Note: the recaps this season are written from the British airings, which often have 6-10 minutes that the US airings do not. If you’re reading this and going “Hey, I don’t remember that!” that’s probably why.
Previously: Ross went to France to find Enys.
In Cornwall, D and Jeremy stand on the cliffs. “Where is he, Jeremy? Papa has been gone a long while, hasn’t he? Where could he be.”
Uh, France? Ross and Tholly enter the town, which guarded by French soldiers and involves a lot of people getting beaten up and taken away.
D tells Caro that she expects Ross will be home in a few days, and Caro both longs for and dreads Ross’ return. As long as she has no news, she doesn’t have to face anything. Prudie assures Caro that she feels it in her bones that Enys is still alive. D tells her that Ross knows how to take care of himself.
Which he has to, since soldiers are beating and killing people for not being… you know what, I’m not sure whose side the soldiers are on, but I have to think it’s Robespierre and compatriots and the Republic. Right? My knowledge of the French Revolution and how you get from there to Emperor Napoleon in less than 20 years is… patchy, shall we say. Anyway, Ross looks at this chaos darkly and mutters “Quaint little market town?” Well, it WAS, when Tholly and Ross’ dad were operating there. 20 years ago. Ross looks at someone getting stabbed and hopes that’s not their contact. Nah, Tholly says, not him. They just need to lay low. I mean, speaking English in the middle of town, looking super English while they’re at it is totally doing that. Tholly’s like, I’ve never let you down before. Ross is like, yeah okay.
At church in Cornwall, George and Elizabeth walk to the door, while a number of the tenants greet Elizabeth. George is like, you know these peasants? Well, yeah, they are their tenants, and Francis thought it was important to know who paid them rent. “But then, he did grow up in the district” she says quickly (“And no fences!” pipes up Sassy Geoffy-Chuck) as George gets all bothered about his lack of ancestry again. George also tells the vicar to send a repair bill to his steward, as Sam and Drake walk by with some of their congregation, singing AT George (Geoffy-Chuck grins approvingly).
Back in France, Ross and Tholly get their message: they’re to meet their man at a pub.
Zacky gives D the report from France. It’s a hot mess, so Ross will need to be both careful and patient. D sighs, knowing Ross is good at neither. Zacky also tells her that Sam and Drake have taken to singing outside the church, and D grins that she thought it would be a matter of time before there were more people outside the church than in. Zacky: okay but defiance usually doesn’t go well. D asks what they’re supposed to do, since they’ve been forbidden from going to church.
Zacky does have an idea: in the village of Grambler, there’s a meeting house that isn’t used. When George closed the mine, everyone left the town, but Francis gave the meeting house to the people, so they may as well use that. It’s a mess, so Drake will need to fix it. “It’s not so very decayed! All it will take is a few good men and some nails.” “Where’s Drake when you need him?”
Mooning about the cliffs of course, and sure enough, along comes Morwenna and Geoffy-Chuck.
George tells Cary that now that he’s a magistrate, he wants to to become a burgess of borough (the men who were able to vote for a community’s Member of Parliament in the bad old days). Cary: mmmhmmm. Well, George says, we have closed a bunch of mines and stuff, so people are kind of mad at us, and with the unrest in France, making patricians nervous, maybe we should try to improve our image, and make people like us again. “George Warleggan, man of the people!” I, uh, see a few flaws in this plan? Cary laughs: “Ross Poldark better look to his crown!”
In the pub, another man is dragged off, while Ross and Tholly try to keep a low profile. It’s not that low, because a woman is watching them carefully.
Morwenna and G-C play cards with Aggie, who asks if it was windy on the beach. G-C: Uhhhhhhh (while Aggie looks at him knowingly) why do you ask? Aggie: Windblown hair, sand in shoes? Seriously, kid. Elizabeth overhears and tells them not to go to the beach- the currents are tricky, there’s unrest in villages, since the harvest failed, and… “Take your father’s pistol!” is Aggie’s solution. No, Elizabeth doesn’t want them to go to the beach at ALL. Morwenna masters her feelings of disappointment. Geoffy-Chuck remarks that Baby Val doesn’t look a bit like anyone. “Much darker.” Aggie grunts.
