upper waypoint

'Poldark' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Court and Spark

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Photo: Masterpiece

Hi there! You might remember me from Downton Abbey recaps of yore. Since that show wrapped, I've felt a void in my spirit that can only be filled by PBS-approved British imports. So I'm going to try falling in love again; this time, with a show called Poldark that a bunch of you are supposedly crazy about. I have to be honest, I was skeptical at first. But my doubt was no match for this photo, so here I am. I hope you'll join me. 

For those who have no idea what this show is about, I advise you to read my Season 1 recaps. If you're too busy or impatient for all of that, here's the much-abbreviated gist:

Ross Poldark fought in the American Revolutionary War on the British side. As we know, things didn't really work out. Presumed dead, his ex got with his lame cousin because there were apparently no other men around who flaked on the war. Ross returns alive and everyone is supremely inconvenienced by his not-deadness. Ross proceeds to spend a lot of time hanging out with poor people. He even marries one! His scullery maid! And has a baby with her! But don't get too excited, the baby dies of strep throat or something like that. Oh, and there's a former classmate of Ross' who is hell-bent on ruining his life and has one of those faces that's just begging for a knuckle sandwich. At the end of Season 1, said classmate bribes some soldiers to arrest Ross over some made-up nonsense.

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

Dramatic music, dramatic waves, dramatic cliffs, dramatic drone footage, all lead us to the edge of the world where Ross is being led to prison by a bunch of snappily-dressed soldiers. They take him to a tribunal, where a judge reads Ross' alleged crimes aloud.


Charge #1: Leading a blood-thirsty mob to pillage a shipwreck.

Ross' defense: Well...technically, they weren't thirsty for blood, they were thirsty for LaCroix (who isn't, amirite?) and, you know, food to eat. But not blood, no. Next!

Charge #2: Encouraging a riot.

Ross' defense: I mean, what is a riot, really? All these people were doing was stealing tons of expensive cargo and murdering rich people. If that's wrong, then I don't want to be right. Got anything else?

Charge #3: Killing that jerk who cheated at cards and tried to steal your entire inheritance.

Ross' defense: OMG, I WISH!

The judges chat amongst themselves and decide they have had...

drag race i've had it gif

They tell Ross he is going on trial for his criminal good looks and his criminal behavior too. This is all very concerning and all, but can we pause for a second to process the fact that Aidan Turner (Ross) got a haircut? Have we learned nothing from when Keri Russell cut off all her curly locks in the beginning of the second season of Felicity and everyone lost their damn minds and stopped watching the show?!

Anywho, Demelza is at home, inventing the FML acronym. Her baby is dead, but her cute little bed is still right there. Her husband is in prison, where people get gangrene and typhus and homesick. It's too bad that LiveJournal hasn't been created yet, because Demelza has earned the right to write some terrible, teen-angsty poetry right about now.

Before Demelza has a chance to think of something that rhymes with siiiiiiiigh, Ross walks through the door! He's on parole! But he's probably going to be sentenced to prison in five days. Demelza thinks, Ugh, I bet Mercury is in retrograde

Across town, Backstabber Cousin is pretending to be outraged over the charges, as if he didn't spend the entirety of Season 1 sabotaging Ross and wanting him to die in a stampede or avalanche or tsunami. Not buying it, buddy.

At the edge of a cliff, Ross looks off into the distance and proclaims, "A storm is coming." What can I say? Subtlety is not this show's strong suit. But there's shirtless scything so who cares?

Demelza talks to Ross about their dead baby and the trial. Ross is in denial about both and says, You know what would be fun right now? Mining! So they run off to their mine and the miners feel awkward, partly because their boss won't admit he's probably going to jail, but mostly because he cut his hair.

Elsewhere, Malfoy is meeting with a lawyer. He wants Ross tried for murder because Ross doesn't want to be friends. Even his evil uncle is like, Really, dude?

