'Poldark' Season 4 Premiere Recap: You Keep Me Hangin' On

The happy(ish) couple. (Masterpiece)

For those who have no idea what this show is about, I advise you to read my previous recaps. If you’re too busy or impatient for all of that, here’s the much-abbreviated gist:

We're in Cornwall, England during the 18th century. It's bleak. Meet our protagonist, Ross Poldark. After watching all his friends die in the American Revolutionary War and almost dying himself, he returns to find his father dead and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, married to his first cousin. I told y'all it was bleak.

Ross distracts himself from burning everything to the ground by helping poor people, randomly marrying one of them (his maid, Demelza), and scything shirtless.

Karma eventually swoops down and takes care of Ross' girlfriend-stealing cousin; he is murdered... *wait for it* ...by a random puddle! Seriously! Ross and Elizabeth quickly shrug off the death and proceed to bump uglies. Later, Elizabeth gets grumpy over how long it's taking Ross to abandon his wife and children for her, so she marries Ross' arch enemy, Malfoy, while pregnant with Ross' secret love child. What a mess.

Sick of being treated like a disposable AOL free-trial CD, in the Season 3 finale, Demelza decided to give Ross a dose of his own medicine by getting it on with a barely post-pubescent cutie who's slowly going blind. It was hot and kind of sad.

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Oh, and this show also stars a very cute pug named Horace.

Okay, got all that? Great. Let’s do this…

Poldark fans have waited 10 long months for a new episode. How have the writers decided to reward us for our patience?

A gratuitous shot of Ross swimming half-naked, that's how!

Immediately followed by an even more gratuitous shot of a soaked Ross sauntering out of the surf!

And, just in case you haven't gotten your eyeful yet, there's one final gift-wrapped shot of Ross' hot bod.

Touché, Poldark writers. You have our attention.

Ross hears Demelza's laugh behind him and turns to find her canoodling with Prison Bestie. After three seasons of misbehavior, it would serve Ross right to have their love affair rubbed in his face a little bit, but, alas, it's just a paranoid daydream. The real Demelza, flanked by their two kids, greets him.

Demelza: "I saw you swim away."

Ross: "No. I'm still here."

Demelza: "And I."

They both smile.

I know I went on and on about how much I wanted them to break up last season, but I'm still holding back an ugly sob.

Across town, Prison Bestie rereads some of the poems he's written for Demelza. My favorite one from last season:

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Please f-ck me

What can I say? The guy has a way with words.

Prison Bestie suddenly grabs his forehead in pain. I'm pretty sure that's not how going blind works, but okay.

Time to (begrudgingly) check in on whatever evil mess Elizabeth and Malfoy are up to.

Actually, let's not.

Over at chez Poldark, Mrs. Pigpen, the maid, decides to become the 19th-century equivalent of a junk folder by keeping a newly-arrived love letter from Demelza.

Now showing:

New character alert! His name is Jago, which just so happens to be the portmanteau couple name I use for Jafar and Iago from Aladdin. 

Jago gets everyone riled up about merchants exporting grain to Portugal instead of feeding the hungry people at home, and leads a protest.

What do we want?

Bread and maybe even some breakfast cereal that comes with a free toy in the box!

When do we want it?

Um, preferably before we all die of starvation!

In summary:

But the merchants don't feel like sharing.

The starving mob is mighty hangry (we've all been there), so a big brawl erupts. A guard strikes a woman really hard. Before I can even wish for his death, the guard is wrestled to the ground, smacks his head and croaks.

Across town, Demelza finds Prison Bestie's mail! It's another horny poem!

Girl, you know it feels real good
We can do it 'til we both wake up
I wanna sex you up

Okay, fine, those are actually lyrics from a Color Me Badd song, but it's close enough.

Public Service Announcement: Did you know that PBS edits out entire scenes from the American broadcast of this show?

For instance, the Brits got to see Gross Goblin spying on Morwenna's feet through a peephole while touching himself!

Actually, typing that out made me realize PBS is shielding us from having nightmares. Thanks for looking out, y'all! Carry on.

Some rich white dudes are very miffed about the grain throwdown. If there wasn't a gross power disparity between the classes, one of the starving poor people could tell them to get over it with this advice:

Instead, the rich white dudes draw up charges against all the paupers who were present at the smackdown, including Jago and Demelza's brothers, Drake and Sam. Ross offers to round them all up himself (lest we forget, one mere episode ago, he threatened to shoot all of his friends in the street, so they're used to his class traitor ways by now).

Because this season premiere is on steroids and generally doing the most, Jago, Drake and Sam are quickly put on trial and sentenced to death.

Ross races home and decides:

  • this is not the right time to tell Demelza her brothers are about to be hanged.
  • this is the right time to casually chat about whether polyamory is possible.

Ross: "Do you think there's room in a woman's heart for two men?"

