Tonight, the “Poldark” season 2 finale on BBC One was a tale of heartbreak, a tale of violence, and also a tale of looking towards the other side of the horizon. Understandably so, everyone is starting to look towards the future, which makes some sense given how much time they have all collectively spent staring at the past.
For our title character Ross Poldark, what we saw from him was a further pattern of vengeance-seeking, almost as though he was looking for a source to take out some of his anger. First, George was understandably a target given that he is 1) the worst and 2) he was trying to find more ways to undermine Ross in every way possible, including protesting the sale of his nephew’s shares in Wheal Grace. Then, we saw him consider the opportunity of rejoining the military, which was met with all sorts of cynicism and skepticism. She’s certainly salty, and she’s got a good reason to be that way.
The two spent much of the first twenty or so minutes trading barbs, but matters of the heart came to a head when she admitted to him what she did with Captain McNeil, which prompted him to make the decision to leave. We do understand his viewpoint that his ten-year emotional whirlwind is different than her wanting to be unfaithful as an impetuous act of revenge; yet, the actions are still the actions, and his dalliance lasted exponentially longer.
Ross’ decision to reenlist in the first place was prompted by Dwight pondering over the move himself, a move designed to help him get over his grief after learning that Caroline may be marrying a different man. Ross later passed that news along to Dwight, and went to pay a visit to Caroline herself while Demelza did her part to escape much of the present drama of her life with Verity. This discussion between Ross and Caroline in particular were a rather perfect reflection of who Ross is as a character: He’s so obsessed with the idea of being the “good guy” that he goes in too deep and ends up throwing off the balance of what he originally intended. He pleaded with her for the sake of Dwight to give the good doctor another chance. Whatever Ross said in the midst of his approach, it was at least enough to convince her to approach Dwight once more. They talked, forgiveness was shared, and she kissed him! Could this actually be the rare “Poldark” love story with a happy ending attached? Well, it was still bittersweet given that this romance didn’t change his impending departure.
Following this reunion, Ross had his own decision to make once he determined that Dwight wasn’t going to the military.
The Demelza – Elizabeth showdown – We knew this moment would be coming, and it was every bit as tense and dramatic as you would expect. It was made even more heated in our mind by Demelza’s threat to take her son and depart to her father’s house. What was unknown to Demelza at the time and therefore makes the situation all the more complicated was the fact that Elizabeth was pregnant — these dots were connected all the further near the episode’s end. Sure, this may be the stereotypical TV drama twist, it was certainly delicious and added another layer to what was already a scandalous situation. Was the child George’s, or did it belong to Ross?
Following this crisis, there was another due to a threat to take Demelza down. This didn’t exactly inspire a lot of goodwill elsewhere, as it looked like George was going to be at the center of quite a terrible revolt. Sure, George is a scumbag, but is forming an angry mob really the right move to try and destroy him? Demelza actually went to George and Elizabeth directly to issue her warning to them, while George continued to remain a jerk himself, cluing Demelza in on her husband’s plans.
It all comes to a head – Ross eventually heard about what was happening at George’s home, and therefore decided to forgo the military in order to attempt to matters at home. He attempted to play peacemaker and stop the riot. His speech was successful, which proves that sometimes, our hero can stumble into being just that despite some various miscues. This was a reminder that Ross, at his core, is someone who wants good things. He just gets conflicted along the way sometimes. Ross pleaded to his wife that he would be different moving forward, and that closing kiss offers us hope. Will it last? That’s what you must wonder now.
George, meanwhile, decided that he was going to send away Elizabeth’s child to a fancy school without telling her while they began to raise their own … you know, the child that may not actually be his.
Overall – In ending season 2, “Poldark” accomplished a number of different things. It brought us haunting sequences, true love back together, and also pain … LOTS of pain. “Angsty Poldark” could be a title for at least half of the show’s episodes a season. Sometimes, though, having a good cry can be healthy, and if you do so here, at least you’re doing so with one of the best British shows on television. A worthy end to this current batch of episodes. Grade: A-.
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