Judas!, to use the favoured Poldark expletive, that was an action-packed night down in Cornwall.
Ossie Whitworth finally got his comeuppance, dragged squealing into the woods after being set upon by Rowella’s husband, and killed in a suitably embarrassing, brutal fashion.
It’s not usually nice to see a Poldark death, but that was particularly satisfying. The greasy, toe-sucking wrong-‘un, so beautifully brought to screen by Christian Brassington, was finally undone by his enormous sexual appetite. And his horse.
The old rogue had outdone even his low standards when he decided to ditch his mistress, after realising that he could force himself on his poor wife Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) again. His repulsive Ma (Rebecca Front’s Lady Whitworth) had hired a new governess for their child – so his wife’s threats to kill the child if he raped her again were now toothless.
So there he was, round and ready in his extraordinary nightgown, poised to bed his poor, frightened Missus. It’s all really horrific, of course, but Brassington’s fabulous villainy has been quite exquisite to watch as he talked about doing “God’s holy work”. I’ll really miss him. In a way. More than Morwenna does anyway.
As to the death, well, being Ossie, he couldn’t resist a final tumble in the linen with Rowella – all watched by Rowella’s poor husband Arthur Solway from a window. This was all prefaced by the hilarious close-ups of many candles and candlesticks in the lead up to his death – Arthur even threatened him with a candlestick, bought with the money he paid his wife for sex, when he finally confronted the randy Rev in the woods.
There was a fight, only for Whitworth’s horse to bolt and his lifeless body to eventually ending up bruised, battered and (probably for the first time in his terrible life) limp.
“My son was an excellent horseman, did he not ride to hounds?” said Lady Whitworth (so he enjoyed killing foxes too, we see). But will she turn detective and try and finger Drake Carne – George’s number one suspect? This story doesn’t seem quite over.
With Hardyesque irony, the death of the Rev happened just as Drake had finally decided to make an honest women of Rosina, the lovely local girl who, if you recall, had the hots for Dr Enys in series 2.
Her Dad was none too pleased about the doc’s attentions then, and after Drake jilted her on their wedding day was in no mood to be mollified. With the help of Tom Harry’s equally brutish brother, and at the instigation of George, he had his forge burned down.
But not before Lady Whitworth threatened to have Drake horsewhipped (horses again!) when he came mooning for Morwenna.
Poor Drake. It marked a tough night for him, especially when Morwenna told him to be off. She was “sick” and “tainted” she said, her grey desolate eyes showing just how much her husband had sucked the life out of her.
But at least she was able to finally have her say to Elizabeth and George, the two people who had pushed her into Ossie’s clutches.
“I loathed him with every bone in my body”, she said, leaving even George looking a tad sheepish, and Elizabeth distraught.
Elizabeth hasn’t had much to do this series, but but it’s been interesting to witness what seems like a constant battle between light and dark going on in her head. Opening the episode with approving chuckles at her husband’s cruel remarks about keeping the poor down, she clearly has some feeling for Morwenna. And she asked George to leave Drake alone. “You go too far, George,” she remarked with hilarious understatement.
And perhaps she still has some warm feelings for Ross too. They had a scene in London together after our hero saved Geoffrey Charles from a beating while drunk in a London club. Ross seemed to look on his nephew’s antics benevolently – after all, we have been told many times what a roisterer he was in his day.
But we didn’t see much of our hero tonight. He was mainly in London getting letters from Demelza telling how much “you children your wife, your dog” (I think in that order) missed him. She, meanwhile, was seeing a lot of Dr Enys – something Prudie found not to be “proper” (thus reminding us of her now absent husband Jud who was rather fond of the word).
But we did see Ross try and wean Caroline away from her grief and make some great speeches in Parliament, one espousing some very progressive views about supplementing the wages of the poor. It was extraordinary. Ross Podark, soldier, seafarer, father, lover – and now founding father of the Welfare State, precursor, even, of Corbynism (He spoke of the “birthright of the few not of all” – a faint echo of Labour’s “For the many, not the few” it seemed).
Is there nothing this man can’t do? He has also caught the eye of the Prime Minister, Pitt. So we’ll be expecting even greater things next week. Once we’ve buried the vicar.
Poldark season four airs on Sundays, 9/8c, Masterpiece on PBS
This article was originally published on 6 July 2018
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