Ross and Tholly continue to sit, and their contact enters. His name is Clisson, and he verifies that many English soldiers are being held in the prison. The guards are under orders not to speak to anyone, but he has been told that there are survivors of the recent sea battle. Good, good. Ross asks if names are a possibility, and the answer is maybe. For a price. Fifty, for the guard, and fifty for Clisson. Ross counts out the coins, and asks for when he can expect news. Tonight. “Do you trust him?” asks Tholly. No, but he’s all they’ve got. The woman is still eyeing them, and it looks like it’s because she’d like to tap that.
Cary tells George that Francis gave the meeting house to Grambler village, and George sniffs that Francis was always giving shit away. “No doubt that’s why he was sooooo popular.” George thinks that maybe they could give it away again, as the first act of benevolence. Cary: “Lately a group of Methodists have been repairing it.” George: what now. Names? His goon does not know the name, so he appoints his goon as a constable for the district (which he can do as a magistrate). Now Constable Goon has his duties of guarding Trenwith, but also he is to suppress unrest in the district, starting with getting the names of the Methodists.
Back in goddam France, they still wait, and their butts have GOT to be asleep by now. Ross against reiterates that he’s got a quiet life now: a wife, a child, another one the way. “I’m keeping my head down and my mouth shut.” At that pronouncement, Clisson comes back and tells Ross that there are army and Navy survivors, but names are hard to get, so he needs more money. A hundred. Ross thinks, and gives Clisson 50, with another 50 when he has the names. Clisson tells him to go home, and he’ll send word, because this shit will take time. Ross says he will do no such thing, and Clisson’s like, fine, but be on your guard, because they’re looking for spies. “We are not spies.” Well, Ross, you are asking around for protected military information, so that’s like, spy-adjacent. Clisson agrees with me.
D is still waiting. Garrick is too. Garrick must be an old dog by now.
Ross watches out the window, and Tholly asks him about “that beauty you had your ‘eart set on? The Chynoweth girl?” She married Ross’ cousin. Ross says it’s for the best, he needed a wife who could chop wood and skin rabbits, as well is drink tea and curtsy. Tholly says something (his accent is THICK and I don’t have subtitles) about Ross’s father, and Ross says that his father and he are not alike. Tholly: y’all do fool’s errands alike, though.
At Trenwith, Val is chatty, while Elizabeth looks at him. George comes in and says that he’s leaving for his first appearance on the bench, and he’d love it if Elizabeth went with him. Elizabeth would rather not: there are household matters.
Constable Goon rides by the Methodist meeting house, watching people shake Drake and Sam’s hands.
Ross and Tholly walk through Roscoff in the morning and there’s a guillotine set up in the square. It’s being used, and a man is dragged to his execution as the crowd shouts. The blade drops and the crowd cheers.
Intercut with this is George putting on his wig and taking his oath of office, swearing that he’s good and fair and reasonable and a bunch of other bullshit. He then takes his seat.
D is out walking, and an open carriage goes by. It’s Elizabeth, G-C, and Morwenna, and Elizabeth and D exchange a long look.
In Roscoff, the woman finally approaches Ross and Tholly, and asks about Ross’s papers. Ross assures he that he has them… in his room. She offers to go up with Ross to inspect them, and Ross is like, er, I’m married. “I’m not.” “Tholly.” “I’m not!” “Tholly.” “I’m ready, willing and able.” Ross apologizes for his servant (“Servant?”) and the woman is like, bruh, you’re a stranger, and you don’t know how to trust friends, as opposed to enemies. “I trust I’ve made none today.” She’s called away.
Caro is having tea with Demelza, grumbling about a woman’s plight, sitting at home idle (“Idle?”) while the men are off having adventures. She’s been thinking about who she knows who has influence and might get her news of Enys. But doesn’t elaborate.
George is enjoying his time as magistrate too much, proclaiming that the theft of a pheasant from a man’s betters (by an old man, in rags) is really really bad, and now it falls to George to pronounce the awful sentence: Which is that the man be tied to post in the market square and get flogged for twenty lashes.
George also gets a note from Constable Goon with Sam and Drake’s names on it, but before he can do anything at the moment, Caroline approaches him in a gorgeous purple redingote. She just happened to drop by. She flatters him with the access he might have, and knowledge of people in the Navy that their neighbors might like to hear, like, oh, for example, Doctor Enys? George is like nah, they wouldn’t, because he’s not on any lists of prisoners or survivors so you have to assume he’s dead, right? That’s just logic.
