Poldark: A fan’s review by Celia Fox
What an episode of POLDARK Sunday night brought and it has certainly thrown up a lot of mixed emotions this week about some of the scenes from the eighth episode. 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 8 *
Trial and Tribulations… Desires and Infidelity!
No respite from the breathless pace of the last episode for we whirl through many mixed emotions this week as the life of the Poldarks and Ross, Aidan Turner in particular begins to spiral out of control!
It’s another day in court for Ross and Dwight, Luke Norris on trial for their part in the Smuggling activities. ‘Well Mr Poldark here we are again,’ and so much is said in that one line! Reverend Halse, Robin Ellis (Nice to see you back, Sir!) is disappointed though, for his desire to finally sentence this law-less reprobate is thwarted once again as there are witnesses to swear that Ross wasn’t even on the beach! It seems that Mr Trencrom ‘looks after his own’! Dwight, refusing to be intimidated suggests he lit that bonfire because he was cold! (Well you would wouldn’t you?) They can’t prove anything else so he is fined £50. It isn’t the Reverend Halse’s day is it?
Demelza, Eleanor Tomlinson is surprised that for once Ross wasn’t as pig-headed as usual and accepted help from Trencrom. He promises that he will never be so reckless again. We don’t believe him for Ross is as wild and uncontrollable as the Cornish seas!
Tin is found! Paul Daniel, Ed Browning and Ted Carkeek, Lewis Peek like determined little terriers have kept on digging down in those deeper depths of Wheal Grace and might just have saved the day! Once more Ross is able to back away from the edge of disaster with Captain Henshawe, John Hollingworth prepared to buy enough coal to keep the mine working while they explore further. Hurrah! Can Wheal Grace stay open?
Poor Dwight is clearly not himself and all his letters to Caroline, Gabriella Wilde are returned unopened. How heartrendingly sad it is to see him riding alone into the woods to the places where they once shared romantic trysts. At least for now lonely Dr Enys can continue to care for the all poor folk that Caroline insists are his real love. He delivers a baby boy for Betty Carkeek, Rose Reynolds and Ted is full of joy as the birth of his son and his little face shines with excitement about the prospects of having regular and well paid work at Wheal Grace. Why did I have a sense of foreboding about this- We’ve just got to know Ted… hope we aren’t about to lose him!
George continues to plan and plot and put and moves in for the kill. Beware My Lady Elizabeth, Heida Reed for a knight in shining armour he is not!
He puts his schemes into action and the shock causes Elizabeth’s mother to suffer a stroke, but devious and conniving George even takes these additional tribulations and turns them to his advantage by offering to solve all of Elizabeth’s problems if she agrees to marry him. The confliction and uncertainty on her face was obvious. The look on his face was comfortingly smug. George is within a hair’s breadth of achieving all his desires! It was an uncomfortable scene wonderfully played by these two talented actors.
Indomitable Aunt Agatha, the ever magnificent Caroline Blakiston recognises that what Elizabeth considers as possible salvation might instead be eternal damnation! Her Tarot cards tell her what she already feels- George is the Devil!
A combative George Warleggan, Jack Farthing aware that his plans are drawing to a satisfactory conclusion- he has laid the foundations on which he can achieve all he wants and has every right to expect the result- sends his boxing tutor sprawling on the floor in triumph! We should all feel very scared!
Into this dark and portentous story line we find out that Verity, Ruby Bentall is going to have a little Blamey- now altogether ‘Aahhh!’ Lovely Verity (we need more Verity) comforts Demelza who feels that she is losing Ross who will always prefer his first love- the ever lovely and vunerable Elizabeth. Meanwhile, perpetually jolly Blamey Junior, Alexander Morris is extolling the virtues of life in the Navy- he might just be giving lonely Dr Enys ideas. (Don’t leave us Dr Enys for a life at sea!)
It seems that Captain MacNeill, Henry Garrett is sniffing around Demelza again (He’s trouble, Demelza!) and Hugh Bodrugan is sending out invitations for a Ball. I wonder where this little plot line is taking us? It seems we will have to wait until next week to find out.
The rush to mine the tin leads to cutting corners and there is a mine collapse. It is serious… men die… and Nooo- I knew it, Ted Carkeek is killed!
