Over at Ross' place, Demelza is screaming while washing her hair at the outdoor spigot. She yells up to Ross' window that she really hates being clean and then storms off, but not before expertly recreating this iconic redhead-with-wet-hair moment:
Across town, Ross' evil former classmate George, who is basically Malfoy from Harry Potter, is worried that the random old dude's suicide will reflect poorly on him. You see, Malfoy and his uncle declined to extend the recently departed's loans, leading to the closing of the mine and all the rest. Malfoy's uncle asks, "Are we in the business of sentiment or profit?" and then blasts Rihanna's "Bitch Betta Have My Money." Point taken.
At this moment, a woman with dyed hair (so she must be a prostitute) emerges because this is her jam, but also because she wants to know if she is excused or if she has to have sex with Malfoy again. He impolitely tells her to be more polite by calling him Sir from now on and sure, he'll take another roll in the hay, thanks.
Back at Ross', the worker who was knocked out by hot eyeliner guy is telling Ross all about the closing of the mine and how his mother and sisters will starve, if he doesn't get another gig soon. Ross agrees to employ him because hiring randoms, despite not having any money whatsoever, has kind of become his "thing."
Ross heads over to his uncle's house and Pinky Ring is, of course, in the window staring down at him as he approaches. Get a life, girlfriend.
Downstairs, Verity (a.k.a. Daisy: The Prequel) is super jazzed that Ross has arrived 'cause everyone she lives with is so awful. Ross announces that he's not moving to London and returns his uncle's money. He misses a great opportunity to do this:
They get to talking about the suicide and Ross shares that he thinks it's worrisome that almost everyone has loans through Malfoy and his Slytherin relative. Ross' uncle is not worried because Malfoy is Backstabber Cousin's best friend, which makes a lot of sense. Ross invites Verity over (maybe he plans to hire her too?), but his uncle quickly shuts down their hangout. She apparently needs to stay home to pour his cream and wipe his butt. #JusticeforVerity!
As Ross leaves, Pinky Ring is still creepily watching from the window. Take up crocheting or scrapbooking, something! She sits down to think about how maybe it wasn't the greatest idea to hook up with her ex's cousin. The aphorism goes: Think of the boring Devil and he shall appear. Backstabber Cousin enters and Pinky Ring tries to avoid him by saying that she's tired and plans to lie down. He asks, "Can I join you?", creepily molests her braid and then basically does this:
On the road, the miners who beat up all those bros last episode find Ross and ask him if he can hire them too. Ross still has zero dollars, but says Probably!
Ross heads to his father's abandoned mine to see if there's anything salvageable to be had there. Backstabber Cousin shows up because the writers of this show never want me to have a moment's peace.
Backstabber Cousin: "Father says you intend to remain."
Ross: "Does that disappoint you?"
Ross says he feels bad about all the unemployed miners. Backstabber Cousin is like:
Ross suggests the possibility of reopening the mine together. Job creation clearly gets him off.
In a backyard across town, Pinky Ring is collecting eggs. Verity is scandalized! Only dowdy girls who are 25 and over are supposed to do menial chores! Pretty girls are meant to spend their days gazing out of windows at the men they wish they were still sleeping with. Everybody knows that!
In town, Ross tells his banker that he wants to reopen the mine. His banker's response:
Later, Malfoy's prostitute comes onto Ross at the pub (wouldn't you?). A banker laughing in your face is kind of a boner killer though so he passes.
On the road back home (so much commuting in Cornwall!), Ross runs into Verity, who has a favor to ask: will he escort her to a ball? She wants to do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.
Across town, Backstabber Cousin is asking the same favor of Pinky Ring: "My dear, tonight's assembly, will you not reconsider? You know how I love to show off my wife to the world!"
The party is lit. No, I mean literally. Candles everywhere.
All the women are fanning themselves and looking at Poldark. Verity warns him that he could have one of these girls naked by the end of this song.
In another room, a bunch of old snobs are tut-tutting about the miners. Why do commoners have to be so loud about their rights? Backstabber Cousin brings up the #AllMenAreCreatedEqual hashtag that is sweeping America. Everyone laughs and says it won't be trending for much longer.
Back home, Mr. and Mrs. Pigpen are taking advantage of Demelza, making her wash their clothes and the floors and give them pillows for their backs and feet. Is there any chance Demelza will develop telekinesis soon and exact revenge on these two, her bro-y family, Ross' uncle, etc? A boy can dream...
Back at the house party, Malfoy follows Ross around saying rude things that initially sound like pleasantries, and Ross says veiled rude things in return with a smile because they're British and this is how rivalries work over there.