At the meeting house, the Brothers Carne have discovered that George has taken the meeting house back, which is something he has the right to do, TECHNICALLY, but it’s unfair, and Ross isn’t there to support them. Sam piously says it’s in the Lord’s hands now, which I gotta say, Sam is real good at filling the Lord’s Hands up with things. D agrees with me. “Sometimes the Lord need a little help.”
D is planning on sending Drake to march on Trenwith and ask for Elizabeth’s mercy. She can’t go herself, of course (Elizabeth won’t like it), but Drake plus Zacky to keep Drake civil (Zacky will do his best), might work. Worth a shot, and even though Ross wouldn’t like it, Ross ain’t there to tell anyone what to do.
Back in Roscoff, Ross is back at his table, and gets a note: Clisson will be back on Sunday. Soldiers, however, come to take Ross, and Tholly yells in French, but to no avail.
Zacky and the Brothers Carne arrive at Trenwith, agreeing to not mention their relation to D or Ross. Constable Goon greets them outside the door, and tells them that the Master ain’t home. Zacky tells him that they’re asking after the mistress, and that she knows him by face and by name. Constable Goon lets Zacky and Sam in, but tells Drake to wait. “Nor more than two riff-raff in the house at any time.”
G-C sees Drake, and they walk a bit in the garden, and Drake is like, kid it wouldn’t be good if you’re seen with me. G-C doesn’t care (even though it’ll be bad for Drake, not G-C) and besides, “These are my gardens. Or will be one day.”
In Roscoff, Ross is trying to assure someone of authority (Mayor? Sure, we’ll go with that) that he’s TOTALLY NOT A SPY, he’s just a businessman. The Mayor is like, yeah, no, you’re acting against the interests of France by hanging out for DAYS and never once reporting to the gendarmes. Ross didn’t know he was supposed to. Well, the penalty for the first offense is imprisonment, the second is execution. Ross offers to “pay” a “fine” for 20 guineas. The Mayor ups it to 50, but Ross has to leave right away. Ross says his ship isn’t gonna be there until Monday, but as it so happens, the Mayor says, there’s an English ship leaving very soon. Ross tries another 50 guineas to stay until Monday, but the answer is no, not unless he wants to get imprisoned for attempted bribery. If Ross is still in town at midnight, he’ll be executed.
How’s that quiet country squire life working out for you, Ross?
Sam is explaining that Francis gifted the meeting house to the brethren, and Elizabeth is like are you sure that happened? Because I don’t think… Zacky interrupts that yes, it DID happen, he was there. Sam also says that if she were to make sure the meeting house stayed in the villager’s hands, she’d be doing God’s work and they’d all pray for her.
In the garden, Drake says that he should be getting back, and Morwenna happens upon them. G-C tries to tell Morwenna that she should tell Drake to come visit any time Elizabeth and George are away. “You know you would like that, you’re always talking about him.” Morwenna is mortified. G-C asks Drake that if he wrote a note inviting Drake to visit, would he come? “You can read?” Drake says he can. Morwenna takes her leave.
Elizabeth says that she’ll talk to George, and explain that they view the promise from Francis to be a binding one, but she can’t guarantee anything. The boys all leave, under the watchful eye of Constable Goon.
In Roscoff, Tholly asks Ross for the plan. “We appear to be leaving.” Stress on the appear.
At dinner, Morwenna very casually asks about Elizabeth’s visitors. G-C thinks they should just let them have the meeting house, and Aggie agrees, since the land will be G-C’s eventually.
D is surprised that Elizabeth would be so civil, and Prudie’s like yeah, because they didn’t tell her about their connection to Ross. D agrees, and Prudie asks Sam if he’s always been a “fiend for prayer.” No, he lived without the balm of God for almost 20 years, but he’s found salvation. “More than the rest of us!” Drake grins. But he’s got something he needs from D: “Will ye teach me to read?” D grins.
George is home from his first day on the bench, where he says people appreciated his firm judgements and also he got many compliments on his robes. Elizabeth tells him that they had visitors, Methodists, asking after the meeting house, and that Francis promised it to them. George says these religious sects make him uneasy, and Elizabeth is like, Zacky Martin wouldn’t lie. “And the other man?” Seemed legit. She thinks Zacky called him “Sam?” George yeah, Sam Carne. Demelza’s brother, so that’s the plot, Ross is trying to fuck with them by proxy. “I can’t believe he would PRESUME…HOW DARE HE?” “So we agree, they must on no account take deed to the land.” “ON NO ACCOUNT.” (This moment of indignation is one of Heida Reed’s best moments.)
