Poldark on MASTERPIECE: Season 3, Episode 7 Recap

Deborah Gilbert | November 12, 2017

Geoffrey Charles agrees to do Morwenna a secret favor.

Call me kooky, but am I the only person who thinks sketchy artist Lt. Armitage looks like he’s been drawn by Garry Trudeau in this episode of Poldark? Seriously. Just putting it out there. Hopefully this is not so sketchy: My…

18 essentials of Poldark Season 3, Episode 7…

18. To Dream The Impossible Dream

Demelza is tempted by the fruit of another. She goes off on her own, to the Nampara Cove cliffs to study the now-worn drawing Lt. Armitage made of her. She contemplates it and what it means, then throws it off the Tallahatchie Bridge. (Litterbug!) Demelza and Armitage seem to be increasingly thrown together in social situations and she lights up whenever she sees him. Sadly, that same light she had for Ross has become a dim bulb as of late. Others see it – including Ross. But what else should he expect, given the way he’s been treating her?

17. House Call

Armitage shows up to Nampara unannounced with flowering plant; a rare bloom like Demelza. Ross comes home early to find them laughing and flushed and sets about calling the dog to jump on her to break the mood. Interesting how, of all the ways Ross could have walked across the room, he bisects the space between them, and makes reference to the dog as uncouth, as a metaphor for his wife. She laughs it off yet again. It seems like any challenge and she is back to being the scullery maid. In that way he is more like Lord Falmouth than he would like to (or ever would) admit. The ghost of the entitled aristocrat lives on in him still.

She all but tells Ross she wants to cheat; has committed adultery in her heart. Ross just quietly scolds her; he expects her good sense knows the difference between fantasy and reality. We suspect that’s not really what she wanted to hear. She’s got it bad (for Armitage) and that ain’t good — though Prudie says it might be, and encourages her to go for a roll in the hay.

Caroline notices this mating dance of Armitage and Demelza. In fact, she can barely take her eyes of the two of them looking at each other. She hasn’t made mention of it yet to Demelza or Ross. Will she?

16. Frozen

George is giving Elizabeth the iciest of shoulders and ignoring Valentine altogether. Even the sound of the baby’s rattle is like nails on a blackboard. She tells him she cannot understand why, even though she does. George cannot let it go; he seethes, and when George seethes bad things happen. (Just like in Carrie.)

15. A Doctor And A Gentleman (And No Gentleman)

George goes to ask Dr. Enys a delicate question, and it must remain confidential. But what are one of the rules of drama? Whenever a character asks for something to remain confidential, that usually means it won’t. Apparently George doesn’t know that. He asks, in a roundabout way (for a friend), about Valentine’s paternity. He tells Dwight he’s heard an eight month baby has no nails, or hair, all the stuff Aunt Agatha claimed, leaving out the black moon stuff. But he does not get the unequivocal answer he seeks. Where’s Maury Povich when you need him?

Time to lash out. George challenges Lord Falmouth. He treats Falmouth like he treats every other person he comes across who is superfluous to his needs. He tells him he plans to stand for Parliament himself instead of supporting Falmouth’s candidate. Kind of ironic given how much George spent (via Morwenna’s dowry to Whitworth) to buy access to Falmouth. But hell hath no fury like a Warleggan snubbed.

Elizabeth and Valentine are not welcome at the election in Truro where Lord Falmouth pulls every string and then some, right out in the open. What was it Elizabeth told George last week about appearing to be trying too hard? But despite his best efforts, George is elected MP.

14. Scream Queen

At the pub, Ross was expecting to be celebrating George’s defeat, but now George gloats about his win in Ross’ face and it escalates rather quickly. If he decides Trenwith is superfluous to requirement he’ll sell it. (Wait, can he? More later on that.) Ross asks about Geoffrey Charles and George complains that he grows more like his father, Francis, and mentions that he is paying for Geoffrey Charles’ education himself. By rights, he claims, Elizabeth should have income from her shares in Ross’ mine; shares (he says) she sold under duress — not that he cares a fig about Elizabeth’s duress, but he does care about getting his hands on that mine, its income, and the ability to starve yet more miners. Ross says he’ll just have to talk to Elizabeth about that, at which point George goes berserk.

