Poldark series 3 episode 2 review: Aidan Turner’s Ross prepares for a French adventure as fresh passions storm the Cornish coast

A daring journey into French territory looms – but where will that leave our Cornish lovers?

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Poor old Valentine. The wee Warleggan whelp is being cruelly neglected by his mother Elizabeth who won’t pick him up, however much the poor lad screams out for her.

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Clearly Elizabeth (who is becoming so cold these days I wouldn’t be surprised if she turns into the Narnian Ice Witch by the end of this series) is clearly having some, ahem, bonding issues with the infant who is almost certainly fathered by Ross.

And everyone seems to be rubbing it in.

“Valentine? Who does he favour?” were practically the first words of lovely old Verity who returned to Trenwith for the child’s christening. Everyone seems to know, though thankfully ghastly George seems none the wiser.

Maybe he’s repressing it all. Though he seems rather content these days, what with him being made a Justice of the Peace. Only when Aunt Agatha slyly suggested that Ross may have been offered the post first (which he indeed had) did a curl of cold contempt wrap around that face of his.

George has also got Demelza’s brothers in his sights after they had the temerity to start a singalong in church to while away the hours as the vicar waited for the Warleggans to show up (George being George was rudely late). The slight saw him ensure that they were banned from church.

“That’s Methodists for you,” said the vicar trying to make light of the situation. But George seems fixed on destroying them.

The ban will hit Sam (Tom York) hardest; t’other (slightly less religious) brother Drake (Harry Richardson) has other things on his mind, making his romantic intentions toward Morwenna pretty clear. But he was on the receiving end of some amorous advances himself when Prudie spied him washing semi-naked in the brook.

“There are other needs a body might have,” said the Poldark skivvy who has now found herself without her true love, the mysteriously absent Jud.

Further afield, there is seafaring and derring do on the horizon what with the news that some British ships carrying Dr Enys and Captain Blamey (AKA Verity’s husband) may have run aground off the revolutionary French coast.

Luckless doc Dwight has ended up on the French coast although Blamey, it eventually transpires, has landed safely in Portugal.

Ross (below, with his new ‘squad’ of wife Demelza and Caroline) was quick to put himself up for a rescue mission for Enys, knowing full well that the newly-pregnant Demelza will be none too keen on the enterprise.

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Ross has been settled with Demelza of late and even went as far as saying the words “I am looking for a little peace,” early this episode, portending the inevitable disruption to his plans.

Ross will be accompanied on his sojourns by Tholly Tregirls (Sean Gilder), an interesting looking cove from his past with quite the most stupendously Cornish yokel accent we have seen so far in the series (and that’s beating Jud).

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Tregirls is a friend of Ross’s father Joshua and someone with an interesting past. He is first seen engaged in a fist fight with one of Ross’s miners, a contretemps provoked by his apparently rather liberal attitude towards other men’s wives.

“Is it my fault that maidens can’t resist I,” he roared, showing a row of fanatically appalling teeth and a sea-lashed face that really only a mother (or a Poldark) could love.

Whatever you say, Tholly. Plus he has a fabulous hook on his hand – making him the first real proper-looking pirate the show has seen. And he keeps the bones of his missing limb in a pouch.

“Remind I how fragile life is,” he barked.

Still, he looks like the kind of man you’d want in a crisis. And that’s exactly where Ross is headed, to see if he can rescue his friend Dr Enys from the bloodthirsty hands of Great Britain’s guillotine-happy enemy.

Allez en France!

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Poldark season three airs on Sundays, 9/8c, PBS Masterpiece