‘Poldark’ (Parts 7&8) finale recap: Betrayal, redemption and prison for Ross

A man leaves a note in a small secret place in a stone wall. By the tricorn and the dark hair, we can guess this man is Captain Blamey. The note is retrieved by Demelza wearing her green dress.


From Trenwith, Verity hurriedly walks with her nephew in hand. Verity looks about to make sure no one seems her, but she’s not watching for the servants. A woman feeding the chickens sees both Verity and Demelza.

Mr. Tresidder has been providing rolling and cutting services for Carnmore Smelting. George tells him, “We urge all who bank with us to consider where their best interests lie, in particularly when they have several outstanding loans with us.”

In town, Francis sits down next to Ross who is working with official papers visible. Ross is not comfortable with Francis seeing the names on the documents and rolls them up.

Francis asks, “Still building your empire, Ross.”

Ross tells him that while they caught those bidding for the copper by surprise, they will have to change their strategy now, but says,  “anything which breaks the Warleggans’ stranglehold and stops them from keeping the price artificially low benefits miners, smelters and shareholders a like.” He adds, “I would I had your support. I know I have your discretion.”

Francis says, “Of course,” but we know better. George has his ways and he now has begun his campaign to win Elizabeth.

Down near Nampara, the lusty actress Keren feeds a bird, but she’s more loving there than with her husband. “I’ve been too busy to bake,” she tells him.

“How’s that,” Mark asks.

“I told you. I”ve been helping Dr. Enys with his work,” Keren says.

At the mines, Dr. Enys is giving an herbal remedy (fennel root and ginger in warm water) for a coughing miner.  Ross sees Jud there with a cask of alcohol. The goods from France are smuggled in and hidden in Wheal Grace, another mine owned by Ross but inactive.

Jud tells Ross, “You know me sir, honest as the day’s short.”

Ross sees the doctor and tells him,  “Dwight, have a care.”

Ross also sees Mark, and comments, “You look weary Mark.” Mark claims Keren is wearing him out with his work on the roof.

News comes that Tresidder’s mill will no longer roll and cut for Carnmore. George’s first move is successful.

At Trenwith, Verity dresses up. She looks out the window and sees Francis with Elizabeth and their child walking away. Then she leaves a note with her sleeping great aunt Agatha.

At Nampara, Jud returns quite drunk and becomes verbally abusive to both Prudie and Demelza who are in the kitchen together with the baby.

Jud declares, “Who be Captain Poldark to be giving himself airs. Everyone knows he’s had half the maids  from here to Truro…What about Jinny Carter’s child? Everyone do knows that Captain Ross be his father.” Then he goes on to insult Demelza. “You’re naught but a trull from (I)Luggan.”

With that, Ross bursts through the door and take Jud by the front of his shirt and tells him to leave. Ross will not abide insults to Demelza.

Although the subtitles say “he” it only makes sense if Jud is referring to Demelza because “trull” means a prostitute or strumpet. Later, when as they both are walking down the road, looking for shelter Prudie says to Jud, “Hold your clack, you black worm,” she means to shut up. Clack here means tongue. To clack is to babble.

Back at Trenwith, Agath tells Francis that Verity is “out I believe,” and shows that she was given a sealed envelope,  “if I cared to have secrets.”

Francis crumples up Verity’s letter and throws it toward the fireplace, but Elizabeth picks it up after he has gone.

Verity has fled and tells them that “tomorrow we shall be wed.”

Francis mumbles about Verity is “to marry that wife-murdering drunk” because being a gambling drunk is so much better. He wonders, “How was it arranged?” To that end, he questions the servants and one of them knows what happened, but we don’t see or hear what she has to say. We only hear Francis’ outrage: “I knew it was Ross’ doing. ..He’s encouraged Verity…using Demelza as go-between.”

When Elizabeth tries to calm him down, he replies, “You will always stand up for Ross.”

“I stand up for no one, but it’s the merest justice not to condemn people unheard,” Elizabeth replies.

“There is no other way…she has no post, I’ve seen to that,” Francis replies.

Out of the shadows, emerges George: “I hope I’m not intruding. I see that I am. Is something amiss?”

Francis soon explains what has happened “from someone I trusted.”

George comments, “Your sister.”

Francis replies,  “My cousin.”

George attempts to appear neutral, “You blamed Ross?”

Francis replies, “Entirely.”

Yet just why is George there?  “We, our family, find ourselves indebted to you.” Because it seems “you’re aware of substantial gaming losses by Francis to my cousin Matthew. It’s possible, probable, that you were a victim of Matthew’s dishonesty. That being so we wish to make amends.”

