Poldark Season 2 Episode 5 Recap: Blue Christmas


Grief from last week, and recovery, thread their way through this week’s installment of Poldark, as everyone gets blue for Christmas.

Last week, we focused mostly on the death of Francis, because unlike some *other* Sunday night shows that run in this time slot, the BBC and PBS don’t kill their off willy nilly and with supreme gore. But in our grieving for the loss of a fine fellow and his hat wearing skills, we elided over a major development: George bought Ross’ debt.

"Ross: “To Trenwith, to see Elizabeth.”Demelza: “Is Verity’s company not enough for her?”"

Forget basically everything you heard, Ross is about to be ruined. And at Christmas no less! But does that seem to bother him? Well slightly. But does he actually do anything to try and fix it? Well if you count growing the smuggling operation (which is at this point set to blow up in everyone’s faces) then, maybe. But legally? No. Instead he’s taking his money and he’s…throwing it at Elizabeth.

Image via BBC

One would think this would be an impossibility, but Ross has a benefactor he doesn’t deserve. Frankly, I don’t quite understand what any of us have done to deserve Caroline. She’s a picture perfect modeler of hats and period finery, her hair does up in perfect ringlets. She brings oranges to the poor, and money to the Poldark clan right when they need it most, screwing over George is the most delicious manner possible. In that way, she’s a bit like a MarySue–haven’t all of us wanted to just throw money at Ross and shut the George problem up once and for all? All this and she gets her own handsome man (or at least she will!) and one that doesn’t have a Demelza/Elizabeth problem.

"George: “Does half of Cornwall need to hear of this small setback?”"

George may be frustrated by losing out on throwing Ross into debtor’s prison (and his Uncle Cary using Trumpian language suggesting Demelza slept her way into it). But their setback is nothing compared to Enys and the fight he’s about to have on his hands when it comes to getting Caroline’s hand in marriage. See, Caroline might have removed the unwinning Unwin MP fiance barnacle, but that doesn’t mean that her Uncle Ray is about to just let her go off and marry some penniless doctor.

Image via BBC

It was a scene designed to make us cheer on the good Doctor, and make us forget some of his less savory practices with dead bodies. (Not to mention his refusal to be a good boy and set up practice wherever Caroline deems practice setting up to be most convenient). No instead he manages quite possibly the best insult of the evening: “I have gravely mistaken your character!” One might have almost expected pistols at dawn for that remark. Thankfully, Ray is not hot headed enough for such antics and assumes his role as Caroline’s guardian will be enough to hold the young man at bay. Caroline seems to have other plans. Let’s hope they hold up whenever the smuggling plotline comes crashing down.

"Geoffrey: “Why don’t you smile, mama?”Elizabeth: “Smiling makes lines on the face.”"

Elizabeth is genuinely having a blue Christmas. One would think that’s actually quite petty of her, considering that the slowly escalating war between Poldark and Warleggan is leaving her the beneficiary. One side is showering her with the “anonymous” money. The other is sending her child to expensive schools so he doesn’t grow up to be a lowly Doctor who gets rejected by his intended’s Uncle. (Uncle Ray is pulling an “old man rails at clouds” here. We all know that Caroline and Enys are destiny). And yet! Grief does not bow to the logic of being fought over. If anything Elizabeth looks just a little like she’s rather they both go away and leave her alone. Even though we all know if she did, she’d be doing up her hair, putting on her best hat and riding by in an instant to get the attention back.

Image via the BBC

I mean, without them, what is she left with? Aunt Agatha’s tart remarks? (“Rosewater? Do I require a fumigant?” Best response to a Bed Bath and Beyond gift set *ever*). Verity’s inability to go home to her husband and stay there? (Seriously, Verity, I love you, but go HOME). Not to mention her own mother, who finds the gift of a hand knit shawl to be not nearly good enough. Someone should tell her in 2016, such hand made crafts are all the rage, and even have their own website for small businesses.

"Mrs. Chynoweth: “Just the thing for guarding the fire and avoiding society!”"

Aye, there’s the difference between Demelza and Elizabeth that we should never forget. Though Elizabeth settled into her lot in life with a fixed expression that won’t give her face lines, she was brought up to believe that the pinnacle of life is to be out in society. Never forget, when Ross came back, one of the reasons she was marrying Francis because she thought he was the Poldark to provide that. To be in London, to go to balls and parties (however ill advised). Even if Ross were to magically become unmarried tomorrow, he would never provide this. On the other hand, George is a climber, an up and comer. One could see in him at least the possibility of getting this life. Ross can throw money at her all day. That’s not getting her to London, and it’s not going to win him this fight. He’d be better off setting it on fire.

Image via BBC

Speaking of things we set on fire, Ross, now debt free and Elizabeth pay-forwarded decided it was time to spend a little bit more money: on silk stockings for his wife. If Demelza were looking for a way to keep Ross’ attentions at home, this was one way to do it along with another gorgeous musical number, sung delicately by Eleanor Tomlinson. (I do love that they have her sing in the Christmas episodes. It’s a nice touch. Like 1791’s version of Strictly holiday episodes.) We know there’s no way that Ross doesn’t going flying off to see Elizabeth in the morning for one reason or another. But at least they have tonight to make this the bluest Christmas in period television.

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

Next week, tension will come to a head when the most terrifying character who could possibly arrive shows up: the Customs and Excise Officer. Everybody run and hide!