Poldark series 3 episode 9 review: Demelza takes a big step as Ross has second thoughts about Westminster
The sun has set on Cornwall for another series – with some big questions still to be answered
As chat-up lines go, “Shall we grant ourselves each other so I can go into the darkness knowing I have once tasted heaven?” isn’t bad. A little cheesy perhaps. But few Poldark viewers were expecting it to work on Demelza, the rough, tough serving girl who has blossomed into the fabulous Mrs P for three series now.
But work it did – said Mrs Ross seemingly offered young Hugh Armitage the heaven he was craving before he goes blind (“in six months” as he said – which seems very medically precise for the 1790s but there you are).
It was a shocking moment to witness the loyal, faithful Demelza, who let’s not forget eschewed the advances of Captain McNeil in the last series, apparently give herself to another man.
But we had been building to it for a while and the consummation owed as much to a Hardyesque twist of fate as it did to her wish to be wooed. Just as Demelza discovered that Ross had kissed Elizabeth in church (as we predicted Prudie would reveal) she returned home just in time to find Lt Armitage mooning about Nampara.
It’s not exactly clear what else went on among the sand dunes apart from the kissing (below) but it seems like heaven was tasted (scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield thinks they went further). And when she got home Demelza, forbade Ross from asking any questions.
Elsewhere, her husband (who has been a bit of a stubborn fool this series) was elevated a little in the hero stakes with his staunch leadership of the rag tag group of locals who had been assembled after Tholly and Prudie spotted “Frenchies” off the coast.
Incidentally, I also liked the fact that Tholly had a proper pirate's telescope to go with his weathered tricorn hat and hooked hand. I think the props department need to find him a parrot for series four and some pieces o'eight.
Ross's men were immediately summoned – only to find Tholly and Sam Carne leading a starving band of locals intent on storming Warleggan’s grain store.
Ross didn’t fire on them, but he managed to ensure peace while promising, finally, to accept the offer of becoming a politician if asked again.
There’s no guarantee he will, but the chances are we will be seeing Ross P MP next series. A sign that he is making some sensible decisions at last.
George won’t like that but the ghastly Warleggan’s hate-filled obsession with all things Poldark backfired a little after he got awful Tom Harry to harass poor Drake and burn down his blacksmith’s forge
When Drake had the cheek to tell Elizabeth about it, George tried to kick him out of the house before his wife finally gave us an indication of why Ross was once in love with her. The bullying must stop, she said, the “brute” Tom Harry must be fired and she even managed to confront George about his suspicions of the paternity of young Valentine.
It was an emotionally complex scene, that one. Obviously, Elizabeth’s protestations of innocence are not entirely honest – although her insistence that she never gave herself to anyone between her marriages to Francis and George is perhaps technically true, and perhaps suggests that she believes Ross forced himself upon her during that controversial night they spent together in series two.
It was also conflicting to see George break down and cry. He has been almost pantomime in his villainy this series but tonight we saw a little into his blackened heart and we may have softened, if only a bit, for him. Let’s not forget that as a boy Ross used to put toads down his trousers – it was probably then that his hatred fermented.
Still, there’s little ambiguity in the story of Osborne “Ossie” Whitworth who was also undone by feminine wiles. Morwenna’s sister Rowella had been having her way with him and, whether she was pregnant or not, managed to convince Ossie a) that she was up the duff and b) to part with a good deal of money to see her wedded off to red-headed friend Arthur Solway from the library.
Whether poor Drake will finally get the woman he loves, who knows, but there is certainly hope for series four, symbolised in the winter primroses he found and placed at Morwenna’s door.
“Wherever you are, know that I love you...I love you” she said on the doorstep, and Drake, hiding behind the gate heard every word.
It was a beautiful little scene. Whether love can be rekindled in the Ross and Demelza marriage, however, remains to be seen.
Poldark season four airs on Sundays at 9/8c, Masterpiece on PBS