Now that he is the new master of Trenwith, George Warleggan wastes no time in making his presence felt, beginning with removing all reminders of the previous master, Francis (Oh how Francis must be rolling over in his grave right now!). Young Geoffrey Charles, playing merrily away, asks Elizabeth when “Uncle George” is leaving, only to be told by his mother that he is here to stay and that he should start thinking of him as his new Papa.
As if making changes inside the house is not enough, George also starts making his claim on Trenwith more obvious by building a fence to stop locals from walking through the property as they have been accustomed to do, and placing armed guards to keep out the riff-raff. Even Tankard feels this is a bit much, knowing it will only make enemies of their new neighbours but George is not to be deterred.
While going through Elizabeth’s financial records, George finds the sale of Geoffrey Charles’s shares in Wheal Grace. He suspects something illegal with the sale and asks Elizabeth about it. She doesn’t know anything so he writes to Ross demanding answers. Ross counters that it is none of his business as Elizabeth is the trustee for Geoffrey Charles. However, Elizabeth has now given her new husband power of attorney. Ross reveals to George that he is the “mysterious buyer” and that he had done so in order to give Elizabeth the money she needed to settle some of the debts she inherited from Francis. After a war of words, Ross punches George. With all the training George has been doing, he manages to give as good as he gets, until Ross gets a brief upper hand, shoving George’s face almost into the fireplace. Tankard calls for back-up and Ross is eventually pulled off, screaming insults as he is thrown out of the house.Meanwhile, Dwight is busy tending to his patients, as always, even the condescending Ray Penvenen. The last time the two met, Ray heaped insults at Dwight over his relationship with Caroline. Now, after Dr Choake’s failure to diagnose the reasons for his illness, he is calling for Dwight again. The good doctor soon diagnoses Ray with sugar sickness (a.k.a. diabetes). While Ray attempts to apologise for his behaviour at their last meeting, he informs Dwight that Caroline is soon to announce her engagement to the son of a lord. Dwight tells Ray that this information does not affect him in the least, but we all know he is dying inside. Upon leaving, he returns to the beach where he often rode with Caroline, sheds a quiet tear, and proceeds to the nearest naval recruitment office and enlists.
Dwight’s enlistment gives Ross the impetus to re-enlist as well. With things still frosty between him and Demelza, he, like Dwight, looks for an escape from his worries. But before he enlists, he wants to put his affairs in order. He visits Pascoe and says he wants to repay his debt to his mysterious benefactor now that Wheal Grace is making money. Although Pascoe promised never to reveal the person’s identity, he eventually hints that it is not a man. It doesn’t take much more for Ross to guess that Caroline is the one who saved him from debtors’ prison.
Ross returns home, hoping that Demelza will be in a better mood. But she tells him about her evening at the Bodrugan party and her encounter with McNeil. Ross doesn’t believe that she didn’t go through with her attempt at revenge and it would seem their marriage is over. “If you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you, then what is the point of this marriage anymore?” she asks.
When Dwight comes by Nampara to say his goodbyes to Ross before he reports for duty in Plymouth, Ross tells him that Caroline is his mysterious benefactor and that they all owe her everything. With sadness, Dwight tells him of her impending engagement.
Ross heads to London to see Caroline. He wants to thank her for her “investment” and to congratulate her on her engagement. Of course, Caroline again dashes her uncle’s hopes, and tells Ross that there is no engagement. Ross asks why she won’t forgive Dwight even knowing his reason for missing their rendez-vous, but she claims she would not have been happy living in near-poverty with him in Cornwall, just as he would not have been happy tending to wealthy patients in Bath. Of course, Ross calls her out on this.
Despite his own failing marriage, Ross knows when two people are in love, they should not let anything stand in the way (he’s been around Demelza a long time by now). He goes to Plymouth and finds Dwight in a tavern getting acquainted with his fellow naval officers. Ross tells Dwight he has been to London to see Caroline and that there is no engagement. And just as Dwight’s eyes start to light up with hope, he turns around to find Caroline standing right behind him, so beautiful and out of place that she literally stops the room. Dwight gives Caroline a makeshift engagement ring (a little leather cord never looked so lovely) and they make the most of the remaining hours he has before being shipped off to war.
While Ross is in London, Demelza and Jeremy attend to Verity as she prepares for the arrival of her first child. Andrew is away at sea but leaves his daughter Esther, who has now had a major attitude adjustment, attending to her stepmother. The baby arrives without trouble, and as Demelza prepares to return to Nampara, she confesses to Verity that she is not sure she is able to forgive Ross but would not tell her what he did.
Back home, Demelza takes a walk to Trenwith. Finding a new fence around the perimeter does not deter her (where is the guard?). She lies in wait for Elizabeth outside and she tells her that she is going to take Jeremy with her and go back to her father’s house. On her way home, she once again climbs the fence, only this time, she is shot at. When she returns home, Jud and Prudie become riled up. She instructs them not to tell Ross but she never said not to tell anyone else.
Jud goes to the local tavern and, in a scene straight out of Beauty and the Beast where Gaston gathers a mob to hunt down the Beast, the Cornish mob heads to Trenwith thirsty for Warleggan blood. When Demelza finds out Jud’s intentions from Prudie who admits she was the one who told Jud to go, she rushes straight to Trenwith to warn the Warleggans.
Elizabeth, now decked out in the fine dresses she was accustomed to, and George are discussing his construction of the new Warleggan Bank when Demelza storms into the house. Never one to waste an opportunity to plunge a knife into the wound, tells Demelza that his informers told him that Ross has enlisted and bravely boasts that no mob would dare attack a Warleggan. He also announces that Elizabeth is with child. Before he’s done talking, a mob of villagers with fiery torches approach. Demelza runs out to beg them to leave but they are unfazed.
Backed by his armed henchmen, George comes out with a four-barrelled gun and tells the mob to leave his property. Of course, nobody budges until Ross rides up and fires a warning shot into the air. A stand-off ensues which, of course, Ross wins, but not before a lot of threats are issued, and he makes it clear that he came back for Demelza.
In the aftermath of the showdown, George assures Elizabeth they were never in danger. Then tells her that he intends to send Geoffrey Charles to Harrow, a boarding school, as she will soon have another child to keep her busy. Agatha, however, is not so easily fooled. She knows Elizabeth was still hoping Ross had come for her and is now bitterly disappointed at the reality of a pregnancy, likely to Ross.
At Nampara, Demelza is still packing to leave for her father’s. Ross is shocked by this. Demelza reminds him of all her positive attributes: her ferocity, her strength. It seems, at last, that Francis’s last words to her have hit home: she is no longer underestimating her own value. She will not settle for second best. And again, Ross tries to defend his actions. He admits he loved Elizabeth but finally realises that she was his idealised love, but that Demelza, with all her imperfections, is real, and that idealised love is not.
At long last, Ross reminds us why we all fell in love with him. He finally remembers and realises that his true and abiding love is for Demelza. Will this be enough to save their marriage?
Poldark Series 3 will return to BBC One on Sunday 11th June (and for ABC TV in Australia on Sunday 18th June). Welcome back to Cornwall!