In a poor part of town, Mrs. Pigpen (Ross' former servant) is doing her laundry in a dirty puddle, as one in the 18th century does. Two men from the prosecution try to get her to sell out Ross. She's like:

no drag race gif

In a rich part of town, Pinky Ring (Ross' ex, now cousin-in-law) is unaccompanied (*gasp*). But no worries, evil Malfoy shows up to escort and salivate all over her. She's like, Ew, can you not? This is suede. Also, can you do me a solid and stop trying to get Ross thrown in jail? Malfoy responds, So if I do that, will you be open to me then using this act of kindness to coerce you into making out with me whenever I want? And do you think Ross will finally want to hang out with me? Pinky Ring is like, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ yeah, sure.

Ross meets with Suze Orman's ancestor, who is appalled at the state of Ross' finances. Because he spent all of season 1 hiring people, he now has no money and will leave Demelza with a mountain of debt. Ross doesn't have much to say for himself, other than: My bad!

Back at home, Pinky Ring writes Demelza a letter: Sorry about giving you the strep throat that killed your baby. And sorry about my husband ruining your husband. Wanna come over?

Back in town, some rich dude and a blonde woman pass Ross. Blondie is like, Yum! Who is that?! Rich Dude is like, Just some nobody. Ross catches Blondie doing a double take and thinks, I may be bankrupt and my hairs might be short, but I still got it!

But more important than all that is Blondie's travel companion, a cute little pug!


His name is Horace! I'm in love!

Anyway, Horace's mom, Blondie, is in Cornwall to visit her uncle. The rich dude she's with is running for a seat in Parliament and wants to marry her. She's just not that into him.

On a beach, Mr. Pigpen is passed out drunk (his default setting). The two dudes from prosecution try to bribe him with booze in exchange for testimony against Ross. And Mr. Pigpen is about to give it to them... until Mrs. Pigpen swoops in to say:

no michelle visage drag race gif

The next day, Ross and Demelza agree to accept Pinky Ring's invitation and regret it immediately. Malfoy is there, doing his creepy I'll-help-you-in-exchange-for-bestie-status-and-make-outs-with-Pinky-Ring thing. Ross does not have time for this:

viola davis purse leaving gif

Meanwhile, Tarot Card Agatha is in the corner living for every moment, snacking on popcorn:


When he gets home, Ross calls Malfoy an "upstart poodle." He says some other stuff too, but I couldn't hear over my laughter.

Across town, Upstart Poodle is proofreading a pamphlet he's having printed. It's the page from his Burn Book dedicated to Ross. It basically says this:

burn book mean girls gif

Demelza is out for a walk and stops in on Blondie's uncle. You see, this guy apparently knows the judge who will preside over Ross' trial. She pretends to have gotten queasy as she was walking. You can take the girl out of the street, but you can't take the street smarts out of the girl.

In the mine, Ross takes out all his aggression by hammering a rock really hard without a shirt on. This is a thank you from the show's producers to all the straight woman and gay men watching. Keep the gratitude, coming.

Overlooking his closed mine, Backstabber Cousin whines like a baby about how he sucks at life and wishes he was Ross. Pinky Ring tries to say something reassuring, but is cut off by Backstabber Cousin storming off like the brat that he is.

Across town, Demelza sneakily gets into Blondie's uncle's favor. Parliament Wannabe and Blondie return home just in time to see Demelza leaving, and the former says she must be up to no good because she looks like a "dangerous woman." If by that, he means that she is one of the best pop vocalists of her era, then yes, she is indeed a Dangerous Woman™:


On a heath somewhere, Ross runs into Backstabber Cousin and does that thing where you see an acquaintance on public transportation but really just wanna keep reading your book so you hide behind strangers or just get off and wait for the next bus or train. But unfortunately for Ross, there's nowhere to hide in a big open field and nowhere to go other than off the cliff, which does actually seem like a kinder fate than dealing with this loser. Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying Ross still hates Backstabber Cousin for ruining his business, marrying his girlfriend and killing his newborn.

Over at Pinky Ring's house, Malfoy drops by and slobbers over her some more. He calls her ravishing and then realizes Tarot Card Agatha is still alive and sitting right there. He extends the compliment to her as well and, without missing a beat, Tarot Card Agatha calls him "pasty-faced" and says it's a "consequence of sitting too long indoors fingering coin." MVP!

