Poldark series 3 episode 3 review

Ross comes unstuck on his French adventure while Demelza takes matters into her own hands in the latest exciting Poldark…

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

Remember the series one episode that Poldark’s womenfolk spent anxiously gazing out to sea awaiting errant pilchards? This was the sequel, except instead of pilchards, it was husbands. Ross having sailed to Roscoff in search of news on Dwight, it was left to Demelza and Caroline to pine, decoratively. 

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Being of sound mind, Demelza quickly grew tired of that and so, after a cathartic dough-thumping session with old Prudie, she stepped into Ross’ boots and took matters into her own hands. Number one on her agenda was to find a place of worship for her brothers, whose decision to protest their exclusion from George’s church by standing outside it and singing hymns was more or less guaranteed to eventually get them killed. Make no mistake, George Warleggan would have the Carne brothers shot and mounted above his mantelpiece faster than he can lick a lord’s boots and destroy an innocent woman’s life.

It’s testament to Jack Farthing’s performance that until this episode, it always seemed possible that a chink of goodness might be buried somewhere deep, deep inside George. His eagerness though, to let a connected rapist walk free and condemn his victim, all in order to climb one rung higher on the filthy social ladder, put that notion to bed once and for all. There is no good in George Warleggan. He’s a spherical shit—a turd from every angle. It’s little wonder the move to Truro has Elizabeth reaching for the laudanum. You’d need a general anesthetic to get through a single soup course with her husband, never mind going to bed with him.

Speaking of which, the Warleggans were revealed to have an aphrodisiac of choice this week and unsurprisingly, it was Ross Poldark. One heated session slagging off Ross’ presumptive arrogance on the matter of the Methodist meeting house (about which he, off having an adventure on the Continent, knew not a thing) and those two were randier than Tholly in a French brothel. It was hard to know who was more turned on by their joint obsession – Ross’ ex-lover or the man who despises him.

Having Ross’ baby and being married to George has clearly broken Elizabeth, hence her willingness to accede to the Truro plan. Not many episodes ago she was rarely seen without Geoffrey Charles at her feet. Now it’s all handshakes and abandonment issues, as it ever was among the upper classes. GC’s lucky he had that many years of affection from his mother – were the Trenwith Poldarks true aristocrats, he’d have been blooded at two and sent away to school at three to learn how to oppress the vulgars and be a man.  

I rather like the man Geoffrey Charles is becoming on his own. He may be swimming in privilege, but he’s no snob, is entertainingly disobedient and has excellent comic timing (“and no fences”). While he’s master of Trenwith, Morwenna and Drake won’t have any barriers either. As Aunt Agatha said with a joyful skip, now they can have some fun.

Decidedly not having fun on his French jaunt was Ross. Revolutionaries had turned Roscoff from a sleepy smuggling town into a dangerous ferment of political unrest. Everywhere you looked, men were being dragged from the streets and accused of being enemies of the Revolution. The protests of those being dragged to the guillotine weren’t subtitled, either because it was easy to infer meaning through context or because the BBC overestimated the efficacy of the nation’s school French lessons. Me, I’m fairly sure I heard one miscreant being dragged off screaming that he had two brothers, his hobby was playing tennis and that at the weekend, he liked to go to the discotheque.

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Ross and Tholly got into a spot of bother at Le Coq Rouge (coincidentally, also the name of the intimate disease contracted from its barmaids). Due to the watchful Republic, they were taken for spies instead of what they really were – spies.

You don’t want to be caught as a British spy in Revolutionary France. There’s a distinct possibility of being cut into two parts and kicked into the English Channel to float your way home. Ross, being foolhardy and brave, risked that fate and escaped with the aid of a green beanie and some first-rate fisticuffs.

Ross’ derring-do didn’t win him any admiration back at home, but after Demelza delivered number three in her book of excellent feminist speeches, all was well and peaceful again at Nampara. Ross had also got what he came for – proof that Dwight was alive, if not well, and now a handsomely bearded prisoner of the French. How will Dwight be rescued? Ross, probably (though wouldn’t it be magnificent if the source material was thrown out of the window just this once and Caroline, Demelza and Prudie combined forces as an all-female prison break assassin squad? I can see the outfits now).  

In summation then, Geoffrey Charles broke the rules. George broke Francis’ promise to the people. Aunt Agatha broke wind (“you have to be sharp to out-trump me, boy,” yes, and eat more brassicas too). And Ross very nearly broke Demelza’s heart by getting himself guillotined. They all lived to fight another day, thank goodness. And thank the BBC for another diverting, escapist, glorious-looking hour spent in their company.

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode here