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

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Photo: Masterpiece

Last episode, fragile masculinity led to several guns going off, but who cares about all that 'cause Ross went skinny dipping! Will Ross realize that, instead of reopening the mine, he could make more money by converting it into a spot for hipsters to buy overpriced avocado toast and fresh-pressed juices? Will Verity end up joining the village prostitute's #squad, since everyone already thinks she's a woman of the night? Will Pinky Ring's baby end up looking like Ross because that's how penetrating his gaze is? Only one way to find out! On with the show!

It's opening day for Ross' mine and the whole town shows up for a hootenanny (actually, there's no music; I just really wanted to use the word hootenanny). Ross has hired everyone within a 15 mile radius because, like I said last episode, he really gets off on job creation. Ross does not use a huge pair of scissors to cut a red ribbon, which is a missed opportunity, if you ask me.

Some old dudes watch Demelza pour Ross some wine from the sidelines and wonder if the rumors of them getting it on are true. Both agree Ross would be a fool if they weren't.

On a hill, Ross' uncle and wimpy cousin try to decide if they're still mad at Ross. Uncle decides nah.

Uncle: "He saved your life! Time for you to demonstrate it wasn't wasted."


preach gif

But wait. It appears as though I was a bit too hasty with the Encouraging Preach Hand™. Uncle didn't mean that Backstabber Cousin should help Ross. He instead wants him to make sure Ross' mine doesn't do better than theirs. They ride off without attending the hootenanny because why stop being a-holes when they've been so good at it for two full episodes?

Across town, Pinky Ring is reading a book because there wasn't really much else for a woman to do in those days. She suffers a pain in her pregnant belly. As someone who is still not over Sybil's death from preeclampsia on Downton, this is very triggering for me.  #HaremPantsForever

Over at chez Ross, Demelza breaks up a physical fight between the Pigpens because they've been drinking rum. Mrs. Pigpen fakes a sprained wrist so Demelza will have to do all the chores. If Verity ever finds that matriarchal society, I hope she invites Demelza to come with.

At the mine, there is concern over some boy named Jim. You see, he's been poaching, which is illegal, and he also found time to knock someone up. Ross is so good at helping people by this point that he hires both the boy and his baby mama to fix up an old shed that they will then live in, then arranges for Jim to ask this girl's father for her hand and plans their wedding, all within the span of two minutes. You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce... and Ross Poldark. Do something with your life.

Later, Demelza is nervous about her first foray into cooking. She serves Ross some sort of savory pie that she glazed and everything. Ross takes his time masticating and making the this-sponge-is-a-bit-too-moist face, just like that rude bald judge on The Great British Bake Off.

Ross: "So Mrs. Pigpen's recovery will take some time?"

Demelza: "About a month or so, sir."

Ross: "Have it delayed as long as possible."

great british baking show yay gif great british baking show yay gif 2 great british baking show yay gif 3

Over at Verity's Den of Sorrow, she's hanging out with Pinky Ring, needle-pointing (zzzz). I can't see what Verity is working on, but it's most likely fancy lettering spelling out: I'm going to die a virgin.

Pinky Ring is like I wish you would get over your almost husband. Being super dramatic about boys is kind of my thing. Verity considers decking her, but right then Pinky Ring has another weird pregnancy pain so the brawl must wait.

In town, Jim's wedding is already happening (I told you Ross works quickly). Everyone's having such a good time that no one pauses long enough to be like, Ew, Jim married a literal child.

poldark wedding


A few paces away, a priest is lecturing Ross about how he should give up his fornicating ways for a proper marriage. Ross is probably thinking, Someone just married a 10 year old and you're worried about me having sex with consenting adult women?

Ross ditches Mr. Holier Than Thou and watches Demelza and other poor people do the 18th century version of twerking. It looks fun so he joins in and looks at Demelza in a way that suggest they'll be fornicating pre-marriage very, very soon.

Meanwhile, Pinky Ring primly pushes a human being out of her body. It's a boy so everyone is pleased.

Uncle: "The line continues! Well done, my boy."

Backstabber Cousin: "Oh, thank Pinky Ring. She did the work." (OMG, is Backstabber Cousin a feminist?!)

Doctor: "Ah, women." (Nothing good can follow this phrase). "They make a song and dance about it, but if things are properly managed..."

beyonce mad

Someone hold me back.

Back at home, Ross finds a letter announcing the arrival of his ex's baby. He secretly wishes he had let Backstabber Cousin bleed out after that duel in his backyard.

The next day, there's a fancy let's-all-get-drunk-and-touch-the-new-baby-with-our-germy-hands cocktail hour. Ross shows up, ready to put a hex on the rugrat à la Maleficent. Everyone gawks and imagines how much cuter the baby would have been with Ross' genetics. Such a shame.