Ross taunts that “she was a Poldark, and so is her son!” (He deftly does not specify which son). Hello! George screams, “Damn you! Damn your blood!” George is ready to throw down but he can’t bring himself to get physical past a tense, nose-to-nose confrontation, during which I cannot help but wonder: Is George searching Ross’ face for a hint of Valentine? Sir Francis has to practically jump in between them and pull them apart, saying this behavior is unbecoming to a Member of Parliament while looking like he may have a bit of buyer’s remorse over his uncontrollable candidate. Ross smirks an apology to Sir Francis and saunters out.

13. From Zanzibar To Barclay Square?

When George returns home from his victory lap in Truro, Elizabeth is happy to congratulate him and make plans about where they’ll live in London. Shall it be a house in Hatton Garden or Fitzroy Square? The answer is neither. George is going alone, because (he says) maybe depriving her of the thrill of his company will make her appreciate him more. He may have read that in a magazine in Dr. Enys’ waiting room.

But before he goes, he asks Tom Harry to spy on Elizabeth while he’s away; he wants to know everything about where she goes and who she sees. For some reason Tom Harry actually looks uncomfortable with this idea. After all the underhanded things George has asked him to do, has Tom Harry suddenly grown a conscience? But it doesn’t matter; Elizabeth overhears this order and forewarned is forearmed. As George leaves there is no kiss goodbye. Ah well, she’s not too broken up about it – she always has her mother’s little helper in the brown bottle. And she uses George’s absence to send for Geoffrey Charles’ return home from boarding school. When he arrives, he greets his mum with a formal handshake until he finds out George is out of town. Then he immediately warms up; they embrace, sit by the fire, braid each other’s hair and make crank calls to boys.

True History: Hatton Garden and Fitzroy Square: The Hatton Garden area has been the center of London’s jewelry trade since medieval times. It gets its name from the Ely Place House garden belonging to Sir Christopher Hatton. Ely Place House had belonged to the Bishop of Ely until Queen Elizabeth I decided Hatton should have it. Hatton was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I; handsome and a good dancer, he was a member of her privy council and royal household. She gifted him with so much in the way of property, appointments, and even a knighthood, it led to rumors they were lovers.

Fitzroy Square is in the neighborhood of Fitzrovia and was actually a new development during the time period the Poldark takes place. Designed as a Georgian square, the houses were built to be the London residences of aristocratic families. Construction had only begun in 1794. The land was originally owned by the son of Henry Fitzroy, who was the illegitimate son of King Charles II.

12. Doctor In The House

Dr. Enys pays a call to pregnant Morwenna, and after speaking with her, Dwight warns Rev. Whitworth that the baby is in danger because he is too fat and could crush the child. Whitworth is incensed that Dr. Enys is even bringing up the subject of s-e-x. What? And give up my conjugal rights? Dr. Enys reasons that for a Man of God abstinence shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice. Just then Whitworth spies her sister Rowella’s rack in her low cut dress and decides he’ll manage somehow.

Dwight’s next house call is to the mine where he mentions to Ross his disagreeable appointments with Whitworth and George, and cannot decide which is worse. He reeeeally wants to dish all about them but regrettably cannot. Caroline, however, does let slip, over tea with Elizabeth, that George has been in to see the good doctor, but she cannot say why.

11. Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Ross goes to church graveyard to visit Aunt Agatha and runs into Elizabeth there. The conversation goes to George and his MP win and his jealousy, and Ross says he cannot possibly still be jealous of a relationship they had so long ago. Elizabeth tells him their relationship is over but the consequences may not be. Say what? Ross asks her what George imagines (Duh, you played with what he imagines at his victory party, kinda-sorta, when you didn’t say which son), but Elizabeth cannot say. Ross wants to know, “cannot say, or will not say?” He wants to know what George suspects. He asks her three times, three different ways. It seems like he just wants to make her say it. Does she need too? But who could have told George anyway? Agatha, of course. Elizabeth finally does the math. Now she knows what Agatha didn’t finish telling her or why George stopped speaking to her that day.

