Verity is Mistress Glumps no longer, as she runs away from Trenwith and becomes Mrs. Andrew Blamey. It’s good news for Verity, but bad news for Ross, as Francis (correctly) blames Demelza for arranging the wedding and tattles on Ross’ elusive Carnmore Copper Company. Remember this episode — it’s important.
Barrett Brountas: Finally, after years of waiting, it’s happiness and wedded bliss for Verity Poldark.
Blamey: Tonight we close the book on our old lives. Tomorrow we open a new one.
Verity: And write it together.
Blamey: If you should ever feel unhappy, my love, I swear it will not be of my doing.
Barrett: Verity and her noble Captain Blamey have eloped, and Verity has finally fled the Poldark family estate, to her own betterment.
Francis: “I have known and loved you all my life, dear Francis, so I pray you will understand the grief and loss I feel that this should be our parting…”
Barrett: But as happy as I, Barrett Brountas, might be for the personal betterment of the she-who-was-formerly-Mistress Glumps, I get it: this show isn’t called “Amazing Adventures with Verity.” It’s called Poldark. As in, Ross Poldark.
Captain McNeil: Mark Daniel escaped.
Ross: Is that certain?
Captain McNeil: And in your boat.
Ross: I see.
Captain McNeil: Ye do not seem very distressed.
Ross: I’m becoming philosophical in my old age! Not that I’m happy to lose a good boat – but sighing will not bring it back – any more than it will bring back yesterday’s youth.
Barrett: And this is Mining Poldark, a podcast from MASTERPIECE. I’m joined, as always, by the wonderful Robin Ellis, the original Ross Poldark from the original 1970s MASTERPIECE adaptation of the series.
Robin Ellis: Hello Barrett! How are you doing?
Barrett: I’m well, thanks, how are you?
Robin: Very good thanks, very very good.
Barrett: So we get to talk about the penultimate episode of season one, and I love saying penultimate, so that’s a bonus.
Robin: It’s a very good word.
Barrett: Would you like to kick off with a recap of the episode?
Robin: Yeah! Absolutely. I’m calling it Men Behaving Badly. Francis’ frustration is fueled by his anger over Verity and its made it 10 times worse when he finds the bird has flown. He blames cousin Ross. Dwight Enys is getting too close to the fire and is in danger of getting burned. Keren’s ambition on that score is fully revealed and the consequences could be dire. Mark discovers the worst and there’s hell to pay.
Barrett: And Keren ends up dead. Mark ends up a killer on the lam. Dwight ends up riddled with shame. Francis ends up consumed by his rage, Carnmore ends up destroyed by the Warleggans, its shareholders end up with nothing or worse. And Demelza ends up responsible or being told she’s responsible for all of it and determined to make it right.
Robin: And Verity and Blamey dine together for the first time. So it’s not all doom and gloom but almost.
Robin: Yeah it’s a pretty amazing episode with an awful lot goes on. It’s not all good.
Barrett: I feel like there are just fantastic moments that I want to make sure that we hit. I want to start off with Keren’s seduction of Dwight. She’s been very rigorous in her pursuit of Dwight. And she finally enters his cottage as he’s dissecting a lung or a heart or something bloody and she starts reading all of his medical supplies off.
Keren: Aniseed. Hartshorn. Senna. Aqua Mirabilis. What are they for? I’ve a thirst for learning.
Dwight: Some are nature’s remedies, others I concoct myself. All are as efficacious as any Thomas Choake prescribes, but infinitely more affordable.
Keren: You’ll not make a living like that.
Dwight: I came here to heal my patients not bankrupt them.
Keren: You’ve already made me whole again.
Barrett: I just loved that scene.
Robin Yeah I agree it’s a terrific scene and actually very nice scene because it really kind of goes into some detail about what Dwight is about the alternative medicine scene in a sense and that’s very interesting. She does. She what she has a phrase where she says I have a thirst for knowledge.
Barrett: I guess she learns a thing or two or teaches Dwight a thing or two. I I did feel like this was a little out of character for him.
Robin: He seems such a pushover somehow.
Barrett: Yeah he does, he seems like a little bit of an easy target. And that’s not the impression I have of him. But maybe she’s just irresistible I don’t know but it’s a mistake. So what about you? What’s one of those big moments that you can’t wait to talk about?