Malfoy pops up with his miserable uncle to say rude things about poor people and Ross' mine. Pinky Ring's mother slides in with her own classist BS. Ross deals with these people expertly:

chappelle show diss gif

Ross walks over to Pinky Ring and Backstabber Cousin to get the whole pretending-to-be-happy-for-them thing over with. Backstabber Cousin, the least perceptive person on the planet, is like, HOLD THE BABY I MADE WITH YOUR EX! ISN'T THIS FUN?!

Pinky Ring takes it a step further and tells Ross she wishes he could be the child's godfather instead of Malfoy. I wish Demelza was here so she could serve up another one of her "Girl, are you serious?" looks.

Malfoy whisper some sweet nothing into Backstabber Cousin's ear and B.C. goes from unaware dope to jealous homicidal psycho in less than 2 seconds:

francis poldark psycho

Stare at him staring, while listening to this:

But who is he kidding? If he couldn't kill a random middle-aged captain, there's no way he's taking down Ross Adonis Poldark.

Uncle gives a speech all about how this new baby named after him proves that his lineage is thriving and will continue forevermore... and then has a heart attack. The old lady with the tarot cards doesn't even need to bring them out to say this isn't a great omen.

As that harlot Verity selflessly tends to her father, Backstabber Cousin just stands there, still doing that staring like a murderous maniac thing:

francis poldark sucks

On his way home, Ross overhears the thirsty girl from the ball, her mother, and Pinky Ring's mother all gossiping about how he's probably sleeping with the help. When he storms past them, thirsty girl's mom yells after him: "Ross Poldark is no gentleman!" This is not the way you treat a war hero! This is also not the way you persuade a war hero to marry your rude daughter.

Upstairs, Pinky Ring puts her cursed baby to bed and is about to enjoy some precious me time, when Backstabber Cousin comes in and insists on dry-humping her. Pinky Ring is like, Dude, I literally just had a baby, can we not?, which evokes a man child tantrum about how he's sure she wishes their baby belonged to Ross. Okay, I can get down with a glacier-paced love triangle (see: my high school obsession with the WB show Felicity), but this is getting out-of-hand and frankly boring. I hope Poldark has more to offer than this.

Backstabber Cousin storms out of the bedroom and finds another woman to bully, this time it's Hester Prynne! Uh, I mean Verity. He accuses her of trying to eavesdrop at his keyhole, taking Ross' side and knowing diddly squat about how marriage is actually "misery." In essence, he tells her:

you're a virgin who can't drive clueless tai gif

Verity rightly thinks that's way harsh, especially 'cause he's the reason she has yet to find out how miserable marriage is. She looks at the sea captain's painted portrait hidden in a locket. He's still creepy looking.

Across town, Jim's child bride complains to Demelza about how her husband is still poaching and gonna get himself locked up. And she can't count on supporting herself with a check from MTV's Teen Mom because the channel and the show haven't been invented yet!

Later that day, Uncle tells Backstabber Cousin he needs to start working. Backstabber Cousin is like, Work? Me? But I don't know how to do anything! Uncle insists so Backstabber Cousin heads to his mine and tries making small chat with the workers... while seated on his horse, wearing a top hat. The poor people spend their day's allowance of side eye on him.

That night, Ross gives Demelza a stellar employee review. She always anticipates his needs and works the fields like no one else. Demelza almost brings up that it's unfair that she makes 79 cents to Mr. Pigpen's dollar, but instead brings up Jim's poaching. Ross responds the only way he knows how: I'll hire him to do something else for me! That should solve it! Suze Orman thinks it's a very bad idea to hire hundreds of people when you are already bankrupt, but alas, she won't be around to tell Ross that for another couple of centuries.

The following day, Child Bride shows up to cry in Demelza's face. You see, Jim went poaching again and his stupid chronic cough got him caught.

Ross runs into a phone booth, twirls around a bunch and comes out Super(AdvocateForPoorFolk)Man! Off the caped crusader rides to convince the rich person whose pheasants Jim was trying to steal to drop the charges. But he's too late! Jim is already set for trial! And the rich dude hopes they hang him! Ross returns home to tell Demelza and says, Ugh, rich people are the worst!!! Demelza responds, I know, right?!

Ross goes to pick up Child Bride to attend the trial, but she's in labor because her life doesn't suck enough right now. Ross enters the court and asks a different rich dude if Jim's bad lungs might preclude a prison sentence.

Rich dude: "No good will come of being sentimental of such folk. They're a different breed! A different breed!"

how dare you mindy kaling gif

Homeboy said it twice, in case the first time wasn't infuriating enough.

Ross takes the stand to combine his good looks with a rendition of Jim's sob story in order to emancipate good ol' Jim. The old bewigged dudes are not buying any of it. He's too sick to go to prison, but he's not too sick to run around stealing pheasants and knocking up tweens? This is not going well.

