Just when we thought that Poldark was going to move past its love triangle, we’re once again thrust back into it in the second episode of the new season. I suppose it was the hopeful romantic part of me that asuumed Ross had stopped entertaining thoughts of Elizabeth when he declared Demelza the love of his life at the end of the first season. While I’m not here to compare Elizabeth and Demelza, who are two great female characters on their own, I can’t help but be a little peeved by Ross’s advances of sort toward Elizabeth. Clearly both haven’t gotten over their first, young love, but they have enough respect for each other and their significant others to never fully re-enact a trip down memory lane. I feel bad for Demelza that she had to witness the scene.
But there was much more that unraveled in this week’s Poldark, and a lot of it was on the lighthearted, comical side. I can’t help but get a kick out of George’s fears of retaliation from Ross. He’s training to fight, always has a gun at the ready, yet continues to make matters worse by seeking retribution from Ross’s servant, Jud, for taking a bribe and not following through at the trial. This ends up going badly as George’s henchmen end up killing Jud, except not really when much to Prudy’s fright, the not-really-dead-but-just-drunk Jud stumbles around alive.
Jud’s resurrection was a blast of silliness in what was mostly a very sincere episode that shed light on the characters’ current states of mind and offered a glimpse of the motives behind new characters. Ross’s head is preoccupied with keeping his business alive, causing him to shut out Demelza, which is also just plain typical and annoying coming from him. Demelza is still finding a way to break the news that she’s pregnant to Ross, but there never seems to be a right moment. First, an unexpected guest stops by showing a little interest in Demelza, which Ross oddly dismisses. Then news comes that they must pay a large interest on their loan in order to keep things afloat. They head into town to sell many of their possessions in order to do so. Finally, Jud’s “death” delays Demelza’s news once again.
As for the other Poldark clan, things are going quite well. Francis has found a peace and happiness with his circumstance, and with that comes hope that he could get back into mining someday. His joy is infectious and makes for sunshiny household full of smiles and delight. In turn, it’s once again a welcoming place for Ross and Demelza, who let go of their grudges and decide to unite as a family. All the while, Dr. Enys is forming a possible relationship of his own with a wealthy and powerful woman, who is very much smitten with him. It’s a good match, and the type of romantic subplot I’m willing to invest in since I find that the characters seem to complement each other. Plus, it goes without saying that their coupling would put a hitch in one of George’s many schemes.
Circling back to Ross and Demelza, the two finally share a quiet, and most importantly, honest moment at the end of the episode. Feeling hurt by seeing Ross and Elizabeth together, the two say how they really feel. Ross doesn’t deny his feelings, but rather gives reason to them and explains that it’s normal to “look” at others. (I personally feel that if Elizabeth didn’t stop him, it would’ve been more than a look, but whatever…) Demelza reveals that she’s pregnant, and for a heartbeat, the scene transforms from something tense into something bittersweet, even tender. A new child is not what they expected or even felt ready for, but it’s coming and it might be thing that begins to mend their broken hearts. These touching moments are part of why I like this show so much. What could have been a cheesy moment built on melodrama felt utterly sincere thanks to the strength of the performers, in this case Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. Their palpable chemistry alone is worth tuning in for every week.
Poldark airs Sundays at 9/8c on PBS Masterpiece.