Poldark Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: The One Where Ross’ Wishes All Come True


This week’s tragic episode of Poldark saw all of Ross’s dreams made reality, even the ones he would never admit to having.

Didn’t I say that all that happiness would be followed by the utter collapse back into despondency and despair? In the world of Poldark, the plot giveth and the plot taketh away. And where the plot has always giveth to Ross, and his naked torso and long luscious locks, it has taketh away from Francis. His child-like joy at the second lease on life was short lived after all. The premiere might have faked us out. But the midseason showstopper twist, which made sure to mention the year long time jump in case anyone missed we have moved from Book 3 Jeremy Poldark and into Book 4 Warleggan wasn’t going to be so kindly. The opening scene of Francis and Ross running and playing as children made certain of it.

"Francis: “You will never again set foot in my house. Nor approach me or my family, including my son. He is no longer your godson. We are no longer your friends. You may turn us out of Trenwith if you wish. It will be a small price to pay to escape the noxiousness of your acquaintance.”"

It being Francis’ last turn with us here in the fantasy Poldark land, we got as much of his as we could have hoped on a show where the name of Poldark on the title card doesn’t actually refer to him. He beat Warleggan at his own game of trying to bring down Ross’ smuggling operation. With verity conveniently returned after Francis’ forgiveness last week, there was the touching final set of scenes as he left Elizabeth that morning to go down to the mines, and then another when he stopped in for a heart to heart with Demelza over the fact that Ross and Elizabeth would really like to sleep with each other behind their backs. Because why the hell not? He always despised and looked down upon her, so let’s make sure that’s not a thing anymore before killing him off! (For the record, Demelza’s slightly bewildered and not altogether trusting face as Francis lectured her about her self-esteem, when the real problem is that Ross still lusts after Elizabeth expressed everything I was thinking in that scene.)

Image via BBC

So much for Kyle Soller then! We hardly knew ye sir, but your hats were a marvel. Perhaps we might be inclined to suspect that the production removed him so soon lest the UK audiences at home put together that Stoller was in fact an American (from Bridgeport no less!) But in truth, this was a moment to remain faithful to the books. Francis’ time was up on the page, on our screens and in our hearts. Only a season and a half ago it would have been everything Ross Poldark ever wanted….

….and who is to say that’s not still the case?

"Elizabeth: “Is it so so astonishing that a woman who changed her mind once would change it twice? Cannot a woman love two men?”"

Well Elizabeth, that’s a hell of a thing to have uttered in the same episode as the one that saw your husband kick the bucket. And yet, here we are. House parties do seem to bring these sorts of things out in people. The last one saw Elizabeth smartly dismissing Ross before things got out of hand. This one….less so, but perhaps she felt safer, since they were at someone else’s engagement party….or non-engagement party as the case may be.

Image via the BBC

Yes, when it came time to announce Caroline Pevenen’s inevitable engagement to the unlucky Unwin, there was not engagement because there was no Unwin. What did she say to him just off camera to make him storm off into the night? Does it matter? Unwin would never had her hand or her heart. That belongs to the good Doctor Enys. As does the good Doctor’s to her. Their budding romance and promise of Caroline is a steady presence, providing hats, pugs, and oranges galore going forward was one of the few bright spots of the evening. (And the scene between them where Caroline dropped the 1790s Sindy doll act one of the sweetest.) Even though it left me with many questions, most importantly–she’s not of age yet? So she’s supposed to be 17? (Gabriella Wilde is 27, which adds to the problem of the age being startling unbelievable). Poor Enys will have to wait to know a woman a while longer yet I’m afraid.

"Caroline: “Did they not marry for love?”Warleggan: “Allegedly.”Caroline: “Oh dear. How reckless.”"

But while Enys may have to wait a while (or at least until the next episode, considering the pace we’re keeping) before all of his dreams are realized, this was the episode where Ross finally got everything he ever wanted. He still has Demelza eating out of his hand. He saw George frustrated and miserable, unable to get to him or Francis, no matter how hard he tried, or how much he pranced about in “Fight Club 1791”. (Yes George has his promissory note, but we trust that will get solved before too long.) He has a son, and now he has proof that Elizabeth is his if he can make it work…and Francis conveniently out of the way.

Image via BBC

It doesn’t get more perfect than that for a man of his era. Nothing left to do but take a bath.

Not that this is how we ended. A proper send off for Francis was in order, including a grieving Ross cursing him for never learning to swim, followed by a full scale funeral. The hats were delicious, as always. The violin player was too, but I wish they had allowed him to play alone, instead of having the full scale soundtrack swell in the background. And while Elizabeth cried for the loss of her security and one of the two men she loved dearly, Demelza’s eyes read everything she feared was coming true.

Image via BBC

So much, by the way, of that degree of Francis telling George to never step in his house again. So much for all the things that Ross and Francis were going to achieve together. So much for any constraints that may have somehow managed to keep Warleggan at bay. (Not that there were many.) It’s been clear for weeks now that George has been trying to get Elizabeth into his bed in exchange for keeping Francis’ debts away from their door. Now that she’s a widow, and one who will be looking for protection for her son, as well as the fancy London life that Francis never provided, the odds just grew substantially in George’s favor. After all, it’s not like Ross can marry her himself, unless Demelza also conveniently drowns.

Next: Poldark Season 2 Episode 3 Recap “Rebel Rebel, You’ve Torn Your Dress”

Next week: Demelza will not conveniently drown. Instead she’ll be working to keep the fires burning at home and Ross’ attention with her, while the real power plays between George and Ross over Francis’ grieving widow will begin. Meanwhile, that whole plotline about the smugglers and the whistleblowers will pick up steam, and Enys and Caroline heat up as well. Hey ho, a jolly old Christmas time.