It's been nearly a year since viewers checked in with Ross Poldark and family. Where do our characters stand heading into Season 4? Let's have a little Snarkin' on Poldark recap and catch-up on events we need to know.
Poldark Season 3 started with birth, death, and marriage, along with Elizabeth wandering around Trenwith muttering "Must hurt self, must hurt self" while desperately trying to engineer an accident plausible enough for a baby to come "early." Said baby, Valentine, is, of course, the son of Ross, not George, a fact either known (by Elizabeth, Ross, & Aunt Agatha), suspected (by Demelza) or in George's case "Why is everyone looking at my first born son funny?" Elizabeth may have covered her inconvenient problems for now. (Chynoweths are apparently a type of alien-human who only need seven months to have a fully baked baby. Gestation, how does it work?) But when she has to miraculously do it again on the next one with George's real firstborn son, nature may protest.
One would have hoped Aunt Agatha would take Elizabeth's secret to her grave, but Agatha doesn't do anything she doesn't want to. The poor biddy was put out of her misery of living with George by episode 7 last season, but not before sticking the worm of doubt in his ear once and for all. Elizabeth doesn't thank you, Agatha! The BBC, on the other hand, has your Supporting Actress BAFTA waiting by the coat check.
Caroline is now a wife, having married Enys in haste so they can repent in leisure later. Then she misplaces Enys in France somewhere and gets all pouty about it because some people don't understand how great it is it be a rich widow back before women had anything approaching equal rights. Enys was not as kind about his gifts from France as Ross was to Demelza. He came home with a rousing case of PTSD, almost two centuries before it officially became a defined medical condition. Not that Caroline let her stylish hats and outfits be crimped by his thoughtlessness. Horace the Pug wouldn't stand for that.
Meanwhile, in Trenwith's House of Pain, Morwenna, who first arrived as Geoffrey Charles' governess also turned out to be flesh for George to trade away. Her hoped for love-affair with Demelza's nicely religious brother Drake Carne was cut short, leaving him to his toads, and her to be forced to play wife to the far more odious Reverend Osborne Whitworth, for the measly sum of £2,000. George would make a terrible car salesman. If you're putting your wife's relatives on the block, the least one can do is get top dollar. By the end of the season though, Morwenna seemed to have gained control of the situation, at least for now. (Widowhood, people. It does a body good.) Her sister, Rowella, is proving a savvier businesswoman than George could ever hope to be. Drake, on the other hand, has been put away for the time being after being beaten half to death by George's people for the crime of existing. I'm sure he'll be back soon though.
Speaking of the Carnes family, Demelza had a year. After watching Elizabeth give birth to Ross' second son, she then gave birth to Ross' second daughter, Clowance. That means Demelza has managed to keep two out of three children she's given birth to alive, which isn't a bad ratio. With Ross in and out of the country all season, Demelza spent most of her days stepping up into a leadership role in the community (despite what some characters might say, she's the natural born leader in the family) partnering up with Caroline into a sort of First Wives Club, with a membership of two. (Sorry, Elizabeth.) But Ross has always brought his wife back a little something from his travels, whether it be hair ribbons or a hat or fabric. This year he brought her Hugh Armitage back from France, whom she sleeps with by season's end. Level up!
Then, of course, there's Ross. As mentioned, he spent a lot of this season using his frequent boater miles back and forth to France because they're having a revolution and we're not. But Ross has a problem, and it's not just that he has an extra son and HR would start garnishing his checks if they knew. It's one thing, in the eyes of the peerage, for the scion of the noble house of Poldark to play at being a rabble-rouser when he returns from America, advocating for "Peasants Rights," "Miners Unions Forever," "Vote Bernie," or whatever else. It's quite another to be doing it when the country next door reminds you that the next steps in this revolution workflow include rolling the heads of government across market square and having the streets run with blood. Ross needs to grow out of this phase, as far as everyone is concerned. He spends all season with his fingers in his ears going "LaLaLa I don'wanna be a magistrate" and "LaLaLa I don'wanna be an MP." But when the French revolution sends a calling card to Cornwall, suddenly it's all "well, triangulation and the third way is really the only way for the Democratic party to make gains in the Senate." Or at least the 1790s version of that sentiment.
Our Season 3 finale, therefore, leaves Ross having capitulated into taking his rightful place in Parliament and ready to take on London society, something Demelza is going to be less than thrilled about. But hey, shes got a marriage to work on, and for once they'll be somewhere Elizabeth isn't. Does it get any better than that? I put forth it does not.
Poldark Season 4 begins thisSunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at 9 p.m. on Masterpiece. Check your local PBS listings.