And things aren't going that much better in a field near chez Ross. Demelza's dad and his black teeth are back again. This time, he's wearing a nice suit because he got married and started believing in god! Unlike Jesus, he's not very understanding or compassionate and goes right into accusing Demelza of giving into the Temptation of the Flesh (Ross' flesh, that is) and being touched by the Devil. Demelza defends herself with a statement that could easily be taken the wrong way: "He's my master and I'm his servant!" #50Shades, anyone? Demelza's dad says he'll be back tomorrow to fetch her.

Back at court, the judges announce they've decided to take Ross' testimony and cute face into account. They will grant young Jim some leniency. Before Ross has the chance to flip his hair in triumph, the judges proclaim: TWO YEARS IMPRISONMENT!

phoebe friends shock gif

Jim immediately starts coughing. You couldn't have done a little more of that during deliberation? It's too late now!

Ross sees red and decides to go all the way off. His rant is basically this:

Ross heads to the pub to get alcohol poisoning. It isn't long before the prostitute shows up, but Ross declines this time. On his way out, he sees her mounting someone else... IT'S BACKSTABBER COUSIN!!!

mr bean shocked gif

Prostitute: Poldark, you say?

Backstabber Cousin: Not a Poldark. THE Poldark!

Prostitute: What other Poldark is there?

Backstabber Cousin: *aroused, erotic sigh*

Backstabber Cousin is totally the guy who gently weeps, while having sex. He's also the type of guy who ends up dying mid coitus. We can only hope...

Back at the ranch, Demelza is bummed she has to leave Ross and all his cool things. She says goodbye to each one and then pauses when she finds a beautiful gown hidden in a chest. She tries it on because how else is Ross going to find her in it and freak out?

Right on schedule, Ross comes home and starts screaming for Demelza. His back is turned so maybe she can get away with serving him without being spotted? Ross rants about poor imprisoned Jim and the terrible state of the justice system, while Demelza tries to tiptoe out. But of course he sees her at the last moment. What ensues is essentially the Beauty and the Beast scene in which the Beast freaks the F out on Belle for touching his stuff:

Eventually he calms down enough to rub her face and kind of sort of apologize and... MAKE OUT WITH HER!


Demelza immediately blames herself because that's what the patriarchy has taught her to do and Ross yells at her to go to bed because that's what the patriarchy has taught him to do.

A few minutes later, Demelza knocks on his bedroom door.

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She asks him to unlace her corset.

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He does so while breathing very heavily on her neck.

raw (4)

He mentions how everyone gossips about them getting it on and how they would be proving those a-holes right. "Then let it be true," she responds.

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And they proceed to have crazy sex all night long.


Wow. Poldark is out-doing Downton with all these twists and turns! Even super boring plot points like whether to merge hospitals or whatever took Downton seven entire episodes to settle.

The next morning, Demelza creeps out of bed and we get a lingering shot of Ross without his shirt on because the producers care about straight women and gay men demographics.

Over at Pinky Ring's house, it's revealed that Backstabber Cousin did not come home last night. Oooooohhh boy.

Across town, Ross grumpily uses a scythe without his shirt on. The infamous scene that set Twitter alight and got people interested in the show in the first place! It's finally happening! And, again, because the producers know who's watching, they revel in the moment by utilizing slow motion. Wow.

Demelza is hiding in the field nearby, watching his sweat-glistened body work the field, smiles to herself and thinks, I tapped that.

Because every party has a pooper, Pinky Ring approaches in the distance. UGH. CAN WE NOT?

Ross puts on his shirt and returns home to see what she wants.


Turns out she wants what she always wants: to complain about her marriage. You made your choice, girl. Now scram so Ross can get back to the fields!

Demelza accidentally barges in and is crushed. She offers Pinky Ring flowers because what else do you do in this kind of awkward situation? Pinky Ring doesn't want them. "They're fading already. Corn flowers are like that." This is 18th century speak for "You're basic."

Pinky Ring finally decides to go home (yayyy!) and Ross sees her out. Crushed, Demelza runs off with her cute, shy puppy. Ross chases her down and asks why she's running off. He's nice to look at, but not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Demelza explains that, after last night, she can no longer be his servant. Ross agrees.



End scene! Drop mic! What just happened?! Ahh!


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: I'm going to leave this section word-for-word from last week because it all still applies:

  • His fragile masculinity
  • 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 gets physical with a woman because he's really mad that another man got physical with a woman
  • He didn't die
  • Etc.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ross: Thanks for the shirtless chores, but go easy on the blind rages.

BRONZE: The Prostitute: She's an entrepreneur with good business acumen. Get them coins, girl.

SILVER: Verity: It's good of her to keep taking care of her a-hole dad who ruined her chance at marriage just last episode. Hang in there. It gets better... in a couple of centuries... kinda.

GOLD: Demelza: She managed to lose her virginity to Ross and marry him over the course of two days. Props.

Until next week! If you miss my thoughts on Poldark, follow me on Twitter @xcusemybeauty or read all the other recaps below!

More recaps:

‘Poldark’ Season 1 Premiere Recap: Stayin’ Alive

'Poldark' Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: Bang Bang


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

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