The clouds and the cliff of Cornwall are again our focus. There’s both beauty and danger. We see a flame and men behind bars. Then there’s a hand crossing of another set of days. Much time has passed and will Jinny hopes that her husband Jim will be home soon, fate intervenes. Another couple begin a journey that will end in separation and death.
All is not well with Jim Carter (Alexander Arnold). There’s a sickness in the prison. Ross brings Dr. Enys (Luke Norris) to the Bodwin prison and bullies the guards into allowing him to illegally take away Jim Carter who is seriously ill. Jim already had asthma and living in the dark, dank, airless cell hasn’t helped his health. Despite their efforts, Jim dies, leaving Jinny a widow and single mother.
At Trenwith, Francis is out working the fields, without his top hat, sweating in his white shirt as he tries to cut down the grasses with a scythe. “Pretty sign is it not?” he asks Ross. Of course, you’re thinking this and it will be said, “As we sow so shall we reap.”
“If I can be of service,” Ross offers.
Yet Francis is having a pity-party and rhetorically asks Ross to “find a way to restore my mine, my estate, my dignity.”
“I wish you could join us,” Ross replies, but we all know that George would disapprove.”
Francis also has a warning for Ross, “You’ll never get it, Ross…justice for all.” Ross leaves and with it takes with him Francis’ patience, “Damn these blisters,” Francis whines. He’ll not be a man today.
Ross goes into town for the auction where he and his Carnmore Copper Company wins all the bids. Ross and his cohorts win this one, leaving George puzzling, but not down.
To celebrate his new acquisition of a mine via his cousin Matthew, George and his uncle Cary Warleggan hold a party. Why would the Poldarks attend? George owns Francis and they are still friends. Verity, who is now secretly seeing her beau Captain Blamey, tells Ross that after his breaking into the jail, Ross needs to remind his people that he is one of them and his class should protect him from prosecution.
“Your arguments disgust me,” Ross says.
Verity replies, “They disgust me too. But you have more than yourself to consider now.” Ross has both Demelza and Julia to consider.
Ross and Demelza arrive, but Ross soon begins to drink and leaves Demelza to herself. She is much admired as is Elizabeth. Elizabeth takes both Francis and Ross to task by telling them. “Absentee husbands make for wandering wives. If you wish to retain our favor, you’d do well to pay us attention.” At the ball, Elizabeth proves to be Demelza’s ally, even with her mother replying to her mother’s snark, “I see no scullery maid, mama.”
Verity quickly deserts her when Captain Blamey shows up. Verity is horrified that her love has come because she has still not told Francis about his honorable courtship.
We can’t put the blame on Blamey. He has repeatedly asked Verity to ask Francis for permission, but Francis is too busy with his pity-party that Verity has sensibly kept the focus on him. Francis foolishly confronts the Captain and does nothing to make us think him manly. He demands that Verity move away from the captain. The captain leaves the party, “without a backward glance” leading Verity to believe that she has lost her chance at love. “He despises me and so he should.”
Francis tells Verity, “I forbid you ever to see him again.”
George begins to think that he can have Elizabeth because it is a “wicked shame to have thrown her away on a Poldark.”
George tells Elizabeth, “You look ravishing tonight.” Elizabeth feels quite dull, but George reassures her, “That which is treasured can never be dull.”
Yet there is more drama in the gaming room. While a drunken Ross bitterly wants to disavow the “overpainted, overdressed overstuffed” people there because “if these are my people then” he’d rather stay at home.
Demelza warns that if he continues to behave like he has, she’ll not want to join him at parties. Ross is losing badly to George’s cousin, Matthew. By the time Demelza enters, he is ready to wager his gold watch. She sits behind him. The doctor Enys watches the game as well.
When it looks like Ross has lost everything and been defeated just as his cousin was just an episode ago, Ross reveals that he is not drunk, or at least, entirely drunk. He grabs Matthew’s arm and asks, “Can you explain how you come to have a card in your hand before you drew one from the pack?” He has caught Matthew cheating and reclaims all the money he has lost.
Later as Demelza and Ross stand before Jim Carter’s grave, Demelza tells him, “Ross, you cannot fight all the world. You can only make your one small corner a fairer place.”
“Lay your flowers,” he tells her. “This is the first time I’ve been sober in five days.”