It was a night of smuggling and intrigue in Cornwall this week, with an expertly plotted and thrilling hour of drama culminating in a Red Coat raid and another brush with the law for Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark.
But we’ll come to all that in a minute. Let us first give thanks to scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield who brought all the plot strands together perfectly.
First up there was Dr Enys and Caroline’s proposed elopement. Viewers were reminded of Enys’s previous (doomed) romance with Keren Daniel (he explained he had to flee the area because of that association) which of course brought us to Mark Daniel, the man Ross was desperate to see.
Mark is the miner who killed Keren in a fit of rage when he discovered her infidelity. But of course, just before he was spirited away across the channel to avoid the hangman’s noose he claimed to have seen a copper seam in the old Grace mine.
And boy does Ross want that copper. He is short of cash and only had two weeks of coal left in the works to keep it running so time was short. Cue his reckless decision to join a smuggling party aiming to get more information from Daniel, who was said to have been hiding away in the Scilly Isles…
If that weren’t enough, Ross’s absence (and fears about Revolution in France) appeared to propel Elizabeth towards Warleggan, the dastardly brute who had been alarming her with scare stories about that very revolution. Though quite why she needed his help is anyone’s guess. Aunt Agatha has seen to it that she is tooled up pretty nicely, brandishing a pistol and showing that she would be a match for anyone.
It was a breathless night of drama, fast-paced and atmospheric and with a beautiful autumn mist that added to the finely-wrought melodrama.
Enys of course did not make the assignation with Caroline. He had to attend to Rosina and her dreaded knee which had once again popped out.
Enys also clocked that her fiance Charlie was the mystery informer who had been tipping off the Guagers (the smuggling police) about the illict missions. When Enys confronted Charlie with his evidence he got into a fight, before fleeing to warn Ross of the likely ambush. You couldn’t help thinking that in that he has finally atoned for the wrong he caused Keren and Mark Daniel.
But we didn’t have much time to think. Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) also played her part, slipping the attentions of her Red Coat guard to try to find her husband who, as luck would have it, managed to hide in the hole dug into his front room by the smugglers.
Caroline huffed off to London after being stood up and Ross… well Ross just about got away by the skin of his teeth. But there is trouble ahead. During the melee on the beach he was spotted by law enforcer Jim Vercoe and gave him a punch in the face for his troubles.
He is now a fugitive again who, as the clips for next week’s episode suggest, will be up before the beak once more. “Well, well, here we are again,” said Judge Halse (who is of course played by the original 1970s Ross Poldark Robin Ellis) in the short clip.
What a night. After all that you’ll probably be needing a slug of the same grog Ross keeps hidden away for occasions like this.