Ross tells her that George has no proof; she should make him ask her and then deny it; telling her lie if she has to. He asks her if she wants to save the marriage; and shouldn’t she for her son’s sake? She finally admits that she does, and as soon as she admits that yes, she wants to save her marriage to George, Ross has another idea: There is one other thing she can do, she can give George another child. If there were another child where there is confusion over the dates – if it could seem like another eight month baby (ahem) and naturally Ross implies he knows just the guy who could help her do it. And George never has to know. Smooth, Ross. It’s like, as soon as he knows she wants his rival, he wants to stake his own claim…yet again.

This is not an offer she can’t refuse. Elizabeth thinks better of it and goes to leave (if only because she knows Tom Harry is likely tailing her). But Ross and Elizabeth part with tender kisses goodbye, standing in the church doorway — all seen by Prudie, which means Demelza will know in 3…2…1. Everything in this scene between Ross and Elizabeth was in what was not said. I’d say it was a “See ya Hubbell” moment, but Hubbell didn’t proposition Katie in front of the Plaza Hotel.

10. True Confessions (Not!)

When he gets home to Demelza, and she asks where he was, he says he went to Agatha’s grave to take care of business. She asks what business, and Ross confesses (almost) all to Demelza, the most important bits, at least: about how he still loves Elizabeth, not the way he did, but it is just the ghost of a love, that he pities her, that he treated her badly, that she is still the same, as lovely as ever, “She hasn’t changed, but I have, because of you.” That is probably exactly what Demelza has been needing to hear — but that speech was all in his head; a dream. It is the thing he wants to say, needs to say, but he doesn’t say it out loud. He just snaps at Demelza instead as (what has become) usual.

9. My Name Is Lord Falmouth, And I’m A Power-Aholic

At Lord Falmouth’s party, after George’s win, Falmouth makes a Hail Mary pass of his own… to Ross. He figures their shared dislike of George will be entre to a deal, for Ross to run to unseat George. Ross asks Falmouth if he cannot just reconcile with Sir Francis, to get rid of George that way. But Falmouth sees the writing on the wall; his way is the old order while Sir Francis is the new — and he’d like Ross’ help in maintaining that old staus quo they were both born into. That he wants to defeat George is laudable, but Ross is not the one to represent the reasons behind it.

Falmouth arrogantly thinks the little people (i.e.; non-aristocrats) have no place in government, that they cannot handle it, and in that moment he reminded one of a less charmless Violet Grantham who herself once said (of Dr. Clarkson who wouldn’t let wounded William in the cottage hospital), “It always happens when you give these little people power, it goes to their heads like strong drink.” He refers to he a Ross as, “we, the aristocracy,” but Ross is having none of it. Falmouth is disappointed. He had assumed that because of Ross’ exploits in France, he would be an anti-revolutionary. Ross says no, he doesn’t believe in war or bloodshed, but in liberty, equality, and fraternity (or was that Moe, Larry and Curley?) Either way, thanks but no thanks. Buh-bye.

8. Party Animal

While Lord Falmouth has a proposition for Ross, Demelza gets yet another proposition of another sort. Armitage again makes a pass at her, professing love, and they almost kiss, but she dodges, says he doesn’t really see her and besides, she needs another glass of port. Later though, she sings to Armitage (in front of everyone), their eyes are locked, and Ross sees but is the first one to applaud, even though he is clearly uncomfortable.

7. Sister Act

Sister Rowella tempts Reverend Whitworth. The Man of God peeps at her undressing and bathing through a crack in the wall. It seems she knows he’s watching though – she can probably hear him breathing.

Meanwhile, Morwenna stands on the cliffs, but this is not the usual looking-out-to-sea gaze, she is also looking down at the rocks in a way that makes one wonder if she is thinking of jumping as much as remembering happier times there. As his miserable wife, she has to sit through hypocrite Vicar Whitworth’s fire and brimstone sermons about sin and overcoming the temptation of the flesh, knowing what he truly is.