— BBC One (@BBCOne) October 23, 2016
One look at Ross’s face and we can see every failure, struggle, every heart-break reflected there and now what looks like the final nail in the coffin of his business ventures- the demise of Wheal Grace. Demelza lays her head on Ross’s hands to offer comfort as he stares and despairs. How much pain and disaster can one man take before he cracks? For Ross, who needs to feel he has control over life, to see his hopes once again crumble into dust- it must be like teetering on the edge of a precipice and we wonder what it will take to send him spiralling over the edge and crashing? I think we are about to find out for Elizabeth has sent him a letter.
Determined to stop this unnatural coupling at all costs he plans to go to Trenwith. He almost snarls at Demelza to get out of his way when she tries to stop him- you should listen to your wife, Ross, she knows you better than you know yourself! What can he be thinking? But this is the problem isn’t it, he has stopped thinking! It is all anger, pride, hurt and instinct now and this cannot end well! Promises of never again being reckless are so easily forgotten!
Abandoning a desolute Demelza and riding to Trenwith, Ross is out of control and certainly not thinking straight! He kicks down the door and strides into the house and Elizabeth’s room.
What did she expect- that he’d visit her calmly in the morning? The look on her face at first says otherwise! She appears to be angry- well who wouldn’t be? I sure her immediate reaction would be ‘On your bike mate!’ or actually in this case ‘On your horse!’ Ross is so hostile, simmering with resentment, hurt and anger. He can’t even comprehend that she could contemplate a marriage with George- he knows she doesn’t love George. Ross know that she loves him and desires him and has done for over eight years- she’s told him so. They both know it! All those intimate little chats, the full on flirting, the wistful little looks… where did either think it could lead? ‘Can you offer me anything more- Do you?’ she asks temptingly- dangerous question!
— BBC One (@BBCOne) October 23, 2016
He grabs her and kisses her- Stop it Ross- you’re a married man! (Did I just shout that at the screen?) What is he thinking? Actually we may not want to admit it but I think we all know exactly what he is thinking. Go home Ross to Demelza before it’s too late! Elizabeth is struggling against him- well of course- this is not a situation her upbringing would have led her to know how to handle and she knows this is wrong! We all know this is wrong! Elizabeth has always tried to be in control and she’s played Ross like an expert angler so cleverly so far…paying out the line so he thinks he’s free then reeling him back in again but now she must be unnerved for her catch is proving more dangerous than she thought!
It becomes clear that unlike Demelza she doesn’t understand Ross at all- or does she? Is this exactly what she wanted- what she has always wanted? Maybe she hoped Ross would ride up like a knight in shining armour to save her from George’s clutches but Ross has appeared like a marauder in the night and his shining armour is in danger of becoming tarnished. The situation is getting out of control. No-one is thinking this through- it has gone too far and tensions and emotions are fully in control. Desires are confused with anger and pride and a longing never fulfilled. We are shouting at the screen- don’t do it- but we know it is inevitable! There’ll be regrets in the morning and lasting heart-breaking consequences- how can there not be? In the grey morning after, Ross says he needs to think- well this time Ross think with your head!
I’ve never considered Ross Poldark to be a hero- far from it but this cavalier attitude towards Elizabeth, despite their years of repressed emotions, and his disregard for Demelza is hard to take!
Poor Demelza, who feels she should be able to trust her husband, for as she once explained love is like going to church- if you have faith you shouldn’t need proof- well she has proof now but not what she wanted- it’s total and utter betrayal! Debbie Horsfield, clever woman has manipulated us all-nearly every episode throughout both series has ended with a sweet or tender scene with Ross and Demelza, lulling us into a false sense of security and making us all invest in their love story- so we too might feel the betrayal even deeper! And we do! Even though we’ve seen the build up to this point it still hurts!
Ross faces Demelza on his return- what can he say? What could any adulterous husband say? His excuses sound false and there was a grim satisfaction in watching Demelza’s explosive reaction to his infidelity. Although I would usually be one of the last people to advocate violence, I have to admit in common with many others I’m sure, I almost cheered- he deserved it! Maybe it will shock him into the realization of the possible shattering consequences of what has happened! I hope so.
I only fear that two more episodes will not be long enough to resolve this heart-breaking and emotional tangle!
Despite the ongoing controversy over certain aspects of this episode- (The discussions have been going on for 40 years and folk will never agree) I would like to congratulate all the cast on their first rate acting but particularly Heida Reed, Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson, who so ably created so much tension and unease in this emotionally-charged and compelling drama. Bravo all!
Poldark continues on Sunday nights on BBC1 at 9pm