Poldark seems intent on making the final series its/his most action-packed, deranged, yet. No mean feat, considering the previous four.
The latest episode for example included Caroline Enys sounding (and looking) like a snooty blonde from ‘Made In Chelsea’ as she described her husband as ‘a celebrity’, as indeed Doctor Dwight did when he denied it.
Captain Ross meanwhile orchestrated the daring rescue of several miners trapped inside a cave – like a cross between Indiana Jones and the 1800’s version of Elon Musk.
Dramatic as ever: Poldark seems intent on making the final series its/his most action-packed, deranged, yet. No mean feat, considering the previous four
He had already saved the King from assassination, started a campaign for the abolition of slavery, and been recruited as a spy for MI5. And we’d only reached Week Three, with five more still to go. Anything was possible.
Best of all, the leeches were back.
Last year Dr. Choake had unleashed them on Demelza’s ailing lover, Hugh Armitage, who had died poetically shortly afterwards. Now it was George Warleggan’s turn to discover that if his mental decline in the first two episodes had been grim, the treatment was even more disturbing.
‘My dear would you care to accompany me to Truro?’ we had seen him ask his (dead) wife Elizabeth.
When his hallucinations started to include his nemesis Poldark, and he unwittingly fired a pistol at his uncle, a doctor was (understandably) called for.
‘The patient is in the grip of animal spirits,’ diagnosed Penrose, before embarking on a series of complex, primitive, remedies. ‘The leeches will relieve the melancholic congestion of the brain. The blistering will draw out the noxious humours. And bleeding will expunge the mephitic matter rioting in the bloodstream.’
He’d have been better off looking it up on the internet.
Incredibly, these all failed to improve the patient’s condition who, even more amazingly, became paler than normal.
‘A more robust approach is required!’ Penrose then declared, plunging poor George’s head into a bath of boiling water.
Eventually (reluctantly) conceding defeat, the doctor sent George to his bed, making sure he stayed there by tying him down with a chaotic array of ropes and leather straps – an abusive humiliation some MPs would pay good money for.
Rescue mission: Captain Ross meanwhile orchestrated the daring rescue of several miners trapped inside a cave – like a cross between Indiana Jones and the 1800’s version of Elon Musk
‘This is inhuman!’ protested his uncle.
‘As is the patient!’ countered Penrose. ‘A lunatic, you see, has lost all reason, which is the essence of his humanity. His unchained animality can only be mastered by discipline and brutalizing.’
That’s the NHS for you.
By the time Warleggan escaped and fled to the Poldarks’ farm – red-eyed, wild-eyed, and wearing what appeared to be a nightie – the banker looked like a posh version of Pete Doherty.
Doctor Dwight took him home, telling his uncle that George’s grief ‘required kindness and patience. The only lunatic in this room is Dr Penrose. His methods will induce madness, not cure it.’
But after this rousing speech he then flounced out, leaving George to suffer God knows what sort of torment/torture in next Sunday’s episode. Well, hopefully…
A bad week for the Warleggans was then capped off by a mining disaster at one of their pits, a rockfall that had trapped ‘twenty miners – some of them children’ (minors).
One of these was Jacka Hoblyn’s little boy Arthur who had gone to work there after Poldark had refused him a job, out of principle: namely, that he never used children down the mine ‘until they were fourteen.’
What a hero!
‘They earn less in the short term but more in the long run – because they live longer!’ he preened, as if he were sparing Arthur and the other kids rather than sending them down t’pit as child labour.
Demelza continued Ross’ saintly deeds, and the Poldarks’ ‘generous’ attitude to their servants/pet peasants.
Hearing that one little boy had scurvy she trilled ‘well that won’t do will it?’ and gave him not some money but… an apple.
She then attempted to assuage the masses’ discontent/hunger by announcing: ‘Captain Poldark has agreed to give the fifty children we have working above grass Saturday afternoon off – with pay – so they can learn reading and writing!’
Any more than a single afternoon – or just not using children at all – was clearly not an option.
Demelza was then amazed – and slightly affronted – when the local yokels weren’t sufficiently grateful and had the gall to complain: ‘the children don’t need schooling, they need feeding!’
Hard to argue with…
Later, when Rosina knocked on the door begging ‘my brother Tommy’s thirsty’, Demelza turned into Truro’s Marie Antoinette, grandly offering them ‘a piece of cake’, before swanning off with Ross to a lavish soiree hosted by Caroline Enys piled high with enough lobster and caviar to feed all the revolting peasants in Cornwall for months.
When the banquet was interrupted by news of the rockfall, Ross ‘Elon’ Poldark leapt into action. He and Ned ‘Desperado’ Despard blasted their way into the cave, quickly erected a bridge across the crevasse, before heroically rescuing all the miners and minors they could carry.
Ross had been ordered by William Wickham (his new boss at MI5) to spy on Despard. But somehow Poldark convinced himself he was doing his former comrade a favour by not telling Wickham about Ned’s part in the rescue. Later though he admitted to Demelza: ‘it does concern me how volatile and impetuous he is.’
‘Now you can see why he was known as Mad Ned!’ the Colonel’s enemy Ralph ‘Alan’ Hanson sneered earlier.
Let’s face it, we all knew how things would go if Poldark was the sensible one.