Robin: Well there are several actually. Of course the central scene with George is that’s the center of the whole episode well for him anyway.
Barrett: Yes. Because that’s another seduction, isn’t it, in a way?
Robin: It is a seduction. Yeah. Absolutely. And not an unwilling one but an unwary one you know he just doesn’t know how he’s being manipulated and it’s fascinating. And of course he’s getting drunker and drunker.
Barrett: Looking back and re-watching the episode I appreciated Francis more. He really did resist. He did try to be balanced and say well what Ross was really trying to do George was this or it wasn’t personal when Carnmore went to Pascoe’s bank instead of Warleggan’s. He tries to be balanced and I appreciated that because the first time I watched it I saw him just getting played really quickly by George. But ultimately he does crack doesn’t he?
Robin: Yeah I mean there’s that little scene in the pub before the meeting where Francis comes in and Ross looks at him pretty hard
Francis: Still building your empire Ross? And you bought all the copper.
Ross: All we could afford while the price was low. Next time, they will be wise to us and the price will rise.
Francis: That is good news for the mines. And your shareholders.
Ross: In the short term, yes. And in the long term anything which breaks the Warleggan’s stranglehold and stops them keeping the prices artificially low.
Francis: Benefits Leisure and Carnmore.
Ross: Benefits miners, smelters and shareholders alike. The Warleggan’s only seem to benefit themselves Francis.
Francis: I hope you know what you’re taking on.
Ross: I would if I had your support. I know I have your discretion.
Francis: Of course.
Robin: And we know that that won’t last. But I think it’s absolutely genuine at the time and even during the scene we’re talking about Francis tries to put it in a context, Ross’s antagonism towards George. This is before drink number three I think, probably, where things kind of change.
Barrett: And this is not a match of equals, is it? I mean George is masterful in exploiting Francis’s anger at Ross.
Robin: Oh completely
Barrett: He’s so so good at manipulating. Poor Francis didn’t have a chance really. And he gives up all the names every one of them. And at this point. George has gotten under his skin and he gives those names up with pleasure. And George gets all of those names and registers them so he can get right to work calling in their loans.
Francis: Damn Ross! Damn his scheming. He has married my sister to a wife beater and he has disgraced my family name. If he cares so little for my interest why should I care for his?
George: You were saying that you thought Carnmore was well supported? Surely no man of sense would invest in such a scheme.
Francis: What would you say to Lord Devoran? Henry Blewitt? Thomas Johnson? William Aukitt?
Robin: He works Francis up into a real angry tether. I mean damn Ross, why should I care for him. And then he starts with some pleasure just reeling off the names and George just triumphs. Of course there’s another thing George has revealed as as well his growing interest in Elizabeth.
Barrett: Creepy! Yes.
Robin: I mean Francis, although he behaves appallingly, it’s a pretty amazing episode for him, and one that I – a very lighthearted one to begin with – his breakfast scene right towards the end of the episode where he’s sitting at this big table and I just wanted to have breakfast, because it’s so delicious what he’s doing! The way he holds his bread and he butters the bread and he puts the jam on, and then he holds it up and he munches it. All at the same time is about to explode at Demelza. But it made me very hungry and breakfast is one of my favorite meals, I have to say. That was one thing. But Francis all the way through, this sort of sustained anger is extraordinary. I think he’s exceptional, extraordinary. I mean really extraordinary. He brings some kind of really three dimensional aspect to to Francis. He is just wonderful. And the breakfast scene. He starts quite calmly quite calmly looks up and oh it’s Demelza. I actually hate her guts but. Oh good morning. How are you. You know and then he develops it and this sort of variation is hugely valuable. Brilliant.
Demelza: What I did, perhaps it was wrong, but I did it for love of Verity!
Francis: Get out.
Demelza: I came here to take the blame and so I have. Be angry with me, but not with Ross. He had nothing to do with it.
Francis: Will you go – and never enter this house again? And the same goes for Ross. If he will marry such an ignorant trull as you well then he must take the consequences.
Barrett: I feel like we he’s eating with such sort of gusto that he ends up with a little egg on his face. And I wanted to just sort of get a napkin and wipe it off.
Robin: I noticed the same thing and I wondered whether he was going to wipe it off. You mean literally.
