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

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Photo: Masterpiece (Photo: Masterpiece)

Last time on Poldark, Malfoy almost gouged Ross' eyes out with his thumbs, Demelza almost gave birth in a boat, and an assortment of boring mining things happened. Will Ross call up his buddy Suge Knight and have Malfoy killed once and for all? Will Demelza finally surprise drop the album she's been working on? Will a witch transform Horace the Pug into a really hot dude that I can marry? Only one way to find out! On with the show!

It's not an afternoon in Cornwall if a poor person isn't being arrested. This time, it's a dude named Ted. Someone within his inner circle betrayed him. It could literally be anyone because 99% of the denizens of this county are the worst. (Infuriating historical side note: The prick who finked on Anne Frank and co. was never discovered or persecuted. Karma is a myth.)

Over at chez Ross, Demelza and Ross' brand new son is already walking, so some time has passed between episodes. Enough time for Ross to have gotten over his man baby antics? Ha! Nope! He's still doing his You can't tell me what to do! You're not my mom! bit with Demelza. This time, they're arguing over whether it's a good idea for Ross to attend Ted's trial, considering that he's part of the same illegal trading #squad. Ross basically plugs his ears and says La la la, I can't hear you! I'm going and that's that! I do what I want!

Across town, Blondie is back after a year in London. The only reason I care is that she brought Horace the Pug with her. He seems to be in good spirits! And he's craving some marzipan. Aw, never change, dream pup!



Oh, and, in case you care, Blondie's uncle is annoyed at Parliament Wannabe for not being able to seal the deal in getting Blondie to agree to marriage. What don't these men understand? A human husband is completely unnecessary when the canine variety is way cuter and far more loyal.

Over at Pinky Ring's house, Tarot Card Agatha has a chronic cough. Nooo! Don't you dare leave me alone with these people, you wonderful broad. If the Dowager Countess can defy science and survive long enough to be in every Downton Abbey episode, so can you!

It's time for Ted's trial because the town gallows aren't going to fill themselves. The judge wants to sentence Ted to death because why not? But -- plot twist -- Backstabber Cousin is randomly a magistrate and urges the judge to have some chill. The judge is convinced (probably due in part to the cute little wig Backstabber Cousin is wearing) and only sentences Ted to three months of hard labor, which is basically summer camp to these people.

In the center of town, Doc runs into a Horace-less Blondie. She's surprised all the voodoo dolls she's made in his likeness haven't had any effect on him. Someone please find a working time machine and send this girl a copy of He's Just Not That Into You. She needs it so desperately.

Having heard about Tarot Card Agatha's ailment, Verity decides to come stay for a while. Tarot Card Agatha and I are both super stoked to have her back.

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Across town, Malfoy's uncle is snorting drugs. He's also plotting a new evil scheme. The sky is blue. (Or overcast, I guess, since this is Cornwall.)

That night, Blondie's uncle is throwing a rave to announce Blondie's engagement. Before everyone adorns themselves in glow-in-the-dark accessories and engages in whatever the 1785 version of twerking is, dinner is served. For some reason, all the couples are split up. Demelza has to deal with being bookended by Blondie's slobbering uncle and Ross' slobbering bestie from the war (who apparently doesn't own any regular clothes because he's always wearing the same uniform).

Meanwhile, Ross is seated next to his ex, Pinky Ring. They don't waste any time bringing up how they both wish they could have sex with each other. All of a sudden, Pinky Ring is really into polyamory: "Can not a woman love two men? Can not a man love two women?"

After dinner, Blondie trolls Parliament Wannabe so hard that he runs away from the party. No one is bothered in the least that the engagement party is missing an engagement. Ross, Demelza, Backstabber Cousin and Pinky Ring all engage in a do-si-do type of dance, which involves wife swapping. Pinky Ring's poly fantasies are one step closer to coming true.

The next day, a fight breaks out in the mine. The workers are accusing some dude named Nick of being the betrayer. Ross gets involved because that's what he loves most in the world. Apparently, Nick has a history of being a terrible human being. Remember Jim from season 1, who got thrown in jail for poaching and died of typhus before he could meet his own baby? Yeah, that was this guy's fault. And remember when Ross was on trial and was almost sentenced to death? This guy took money from Malfoy to testify against him. So, um, why did this fight take this long to happen? KILL HIM!

Ross just might because Nick calls him a poser and says that having sex with a "scullery maid" doesn't equate to knowing the first thing about the poor man's struggle. Ross promptly head butts him and then punches him in the face.


Across town, Malfoy is practicing his best Mortal Kombat moves in heels again. His uncle interrupts by unveiling his latest scheme: he managed to buy a promissory note that says Ross owes £1,000. They will now use this to ruin our curly-haired hero. Here we go again... This town needs a movie theater or a bowling alley or something. Idle hands and what not.

Malfoy runs over to Pinky Ring's house with yet another proposition: he won't do anything evil with the promissory note, if she becomes "friends" with him. That's code for third base, if not a homer. She says she'll think about it, especially now that she's poly.