Caro sits with D, saying that George was quite adamant, Enys’ name is on no lists. “Well, Ross is not yet returned.” D tries to be reassuring. Caro hopes that Ross is on a ship, on his way home.
Well, he IS on a ship. Tholly is happy enough to see the end of France, stinking cesspit that it is. Ross doesn’t answer, and Tholly is like, what are you up to now? “Keep your head down and your mouth shut. That’s what any sensible man would do.” “Indeed.” Ross is not that man. “Get word to my wife that I’ve been delayed.” AND HE JUMPS OFF THE MOTHERFUCKING SHIP LIKE AN IDIOT.
Tholly returns Ross’s hat to D, and she wordlessly stalks away. At the house, she is VERY AGGRESSIVELY KNEADING, slamming the dough against the table, basically saying that she’s gonna beat the shit out of Ross when he gets back. Prudie: T’aint fit. D: “T’aint fair. Prudie: T’aint right. D: T’aint proper. “How the menfolk have the cheek to expect us to do our bidding!” asks D. Prudie: “Then it’s a good thing we never do.”
George and Elizabeth have been loudly agreeing with each other all night, yelling about Ross’ presumption and shit. Elizabeth is still really mad. “He planned it! To cause disruption to us! YET AGAIN.” “Dear god, are we never to be rid of him?” George proposes decamping to their house in Truro, leaving G-C and Aggie with Morwenna in the country, and then Ross is out of their hair. Elizabeth says that she’ll miss G-C, of course, but the thought of being out of Ross’ reach…. “Then shall we leave today?” “The sooner the better.” Then instead of packing, they start making out. Rich people are weird.
At Nampra, D has written out everyone’s name on a slate (including Garrick’s!) and Drake is slowly sounding them out. Sam comes in, and reports that George said that they need to put their tools down and not come back upon pain of death. D realizes that it’s because Sam and Drake are known as her brothers. “Judas! Must it always be such a battle?”
Elizabeth has packed up the baby, and tells G-C to shake her hand, “That is what young gentlemen do.” G-C does, but with a faint smile that says he thinks this is stupid. Elizabeth tells Morwenna to keep G-C up on his studies, and that Aggie isn’t to waste all his time at cards. “Wouldn’t dream of it!” “I’ll miss you, mama.” No word is spared for George, and the carriage isn’t even out of the gate before Aggie smirks, “Now we can have some fun!”
Drake is patiently practicing writing his name and D’s, while she’s angrily bustling around the kitchen. He helps her get a jug from a high shelf, and tells her he can see why their father was so miffed that she left, she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and doesn’t buckle. Yes, emotional labor is like that, Drake. D says it’s more than she wishes to bear sometimes, and Ross is pain in the ass sometimes. And she occasionally wonders why she wed him at all. “But is not all love tricksicle sometimes?” D: “I promised to love, honor, and obey him. And why should I?” She stops, and Drake’s like, was that a complete thought? No, but she’s figured out where they can worship.
They stand outside of a storehouse, and Sam’s like, Captain Ross will give us this? No, D says, I am giving this to you. You can clean it out, fix it up. “Captain Ross won’t like it.” “No more than I like certain antics of his. Make this your church.”
In Truro, George and Elizabeth have moved into their townhouse. Elizabeth says she loves it, and feels like she can breathe again. George hopes she’ll attend his next session on the bench, and he’ll make it as “entertaining” as the first one. Gross.
At the storehouse, D’s brought food and water, and will get things in writing, so no one can fuck with them.
In Roscoff, Ross has stolen a hat! He is totes in disguise. He finds Clisson, who wants money before the list, and Ross wants the lists before the money. They basically swap at the same time (any 10 year old knows this technique), and Clisson slithers off, and the woman who’s been making eyes at Ross saunters over with soldier and the mayor. “Did you miss me?” Ross apologizes for brushing her off earlier, “I did not appreciate my good fortune.” And then he punches out two of the soldiers and makes a run for it. He has to fight his way out of the town and runs off into the night.
Waves crash, and Caro sits staring at the fire. D stares out her window, hand on her belly.
