It’s all about the mines. From a close up on a candle flame we realize we are in the mine. Outside, in the daylight, we see a smiling Ross Poldark, greeting a friend–the young handsome Doctor Dwight Enys (Luke Norris) who has come to study the lungs of the miners.
Some months have passed since that Christmas and Demelza is heavily pregnant. She’s introduced to the young doctor. He’s the man who mended Ross’ face.
Later at a gathering the young doctor meets the dour old doctor Choake. When in doubt, purge says the old doctor but doctor Enys doesn’t agree. Modern medicine is coming to Cornwall.
The people have gathered to watch a play put on al fresco by a traveling group of actors. The pleasantly plumb main actress Keren (Sabrina Bartlett) intones, “I am undone. There be no living if Betram be away…He is so above me in his bright radiance and collateral lights.” These lines are from Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
The full passage is:
O, were that all! I think not on my father;
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him: my imagination
Carries no favour in’t but Bertram’s.
I am undone: there is no living, none,
If Bertram be away. ‘Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.
The ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love. ‘Twas pretty, though plague,
To see him every hour; to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,
In our heart’s table; heart too capable
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour:
But now he’s gone, and my idolatrous fancy
Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here?
The passage is spoken by Helena to Parolles. Parolles asks her: “Are you meditating on virginity?” She replies:
“Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you: let me
ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity; how
may we barricade it against him?”
This is the first scene of the first act at the Count’s palace. While Ross is watching the play, Demelza excuses herself.
Toward the finish, the play finishes with this part is read:
If thou be’st yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I’ll pay thy dower;
For I can guess that by thy honest aid
Thou keep’st a wife herself, thyself a maid.
Of that and all the progress, more or less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express:
All yet seems well; and if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
The actress who played Helena, Keren, has been making eyes at Mark Daniel (Matthew Wilson). Ross wonders if we “should expect an announcement soon,” thinking the two might marry.
When someone says, “You may soon have an announcement of your own,” Ross realizes that Demelza has gone and not returned. Ross hurries home on horseback at a gallop (making one wonder just how Demelza and Verity got back). Demelza is already there with Verity. Although she expected the baby to be born in a month, the baby is born now with Prudie, Jinny and Verity there for her.
Ross looks at the newborn baby and asks, “How could we make something to perfect.”
“I am afeared Ross that I love her too much,” Demelza says tenderly.
“I promise I will make the world a better place for her…I’m already a better man because of you,” he tells Demelza.
The news stiffly received at Trenwith.
Elizabeth softly says, “I wish them well.”
In the golden morning light we see a mare and its foal. That’s just for scenery I guess because we never find out to whom the horses belong.
Elizabeth comes to visit and Demelza at first thinks she has come to see Ross, but Elizabeth explains, “T’is you I came to see.”
Demelza attempts to play the hostess with her rival and offers some refreshment.
Elizabeth resplies, “I beg you do not trouble yourself.” Then she sees that Demelza is embroidering on ribbons and comments, “That’s very pretty.”
“It’s just a fancy I had to make her a keepsake,” Demelza explains. Of course, it’s nothing really precious.
“It’s made of something more precious. A mother’s love for her child surpasses all other loves, does it not?,” Elizabeth says, reaching out to her cousin by marriage.
“I don’t think Ross would care to hear that,” Demelza says.
“Nor Francis,” Elizabeth replies. “Men do not understand such things.”
The child< Julia Grace Poldark< is baptized with Ross inviting all to a christening. Dressed in a soft green, Demelza is uncomfortable and waits with Verity.
From their hiding place, they hear one harpy, the now married Ruth declare, “I’m surprised Captain Poldark allows such riff raff in this house, but perhaps he’s been obliged to lower his standards of late.”
Francis asks, “Getting much sleep of late…a child changes everything.”
“So does a having a mine. Neither can be ignored,” Ross replies, but we already know that Francis is ignoring his mine.
Francis is well dressed and he still has the best wife and he asks Ross, “My wife is perfection is she not?”
Verity watches Ross looking at Elizabeth and Demelza together gently talking to each other. Verity says, “Curse of the Poldarks: Once our hearts given, it’s not easily withdrawn. They are very different.”
Still looking at Elizabeth and Demelza, Ross says, “Yet each has what the other lacks.”
Now here’s a bit of foreshadowing when Verity says, “Perhaps you’d like them both,”
Instead of taking it as a joke or claiming just Demelza, Ross replies, “Perhaps I would.” Awkward. Verity excuses herself. Men can be pigs. Particularly handsome ones.
Then there’s the matter of business. This is Cornwall where there’s not comfort or certainty. Ross learns that Choake has sold all his shares to George. He learns 2-3 more wish to sell their shares in Wheal Leisure.
What family party would be complete without an entrance of the awful in-laws. Dressed in funereal black, Mr. and Mrs. Carne come late and on foot. Mr. Carne, Demelza’s father, has found religion and declares Nampara to be “a place of filth and abomination.”
After Demelza’s father has told the good ladies that they are strumpets for exposing their chests, the party does eventually leave and Demelza and Ross can get some peace and quiet. Well almost. Mark is glad to find that Keren, the actress, has returned. I wondered what happened. Did her troop dump her? She wants to make sure Mark gives her a reason to say and what she wants is a house.
When Ross hears of this, Demelza can’t help but wonder, but Verity becomes a bit misty-eyed and says, “Love should conquer all.”
“On the contrary,” Ross disagrees, “some obstacles cannot be overcome and should not for all concerned.” She was obviously talking about more than Mark and Keren. We later see Verity on a cliff looking out toward the see and then glancing at the sketch of a ship that she and her beloved Blamey did.