Backstabber Cousin walks in and whines about Ross not wanting to chit chat like old pals on the heath. Malfoy is like, Typical! Pinky Ring sighs. Tarot Card Agatha thinks, I hate everyone in this room.

Backstabber Cousin shows everyone the page from Malfoy's Burn Book that's making the round and accuses Malfoy of having something to do with it, in the most polite, British way possible. Malfoy returns the favor by calling him bankrupt, in the most polite, British way possible.

In a dirty side street, Mr. Pigpen is drunk as ever and cornered by the prosecutors. Mrs. Pigpen is not around to say:

no michlle visage gif

Over at chez Ross, Demelza is at the piano, playing the first single off of her new album Dangerous Woman. Ross likes what he hears so much that he strips naked and they proceed to have sensual sex for a while (another thank you from the show's producers).

A few miles away, now that he no longer has the money for a prostitute, Backstabber Cousin tries his hand at getting some from his wife. Pinky Ring is not having it:

ew get off me clueless as if gif

The next day, Blue Ball'd Backstabber Cousin looks up at a portrait of his dead father, whose disapproving face sends a clear message:


Backstabber Cousin announces he's going to Ross' trial. Pinky Ring wants to come, but Backstabber Cousin says "court is no place for a woman." I'd like to see you tell that to these women:

Backstabber Cousin is feeling emotional with the trial just around the corner and confesses to kind of being in love with Ross. Pinky Ring is like, SAME! Finally they agree on something.

In a fancy coach, Horace the pug is redefining cuteness.


Blondie is arguing with her uncle over whether she has to be by Parliament Wannabe's side as he finds out if he's been voted into office or not. Blondie says she's going to stay in and eat jellies with Horace instead. Now here's someone with their priorities in order!

Ross arrives to court and finds Malfoy's Burn Book pages all over the place. He accepts his fate: a guest starring role in the next season of Orange Is The New Black:


At the local inn, Backstabber Cousin is complaining about there not being any rooms for him. Ross' doctor friend offers to share his room, but offers in that way you do when you want to be nice, but don't actually expect the person to take you up on it. Backstabber Cousin is all about making things awkward and being inappropriate, so get ready, roomie!

Later, as Doc is getting settled, there is an urgent call. Someone is gravely ill! Let it be Malfoy!

Back at chez Ross, Demelza is packing. Even though Ross forbade her from coming to the trial, she decides:

tumblr_n3a2daPXy81rtszxfo1_250 BEYONCE-GIF-16-1

She hitches a ride with Verity (yay, the Queen is back!), who seems to be much happier now that she doesn't have to live with Backstabber Cousin and be reminded of how old everyone thinks 25 is every single day.

Doc shows up to help the gravely ill person. It's sadly not Malfoy, it's HORACE!



He's been having spasms. Dear Poldark writer, kill off human babies if you must, but not Horace! Never Horace!

Phew! Horace just needs to be carried less. This whole thing was simply a way for Doc to have a meet cute with Blondie. I can live with that.

Ross meets with his lawyer, who advises him to be apologetic. Ross being Ross says, HA HA HA! NO.

In some ballroom, everyone is voting and talking about Malfoy's Burn Book. Backstabber Cousin shows up to confront Malfoy over it and say that, no matter how much money he acquires:

money can't buy you class gif countess

Malfoy's reply:

shut up regina george mean girls gif

In a hotel room, Verity tries to convince Demelza not to go out alone on some mysterious errand because the streets are full of drunkards, since it's Election Day. Demelza is like, I used to be homeless. I got this.

Demelza immediately runs into her born again father, who brings up her dead baby and her soon-to-be-dead husband as evidence of her sins. Demelza responds by hugging him and saying:

god is not real beyonce gif

Back in the room, Verity is minding her own goddamn business when there's a knock at the door. It's Backstabber Cousin, who proceeds to barge in, chug all the booze that can be found, and say things like "How does it feel to be married to a drunken brute?" with zero self-awareness. And because this wouldn't be a Backstabber Cousin meltdown without some whining about Ross, he laments that Ross is so important that people publish Burn Books about him to get him hanged. What about me?? I want a Burn Book! I want to be hanged!

