Sometimes Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark can have you shouting at the screen. And in episode six the words bellowed were: “Why didn’t you take up the offer of being local Magistrate you stubborn so-and-so?”
If he had taken up the proffered post earlier in the series, none of the tragic events of this episode would have happened. And boy were they tragic.
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Poldark commissioned for a fifth – and probably final – series
Yes, a rather funny storyline involving Drake Carne plaguing George Warleggan with toads turned into something far more sinister – and Magistrate Ross would have been able to stop it.
To cut a long story short, it ended with Drake facing the noose; with George Warleggan on the bench he would have swung. But to save his neck, Morwenna agreed to marry the not un-toadlike Osborne Whitworth. Oh dear.
When a desperate Demelza berated her pig-headed husband about the Magistrate’s job all he could say was, “The thought had occurred to me”, somewhat accentuating viewer fury.
Sometimes he is so infuriating you want to wallop Ross right where it hurts (his chiselled pecs, perhaps?) and tell him to get a grip, even if the neighbourhood are still congratulating him on his jail break.
After the derring-do in France, it was still another action-packed visit to Cornwall where the rather amusing toad storyline turned grim. George has a fear of toads, ever since young Ross used to fill his britches with them (another clue as to why he is so viciously hostile to all things Poldark).
Ghastly George cleverly seized the opportunity of the Bible that Geoffrey Charles had given to Drake as a present to thank him for their friendship. Drake was accused of theft.
In another cruel twist, Drake’s activities were exposed at the same time as his love for Morwenna was made obvious. An assignation on the beach was spotted by George’s enforcer Tom Harry, who also saw the mark of his truncheon on Drake’s back that had been inflicted during the escape from toad planting. George then had both reason and means to get the Carne boy.
One minute Morwenna was pledged to Drake; the next she was married to the ghastly Osborne after being blackmailed by George.
Which takes us back to Ross’ pig-headedness, the consequences of which we are about to discover in next week’s episode.
Early signs of the nature of Morwenna’s fate were amply demonstrated when we saw Osborne sucking the toe of a prostitute in Truro’s red light district.
He was spotted by Ross and Demelza, who snickered at his excuse that he was “bringing fallen women to God”. But if this episode taught us anything, it’s that moments of light relief can turn on a sixpence – especially when George is master of ceremonies.
Morwenna’s face when she walked down the aisle was a picture of misery – and the preview for next week’s episode included her being hit by her husband and describing him as a “monster”.
A monstrous toad no less. She’s going to need all the luck she can get.
Poldark season three airs on Sundays from 8/7c, PBS Masterpiece