Ross have given Mark a cottage and he and his mates fix it up. Yet when Keren sees it she is clearly disappointed in her new home, but not in her new neighbor: Dr. Dwight Enys.
In town, Truro, Ross and Demelza have been working out their own schemes. Ross is planning on a private smelting plant. Demelza wants to bring Verity and our good captain together. He will refuse, but eventually be won over.
Francis is gloomy company. when Elizabeth asks prettily to Geoffrey, “Shall we ask pap how man parcels we went? I hope we get a good price,” Francis replies, “We shan’t get a good price and soon we’ll have to start pawning the family jewels.” Far worse, he also adds, “Perhaps someone will make a bid for mama.” Somebody already has and is plotting your destruction.
Francis and Ross go to the auction, but the prices are much too low. Francie grouses, “We’ll soon be paying them to take it off our hands.” Instead of fretting Ross begins a new scheme: forming a private and highly secretive smelting plant of their own. Well, actually Ross and a few other investors since Francis has another investment in mind.
Elsewhere, Francis is being attentive, but not to Elizabeth. He has business to attend to in town and that usually means gaming and a certain prostitute. He can’t afford to pay his minors, but he can afford a lovely necklace for his mistress. “You spoil me,” she says.
“Do you like it?” Francis says.
The perfect answer? “I like to be appreciated,” Margaret replies.
Oh, that opens up some deep wounds and Francis begins up his pity party. “My wife tries to make me a better man,” he begins.
“Like your father?” Margaret asks.
“I will not be that man,” Francis says with determination.
Speaking of Charles, Verity is about to rise out of the shadow of her dead father. She accompanies Demelza, both on horseback to town to help her pick a new cloak. On the way, they see some dusty poor people.
“Were you not afraid, the look in their eyes,” Verity asks.
“Empty bellies make for such looks,” Demelza replies.
In town, who should appear, but Captain Blamey to plead his case. Under other circumstances, Blamey’s suit might have been in vain, but he saves Verity from the rabble as they suddenly begin rioting.
Francis may not have time for Elizabeth, but he does have time for George who is having a house party. Demelza wanted to go and show off her new manners, but Ross told her it wasn’t that kind of party. George and his fancy woman would be there and it would be awkward to have the wives.
The young doctor is there and he can’t help but wonder how George whose grandfather was a blacksmith has made the “leap from poverty to wealth in two generations?”
Ross can only say “We have different ways of doing business.”
Curiously, George and his uncle aren’t the only ones who have made it ot of poverty. Ross sees that Francis is gambling with a man he doesn’t know. Margaret, the courtesan, tells him the gentleman is a professional gambler. Francis is being eaten up alive and the woman says, “Pity he doesn’t have your skill at cards…he’ll shortly be ruined.”
Ross then predicts, “and you’ll be done with him.” He also asks about the pendant she is wearing…perhaps a gift from the gambler? Not he, who isn’t generous, from “a man of taste,” and Ross instinctively knows it was Francis.
As Ross drinks, he asks, “What are the stakes?”
Francis can only reply, “You’ll find out soon enough.”
George defends himself, saying, “Would you believe me that it gives me no pleasure to see francis beggar himself.”
Ross retorts, “So you leave it to a third party?”
If dreams were butterflies, then at Trenwish they are all gone. We see Elizabeth open a window to leg an orange butterfly out and sees her husband returning back home.
Ross meets up with Demelza at home and comments on Verity that “she should make the most of it her life’s about to change and not for the better.”
Francis staked the mine Wheal Grambler on a game of cards.
Ross tells Demelza what it all means, “For Francis, loss of income, loss of pride..for Verity and Elizabeth, a sharp decline in their standard of living all because one man was weak and another was greedy.”
Francis must go to the mine. At Trenwith, he tells Elizabeth, “There’s no need for you to come.” Elizabeth gives him a quiet look. “What I did was unforgivable, but my love for you, my love always,” he begins. Verity joins them and they walk to the mine.
Ross and Demelza are there as Francis gives a fine speech and then rings the Grambler mine’s bell. In chalk, he writes “Resurgam” on the wood posts that support the bell. Francis walks away. Ross asks Elizabeth, “What can I do?”
Elizabeth says, “Not once has Francis asked me that…We will weather it. There are many far worse off than we…but Francis feels sorry for himself..I will not do so.” Francis has, we must assume, lost his mistress.
Ross and Demelza also see Mark and Keren. Keren remains untouched by what has happens and only smirks. Ross knows there is trouble ahead for Mark.
Ross tells Demelza, “The world is a harder place thanks to Julia. The stakes are higher, the loss, more painful…My life is more precious for being less certain and richer for being poorer.”
When Demelza asks him what Resurgam means, he tells her, “I shall rise again.”
“Shall we?,” she asks.
“I hope so,” he tells her.
“All’s Well that Ends Well” is the story of Helena. She is the daughter of a doctor and the ward of the Countess. Helena is in love with the son of the Countess, Betram, but he doesn’t not love her. When he leaves to serve the King of France, she follows him. She proposes to cure the sick King of France, and if she does not, she is willing to forfeit her life. If the king lives, she might marry any man in his court. The king lives and she chooses Betram. Although they marry, Betram rejects her. Betram wickedly says that he will only be truly her husband after she has borne his child and worn his ring. Then he leaves for war in Italy. Helena follows and then arranges to switches places with Diana, a woman that Betram desires to seduce. Helena returns to the home of the Countess who renounces her son. When Helen fakes her death Betram returns to woo a local woman. Diana breaks up the engagement and Helena reveals herself. Betram is so impressed by Helena’s efforts in the name of love, he declares his own love for her and then “All is well” at the end.