Francis seems dumbfounded.  How indeed does George mean to make amends for villainy that was exposed at his party by Ross?

George says, “By canceling some of your debts to our bank…Our family’s integrity has been compromised. I insist you accept our apology and 1200 pounds.”

Elizabeth and Francis are surprised and pleased. Elizabeth tells George, “Do not keep Francis too late.”

George replies, “I have his best interests at heart. You see I did mend your smile.” George is worming his way into Elizabeth’s heart.

Back at the doctor’s cottage, Keren looks at all the things preserved in glass jars. What are they? she asks because “I have a thirst for learning,” but we know she has a thirst a better life and to climb the social ladder.

Keren’s greed is really not in line with Doctor Enys who says, “I came here to heal my patients, not bankrupt them.”

Keren gets into his personal space and brazenly asks him, “Kiss me. Just the once.” He is weak. She is determined, always around with her hair up, but looking tousled.

This is Masterpiece so don’t expect things to get racy. The action cuts to the family whose loves will be affected. Ross is explaining to Demelza that there are forces who could destroy them. Now this is important, because it sets up what happens later. When Demelza asks what George could do, Ross explains that barring Ross and Henshawe, all of the investors bank with the Warleggans and are in debt.

Now the bad luck begins and Ross’ hopes begin to dim. There’s an alarm at the mine. Ross sees smoke at the mine and men coming out, dusty and a bit bloodied.

Mark explains, “The charge was damp; we thought it was dead.” Ross tells Mark he must see Dr. Enys, but Mark would rather bleed to death. He goes home, but Keren is not there. Oops.

Back at Trenwith, George is working on Francis and says: “It’s galling for the family. Your sister will realize her mistake and soon come crying home.”

Francis moans, “What did I do to deserve a betrayal like that?”

George comments, “Well, I suppose you married the girl he loved.” Yet Francis feels that is old news.

The editing of this episodes juxtaposes the two betrayals–Francis of Ross to George and Keren’s betrayal of her husband Mark to Doctor Dwight Enys. So we are soon back at Mark’s home, the fire is untended. He calls for Keren, but she’s not about.

Back at Trenwith, George tells Francis, “I sympathize, I too find Ross unfathomable…what’s perplexed me of late is Ross’ attitude toward me…this wildcat copper smelting scheme…it demonstrates an enmity toward me which I don’t feel I deserve,” and then after a pregnant pause, George adds, “anymore than you deserve a betrayal of your family.”

Back at the cold cottage, Keren returns to her cottage. She tells Mark she was at the doctors.

“How long were you there?” Mark asks.

“About an hour,” Keren replies confidently until Mark replies, “I waited three.” Ouch.

Keren thinks quickly and goes first for it wasn’t her fault and then quickly changes course into blaming Mark. She begins, “It was nothing Mark, it was only a kiss. It was him, He pestered me. He wouldn’t let me be. It’s your fault. You left me alone over much.” Wow. People do actually lie like this, but that’s why one needs to stay away

Keren is quite dead and true love won’t bring her back (but then again, she loved no one but herself).

Now that we know how Keren ended up, we go back to Trenwith where Francis is ready for the betrayal. Francis tells George, “Damn Ross. Damn his scheming. He has married my sister to wife beater and he has disgraced my family name. You know, he cares so little for my interests why should I care for his.”

George talks about that bothersome wildcat smelting and says, “Surely no man of sense would support such a scheme.”

Francis suddenly feels to clever and then says, “What would you say to Lord Devoran ,Henry Plewitt (Hywel Simons), Thomas Johnson,  William Aukitt?”

Yes, the betrayal is now complete.


Ross doesn’t know he’s been betrayed by Francis yet. He has other problems to contend with.

The doctor goes to Keren’s cottage to apologize to Mark. “I believe I have wronged you…I wish to make amends,” he says from the outside, talking through the door. Then he looks through the window and sees the still, stiff body of Keren. Since the defense of temporary insanity hadn’t been invented yet, Mark would surely hang. To prevent that, he’s gone into hiding and his brother, Paul, speaks to Ross.

Ross now must deal with both the doctor and Mark. He decides to help Mark escape from the inflexible law. Although Ross tells the doctor to leave the area. The doctor refuses. Ross then replies, “Then your blood be on your own head.”

“Keren’s is already there,” is his sad reply.

A little later, Mark shows up at Nampara and he’s just as read to kill Dr. Dwight Enys because as long as he’s going to swing on the rope for Keren’s murder, “I’ll swing for him as I’ll already swing for her.” Ross tells Mark to hide and decides to help him by allowing him to use his boat.