George and Elizabeth eat in silence, when a invitation comes from a Lord Godolphin. “How splendid!” George reads the note, and it seems that Lord Godolphin’s young nephew is coming before the court the next day, charged with assaulting a servant girl. “Oh.”
In the court, the magistrates are whispering about being in agreement, while the accused and the servant girl wait nervously. “We see before the court today a person who has been wronged in the grossest manner. Lies have been told. A blameless reputation is at stake. In our view, an example must be set in order to deter others from committing a like offense.” George proclaims that the court has decided that the servant girl has committed perjury, and slandered the good name of Anthony Godolphin, and will be committed for trial. The servant girl collapses, and Elizabeth stares at George with bewilderment.
Caro and D stand at the gate, and Caro feels like she can’t assume anything but the worst, “A sorry end.” D, based on what Tholly told her about what was happening in France, thinks that they might both have to prepare for the worst.
Elizabeth is sitting in her house, and a doctor is giving her a tincture that “calms the nerves.” Three drops, as and when required. So, an opiate, probably.
Waves crash, and the kids (G-C, Morwenna, and Drake) run on the beach.
Drake has a handful of seaweed. He makes like he’s going to throw it, and she’s like I dare you! Drake says no, dare him to do something else! “Such as?” “Dare me…. I don’t know, to kiss you!” She blinks, and he’s like “Uh I would never presume….” “No, you would not. Not with Geoffrey Charles here!” Drake TOUCHES HER HAND, scandalous.
D is stacking wood, when she hears a horse neigh, and Ross rides up. They have a mushy reunion. Inside, D reads over the list.
In France, prisoners are marched into the prison, and a blond man with a shaggy beard watches, warily. It’s Enys!
D finds his name. “Ross, he’s alive!” For what it’s’ worth, conditions in France for enemies of the Republic are really really bad. “You must go to Caroline at once, put her out of her misery!”
In the prison, a wounded soldier has been brought in, and Enys calls for water.
Ross and Caro stand in her parlor, and she falls to the ground, crying in relief.
Elizabeth stares at the fire, while George talks about how “affable” Archie (“He invited me to forgo the ‘Lord’”) Godolphin was, and that he appreciated George’s astute legal mind, and reminded him of the banquet next week. Elizabeth is like, “Huh?” “I suspect it won’t be long before we have a burgess in the family.”
At Trenwith, Morwenna is walking in the sun, thinking about Drake, touching the string of shells her made her that she’s tied around her wrist. At the new meetinghouse, Drake is helping set up benches, and another women is looking at him in that hopeful way. Another man tells Drake that he could do worse, and maybe Drake should speak to her father? “T’would be of no use. My heart is already bespoke.”
Ross has just found out about the meetinghouse and wants to know by whose permission. Well, D, says, by mine. Ross is aghast that she would do that without his input. She turns from her mirror and looks at him, “You seriously ask me that?” “I seriously ask you that!” “Who am I, Ross?” “My wife.” “And when you’re away, who I defer to?” She can’t sit and wait for his ass to come back and make decisions, not when she’s got a kid and 7/9th of a kid, a farm and a mine to run. “Other women may bow and scrape as I once did.” But she didn’t know if he was coming back. “But I have come back,” says Ross, then realizes he missed the point. “I have no business questioning what you do in my absence. You’re my wife, not my chattel.” France was SHIT, and he was worried that he’d make it back at all.
D smiles, “Well, perhaps if you behave, it may be warmer than you deserve.”
In France, Enys is trying to treat another man. “What is this place? Am I dead? Is this hell?” Gunshots echos from outside, and Enys tells him that he’s alive, but they’re all in hell now.
Baby Val coos in his crib, and Elizabeth drinks at her dressing table while George prattles on about his super successful day. George picks up Val, while Elizabeth says not to fuss over the baby. No, George thinks Val should be fussed over and cherished and everything he does is for the good of his son and heir. He had a good day and everything is great.
Ross and D make out in bed (he without a shirt), and she, smiling, says “No doubt you were plagued by French beauties.” “No doubt I was.” “No doubt you availed yourself of them.” “No doubt I did.” Except he’s got the prettiest wife, so… This is a weird note to end on. It looks tender, but written out….?
I dunno, a lot of these episodes end weirdly.
Have you been watching? What did you think of this episode?