Verity does what Verity does best and serves up a hot helping of Girl, really?:

girl really gif

Demelza finally makes it to her destination, the ballroom where everyone is voting and where Blondie's uncle is hanging out. But not so fast! Malfoy, who seems to be everywhere at once, tells the guards Demelza is "a harlot" and shouldn't be let inside.


At the hotel, an employee lets Backstabber Cousin into Doc's room. The employee wonders if there's something gay going on: "It's a small chamber, sir, and but a single bed!" Backstabber Cousin assures him, I'm not planning on gay stuff, but I am planning on probably committing suicide. The employee is like, Phew! Okay, bye!

In prison, Ross is chilling in his cell, awaiting trial. Malfoy shows up, as he always does. Someone get this villain a FitBit; he gets around! 10k steps before noon, easy. Anyway, Malfoy offers to help and Ross essentially says, Go F yourself. Malfoy rejoices. Now he can tell Pinky Ring he tried to help, but was turned away, and she'll fall madly in love with him and have all the sex. Mmhm, keep telling yourself that.

At chez Pinky Ring, Tarot Card Agatha is -- what else -- pulling tarot cards! Justice, The Tower, Death. Before we can even guess what that all means, we are taken back to the hotel where Backstabber Cousin puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger. I'll let you guess which person in this gif represents me:

survivor smile shocked gif

Back in prison, Ross finds out Mr. Pigpen intends to testify against him. Wow. I wonder if the old lady sees Mr. Pigpen being torn apart by wild dogs in her tarot reading.

In town, Demelza manages to sneak into the fancy ballroom and walks right up to Blondie, her uncle and Parliament Wannabe. Blondie is like, OMG, is your husband guilty?! What did he do? Let's dish, girlfriend! Demelza is like, Ew. A mob roars outside and Parliament Wannabe assumes they're "clamoring" for him. Hmm, clamoring to put your fancy head on a pike is more like it, but go ahead and check it out.

In the pub, everyone is talking about how badass French people are and how fun guillotines seem. They promise to start murdering rich people soon, but first they have to go to court to cheer on Ross.

In the fancy ballroom, Demelza's sweet talking only goes so far. Blondie's uncle just wants to drink his port and chill tonight, sorry. So she decides to talk to the judge herself. Uh oh.

Outside, the election results are being read. It's a tie! So the sensible thing to do is to recount or revote, right? Apparently not. The omnipresent Malfoy is there, whispering in Parliament Wannabe's ear to just sit in the winner's chair (a literal chair) and just act like he deserves it (you know, revel in his white male privilege). So he does. The crowd carries around his chair like he just got Jewish married. But unlike what usually happens at weddings, the crowd also starts throwing feces directly into his face! Dear Cornwall, never change.

alyssa edwards poop gif

The feces instigator is thrown in the jail cell across from Ross. He speaks eloquently about civil rights... until a soldier knocks him unconscious with the butt of a rifle.

Back in the ballroom, Blondie is flirting a little too antagonistically for Doc's liking. She's offended that he's offended. Then he's offended that she's offended that he's offended. Cliff's Notes version: they will be married in two episodes or less.

A few paces away, Demelza is saying all the right things to the judge. OMG, you hate drinking? Me too! What a coinkidink! So anywayyy, what would you say if I told you someone was trying to bribe people into giving false testimonies?? Before the judge can answer, Malfoy slithers up and outs Demelza as Ross' wife. The judge is appalled! Malfoy's heart shrinks another size.

The judge and Malfoy walk approximately three feet away to discuss how important it is to make an example of Ross so that poor people know their place (this place does not involve feces-throwing or basic human rights). This experience is going to make for a killer single on Demelza's next album.