Morwenna goes into labor, though it looks like, just like with the “obligations of marriage,” she doesn’t really know what’s happening. Thankfully her sister Rowella is there and Dr. Enys is called, but everything takes a dangerous turn. Dr. Enys tells Whitworth she is having convulsions. That sounds like sounds like eclampsia, but fortunately Dr. Enys is a better OB/GYN than Sir Philip Tapsell. (#SybilCrawleyRIP, gone but not forgotten.) Upon hearing the update from Dwight, Whitworth has not a care for Morwenna, only the baby.

6. Playing God

Sister Rowella goes to tell Whitworth he has a son and comes upon him praying for Morwenna’s death, telling the Lord that he now understands His purpose; that since Morwenna is “unsuited,” if it is His will that he be widowed again, he’s totally down with it. He’ll reactivate his Tinder profile to make the next go-round easier. Rowella lowers her chin and sets him in her sights.

It’s a boy; six and a half pounds. Whitworth is giddy. He exclaims that his mummy will be pleased, and he’s already chosen a name. It’s a long one but he makes sure he gets the “Godolphin” name brand that helps with the ladies in there. Um, aren’t you forgetting something, Bud? Whitworth is much less enthusiastic to find out that Morwenna survived. (Oh, she did?) Part of his giddiness was because he assumed she’d died and he was (no doubt) thinking he could move on to another wife/dowry. Dr. Enys can barely conceal his disgust. It begs the question; does anyone know how that last Mrs. Whitworth died? Maybe of the same disgust?

Morwenna is distant with the baby. She cannot love him, but says she must learn to since the circumstances of his birth are not his fault. Morwenna complains to her sister that Whitworth had demanded sex that morning, against doctor’s orders. Sister says she’ll take care of it, then gets up to leave, announcing that she’ll return after she’s taken a bath so Whitworth (in the next room) can hear her. We think that maybe she’s trying to lure Whitworth into something but it backfires. He runs to peep through the wall, but then whatever sister thought that would achieve, it doesn’t. Instead Whitworth runs into Morwenna’s room and says, “We will say a prayer!” She begs him no, but he just growls that it will soon be over, “just close your eyes, and submit” — then he rapes her.

We never saw anything of Morwenna and Whitworth post-wedding until last week, months after the event. But last week a commenter on my blog said that in the Poldark novel, Whitworth rapes Morwenna on their wedding night. With that, and the episode tonight, we get a clearer picture of the bizarre “monster” he is, and more fully what Morwenna is living with. Will there be justice (and an escape) for Morwenna?

5. To Morwenna, With Love

Elizabeth brings Geoffrey Charles to visit Morwenna and is alarmed at how she looks, but it is obvious that Morwenna is hesitant to say how awful things are in front of Geoffrey Charles (because they are not suitable for his ears?) Elizabeth asks Rowella to see the baby which was just a ruse to gets Rowella alone and question her about sickly Morwenna. Rowella tells Elizabeth that Morwenna is not getting better, only worse, and that Whitworth believes her complaints are (essentially) hysterical and should just be ignored. When Elizabeth then questions Whitworth as to why he hasn’t called the doctor, he complains about the expense. It would cut into his pretty frock budget. Elizabeth puts her foot down and says either you call the doctor or I will.

While that’s happening, left alone with Morwenna, Geoffrey Charles asks if she still thinks of Drake. She says she does. He asks if she would like him to take a message to Drake. At first she says no; then she says to tell him she does not forget him and never will. Thanks to Geoffrey Charles, Drake gets the message, and he has one of his own for Morwenna. He leaves her a gift, that poured metal portrait of her, made into a necklace (which she hides from Whitworth). Drake has not forgotten her either. He stands outside the house looking up at it while inside she weeps.

4. The Devil Made Me Do It

When Dr. Enys comes, he examines Morwenna and delicately asks her about her marital relations. Enys then, once again, goes to Whitworth and demands he leave Morwenna alone; she just had a baby and is not healed. Again Whitworth is incensed at being told his every whim cannot be attended to whenever he pleases, but suddenly his eye wanders to Rowella and he feigns reason.

