Poldark Season 2 Episode 3: Recap and Review

22/09/2016 14:40
BBC/Mammoth Screen/Mike Hogan


I'm sorry? Do you mean posset? No?

"Bosoms. Acres of them, exposed like capons on a platter." Ah, it's Elizabeth's mother, Mrs Chynoweth, describing the fashions in London and Bath, which apparently verge on the indecent.

Without Ruth Teague around to demonstrate we're left to visualise this glorious image ourselves. It's important to do so lest we forget there's a world beyond Cornwall, and it's a world of obscenity and violence.

In fact, there's at least one reference reminding us of this each episode. "I was expecting a small, private gathering," remarks Mrs Chynoweth at Francis and Elizabeth's harvest party. "Instead I find myself surrounded by sans cullottes."

Bingo! If you're partaking in a drinking game, time to down your shot in one.

"Trust me," she continues, as Elizabeth rolls her eyes. "A few crusts will not curry favour when they turn on you. Ask the Marquis de Launay. If you can find his head."

Boom! Mrs Chynoweth bags the best lines this time. Not that we actually see anyone sans cullottes - in the literal sense - or indeed sans anything, although Ross is a bit sans brain: the penny still hasn't dropped that Demelza is pregnant. I mean, where does he think all that wood chopping will lead? Not only that, it's clear he's still has a bit of a thing for Elizabeth.

"You were already perfect to me," says he, after she finds him by the fire in a candlelit room, the ideal atmosphere for romantic unbosomings. That a married man should be saying this to a married woman suggests that when it comes to women at least, Ross is not quite so principled after all.

Demelza overhears them. It's only a year since she and Ross were married and insecurities are still raw. "She is wed to Francis," she reminds him.

"And she seems content to be so," replies Ross. Well, he'd know.

Poor Demelza. Snobby Mrs Chynoweth's unpleasant remarks remind her she can never completely escape her scullery maid past. Despite having saved Elizabeth, Francis and little Jeffrey Charles from the putrid throat, nothing she does is good enough.

It's all taking its toll. "You look pale," says Aunt Agatha, who spends a lot of time informing people of the whiteness of their complexion. "Are you unwell? Get Elizabeth to fix you a rouge."

This is something pasty-faced Tankard could also do with. Jud's unexpected last-minute defence of Ross at the trial has George on the warpath, so he sends Tankard and his sidekick Tom Harry to stalk Jud (played by the awesome Phil Davis) in the woods.

It's a horrible scene. As Tankard looks on, Tom Harry bashes Jud to the ground and... Well let's just say 'side-kick' is the operative word. Tom Harry gets carried away and we know it won't end well for poor Jud.

Or do we? "Now I'm left a widder, all forlorn, without a penny in the world," wails Prudie. After Jud's body disappears from the slab she is even more bereft. Was it body-snatchers? This could have been a brilliant gothic horror twist but somehow, after Francis' fake death last week, I didn't buy it.

And so, in a plot contrivance that doesn't quite convince, Jud's resurrection comes to pass as he regains consciousness in time to catch the end of his own wake. Like Francis, he too seems indestructible.

Back at Nampara, Demelza is paid a visit by Captain McNeil ¬- remember him? He's in the area at the behest of priapic hat-wearer and ironically-named would-be MP, Unwin, advising on matters of local security (McNeil pronounces 'murder' in that Taggart way - what other qualification do you need?)

Ross walks in. "How are you, sir?" he asks McNeil. "On manoeuvres hereabouts?"

Is that what they call it? McNeil is definitely manoeuvring towards Demelza. However, it also turns out that he is there on behalf of spaghetti-armed Sir Hugh Bodrugan, with whom McNeil is staying. Sir Hugh's prize cow Sheba is ill.

"In truth, it was also you I did wish to see," says McNeil to Demelza. "On account of your skill at cow doctoring."

It is a comical moment, not to mention a bizarre plot element, seemingly passed through the great random plot generator in the sky. Mind you, this is the man who at the end of the last series muttered a surreal monologue about black squid, so perhaps it's the sort of thing we can expect from him.

It makes you wonder: what will he say next? Ask Elizabeth to teach trapeze artistry to John Nettles? Tell Francis asked to instruct Tankard in the art of dressmaking?

Anyway, Demelza of course denies she has any skill in cow doctoring. But as we know, she does in fact have many talents, pie making and mindreading among them. After Sir Hugh rather predictably makes a pass at Demelza, Captain McNeil steps in and offers to be her bodyguard.

Not before Demelza offers to sell Sir Hugh her cow. After solicitor Harris Pascoe writes to ask for the interest on his £1, 000 Wonga loan, Ross and Demelza have just 24 hours to raise £400. The only way they can do this is to sell everything they have. Jud's isn't the only vanishing act: soon Ross and Demelza are left with a virtually empty house.

From Ross and Demelza's scarcity to harvest abundance, and bit of sense from Ross: "It suits George to have Francis and I at odds." In a scene of pastoral gorgeousness with freshly-cut wheat and scythes aplenty - hurrah! - Ross and Demelza reconcile with Francis and Elizabeth.

"He is changed," remarks Elizabeth about Francis. "I do not know how or why."

Has he finally realised he's invincible? As Francis plays with his son, it's a heart-warming moment.

Over to scarlet woman Caroline (I so want to call her Lady Caroline) for some more light relief. Dishy Doctor Enys has got wood and Caroline checks him out as he chops it. Then he douses her throat with salt water and pulls out a bone. Caroline is a renewed woman, and Enys too is flushed.

"Must be the ride and the night air," says he.

Time to down another shot, I think.

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