Poldark Recaps

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 7

Demelza, too stylish for this world. (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: Ned Despard is executed on trumped up treason charges after a high drama trial that saw Ross passionately defend his friend and Dwight imply he was brain damaged. Back in Cornwall, Terrible Tess Trigedden is busy throwing herself at Sam Carne because it looked like he might marry that nice Rosina for a hot second and she can’t allow anyone to have joy. And George Warleggan decides that it’s fine to try marry a girl who’s name he barely knows simply because he hates his stepson. (If you need more details, our recap of Episode 6 is right here.)

Well, if you thought that Poldark might get back to its swoony period drama roots following the execution of Ned Despard last week, you got your wish. In what feels like the worst way possible. Instead of reminding us why we care about all these characters with just a couple of hours left until we say goodbye to them forever, Poldark’s penultimate episode seems determined to make us actively dislike virtually every one of them in the series’ final moments.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 6

Demelza, Drake and Prudie (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: Ned gets arrested as a result of a complicated plan between George, Racist Slave Trader Hansen and that random evil guy Ross thinks is his friend. which basically involved getting him drunk and letting him rant against the government around town at top volume until someone from the government notices. George gives a racist speech in Parliament arguing in favor of slavery. And Morwenna keeps sneaking off to visit her child at his grandmother’s and only realizes this is a bad idea when Drake kidnaps him in an attempt to make her happy. But, hey, at least they finally get romantic after she bids the child a tearful goodbye forever. More details and thoughts can be found at last week’s recap.

For anyone who has done a five-minute Wikipedia search on the historical Ned Despard and his wife since this season started – or read our article here on this subject – what happened in this episode won’t be terribly surprising. But if you didn’t know it was coming, it likely felt like a major shock, especially since Poldark makes a point to lean into every wacky escape hijinks trope it can think of to indicate that Ned was maybe going to make some sort of last-minute getaway to safety after all. In some ways, that feels kind of cruel, particularly since the episode goes so far as to have him on the very steps of freedom, Jean Valjean-style, before Ned decides to return to his jail cell in the name of…something.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 5

Demelza's fashion game in Season 5 is on point (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: Ned, who is getting more irritating by the day, leads a rag tag group of protesters to Trenwith to guilt George Warleggan into reopening his mind, an argument he’d probably have been more open to initially if Ned hadn’t broken his arm first. As for George, he seems pretty much over his recent, possibly years-long mental decline, thanks to Dwight’s magical doctoring skills, and honestly did we expect anything that might be mistaken for nuance? Oh, and our aged-up Geoffrey Charles is in love with the racist slave trader Hansen’s daughter Cecily, only her trash dad has decided she should marry George instead. Yikes. (Need more details: Check out our Episode 4 recap.)

The fifth episode of Poldark’s final season is far too busy for its own good, cramming at least half a dozen storylines together into this hour. Some of them are charming and emotional (Christmas in Cornwall, literally anything to do with Morwenna), and some of them are honestly a hot mess. (George’s complicated attempt to entrap Ned and Ross into what appears to be treason? IDK.)   And one of them – the revelation of trash Hansen’s secret partner – is a total dud.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 4

Really gonna miss these sweeping horseback shots (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: Ross and Demelza return to Cornwall with Ned and Kitty in tow, only to deal with a deadly mine accident, an unhinged George Warleggan who’s basically being tortured by his own family, and a crowd of rowdy townsfolk itching to overthrow the wealthy elites. Maybe y’all should have just stayed in London. For more details, you can read our recap of Episode 3 here.

Poldark has always been a show about politics and social issues, as Ross and friends have fought to make the world a better place not only for themselves but for the less fortunate who both work for and depend on them. Season 5 has really leaned into this, as Ross not only attempts to help his friend Ned avoid prison and/or death for giving away land to freed slaves in Honduras, but by showing us a whole lot of unhappy Cornwall residents being hungry, poor and itching to light something on fire to punish the rich.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 3

Back in Cornwall, Ross and Demelza still have problems. (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: There’s a lot of political conspiracy going on, but whether any of us actually care about it remains to be seen. Ross’ old military captain Ned Despard is still trying to prove who named him as a traitor to the crown for giving away land in Honduras, although why we’re trying to pretend it was anyone other than sketchy Mr. Hansen is unclear. Elsewhere, George is seeing visions of his dead wife Elizabeth and Demelza hired local girl Tess Trigidden to help around Nampara, but the girl is pretty much prepping to Single White Female her. Need more details? Our recap of Episode 2 is here.

Now that they’re safely back home, Ross and Demelza are flirting and happy again, full of the joy that comes from being away from London and its  “strange ways” that apparently only become problematic when one of them screws something up. Anyway, their carefree attitude is how you know immediately that a bunch of stuff is about to go real wrong, particularly when Demelza actually says something about how peaceful and perfect everything is in Cornwall. Oh, girl. It’s like you’ve never even watched this show.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 2

Demelza has terrible taste in servants (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen)

Previously on Poldark: Ross’ former Army boss turned governor of Honduras, Ned Despard, is arrested for treason against the crown, because he was giving out land to freed slaves in the colonies and British businessman didn’t like that so much. Ross gets Ned out of jail with the help of both his wife Kitty, whose presence is causing something of a stir in London because she is black, and the British government itself, as a sort of payback for him saving the King’s life during an assassination attempt. (Yes. Really.) Also Ross may be a superspy now? I don’t know. Elsewhere, George is seeing visions of his dead wife, Morwena still fears all men, and the Cornwall locals are pushing for revolution against the rich.

The second episode of Poldark Season 5 reveals something that feels like it could be a major flaw in series’ final season. And that is that is appears to be ignoring the fact that it’s the show’s final season. Maybe creator Debbie Horsfield and I just have different opinions about what this show needs to do before it’s off our airwaves forever (or at least for a while, until they inevitably revisit it with the series’ second generation of characters). Because, this? Is not it.

'Poldark' Recap: Season 5, Episode 1

Aidan Turner in the final season of "Poldark" (Photo:  Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: There is honestly way, way too much. Luckily, we’ve got four seasons worth of recaps to catch you up before you dig in to the final season premiere.

Well, it’s the end of an era. Or the beginning of the end, anyway. Hurray, Poldark is back! But this premiere also kicks off the series’ final season, so we’ll have to say goodbye to Ross, Demelza, Caroline, Dwight and all our faves in just a few short weeks. SNIFF.

But at least we’ve got a lot of drama to get through before that happens.

'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!

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