Soon after, the soldiers come in their red coats. Ross tells Demelza,  “Go upstairs and change and prepare to be the lady.” She puts on the red dress she wore at the Christmas party before Ross knew she was pregnant.

As luck would have it, the leader, Captain McNeil (Henry Garrett) knew Ross at St. James in ’81. McNeil is determined to “search for the smugglers and the murderer at the same time.”

While McNeil refuses an offer for a meal (after all there’s a bunch of men waiting outside” he does accept some brandy. Ross says, “I trust you may know by the flavor whether or not the duty has been paid.”

After the soldiers leave, Demelza remembers there was a sealed note from Trenwith. The letter beings “as you may know, Verity left us yesterday for Captain Blamey. They are to be married today.” Ross ponders, “Why ‘as you may know’?”

Ross leaves Demelza with Garritt to guard her and rides off to Trenwith.

Verity herself is in town,  dining with Blamey.  “This is our very first meal together…in all our lives, we’ve not met more than two dozen times,” she wonders, but she isn’t having second thoughts. How could she? Living under first her father and then her brother? Both who expected her to sacrifice her emotional life to serve theirs.

At Nampara, Garritt barks. Suddenly, the doctor comes through the door.  (Doesn’t anyone knock?)

“I cannot contemplate such a thing, but I’m sick of my own company…can I avail myself of Ross’,” he asks.  Ross is gone, but now Demelza must deal with the keeping Mark and Dwight a part. We see how one betrayal has a larger effect on the people around both the doctor and Mark.

At Trenwith, Ross first meets Elizabeth.

Elizabeth comments that Verity is “now she’s the bolder of the two.”

Ross finds Verity’s actions, “Certainly the most reckless.” Ross knows about reckless.

Elizabeth admits, “She has the courage of her convictions which I applaud even if I seem to disapprove.” Perhaps Elizabeth regrets not having courage in her own convictions that her true love was Ross.

Francis can only make accusations, “Oh, Ross, are you pleased with your handiwork? Clearly it was you who helped her.” Again, Francis thinks it is all about him. Francis reasons it must be Ross because, “you helped them before…you can’t abide to lose face” particularly in front of Francis.

Ross correctly judges, “I think you must be drunk.”

Elizabeth intervenes and says,  “I think you must leave, Ross.”

But not before Francis calls Demelza a brat and adds, “Perhaps your choice of wife has coarsened your finer instincts.” Oh, that’s so low. Insulting the wife.

Elizabeth pleads, “Call him back Francis. He is your cousin.”

Francis declares, “I have no cousin. I have no sister. I have a wife. I have a son and an estate in considerably less debt today than it was yesterday.” That is all that’s important. Yet one can be assured that Francis will continue to have a taste for fine clothes and gambling and gifts for a mistress. He’ll soon enough be in debt again.

Back at Nampara, Demelza can’t quite prevent the doctor from seeing Mark. Mark doesn’t trust the doctor and wants to have more than words, but Demelza gets between them and explains, “Dr. Enys can’t betray you without betraying us.” Before he escapes to the sea, Mark tells Ross, there is copper on the east face of Wheal Grace, under water.”

Gunfire between the soldiers and the threesome of Mark, his brother Paul and Ross. No one is injured except for a few scrapes and perhaps a wounded ego or two.

Ross returns hurriedly and with Demelza’s help takes off his boots and attempts to makes it look like he and Demelza where abed when the soldiers come knocking at their door.

McNeil isn’t totally fooled by Ross, but what can he do except caution Ross to “Have a care for the law; it’s a cranky and twisty old thing…(like) a great black squid.” That’s when squids were thought to be like the kraken.

That’s sort of what’s happening with the working class. Now we must look to see what happening in town with the copper sales and wildcat smelting. Ross goes to down, but Demelza has a confrontation that we don’t see with Francis. The day is a disaster for both. At home, Demelza admits to Ross that she’s been passing notes for three months.

Ross is angry when Demelza admits, “I brought them together again. I encouraged Verity.”

Ross complains about her “utter disregard for truth and consequence.” You can already guess what the consequences were after Francis decided to betray Ross.

However, Demelza does not. She pleads, “I don’t understsand all I did was bring together two people who loved each other.”

“No Demelza.,” Ross explains. The consequences of her actions were more far-reaching…”good men reduced to poverty.” The membership was exposed and with each, George call in their debts and they will all face bankruptcy and ruin.

