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:
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, Elizabeth, 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, Demelza! And has a baby with her! But don’t get too excited; the baby dies of strep throat or something like that. Demelza and Ross soon make another baby because they're constantly boning, but no one is happy about the new baby because Ross spends an entire season being the worst husband ever and committing adultery at a glacial pace with Elizabeth. Where's Elizabeth's husband/Ross' cousin, you ask? He was murdered by a random puddle (no, seriously).
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. Said classmate, whom I unaffectionately call Malfoy, almost gets Ross hanged and sabotages him at every turn because this was before Netflix, so everyone was supremely bored. Ross returns the favor by beating him up a couple of times and almost setting Malfoy's head ablaze in a fireplace. Malfoy gets even by marrying Elizabeth and knocking her up. At least that's what he thinks for now, until some 18th-century version of Maury pops out to proclaim: You're not the father! Ross is!
Okay, got all that? Great. Let’s do this…
We're thrown right into the action. A pregnant Elizabeth can't control her bolting horse and is about to be catapulted off a cliff! So the writers of the show did get all those letters I sent! But right before I get my wish, Ross saves the day (again).
Elizabeth is really thankful and wishes him a good day.
Psych! That would be the way a normal, gracious, non-bratty person would behave. Elizabeth, being none of these things, instead yells at Ross for abandoning her.
Girl, what? Did you forget about Ross giving you all his money so you could continue enjoying high-end caviar snacks, while his own wife and child starved? And speaking of children, did you forget Ross' first child DIED because of your grubby germs? And did you also forget the only reason you and your son are still alive is because Demelza nursed you two back to health and almost died in the process? And how she saved you from that pitchfork mob, despite you sleeping with her husband?
Elizabeth's answer to all of these prompts:
Before I can even finish thinking Elizabeth is the absolute worst, someone more despicable trots up. Malfoy is just as ungrateful and threatens Ross. Um, the last time you did that, Ross almost cooked your entire head in a fireplace like a Christmas ham. No one on this show ever learns! But if this particular case of amnesia leads to Malfoy getting pummeled one more time, I'll allow it.
Back at chez Elizabeth, Malfoy admonishes her for being so reckless in her last month of pregnancy. On top of the horse drama, he also caught her walking for three miles and lifting heavy books (*gasp*). Agatha (oh, how I've missed her boozy octogenarian ways!) sends over a you-are-so-messy look. Elizabeth wants to accidentally-but-kinda-on-purpose kill Ross' baby!
Having heard about Ross saving the day through the grape vine, Elizabeth's son, Geoffrey Charles, makes the moment even more awkward by suggesting they throw a party in Ross' honor. Malfoy shuts that nice idea down with a quickness: Absolutely not! I'm still not finished fighting with Ross over whose penis is bigger! Oh, and we're changing your name from Poldark to my last name 'cause I'm that insecure. Geoffrey Charles immediately agrees. "Since you wish it, I will change my name... to Geoffrey Charles Francis Poldark!" Agatha, our drunk stand-in, cracks up just as hard as I do.
Across town, a hot dude walks up to Demelza's house (and not a moment too soon -- Ross doesn't do it for me anymore after all his monstrous behavior last season). Demelza looks in his direction. Is that babe here to rescue me from a life of being second-best? Mmm, break me off a piece of that! ... Oops, that's my brother!
They have a brief, joyous reunion, but because this is Demelza's life in which she can never be happy for more than 2.7 seconds before everything goes to crap, her brother, Drake, tells her she has to come back home. Their abusive dad is on his death bed. Demelza says, "All he ever gave me was bruises." Translation: No thanks.
In town, a random girl smells flowers in slow motion, so I guess that means this is a new character we have to start caring about. Her name is Morwenna, a random jumble of letters that this modern-day mom will probably steal for her next baby:
Morwenna, who turns out to be a cousin of Elizabeth's, is hired by Malfoy to be Geoffrey Charles' governess and make him less of a momma's boy. But we can all surely tell her real purpose is to have an intense Romeo & Juliet romance with Drake, right? Lucky girl (minus the whole double suicide thing).
Across town, Blondie is keeping her dying uncle company. That's very sad and all, but HORACE THE PUG IS IN THE HOUSE! FINALLY. Truth be told, he is the driving force behind my continuing these recaps. I mean, just look at him:
Over at Ross' mine, he has a surprise visitor. It's Geoffrey Charles. He wants to hang out with his dead dad's side of the family. Ross is like, Cool! Let's go down into the mine where your dad drowned to death!
After Drake heads back to his dying father, Demelza wishes aloud that she could be more like Ross (a sociopath) and not have feelings, but she can't help it. She rides off to be by her father's side, despite his being the antichrist. Turns out Demelza's former home is basically a modeling agency for boys. Another hot brother we never knew about called Sam greets her, but becomes less hot when all he wants to talk about is the bible.
Their father's dying wish is for all of them to become Christian missionaries.
Right before their dad is about to pass away, Demelza is like, I'd stay, but a. I don't want to, and b. I got more important stuff to do.
That more important stuff turns out to be a super secret wedding between Blondie and Doc, who's on a 24-hour leave from the war. Blondie and Doc embrace and are ready to rip each other's clothes off. They share a look that says:
Ross interrupts with a nudge that says, Um, hey guys, the priest is literally standing right over there. Get married first.
