heida Reed’s performance… My goodness, she is amazing! I was blown away! She is one of the best!
Soon after, at Wheal Grace, the tin load has finally broken into a larger one, worth huge sums of money. Ross rides home fast to tell Demelza, eager to share the news with her. At her silence, he tries to explain to her that this could mean a final financial breakthrough for them.
“I’m very glad for you, Ross.”
“For us!” He wishes for her to be happy.
“After so long, the very thing we hoped for. And now it’s here.”
He takes her hand. “Has it come too late?” She doesn’t answer. I swear, he looks like he’s going to cry. Does she truly hate him?
Finally, as if that wasn’t an ending in itself, Mr. and Mrs. Warleggan return to Trenwith. It will be a Warleggan house now. I honestly can’t tell if George is doing this for Elizabeth’s benefit or Ross’s downfall. Possibly both?
This episode… Truthfully, I have rewatched it 4 times. By far, a stand-out so far in the series! I simply cannot believe that this Sunday will be the last of Series 2… Where have these 10 weeks gone to? I absolutely do not want this series to end, and I cannot wait for Series 3! Come on Sunday, but maybe not too quick…
Poldark continues on Sunday nights on BBC1 at 9pm