At the hotel, Ross' doctor friend is ready for bed, but his door is locked. The employee is like, Your maybe gay lover is in there. Doc knocks, but there's no answer. The music swells and just as Doc is about to break down the door, Backstabber Cousin opens it, looking a hot mess. He's alive.

unimpressed whitney

Backstabber Cousin tells Doc all about how his gun malfunctioned. He sucks at life and so do his belongings. He then proceeds to ramble about how he's still planning on killing himself, but wants to have a drink beforehand. Doc spends this whole time thinking about how anyone else would have picked up that his offering his room was just a formality. It wasn't a real suggestion. What is wrong with this dude?! Doc just wants a good night's sleep. Ugh!

Back in the ballroom, Demelza yells at Malfoy and calls him out for being a blacksmith's grandson. He calls her out for being a miner's daughter and, soon, a gentleman's widow. Yikes. Lord Voldemort would be proud.

voldemort hug malfoy

The next morning, Backstabber Cousin is fiddling with his gun. Doc is lying on his bed, watching and feeling very awkward.Backstabber Cousin asks, "Ask me, am I cleaning it to put away or do I intend to use it again?" Doc is like, Ummm, are you cleaning it or do you intend to use it again? Backstabber Cousin is like, OMG, thanks for asking! I'm not sure. I might kill someone else or myself. Still deciding. What does a boring lunatic have to do for some attention and validation around here?! Apparently, brag for hours about maybe or maybe not committing suicide.

Outside, Malfoy and one of his Slytherin cronies are planning on stacking the courthouse with loud people who don't like Ross. Goodie.

In prison, Ross and the Feces Thrower shoot the sh*t (pardon the pun; Carrie Bradshaw taught me). They hope they both get justice, but aren't too optimistic. And they shouldn't be because Feces Thrower is found guilty. The judge does not leave much to the imagination with his sentence: "You are to be taken from hence to a place of execution, where you will be hanged from the neck... until you die."

your tone seems very pointed right now gif willam

When Ross enters the courtroom, almost everyone yells "Murderer!" and other fun things Malfoy paid them to say. Other people paid by Malfoy take the stand and say Ross kicked injured people and body slammed puppies, among other evil acts. Speaking of evil, Demelza's dad busts in to call Ross the Devil Incarnate. Cool story, bro; now off you go to the dentist to fix those black teeth.

Demelza starts hyperventilating and runs from the courtroom. Pinky Ring follows her out and blurts out, "I came for Backstabber Cousin." Um, ok. She then says, Sorry I killed your baby with my germs. Is having a dead kid the worst?! There's no real way to respond to that so Demelza blurts out, I'M PREGNANT! That's nice if she is, but it would be awesome if she wasn't and she just uses that line to get out of awkward social situations.

Inside, Mr. Pigpen takes the stand and starts selling Ross out for a few coins. Everyone on #TeamRoss is disgusted. But then Mr. Pigpen changes his story either because his booze is wearing off or just kicking in (not sure what kind of drunk he is). His testimony is thrown out.

The captain of the shipwreck, a reverse Sully if you will, takes the stand. He says the beach that night was like Dante's Inferno (oo, someone took AP English!) and adds that everyone really misbehaved. Ross speaks up and has a...

destiny's child question gif

Ross goes, Hey, Captain dude, remember when I protected you and your men and brought you to my house to keep you safe, even though I had just buried my baby and my wife was on her death bed?

The Captain replies:Elaine-Benes-Yeah-Yeah

Ross looks at the judge and jury and does this:

i told you so stephen colbert

It's Doc's turn to take the stand. He basically says, Hey, guys! I'm a doctor and I can say Ross was kind of nuts that night 'cause of his dead baby and maybe dead wife. Plus, all the drinking he was doing for like a week straight. And the not sleeping for days on end. So yeah, he didn't do it, but if he did, he was just temporarily a little cray cray. Thanks for your time. Bye! Everyone on #TeamRoss wishes Doc had stayed home.

