When there is a “viewer discretion is advised” before a PBS show, you know it’s going to be rough. Ross Poldark has gotten worse and worse as a character. This week he goes bottom of the barrel when he becomes a cheater and sex offender. Let this be your trigger warning before you watch the episode or watch this review.
And in a first for Poldark, they have a viewer warning before the episode even begins.
Not sure what to think about that. This is PBS, after all. Nothing gets too steamy.
The episode begins with Ross getting out of going to prison. He’s humble, brings fake witnesses and the judge throws out his case. Dr. Ennis get a 50 pound fine, and they walk away.
Ross tells Demelza he’s not going to be reckless anymore.
I want to believe you, but nothing about your habits tell me that I should.
Demelza finds out that Ross has sold his shares in the mine. He tells her that Elizabeth had no one, so he had to protect her. She tells him that Elizabeth has George and he doesn’t want to believe it.
Of course, Elizabeth is struggling at home, and as tin prospectors start to tear up her yard, her mother has a conniption fit, which turns out to be an extremely debilitating stroke.
Dr. Ennis comes, and after a few minutes, Elizabeth realizes the truth that she will now be her mother’s caretaker.
She’s not sure what to do. She says she’ll care for her mother and her great aunt says, “Who will take care of me? I was here first.”
My favorite character in this whole show.
She wants to call on Ross for help right away, but her Aunt tells her not to bother since he never liked her mother.
So she calls the next best thing, George.
Of course, this gives George the opportunity he has been waiting for, to swoop in and propose marriage to her.
She doesn’t necessarily want to marry George, because ewww.
But he loves her and she’s desperate. She sends him away, but leaves the door open.
Her Aunt comes back in and alludes to the Bible where the Devil offers everything to Jesus. Elizabeth has nothing to offer, not even her heart.
Yes, money isn’t everything Elizabeth.
But being poor is a hard pill to swallow when you are used to so much, and when he comes back, her aunt flips the Devil card and Elizabeth runs right out and makes a deal with him.
She didn’t even have to go to George! George came to her.
Meanwhile, Ross has another explosion in the mine. A new father dies in the mine and he says he’s done with it.
He is in an understandably upset, and Demelza knows that his first love and his worst enemy are planning marriage, but she decides to keep it a secret just like he did with the shares in Warleggen mine.
But she can’t stop this madness, and when he gets home, he has recieves a letter from Elizabeth with the news.
He flips out.
Like all the way loses his mind and Demelza tells him to stay home and sleep on it, not to go over there. But you can’t stop a madman, and off he goes to confront her. He goes to Elizabeth’s house a man unhinged.
He breaks down the door and goes right to her bedroom, she opens the door and lets him in and he tells her off. He can’t believe she will marry George when they still love each other.
He can’t believe it and so he starts kissing her. She says no and tells him to leave but he persists and it’s pretty uncomfortable. Hence the viewer discretion.
In the book this is described as a rape, and I do think in the show, it definitely feels like the start of a rape. But Elizabeth wakes up looking happy and in love in the morning and Ross looks dismayed to go home to Demelza.
I thought it was terrible, and it felt weird that he stayed the night and she was happy in the morning. I felt confused. Maybe that’s how we’re supposed to feel.
Demelza’s feelings, however, are not confused. She waits for him to come home and Eleanor Tomlinson’s acting shines. He tells her he had no choice.
And then she decks him to the ground.
And says she had no choice.
I know George is a devil, but I think Ross is probably as evil, only it’s concealed behind a beautiful face.
Keri is a professional chatterbox who loves watching TV & movies, reading about pop culture, and gawking at any craziness on the internet. You can follow Keri on Twitter.