Across town, Elizabeth senses that Ross is thinking about something other than her, so she throws a vase and then herself down a flight of stairs. Unborn Ross Jr. is like:
Back at chez Ross, Doc walks into the guest room he's sharing with his new wife and asks if she's nervous. Blondie responds: "I would be were tonight our first time." You go, girlfriend!
Before they can get it on, news of Elizabeth's tumble arrives (damn it, Liz, must you ruin every single little thing?!). Doc runs off to try saving the baby Elizabeth really hopes dies.
Over at Elizabeth's, Malfoy's uncle says he should have married a "younger, more robust specimen," and advises that "if it comes to a choice, obviously the child takes priority." Agatha and Geoffrey Charles try to remember his exact proportions so they can get the voodoo doll just right.
Upstairs, after a very loud labor, Doc delivers the baby. Elizabeth asks, "Is it alive?" Before Doc can answer that, yes, the baby she tried to kill with long walks and heavy books did survive, Elizabeth passes out or dies. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Across town, Blondie's uncle apologizes for cock-blocking her and Doc all last season. Blondie is like, No sweat! I lost my virginity to him ages ago! Oh, and check out my wedding ring! Her uncle dies on the spot.
Back at Malfoy Manor, Elizabeth is alive.
Doc puts the baby in her arms, and Elizabeth looks at it like, Sorry about the staircase, I guess.
Outside, Ross hides in a bush, Sean Spicer-style, and watches as Agatha shouts about how the baby should be called Ross and how it's hella cursed. Malfoy has two of his Slytherin cronies pick her chair up and carry her off to her room. The one time I want Ross to bust down the door and intervene, he doesn't. He's really going to let them manhandle a national treasure like that?
The next day, Ross arrives home after being out all night. Demelza doesn't even bother fighting with him about it 'cause what's the point? Instead they have this sad exchange:
Demelza: "There's something I must tell you, Ross, and I fear you might not like it. I'm with child again. You're not displeased?"
Ross: "I might wish the timing were better."
Yes, Ross, the timing isn't great, considering you just had a secret baby with your married ex. Tell your sperm to find some chill.
Because this is all getting rather heavy and depressing, the show's writers throw us a bone in the form of a shirtless Drake bathing in a stream.
Off the border of France, Doc writes Blondie a letter that goes something like this: Hey, so I'm 98% sure the French are about to blow me to bits, but I don't want you to worry, despite the very worrisome thought I just put in your head. Hope you're having a good day!
Over at the mine, Ross reunites with an old pirate he knew as a kid because that's totally normal. Old Pirate Dude has a hook for a hand and carries his dearly departed hand's bones in a little pouch that he plays like a maraca. The sound reminds him that life is short, so you should live it up while you can. YOLO and what not.
Time sure does fly when you're lying about your baby's father; it's already time for Ross Jr. a.k.a. Valentine's baptism! Verity comes back into town for the event and immediately brings attention to how "robust" Valentine is for allegedly being premature. Blondie helps her open that can of worms further: "He's darker than his father!" Agatha's burpy response says it all:
News breaks of a 12-hour stormy battle off the shore of France. Both Verity and Blondie's husbands are missing. Doc really jinxed things with that letter.
Since their father's death, Demelza's cute brothers have moved in with Ross and co. and gotten started on all that converting-the-heathens business. They're also on the hunt for a cool church to attend. What about the one owned by Ross' worst enemy in the entire world? A totally reasonable choice that couldn't possibly cause any conflict.
Sam and Drake show up for mass and get testy when the priest won't start without Malfoy. What would Jesus do (if he was punk rock)? Loudly sign hymns as a form of protest until he got banned from the church, that's what!
Over at chez Malfoy, Valentine is also getting really loud. Verity comes in to check on him and finds Elizabeth just sitting there, ignoring his cries. Verity points out that Elizabeth always comforted Geoffrey Charles when he was a baby. Elizabeth snaps back: "All children are different. If you ever have another, you'll realize that." Cool thing to say to someone whose husband might be at the bottom of the English Channel.
All over Cornwall, Drake and Morwenna run into each other every ten minutes and have cute little moments, but I'm not going to go into detail about any of them 'cause Drake's shirt was on for all of it.
Some rich dude we've never heard of throws a huge party and specifically invites both Ross and Malfoy. Now that Blondie's magistrate uncle is dead, the position needs to be filled. An old guy in a powdered wig offers the gig to Ross, who is as confused as I am. Ross asks, You remember when I almost was sentenced to death for inciting a riot just last season, right? Or all the other times I almost got hanged for various tomfoolery? Turns out none of that matters when you're white and come from a rich family.
Despite the opportunity to help the downtrodden from the bench, Ross declines because it would interfere with his busy schedule of stalking Elizabeth and ignoring Demelza. The job goes to Malfoy, who is really jazzed about filling the gallows with the poor to keep them from upsetting the status quo with their pesky pleas for civil rights. Again:
That night, Ross and Demelza chat in bed about how they're happy things are about to be peaceful around here, when a frantic knock comes at the door. It's Old Maraca-Playing Pirate Dude! He says Doc is probably being held at some prison in France and Ross needs to go free him. Invading a foreign country in the throes of revolution, freeing a single prisoner, and making it back home alive. Sounds totally doable!
Over in France, a bunch of Brits are lined up and shot. A rifle is pointed at Doc's face. Please don't shoot! Horace the Pug needs a father figure!