The court takes a short recess and Slytherin Crony asks why Malfoy isn't giddier. Malfoy is like, I mean, it's cool that Ross is going to die for not wanting to be my friend, but I want his mine too. 

veruca salt i want it now

Outside, Backstabber Cousin approaches Pinky Ring to remind her he forbade her from coming and let her know he's still an insanely jealous, insecure prick. Then he walks away from her, as she's asking him a question, just to make sure she didn't forget how awful he is. How long does it take to fix a malfunctioning gun? (Too soon?)

The court regroups and Ross' lawyer tells him to either grovel or be hanged. So Ross gets ready to grit his teeth and apologize, until he doesn't. Hi, y'all. So yeah, there was kind of a riot and some people took things that didn't belong to them.... BUT I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. ENGLAND'S CLASS SYSTEM IS BULLSHIT. SORRY NOT SORRY. I WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN. I'M OUT! Ross drops the mic and sits back down.

Ross' lawyer looks like this:

marcia clark crying

The judge tells the jury, That was a cute speech and all, but he totally did it and I want you to convict him so I can hang him. K thx bai!

The jury takes approximately two whole minutes and comes back with their verdict. The defendant is....





#TeamRoss loses their sh*t, as if Oprah just gave them all cars...or, um, new horse-drawn carriages or whatever:

giphy (12) oprah-audience6yic0l 5191284244_9b4bb75ffa_o oprahgiffavoritethingsprayeramypoehlerhead

Meanwhile, Malfoy and his Slytherin Crony are all:


Swept up in all the hope fulfillment, Verity runs to her brother, Backstabber Cousin, and is like, Yayyyyyy! Also, let's not fight anymore, okay? Life is short and stuff. Despite the wondrous optimism of the moment, Backstabber Cousin can't help but rain on the parade: Yeah, no. I still hate your husband for shooting me in the neck that one time. Verity runs away crying. His magical power is inspiring that reaction in people.

Pinky Ring walks up and has to pretend not to be elated about Ross not being hanged because it might send Backstabber Cousin into another one of his jealous tantrums. Just get a divorce! If it's good enough for Brangelina, it's good enough for you!

Ross and Demelza ride to the beach, where all their poor friends are having a chill bonfire. Everyone rejoices, violins and fiddles are played, the 18th century version of twerking occurs.

Across town, Tarot Card Agatha shows Backstabber Cousin and Pinky Ring a card and proclaims, "Not guilty!" She should open up a stand or something.

Elsewhere, Malfoy is busy doing this:


Slytherin Crony is like, Um, so we tried to kill Ross and it didn't work. Aren't you scared that he's going to try to kill us now? Malfoy is like, Oh sh*t.

At chez Ross, Demelza and Ross run into the Pigpens. Ross is still mad about the whole you-almost-got-me-killed-for-50-cents thing. But it seems as though he'll rehire them tomorrow because he just loves hiring people that much.

In a mansion across town, Malfoy locks and loads a pistol and puts it in his bedside table, as he should. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Demelza tells Ross she is perfectly happy... except that all that she wants is another baby, just as Ace of Base predicted. Ross says now is not a good time. Demelza realizes her strategy for revealing her pregnancy in a cute, fun way wasn't thought out so well, after all. They have sex anyway.

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: He reached Scar-throwing-his-own-brother-to-his-death levels of evil here. It's only a matter of time before Ross uses the Avada Kedavra spell on him, and I will be watching next to Tarot Card Agatha with popcorn in my lap.

HONORABLE MENTION: DemelzaIt's awesome that she tried to sneakily get Ross off the hook several times. If only she was actually any good at being sneaky.

BRONZE: Tarot Card Agatha: Everyone forgets she's still alive and/or assumes she's senile, but -- au contraire -- she knows all, sees all, judges all. She's basically half Nostradamus, half insult comic. Keep on truckin', centenarian!

SILVER: RossHe lives! Well, technically, he doesn't since this is set centuries ago, but you know what I mean. Yay!

GOLD: Horace: If you don't agree with my awarding the number one spot to a dog, scroll back up and take in those photos of the beloved pug one more time. You'll understand.

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 3 Recap: Oops, There Goes My Shirt


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

lower waypoint
next waypoint