‘Poldark’ Season 2 Episode 8 review: A good day for George, but less so for Ross

Single and stuck? Sick of speed dating? Tired of swiping left?

Fear not! You’ve come to the right place dear reader, because FREE with this week’s review, we’re bringing you a ‘print out and keep’ copy of ‘George Warleggan’s Guide to Modern Romance’ (usual RRP: 1 guinea).

With the following method you’ll soon have someone to stroll hand-in-hand along the Cornish clifftops with. Just stick to these 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Via a prolonged and complex campaign of debt purchase, beat your intended into financial submission.

Step 2: Offer your penniless intended a marriage proposal that sounds less like a romantic act and more like a desperate boardroom pitch by a candidate about to be fired from The Apprentice.

Step 3: Look forward to making love on a big pile of your money, like Scrooge McDuck!

Yes, George Warleggan’s years-long scheme to fiscally force Elizabeth to the altar finally begins to pay off this week.

Poldark 2 8 Agatha (CAROLINE BLAKISTON), Elizabeth (HEIDI REED)

Her mother is nearly killed by the mere sight of dirty men digging in her garden, and Elizabeth is forced to accept his terrible proposal in order to take care of her and the family. It’s a wonder his plot’s worked, to be honest. If your strategy relies on bribing itinerant tin miners and the sheer misfortune of a man drowning, it’s probably not the best thought-out plan.

It’s an awkward, crawly, desperate offer of marriage: less a proposal, more a proposition, and one with all the passion of signing a mortgage agreement. Jack Farthing and Heida Reed play the discomfort of it all so terrifically that you’d love to make an excuse and leave the room so you don’t have to hear any more of it. My favourite part? The incredibly Alan Partridge line, ‘My house is four times the size of Trenwith.’ I wonder if George’s dining table is ‘an extender’ too.

It’s a good day for George, but less so for Ross. For the second time this season he’s on trial, now on the charge of starring in last week’s episode and punching his way out of the ambush. Fortunately, he’s been crafty enough to have three ‘non-speaking role’ extras appear to clear his good name. Meanwhile Dwight, who has not had the foresight to head to Central Casting and recruit some jobbing actors in bonnets and doublets, gets a fine.

Poldark 2 7 Dwight Enys (LUKE NORRIS)

In the grand scheme of things, paying out 50 quid isn’t the biggest loss he suffers. Lady Caroline sends back all his letters and tells him never to write again. I’m amazed she could read his handwriting in the first place. You know what doctors are like. Poor Dwight seems so dejected that he looks sorely tempted when Verity’s stepson James Blamey tells him that the Navy needs surgeons.

Don’t go Dwight. No amount of seamen will help fix your broken heart.

Blimey, Blamey Jr. really likes his nautical parlance doesn’t he? To him a house is a ship, its inhabitants its crew, which makes us viewers nosey mermaids I guess. I almost expected subtitles. It’s a way of speaking that very quickly moves from charming to screen-slappingly aggravating.

Imagine being one of the poor bastards who has to live in close quarters with him on a naval warship for months on end. You’d be praying for a French cannonball to take your head off.

Poldark 2 VERITY BLAMEY (Ruby Bentall)

But at least his visit we get to see Verity again and, in the only good news this episode, she’s pregnant. Or as James Blamey would probably put it, she’s got a stowaway aboard in her hold and she’ll be giving ‘berth’ soon. Har-Har-Harrrrrr. Cannonball please.

Hopefully it’ll mean we see more of Verity in the future; there hasn’t been nearly enough of the wonderful Ruby Bentall this season. She’s the calming presence among all the raging hormones and fluttering chests, and boy do we need that more than ever.

Finding out Elizabeth is going to marry George and his big house, Ross throws a hissy fit, gallops over to tiny Trenwith and literally kicks down the door (well, George did warn her about her security last week: I even made a terrible computer joke about it). A terrifically childish argument ensues; the kind of argument that you can have at any age when your heart’s been compromised but which always makes you sound like a teenager. Reed and Turner really make the most of it.

They have it out, then have it off as, with their conflict moving ineluctably toward a point of regretful words and actions, Ross forces himself on her. It’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch and the show knows it. The background music sounds like the soundtrack to a shark attack.

Poldark 2 8 Demelza ((ELEANOR TOMLINSON)

Ross Poldark may be the Gif-friendly Tumblr-chum of the 21st century audience, but the man from Wheal Grace has fallen far from our good graces this week. He’s thoroughly deserving of the wallop that Demelza doles out. And wow that’s a mean left hook she’s got on her. It’s the least he deserves.

His mine’s collapsed. His marriage is collapsing. Or, if you’re pressing the red button and using the James Blamey subtitles, it’s sinking or sunk. Fortunately his viewing figures aren’t.

Poldark continues to be popular Sunday entertainment. Watching this week’s episode, it’s not hard to see why.

5star

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 23 October 2016 on BBC One.

Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon here.

Pre-order Season 2 on Amazon here.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

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  • rosie1843

    We all have to endure the nadir of our lives. This is the nadir for Ross, Elizabeth and Demelza.

  • supergran

    Side-splitting, as ever. Loved the reference to young Blamey’s nautical shorthand, and Central Casting’s non-speaking extras. Lol. And when WHSmith get in George’s Guide to Modern Romance, I’m first in the queue for a signed copy. Much needed comic relief in an emotionally exhausting episode 🙂

  • timmy

    Well, the popular Sunday entertainment has been called out for including an out-and-out rape (and then not expecting us to wholly loathe the rapist) by the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian (twice), the Daily Mail, the Sydney Morning Herald and New Statesman. The Radio Times says it wasn’t, and have put the rapist on their front cover. What a surprise.

    The fact that it wasn’t the first part of the episode you talked about, as if it were not the most significant part, was odd.

  • Ash

    T’int right, t’int fair, t’int proper.