Across the ballroom, Verity is thinking about how she's going to be a virgin forever and ever, until she's interrupted by a sea captain! Verity says all the ship-related words she knows: sails and masts. You go, girl.
Elsewhere on the dance floor, the girl from episode one, who talked sh*t about the Poldarks while Ross was asleep in the coach on his way home, shows up and pukes boring small talk all over Ross. His name is no, his sign is no, his number is no; you need to let it go.
Back home, Demelza sneaks into Ross' room and touches all his stuff. She sits at the piano and dreams of being a proto-Tori Amos. She already has a lot of experiences to pull from: the lice, the dog fight, the hot employer. This could work!
Back at the rave, things are heating up between Verity and the captain. He is teaching her new boat words, some of which are downright salacious, like "spanker boom," which is apparently a real thing. Then this happens:
Captain: "I'd really like us to be better acquainted."
Verity: "Me too. ...I should not have said that! What must you think of me!"
Back at chez Ross, Demelza is sneaking back out of his room when Mr. Pigpen catches her and tells her she should go back to her bro-family and that she'll never amount to anything. Where's that telekinesis when a girl needs it?
Back at the fiesta, Ross is cornered by coach girl, who wants to dance. His name is still no, his sign is still no, his number is still no, you still need to let it go.
He ditches her and approaches Backstabber Cousin and Pinky Ring 'cause dealing with them always ends well.
Backstabber Cousin: "Have you come to take my wife off my hands?"
They engage in a fancy do-si-do and everyone is scandalized. Except for Backstabber Cousin who is all derp derp derp, until Malfoy gets in his ear and warns him that he's about to get cuckolded in a major way. He looks at his wife and her ex and is finally like, Ohhh yeahhhh, they are soul mates and I'm just... here.
Pinky Ring is kicking wine back and laughing really loudly with Ross. Verity runs over to say, Um, hi, I might have said something slutty before, but this is way worse! You might as well have dyed hair! Go dance with your husband!
When Verity gets back to her new admirer, the Captain gets fresher by the minute. He wants to meet Verity's father to ask for her hand. Wow. Turns out all you gotta do to bag a husband is let him mansplain boats to you. Spanker boom boom room, here they come! But wait, he must tell her a deep, dark secret before things go any further... Intrigue!
Ross storms out of the party and runs to the inn to find the prostitute. His name is yes, his sign is yes, his number is yes.
After another night of spooning, Demelza and her cute, shy puppy are picking flowers along the cliffs. Demelza spots Ross on his horse trot of shame. He strips naked and goes skinny dipping in the chilly sea (his 18th century spin on the cold shower). He even gets in on this action:
Demelza likes what she sees. (For all the pervs out there, this happens around the 30:15 mark; you're very welcome.)
Later that morning, Demelza has to serve Ross like she hasn't seen his twig and berries. It's hard. (The task of pretending, I mean. Not sure about the other thing.) And she'll have to pretend all day long because Ross invites her to come into town with him. He tells her to get her cloak. She's like, Um, I'm poor, remember? I'm already wearing everything I own.
When they get to town, they split up to run errands. Ross immediately runs into Pinky Ring because duh. He helps her carry some fabric because they're uneducated so textbooks weren't an option. Malfoy lurks in the background, spying, because this town is apparently the size of a studio apartment.
Ross meets up with Backstabber Cousin, who is supposed to help pitch the idea of reopening the mine to a bunch of moneyed men. But, oops, Malfoy has been talking smack in his ear and Backstabber Cousin announces he no longer wants to go. Ross does not have time for this and is like:
At the board meeting, Ross basically says:
But, like Kim, he's pretty so all the men are like, Take our money!
To celebrate his nonsensical victory, Ross buys Demelza her very first bad ass cape and she walks down the street past a bunch of judgmental jerks like this:
Across town, Backstabber Cousin and his dad can not believe what went down at the ball. How could a woman of a certain station act like such a whore in front of everyone?? Pinky Ring eavesdrops from the adjoining room and slut shames herself.
Over at chez Ross, there's a knock at the door. The Pigpens are nowhere to be found (typical) so Demelza has to answer it and it's Pinky Ring, the floozy who dared to square dance with a man that isn't her husband. The horror!
Like in the last episode, Demelza gives Pinky Ring a withering "Girl, are you serious?" look:
Pinky Ring has come to cry in Ross' face about what she overheard. The family knows about their sizzling hot sexual chemistry! The jig is up! Ross is jazzed and is moments away from trying to make out with her, when Mr. Pigpen waltzes in for the c*ckblock. It's a scene snatched from every dorm room in America. Roommates are the worst.
