Episode spoiler warning: Ross Poldark gets naked and goes for a swim.
Time passes and the Warleggans start recalling more loans from their debtors. This results in the closing of yet another mine, leaving more people unemployed. Ross takes on young Jim Carter (Alexander Arnold), who is single-handedly supporting his widowed mother and sisters, as a farmhand.
Despite the hardship and tightening of belts, society balls must go on. Verity, at twenty-five, is unmarried, considered past marriageable age, and therefore expected to spend her days looking after her elderly father and brother. (Interesting how Aunt Agatha, who must be almost a hundred, is healthy as a horse and smart as a whip.) However, she meets and is immediately charmed by a sea captain with a chequered past, Andrew Blamey (Richard Harrington).
The morning after the ball, we find Ross washing away his hangover – and the local prostitute – in the clear blue waters of the Cornish seaside. (Once again, I sense tourism for the Cornish coast skyrocketing after that scene.) Later, Ross heads to town, with Demelza in tow, to meet with Francis and prospective investors. Having earlier agreed to go into partnership with Ross to invest in Wheal Leisure as a way to get out from under his father’s shadow, Francis changes his mind, once again under the influence of George. Without the additional Poldark family backing, Ross relies on his friends to help convince the investors that his venture is worth the risk. Thankfully, it worked.Despite having just reneged on a deal with Ross, Francis and Charles call on his help to convince Verity to end her secret relationship with Captain Blamey. It seems the captain is a former prisoner, having served time for allegedly beating and killing his first wife. Verity confesses that she already knew this about Blamey but believes his story that it had been an accident and that the late wife had fallen and hit her head on the floor and died. Reluctantly, Ross agrees to let Verity and Blamey meet at Nampara.
When Charles and Francis discover this ruse, they race to Nampara to stop this meeting. Things get heated, punches are thrown, Francis’ pride is hurt and he challenges Blamey to a duel with pistols. Ross refuses to participate and Francis refuses to back down. Charles and Verity look on helplessly. Shots are fired and, unfortunately for Francis, Blamey is barely scratched while he lies fallen with a shot in the neck.
Ross and Demelza sew him up as Elizabeth, having received news of her husband’s foolishness, rushes to Nampara believing him dead. It turns out that Francis is still very much alive but Ross is still blamed by his uncle for the debacle. Elizabeth, however, thanks Ross for saving her husband and reveals that she is pregnant.