“I’ve betrayed you and been the cause of a greater betrayal,” Demelza says on the verge of tears. “I’ve ruined everything. and this too. Have I lost your trust.” She sees that she has and asks, “Can I ever win it back?”

“You’ve married into a peculiar family, Demelza,” Ross explains,  “We Poldarks are hasty, sharp tempered, strong in our likes an dislikes. Perhaps yours was the more reasonable view.”

“I only meant to help,” Demelza says.

“I know,” Ross says still stunned by the turn of events.

“Can you forgive me?” Demelza asks.

“I will try,” Ross says softly.

“Francis will not,” Demelza notes.

“No,” Ross confirms.

“I will never be happy until it is healed,” Demelza says of the rift she has caused between Ross and Francis.

“I’m afraid you’ll be unhappy for a very long time,” Ross says. This is the point where this episode probably should have ended, but we go on to the next part.

Demelza is singing, “Memories like voices that call on the wind…” while making bread. She sings, “songs like the dreams that the bound maiden spins.”

After the bread is made, but puts it in a basic and takes bread to the mine. She feeds the children and we hear the verse, “Sing him the secrets of children unborn.” Eventually, she makes her way to where Jude and Prudie are and gives them some bread.

Jud complains, but Prudie reminds Jud that Ross has been “turning a blind eye to us living in his barn.” Demelza confirms that Ross know they’ve been living there. Jud is complaining to Prudie, “All I said was nothing more than usual.” That wasn’t exactly true.  It was really Jud insulting his wife, calling her a trull (prostitute), the same as Francis does later when Demelza meets with him alone to tell him Ross knew nothing of her arrangements with Verity. To Ross’ face, Francis only called Demelza a brat and implied that she had changed Ross to be a coarser man.

At the Red Lion, George and his uncle work on another weak link. The man who owns the land where the smelting works are. “If I were Sir John…I might regret….” they say just loud enough for him to hear.

At Nampara, Ross returns and learns that Jinny had feared that her child had the putrid throat. Three dead of it in her area.  Demelza tells Ross that their child Julia has a new tooth coming. On the other domestic front. Verity has sent a letter and seems very happy.

At Trenwith, the question of Verity comes up in different respects. Great Aunt Agatha asks “When will Verity be home.”

Francis is still adamantly bitter, “This is not Verity’s home.”

The dining table is morose because no one is well.  Elizabeth reports, “All the servants are unwell.”

Agatha advises treatment for their burning throats, ” If Verity was here, she’d prescribe honey and licorice.”

Francis thinks his doctor would prescribe leeches.  All three are not well.

At Nampara, Ross and Demelza continue to discuss their affairs. Ross notes, “Verity seems content so your experiment seems to end well.”

Yet if you recall Demelza said she would never be happy until the family is brought back together, commenting,  “But I would feel better if I could somehow make amends.” That will come soon enough and the great sacrifice will be on both of them.

Ross leaves and will stay at the Red Lion that evening. He’s going to buy copper for the wildcat smelting company, Carnmore. On his way, he meets Dr. Enys. Ross asks the doctor to take better care of himself because, “Since Keren’s death you take no care of yourself.” Ross tells him that Mark is safe and well in France.

From Dr. Enys he learns that the putrid throat has hit Trenwith. That sends Ross on a detour to Trenwith where he meets with the old doctor, Dr. Choake. When Ross questions him, the old doctor is sure that it is not Morbus strangulatorus or the Putrid throat…what we call diptheria.

In town, Ross finds that only three people remain of the Carnmore company after they have lost all bids. Leaving after the dissolution of the company because the Warleggans have been most efficient. George can’t leave well enough alone and has to bother Ross, inviting him to a gaming party.

Ross attempts to be polite and replies, “I have no time for gaming parties.”

George replies, “Cousin Matthew will be sad to hear that.” There’s more, George continues, “You know Margaret’s on her third lord…she sucks the life out of her lovers.” What does that make you think? Okay, moving on from your possible x-rated thought, George adds,  “She told me once she once had a fancy to marry you.” Do we want to believe this or is George giving a left-handed compliment to Demelza?

Ross sees Cousin Matthew walking about, without an ounce of shame because he has the support of the Warleggans. And he notices the Queen Charlotte, the flagship boat upon which much of the Warleggan fortune depends upon.

