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Poldark 201 Romelza

As we prepare for the much-anticipated return of Poldark Series 3, let’s recap what happened in Series 2.

When we last saw Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner), he was being arrested for inciting a riot and plundering the wrecked cargo ship owned by George Warleggan’s (Jack Farthing) cousin. Now facing the local magistrate, Ross is no less repentant. In fact, his honesty, for which we all applaud, does nothing but rile up the local gentry even more. He is sent home to get his affairs sorted and to report to Bodmin for the assizes in five days’ time.

On the other side of town, George is determined not to let this opportunity to bury Ross once and for all slip by, and starts bribing witnesses, including Jud (Phil Davis) and Prudie (Beatie Edney), to testify against Ross. The scheming weasel even goes so far as to pay someone to write the eighteenth century equivalent of tabloid trash about Ross (without naming him, of course) to discredit him.

It seems Bodmin is soon to be brimming with activity as elections are also due to be held, which brings along parliamentary hopeful and friend of George’s, Unwin Trevaunance (Hugh Skinner). By his side is a beautiful and head-strong young heiress, Caroline Penvenen (Gabriella Wilde) whose uncle Ray (John Nettles) also happens to be a wealthy and respected Bodmin local.As the date of the assizes draws nearer, it seems the women in Ross’s life are more concerned about his fate than he is. Elizabeth (Heida Reed) attempts to curry favour with George, inviting Ross and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlin) to Trenwith under false pretences and without Francis’s (Kyle Soller) knowledge, hoping that Ross would ask George make his charges go away. However, her plan backfires when Francis kicks George out, making no doubt that he does not approve of his wife’s meddling.

For her part, Demelza tries a different tact. When Ross tells her that Ray Penvenen is a friend of the judge who will preside over his case, she makes an excuse to stop by Killewarren – the Penvenen estate – to befriend him. Seeing this, Unwin advises Ray not to be deceived by her “fragile” appearance.

While the relationship between the Poldark cousins is not completely healed, Francis is beginning to turn his life around. He tells Ross that should he lose his case in court, he will make sure Demelza is looked after because he will not forget what she sacrificed to save him and his family in time of crisis.

Dwight (Luke Norris) accompanies him on his ride. Francis also heads to Bodmin, and as he prepares to leave, he says his goodbyes to Elizabeth, mournful of his mistakes and wondering how all their lives might have been different had Ross never gone to war. There is a hint of regret and finality in his words.

Poldark 201 GeorgeIn Bodmin, Francis bumps into none other than George, who is all psyched up to witness Ross’s demise. He confronts the banker, accuses him of being behind Ross’s character assassination and tells him that no matter how much money he has, he can never buy nobility, breeding or common decency, leaving no doubt that their friendship is over. (Me: cheers and applause for Francis.)

Not one to sit at home and do nothing, Demelza follows Ross to Bodmin, accompanied by Verity (Ruby Bentall). She tries to sneak into the Assembly on the eve of the elections where all the VIPs are gathered in the hope of speaking to Ray Penvenen and asking him to use his influence with the judge to help her husband. Seeing her approach, George instructs the guards at the door not to let her in.

Poldark 201 RossAt the prison, Ross meets his lawyer, Jeffrey Clymer (WIlliam Mannering), who advises him to prepare a will. Knowing that he is almost bankrupt, Ross regrets that he has been a poor husband, leaving his wife with barely a roof over her head. As he writes to Demelza, George pays him a visit. He tells Ross he is impressed by how he inspires loyalty in so many as he lists a number of noblemen who support him. He offers Ross a hand in friendship which Ross rebuffs.

Ross: “Are you truly so deluded? Do you think I would ever shake your hand?”

George: “No, but now I can tell Elizabeth I tried.”

Before the night is over, Francis, having been invited by Dwight to share his room at the inn, is alone and writing a letter to his own wife. He has a gun, points it at his head and pulls the trigger.

Bam! Fade to black.

Next: Revisiting Poldark Series 2 – Episode 2