Yes the Honourable Member for Truro was shown being a very good MP in the opening scenes, in an episode which did something we Poldarkians aren’t used to – time jump.
Months and months passed as Ross campaigned in the capital and Demelza held the fort throughout the winter and spring. Eventually he was forced to return to Cornwall, which is, after all, where we would all prefer seeing him.
The mine was in trouble, the old load (we haven’t heard the word load in a while and it was nice to hear) was wearing thin and our Tricorn-hatted hero needed to save the day and prove he was one of the lads, not some fancy dan London politico.
He admitted he had grown “soft and fat” in London, and his return was a bit, shall we say, awkward. His old chums kept calling him ‘Sir’ or Captain Ross rather than just Cap’n, and seemed convinced that ‘That London’ had changed his ways.
But they needn’t have feared.
Ross was soon down the mine hewing a rock face (sadly for Aidan Turner-watchers, with his shirt firmly on).
He also proved his mettle when he wanted to join the boys fishing. At first he wasn’t sure whether he’d be welcomed, acting a bit like an insecure teenager needing his Mum (or, in this case, Demelza) to reassure him that it really was OK to join them.
When he arrived, he found the troupe had been set upon by some Cornish ruffians. Tholly Tregirls, that piratical cove with the crazy name and even crazier accent, had been having his wicked way with “widder Crocker”, only she wasn’t a “widder” and her very alive husband wanted his own back. Team Tholly was losing the punch-up until Ross arrived and saw them off.
But of course, his reunion with Demelza was the most subtly-drawn moment in yet another expertly-scripted episode by Debbie Horsfield.
Ross arrived, appropriately enough, on horseback, but the two circled each other warily at first.
“You look…[long pause] thinner?,” he said in what I, as a married man, firmly believe was a good start. “So what have you been up to?,” he went on, innocently enough.
“Well, seeing to your mine, your farm, your household, your children… that’s what I have been up to,” Eleanor Tomlinson returned brilliantly.
Ross’s unspoken fear of course was whether Demelza had met someone else. Was she still pining for Hugh, he asked? Was she pining for Elizabeth, she shot back. She’s always held her own in this marriage, our Demelza.
Still, we did see Ross turning down the advances of a more than flirtatious young woman in London – a promising start to his political career. And Ross and Demelza did have their physical reunion as well, right there on the Nampara kitchen table. They better not tell Prudie: that’s where she prepared her puddings.
London also came to Cornwall in the form of Monk Adderley, the awful, ‘honourable’ member for Bishop’s Castle (a small town in south Shropshire, by the way), a constituency which he “has never seen and never intends to”.
He flashed Elizabeth a look which suggested amorous intent at a ghastly gathering of what George calls the “worthies”. The party was assembled to allow George to buy up the democratic process and get back into Parliament – as far a cry from Ross’s speeches against hanging for theft as you can imagine.
In other news, toe-rag vicar Osborne Whitworth seems to be reviving matters with Morwenna’s coquettish sister Rowella. The flash of foot is too much for him to bear – and she seems to need the money.
Oh yes and, rather quickly it seems, Caroline has had her baby – no agonising labour, no midnight rush to her bedside. Only, the good doc Dwight Enys later noticed something wrong with poor little Sarah Caroline.
“All babies have blue eyes,” he said at the birth, planting the possibility that the problem could be a paternity one. If her eyes darken, as babies’ eyes often do, maybe she’s not his? Has Caroline been playing away like Demelza? She seemed quite approving of her romance with Hugh, but surely not?
The dog is another suspect. We kept being told that the pampered pug Caroline keeps is jealous of the new arrival. Has it been biting the baby? Or has the poor child got a mystery illness? Or, God forbid, has Caroline been neglecting her child or even deliberately hurting her? She keeps joking that she never wanted the thing, and we know what they say about many a true word and jests….
Whatever the answer, it doesn’t look promising. In next week’s trailer Caroline tells her husband: “I want to leave you.”
Let’s just hope it’s nothing worse than a naughty pooch.
Poldark season four airs on Sundays, 9/8c, Masterpiece on PBS
This article was originally published on 22 June 2018
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