At Nampara, Demelza learns from Jinny that the putrid throat has struck Trenwith and she goes there, leaving Jinny with her child Julia. There Demelza is not greeted at the door. She opens it and no one answers, but from above Aunt Agatha scolds her, bitterly, ” And who’s to care for them with Verity gone…Her duty’s here. Twas a selfish cruel thing she did to leave us like that.” Agatha is the only one who hasn’t come down with the putrid throat, perhaps she survived a round from before and thus has immunity, but one must also consider why she is alone. Was she also kept around to care for her father and then his children and forced to give up her chance at family and love?

As the question of the survival of the Trenwith Poldarks is poised, we go back to Ross and George. George reminds Ross “that we Warleggans have dared to drag ourselves out of poverty and aspire to gentility” and this is what George believes or at least rationalizes is the reason Ross does not like him. He warns Ross that he may soon find himself “without colleagues, without friends…you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.” Yet that is really the situation that Francis now finds himself in.

Ross visits his banker friend, Pascoe who understands it must be galling to see all Ross’ hard work end up in the hands of the Warleggans. Even Trevaunance means to hand over the smelting company on his land and sell to the Warleggans.

Ross’ debt is now more than he feared, 900 pounds. Pascoe has already been approached by a man who will buy shares of Wheal Leisure at a good price, but Ross knows that person is only an agent of the Warleggans.

He asks for capital of of 1000 pounds with interest of 40 percent. With a final view of Matthew and the Queen Charlotte. For those not up on British history, Queen Charlotte, or Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818) was the wife King George II. She married him in 1761, making her Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until the kingdoms were united in 1801 and she then became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until she died in 1818. She and George had 15 children, 13 of which survived to adulthood. Despite that, the marriage was troubled because King George was often physically ill and had bouts of insanity. Their eldest son was appointed Prince Regent in 1810.

On his ride home, Ross encounters Demelza and scolds her, “You shouldn’t be out alone at dusk. Poverty breeds desperate men.” She then confesses to him that she went to Trenwith and stayed all night, tending to all, and saving Geoffrey Charles.


Although Ross is at first angry, she reminds him, “What did you do for Jim Carter.”

He replies, “You’re right. It was a kind and generous act.” Yet this act is something that Ross soon must contend with. Demelza falls ill as does Julia. Julia does not make it. And Ross buries his beloved child while Demelza remains gravely ill. We see him carrying her little casket on his shoulder. No one from Trenwith comes to the funeral.

Ross notices a ship, the Queen Charlotte, has been wreaked off of his lands. Opportunity abounds.

The news carries to the Warleggans. For a moment we see the humanity in George. When his uncle tells him that perhaps Ross will not be among the rabble looting the ship because his daughter has just died, George is quiet for a moment.

The local custom is that anything that washes ashore belongs to the finder and Ross has gathered his miners and villagers to have food and drink. Yet soon Jud warns that there will be trouble from the Illugan miners even though “Tis our beach, tis our vittles.”

Elsewhere, Cary Warleggan is determined not to turn a loss. “I’ll be damned if we don’t turn this debacle to our advantage,” he says and adds that Matthew could come in handy as a witness–whether he actually sees anything or not, but it is George who ends up bribing a soldier who at first protests, saying, “It’s generally accepted that what’s washed ashore if the property of the finder.” George says that it is their property and thus it is theft.

Back on the beach, Ross’ people have left and now there is only drunken rabble who are fighting amongst themselves. Ross saves one man and then looks to another–it’s Matthew who is already dead. There s a group of survivors gathered in front of a fire. They are angry that they did not receive aid. Ross offers them safety at his home for those who trust him enough to follow. The soldiers are there now, but Ross warns them against interference. The drunken rabble outnumber the soldiers and are too drunk and quarrelsome. Half their number would not survive.

When Ross returns with the men, he finds the young doctor, Dwight Enys is there. Ross asks the doctor to tend to the survivors, but wonders out loud who is taking care of Demelza. Upstairs, he finds Elizabeth is with Demelza. Demelza has been hallucinating that Elizabeth has come to take Ross away from her, but Ross tells her that he will not leave her and tells her he loves her. That closes the door between Ross and Elizabeth.

The death of Julia and the illness of Elizabeth seems to truly move George and when he visits Trenwith, Francis cannot go down, but leaves it to Elizabeth to make excuses. Yet this act of cowardice allows George a chance to declare his true intentions–his pursuit of Elizabeth, a married woman.

When Demelza recovers enough to want Julia, Ross tells her that their daughter has died, but he held her in his arms so that she wouldn’t be lonely. Together, they go to the cliff and in the wind Demelza releases the bit of ribbon that she embroidered with the name Julia. It’s there that the soldiers find them and arrest Ross for “Wrecking. Inciting a riot. Murder.”

That’s our cliff hanger on a cliff.

















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