Demelza: "Or two women in a man's?"

That's right, D! Don't let him turn things around on you just cause you mercy F'd a cutie with bad eyes!

The next day, Ross goes to the public hanging with no apparent plan. But before we get to the wildly unnecessary capital punishment, can we pause to appreciate this woman fully checking out Ross' butt?

Bless her heart.

Okay, back to all the injustice. Jago, Sam and Drake are marched to their nooses, and Ross decides his only option is to go full-on nuclear disgruntled Apple store customer:

Unlike the woman in the clip above, Ross actually has a point, inspiring one of the judges to announce that he's had a change of heart: I'll be 66.6% reasonable! Drake and Sam can live! But let's still kill Jago 'cause what kind of name is Jago?

The executioner doesn't waste any time. Rest in power, Jago! We hardly knew ye.

Meanwhile, Demelza is over at Prison Bestie's house, trying to give him the It's Not You, It's Me (And Also Your Bad Poetry) talk. Not taking the hint, Prison Bestie shares an extended remix of his horny poem. Demelza doesn't know what to make of the new lines because she just learned to read and write a few years ago, so he gives her the CliffsNotes version: Have sex with me again or I will kill myself. Romantic, and not at all alarming!

All right, fine, let's check in with Elizabeth. She's still drinking liquid Xanax (whatever helps you forget all the evil stuff you've done!), she's thinking about having another kid (maybe this one will actually be related to the guy she's married to this time!) and she's planning on moving away from Cornwall for good.

Now that that's out of the way, let's cleanse our palates with a character we all love and adore. HORACE THE PUG!

Has Horace been working out? He looks good!

Apparently, something other than Horace's natural beauty is happening in this scene. Blondie and Doc are talking about reproducing. Horace barks wildly.

I am fluent in Horace, so I'll translate: Kids?! I object! What am I, chopped liver?! (Mmmm, chopped liver.) But for real, I don't need some rugrats getting jam all over my gorgeous coat and tugging at my ears and stuff. Ring the alarm, I've been doing this too long, and I'll be damned if I see another child on your arm.

Horace makes a convincing case.

Am I doing too much?

Maybe.

Will I stop?

Now that I got that out of my system, let's get back to the action. At chez Poldark, Ross and Demelza are in couples therapy, minus the therapist. After a calm and frank conversation about their respective lovers, Ross admits he has taken Demelza for granted (ya think?!) and says he now realizes she is indispensable, irreplaceable and the better part of him (again, ya think?!?).

But has this epiphany arrived too late to save their marriage?

Demelza cuddles up to Ross by the fire and says she hopes not.

End scene!

After every episode, it’s only right to reward characters who’ve impressed and diss the ones that haven’t, so here goes:

PIECE OF COAL: Malfoy and Elizabeth. SCRAM!

HONORABLE MENTION: Horace the Pug. I can't wait to vote for him in 2020.

BRONZE: Random Lady at the Hanging. Innocent men are about to die and she's got man buns on the brain? I respect that.

SILVER: Ross. Congrats are in order! He didn't treat his wife like crap for one whole episode! Keep it up! Or else.

GOLD: Demelza. Who knew bedding (or in this case, sand dune-ing) a younger man was all she needed to do to access Ross' love? She shall heretofore be known as the patron saint of having one's cake and eating it too. #Goals!

Until next week! If you miss my thoughts on Poldark or pop culture in general, follow me on Twitter @xcusemybeauty, listen to my podcast The Cooler, or read all my other Poldark recaps below!

More recaps:

'Poldark' Season 4 Episode 5 Recap: No Tears Left To Cry

'Poldark' Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: Cry Me A River

'Poldark' Season 4 Episode 3 Recap: Homeward Bound

'Poldark' Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: Ready to Run

'Poldark' Season 3 Finale Recap: Look What You Made Me Do

'Poldark' Season 3 Episode 7 Recap: I Wanna Sex You Up

'Poldark' Season 3 Episode 6 Recap: You Give Love A Bad Name

'Poldark' Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The One That Got Away

'Poldark' Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: Break Free

'Poldark' Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: Kiss the Girl

‘Poldark’ Season 3 Episode 2 Recap: Voulez-vous Coucher Avec Moi?

‘Poldark’ Season 3 Premiere Recap: Same Old Mistakes

‘Poldark’ Season 2 Finale Recap: Burn Baby Burn

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 8 Recap: Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 7 Recap: I'm In Love With A Monster

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 6 Recap: Informer

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 5 Recap: Before He Cheats

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: Sink or Swim

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: Miss Independent

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: You Don't Bring Me Flowers

'Poldark' Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: Court and Spark

 'Poldark' Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: Send My Love to Your New Lover

‘Poldark’ Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Oops, There Goes My Shirt

‘Poldark’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Bang Bang

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‘Poldark’ Season 1 Premiere Recap: Stayin’ Alive

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