Whitworth is clearly jealous when a male librarian visits to bring Rowella books and chats to her about them. He does not approve of the masses reading. It gives them ideas their common little pea brains cannot handle the way a superior, aristocratic (i.e.; inbred) brain can. He tells the young librarian to be gone. Later, with Dwight finally convincing Whitworth that Morwenna is unavailable, he tells Morwenna she can take all the time she needs, then walks into Rowella’s room. She looks up from her book and says, “Did you want me, Vicar?” He claims he wants to start a book club. She’s reading The Iliad, and relays about info about the plot which involves bodies; lots of bodies, and the proper care of bodies. She maneuvers him to sit down then says, “Should you like me to sit on your lap? Of course you would.” She does then rips open her bodice. Hopefully next episode begins with him being found dead on the floor. That would be a cheery way to start the week.

True History: The Iliad: Interesting that the book Rowella was reading was Homer’s poem The Iliad, set during the Trojan War, and that she mentioned Hector and the defiling of the body to Whitworth. Do we think the reference she made to the way Hector’s body was mistreated, which (in the story) angered the gods, was an allusion to the way Whitworth had been mistreating and defiling Morwenna? Might Rowella be a Trojan Horse?

3. Keep Hope Alive

When Geoffrey Charles visits Drake he talks about his plans for when “when I inherit Trenwith,” about having Drake come to live there as his steward, and how they’ll make wagon wheels together. Geoffrey Charles has no way of knowing that George has no intention of ever letting him have Trenwith, his ancestral home. George plans to sell it — or, at least, he is threatening to when he’s around Ross. Was that just to anger Ross, or to use as a bargaining chip to get Ross to turn over the percentage of his mine previously sold by Elizabeth? Or does George really plan to sell Trenwith — and can he actually do it? Aren’t there legal papers somewhere leaving it to Geoffrey Charles? Might George have destroyed them? It seems that given the primogeniture laws, Geoffrey Charles is protected, and it would require a special act of Parliament to change that… but then, George was just elected to Parliament. Hmm…

2. No Secrets

At home after Lord Falmouth’s party, Ross tells Demelza she seems far away, but she says no more than he. Again she asks about secrets but he says he has nothing to tell, “do you?” She admits she does but that he won’t like it. He says, try me.

Her secret? She wishes she could be two people, to have a day off from being Mrs. Ross Poldark so she can quench her id with another, someone new. (We, and Ross, know who.) She wishes she could love another just for a day. He asks if a day would be enough, and she says she feels it would because, “I know who truly owns my heart.” She asks him if he doubts that, and he responds, “not till tonight.” Seeing her look at Armitage the way she once looked at him has shaken him. She assures him she will look at him that way again, just “be patient with me as I have been patient with you.” Ouch. What can he do but nod at such a read – because if his conscience is in working order, he knows just how patient she has had to be.

1. Tell Her, You Putz!

Or could Ross do more than just nod? Could he FINALLY tell Demelza what he said (to himself) in that speech he had in his head earlier? What is holding him back? Ego? Fear that it’s not true? Fear that it is? Is it that Demelza was a safety choice because she was so far beneath his class she wouldn’t be desired like Elizabeth and so would never leave him (like Elizabeth), but now he has seen over and over that she has grown into her role in society (without losing her earthy fire) and is every bit as desirable a lady as Elizabeth – and more? (I know that was a long question).

What these two have here is a failure to communicate! They are constantly dancing around each other; each dropping hints like so many passive/aggressive hand grenades, and each leaving things unsaid the things the other needs to hear. I wonder if that librarian has a copy of the best seller, Men Are From Tregothnan, Women Are From Truro.

Addendum: Last week I speculated that George had tampered with the Poldark family bible to make it seem as if Aunt Agatha was going to be turning 98 instead of 100. This was me making the assumption that this was another of George’s dastardly deeds. Reading between the lines that seemed the case to me, but it seems I jumped to the wrong conclusion. In this fantastic Masterpiece podcast with actor Caroline Blakiston, who played Aunt Agatha, she makes no mention of that at all. It seems Aunt Agatha really was turning 98 (even though she thought she was turning 100. Ah, well. Either way, George is still a schmuck.

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