On his way out, Malfoy runs into Tarot Card Agatha, who doesn't waste any time talking smack about how she's disliked him and his terrible clothes since he was a boy. Go in, Agatha, go in!

Believing she's deaf, Malfoy says truly evil things right to her face: "There should be a law to kill off old crones. If you were the last of the Poldarks, I'd do it myself. I hope when I next call you'll be six feet below."

WOW. You can try to kill off Ross all you want, but going after my girl, Agatha? NOPE.

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Over at chez Ross, his bestie from the war drops in on Demelza. He basically says, Ross headbutted this dude, which makes it plainly obvious he's tied up in this illegal trading stuff. Make him stop or I will have to hang him. Cool? Cool. By the way, this tea is amazing. Bengal spice?

In town, Doc runs into Blondie again. OMG, JUST MAKE OUT ALREADY. He tries walking right past her, but she stops him in his tracks by apologizing for hoping poor people die and all that jazz. He promptly forgets that she has no soul and confesses his love for her because she's pretty. Or maybe it's because shacking up with her means playing with Horace the Pug any time he wants. The second reason is totally valid.

Back at Demelza's, Ross blames her for the War BFF's visit. Surely it's her flirting that keeps him coming around and not all of his illegal troublemaking.

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Across town, Backstabber Cousin finds out about Malfoy's visit and heads off to make amends or confront him or something. No one is paying attention to Tarot Card Agatha, who says: "Wished me dead, he did. Called me old crone. BIG mistake!"

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Backstabber Cousin drops in on Malfoy and uses a lot of words, including the term "noxiousness," to get a simple message across: We are never ever ever getting back together. I hope you die. Later!

Back at chez Ross, things are VERY WEIRD. Despite the fact that he just accused Demelza of being a flirty floozy, she's giving him a sponge bath. Ross keeps bobbing up and down and making I'm-getting-an-underwater-hand-job faces.

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Good for him, I guess.

He's not the only one getting it on. In a forest, Doc meets up with Blondie. He confesses to being socially awkward and she's like, OMG, me too! Then they make out next to a horse's butt.

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Early the next morning, Backstabber Cousin tenderly caresses a sleeping Pinky Ring. Their son wakes up and Backstabber Cousin says, "I'll be home in time to read you a story." Hmm. That sure seems like when a character in a horror movie says they'll be right back and then they get butchered. Is he really about to get killed off?! Oh, boy, now I feel bad about all the jokes I've made at his expense.

Backstabber Cousin, who I will now call by his real name Francis, heads to the mine and thinks he's found copper! So he hurries over to Ross' to tell him the good news and at long last get his cousin's approval. Ross isn't home though, but Demelza is. Francis delivers a touching speech about how she shouldn't be so hard on herself and how she's just as good as Pinky Ring and Ross is lucky to have found her. Okay, yeah, he's definitely going to die today.

Over at Pinky Ring's, Doc has diagnosed Tarot Card Agatha's ailment. Turns out she was just faking to get Verity to come back. So many tricks up her octogenarian sleeve! When confronted, Agatha is like, Okay, you got me! I really like slumber parties and will do or say whatever I need to do or say to arrange one! Sue me! Oh, and P.S. my tarot cards say something really F-ed up is about to happen. No one believes her.

Down in the mine, Francis finds evidence of copper. He traces it on the wall and follows it deeper and deeper into the mine until he falls into a random puddle just like last season, only this time Ross isn't there to help fish him out.

Above ground, Ross finds out about Malfoy's latest attempt at ruining him. He must repay the loan in full or risk debtor's prison. Before he and Demelza can properly freak out, news that Francis is missing reaches them.

They rush to the mine and find Francis' hat and jacket. Ross rushes down there and calls out for him. Francis hears Ross' voice and remembers a time when they were boys and Ross saved him from drowning in the sea. Francis hallucinates that Ross is there again to save him. He reaches out to grab his hand. But no one is there.

Ross soon finds Francis, but it's too late. "Why the hell didn't you learn to swim?!" Valid question, but cut the guy some slack; he's dead.

Cut to the funeral. Ross holds a sobbing Pinky Ring, while Demelza watches and thinks, FML, now they're definitely going to have sex.

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: H20. Yes, we need it to survive and all, but it killed Francis. Very uncool move.

HONORABLE MENTION: Horace the Pug. I hope he got his marzipan.

BRONZE: Demelza. Homegirl needs some sage in her life. Someone definitely has cursed her. Her dad abused her for years, her baby died, her husband gets less hot and meaner every day,  and she almost had to give birth in a boat! Can she catch a break already? Or at least get a 15-minute deep tissue massage?

SILVER: Tarot Card Agatha. Pretending to be hard of hearing so you get all the tea. Genius!

GOLD: Francis. I feel bad for making fun of him so much and calling him Backstabber Cousin for weeks. He deserved a fair amount of my jokes, but he didn't deserve to drown in a puddle.

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 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


‘Poldark’ Season 1 Premiere Recap: Stayin’ Alive

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