Poldark

'Poldark': Season 4 Finale Recap

Ross doing what he does best, brooding (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE))

Previously on Poldark: Ross ends up in a duel with local London sexual harasser Monk Adderley after getting all kinds of jealous and suspicious that Adderley wanted to hook up with Demelza. Adderley dies from his gunshot wound, because it’s definitely fine for the hero of our story to be a man who kills people. Elsewhere, Morwenna flees her mother-in-law’s house before the odious Lady Whitworth can have her committed, but even though she runs straight to Drake, she still insists she can’t be with him, because she doesn’t think she can let a man touch her ever again. (Need more details? You can read our full recap of Episode 7 here.) 

'Poldark' Recap: Season 4, Episode 7

Dwight and Caroline are goals in all things (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: George hatched a plot to wreck the town bank and predictably failed because he has the finesse of a Scooby Doo villain a lot of the time and we all know Ross is basically invincible. Elizabeth learns she’s pregnant and is surprisingly fine with it, as long as her condition doesn’t accidentally remind her husband about that time he thought their son wasn’t his.  And even with her odious husband finally kicking it, Morwenna still can’t catch a break as she too discovers she’s with child. (Need more details? Here’s our full recap of Season 4, Episode 6).

For all that this is a show called Poldark, it features a lead character that is beyond troublesome. One might even use the word problematic. As viewers, we’re all conditioned to root for Ross, to hope for his happiness, and to expect that at some point on this multi-season journey, he will ultimately become a better person. That he will learn from his mistakes. That he is, in fact, capable of growth. The fact that much of that hasn’t really seemed to happen yet is not only disappointing, but also intensely frustrating. How many more times can we be expected to happily watch Ross make increasingly terrible choices, behave rashly and repeatedly disrespect the person he claims to love most?

This week, Ross brings Demelza to London and though the two spend the episodes opening scenes acting like newlyweds – early mornings and late nights in bed, magical strolls through a variety of exciting and exotic metropolitan entertainments – like most things on this show, the happiness cannot last more than a few moments.

‘Poldark’: Season 4, Episode 6 Recap

Elizabeth finally got interesting this season (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: Ross finally goes to Parliament and does his job, which appears to be making a lot of progressive speeches and inventing what is essentially welfare. Drake decides to marry the nice but drippy Rosina, but can’t go through with the ceremony after he learns that the odious Reverend Whitworth has died (thank goodness!) and Morwenna is free. The newly widowed Mrs. Whitworth, however, is convinced she’s now damaged goods, and rejects Drake, because this show can literally never let us be happy for more than five minutes. (Need more details? Last week’s recap is this way.)

This episode of Poldark is as almost as full of ridiculous twists as last week’s was, and is at least as soapy. So why isn’t it as fun? Part of the problem is that it returns the focus on the story to the neverending feud between Ross and George Warleggan which, let’s be honest, isn’t as entertaining as it once was. I mean, let’s be real: These are grown men. Grown, adult men, who still spend their time plotting the local downfall and creation of banking institutions to get back at one another. Get hobbies, guys! Read a book!

'Poldark': Season 4, Episode 5 Recap

Ross and George are so extra it hurts (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: We are officially in the Bad Place, as awful, terrible things happen to virtually everyone except George Warleggan, which is in and of itself an awful, terrible thing. Dwight hides the fact that his infant daughter has a deadly heart defeat, and only tells his wife just in time for the baby to die in her arms. Caroline subsequently leaves for London in an attempt to outrun her grief, just as Vile George manages to buy himself a fresh seat in Parliament thanks to an overly complicated scheme involving buying up a random township elsewhere. (Need more details? The full recap is this way.)

This week, Poldark finally realizes what I’ve been saying all along: This show is a soap opera. There is still no shortage of dreadful things taking place in Season 4’s fifth episode, but somehow – finally – the show seems to have decided to have some fun with them, rather than playing it all straight. Perhaps that’s because someone behind the scenes realized just how extremely ridiculous the plot developments are this week – Adultery! A jilted wedding! A teen vomiting at a fancy party! – that even they couldn’t take it it all seriously anymore. And you know what? This is the best, most entertaining episode of the season, and downright fun to watch.

Pages