Ross rushes over to his uncle's place to formally announce that he's stealing Pinky Ring back. When he arrives, his uncle, his cousin and the tarot-reading old lady are all distraught... over what a loose woman Verity has become. *record scratch*
Olympic conclusion jumper Pinky Ring sits in the corner like:
The plan is to keep Verity locked up so she doesn't have sex with the captain, who allegedly likes a cocktail every now and then and also maybe sorta beat his wife to death. Verity is a "plain girl" and they need to save her from her urge to get with the only man who's ever hit on her. Ross agrees to help and somehow manages not to hire any new employees. Progress.
Outside, as Ross is leaving, Verity pops up, but oddly isn't wearing her scarlet letter (the embroiderer must still be working on it). She says that her family is lying. The captain barely pushed his wife, who then did technically die, but it was sort of an accident and, despite not knowing his star sign or favorite color, she just knows that he would never ever hurt her.
Cut to Verity and her man hanging out at Ross' house because he loves helping people (if hiring them isn't a possibility).
As Ross handles some heavy bales of hay with his shirt completely on, a worker notices the tops of parasols over the fence. It's the thirsty girl from the ball and her mom. Why would she bring her mother, you ask? Because who else is going to just come out and say: "One only has to taste her syllabubs to know they are succulent."
In case you don't watch The Great British Bake Off, syllabubs are a whipped cream dessert.
However, Ross is not hungry. He tells them NEVER GONNA HAPPEN and walks away (in the politest, British way possible of course).
Back in the house, the captain is telling Verity about his multiple children. Run, Verity! 25 might be too old to be desirable by 18th century standards, but 25 is too young to be a stepmom to a bunch of kids who will hate you no matter what because you're not their dead mom.
Outside, storm clouds are gathering, which, according to the rules of obvious TV tropes, means that sh*t is about to go down.
As expected, Backstabber Cousin and his dad crash Verity's super sexy I'll-sit-way-over-here-on-this-bench-while-you-teach-me-boring-boat-terms-from-way-over-there hangout. Backstabber Cousin challenges the Captain to an epithet-hurling contest. Backstabber Cousin volleys a "Filthy skunk!", but it's no match for the Captain's spike of "Insolent puppy!"
What is Backstabber Cousin to do now, after two long episodes of his masculinity being trampled all over? GUN FIGHT, that's what!
Ross could easily stop this madness from happening, but opts for this approach instead:
Verity tries to put an end to the insanity, but is knocked down by her brother, proving that this has nothing to do with caring about her and everything to do with people thinking he does in fact have testicles.
The men take their paces, turn and shoot. Who's dead?? Is it both? Let it be both.
Nope. Francis got shot in the neck and the Captain is unhurt, minus the pain of how awkward this now is for him. Oops, murdered your brother. Wanna honeymoon in Maui?
Ross rushes Backstabber Cousin's dying body into the house and saves his life, a fact that doesn't stop Pinky Ring from yelling at him nor his uncle from blaming Ross for everything and calling him a disgrace. With friends like these...
And the coup de grace: Pinky Ring is like, Thanks for saving that twerp's life because I forgot to tell you: I'm pregnant with a baby that's definitely not yours, k thx bai!
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: Backstabber Cousin: It was a tight race for Worst Person Ever this week, but B.C. eked out a win for several reasons:
- He gets physical with a woman because he's really mad that another man got physical with a woman
- He's never had a job and doesn't know how to do anything
- He is not smart and so easily manipulated by Malfoy
- He didn't die
- His fragile masculinity
HONORABLE MENTION: Thirtsy Girl's Mom: She's shameless and kind of gross, but both take nerve so hat's off to her for pimping out her daughter so brazenly centuries before Toddlers and Tiaras.
BRONZE: Ross: He heard the world's call for him to take off his shirt and, because he loves to help people, took off all his clothes and even got wet. A true humanitarian.
SILVER: Verity: She deserves better than being born in an age where everyone hates women this much. I hope she finds a time machine or a hidden matriarchal society soon.
GOLD: Demelza: Her self-care regiment is truly inspirational: After a long week of hard work, it's only right to reward oneself with some me time and a skinny dip peep show feat. Ross.
Until next week! If you miss my thoughts on Poldark, follow me on Twitter @xcusemybeauty or read all the other recaps below!
'Poldark' Season 1 Premiere Recap: Stayin' Alive
'Poldark' Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: Oops, There Goes My Shirt