Poldark series 3 episode 9 review: Emotions ran high in this girl power-filled finale

Ross and Demelza settled scores in this last episode of the run - well until the start of series four, at least

Sally Newall
Sunday 06 August 2017 22:40
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Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza
Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza

Demelza, Elizabeth and Morwenna were doing it for the girls in this finale, sticking it to the men who cheated, lied and emotionally abused them – with a bit of cheating and lying of their own. Of course, this being the eighteenth century, we’re not talking gender parity here, but had I been the cheerleading type, there would have been a few pom pom-waving moments.

Not least during Demelza’s dalliance in the dunes with Lieutenant Armitage. She found out about Ross’s indiscretion with Elizabeth at the churchyard via Prudie (Beatie Edney). Not one to let marital problems get in the way of swashbuckling, Ross (Aidan Turner) ran off to quash what he thought were the “Frenchies”, but who turned out to be Tholly and his motley crew vying for George’s blood over the price of grain. The brief skirmish was enough time for a Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Hugh (Josh Whitehouse) to release the unconvincing sexual tension that had been building since his arrival at Nampara Cove.

I’m sure Relate wouldn’t recommend that kind of tit-for-tat behaviour but when it came down to it, both of them really were just after a shag: “Shall we grant ourselves to each other, so that I may go into the darkness knowing that I once tasted heaven,” said a soon-to-be-blind Hugh, just before he put his hand on her thigh. I think in the age of Tinder, that would fall under the type who label themselves “not looking for anything serious”. Demelza did say last week that she was after a one-night thing, so both parties came out of the arrangement satisfied.

None of this (bad) decision-making could be done without a lot of looking out to sea. Whether it’s reading a letter from a secret lover, contemplating the price of tin or planning what’s for dinner – licky pie, natch – all must be done while standing on a cliff edge, staring into the middle distance. Those scenes though, with their dappled light and swirly seas, serve to remind us how nicely shot this series is.

Over at Trenwith, George was back from Westminster and was immediately irked by reminders of his arch rival’s presence, not least in the form of little Valentine’s dark curly Ross locks. He took out his anger out on poor Drippy Drake (Harry Richardson) by getting Tom Harry (Turlough Convery) to torch his smithy. Drake decided enough was enough and went to complain to Elizabeth about his unfair treatment. His insolence so soon after toad-gate got him duffed-up and left for dead.

Jack Farthing has been a scene-stealing villain this series as jealous, power-hungry George. As he broke down and begged Elizabeth for forgiveness, the love for his wife – the one chink in his armour – was palpable. Elizabeth (Heida Reed) was also a force to be reckoned with here. We knew that she was lying through her teeth but were also almost convinced she wanted her marriage to work.

Like the semi-comic battle scenes across the Channel in earlier episodes, the face off between Ross’s boys and Tholly’s merry men didn’t score highly in the drama stakes. Did anyone really believe that Saint Dwight would shoot at the likes of Sam Carne and Tholly? Or for that matter, that a devout Methodist would take up arms? Okay, so the weapons appeared to be mostly made from kitchen utensils, but still. The upshot was Ross’s epiphany to become an MP. He’ll have to work hard to find a cliff-edge up Westminster way.

Over at the vicarage, Rowella (Esme Coy) was “with child” thanks to her nights and noisy afternoons of toe-sucking with Ossie (Christain Brassington). Both Rowella and Reverend Whitworth are despicable characters and her bribery of the morally corrupt vicar was a lot of fun to watch, not least the threat of a kiss-and-tell missive to the bishop. We saw that Poldarkian mix of light and shade working well here with Ellise Chappell’s Morwenna movingly standing up to her abusive husband, refusing to give into his demands for sex.

After his fit of assertiveness ended badly, Drake went back to being drippy and left the newly empowered Morwenna a bunch of winter primroses, then knocked on her door and ran when she opened it. How old is he, ten? Still that’s a romance than can spill over into next series.

We ended then, more or less back where we began; Ross and Demelza in bed, him probably thinking about Elizabeth and her wondering if she can ever trust him – but at least she could dream about that one night in the sand dunes.

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