Barrett: His best most shining moment to me was after his confrontation with Ross at Trenwith. So then Elizabeth breaks it up.
Ross: I gave you credit for more intellligence!
Francis: And I gave you credit for more loyalty! But perhaps your choice of wife has coarsened your finer instincts!
Elizabeth: Enough! Enough! Both of you! Have you forgot you are family? Call him back, Francis. He’s your cousin.
Francis: I have no cousin! And I have no sister! I have a wife, a son, and an estate in considerably less debt today than it was yesterday. So I’m content.
Barrett: It was so good.
Robin: I did a bit of research and you know that George gives him twelve hundred pounds. And that now is worth about two hundred and twenty thousand dollars.
Barrett: What?! Okay.
Robin: A hundred and seventy thousand pounds. I mean it’s a very considerable gift it’s one of the things that he does to soften up Francis. It’s a lot of money.
Barrett: It is a ton of money. However, it is not enough money to sell out your cousin. Maybe he’ll learn that later.
Robin Yes I mean it’s it’s pretty gloomy isn’t it. Demelza asks Ross if that’s it and he thinks probably it is. I’ve broken with my cousin, he says, and I don’t have a cousin anymore. So it’s pretty serious.
Barrett: Let’s take a quick break to hear a word from our sponsors.
Barrett: I guess we have to talk about oh the the Mark and Keren and Dwight. That is just I don’t know. I have to be honest with you Robin. The whole helping Mark escape after he kills his wife thing does not sit entirely comfortably with me. So I think as we talk about this really important plot turn I just got to keep remembering Verity and Blamey’s breakfast and be buoyed by that. I just felt like at that point Mark, Mark let’s go through with this because if you do this now everybody goes down with you know. He’s going to take Ross down he’s going to take down…
Robin: That’s true. Yeah, so everybody has an agenda you’re saying. Yeah, I see what you mean. Yeah.
Barrett Yes I just want him to get in that boat and leave my television show. Because I’m not happy about it and I know that they’re all coming off of the experience with Jim Carter dying in such gruesome fashion. In jail. Well practically practically dying in jail. He gets sprung but, their encounter with the justice system only reveals how there is no justice. And so they don’t want Mark they don’t want him to get caught. But he did kill his wife. And the fact that Dwight is like I’m going to stay here I’m not going to sort of slink off like a coward I need to face the man that I’ve wronged. Oh the man who just killed his wife? Like it’s weird because there’s this sort of honor that they’re crediting him with. I don’t know. I just I’m glad he’s gone. He does share a little nugget that may become important later as he’s waiting you know pressed up against the boulder in the shadows as they tend to do in times of trouble down at the cove.
Mark: I been ‘iding down that ol’ mine o’ yer father’s.
Ross: Wheal Grace?
Mark: Wheal Grace.
Mark: To keep from going off my head, I went all over. There’s money in that mine. Copper. I never see’d a more keenly load.
Paul: Where is it?
Mark: On the east face. ‘Twill be under water most times
Robin: It’s one of the moments of non gloom and doom actually that has a positive twist to the end of the episode that one can hang onto that that it doesn’t seem to register very strongly with – well no it does with Ross on the beach. But then he hears about Demelza.
Barrett: Oh. Oh Demelza. Do you remember last episode, I just had to moan Ross, no! Well this week I was saying Demelza no no.
Robin No no no no, absolutely. Poor Demelza. I mean I really felt for her in this episode and I think they behaved really badly frankly. I mean there’s confrontations that go on. This Dwight and Mark at Nampara. And then there’s Ross and Francis at Trenwith. I mean they try and get at one another’s throats. And what happens? Two women get in between them. Isn’t that great? Four men behaving badly are saved by two women fantastic moments.
Barrett: That was a great parallel, those two things happening at the same time.
Robin: It was, wasn’t it? It was very effective.
Barrett And last episode you talked about danger and really, each of these two scenarios, the danger was palpable with these men right?
Robin: Yeah. I mean they could afford to. Not to the death maybe but I mean that kind of anger is so visceral that you know it’s unpredictable. And who else will get injured in the fight, too?
Barrett: Let the women diffuse it. It’s so good.
Robin: They did! So good so brave wonderful, yeah. I thought it a tremendous moment there.
Barrett: But you’re right. I think that Demelza doesn’t get treated shabbily taking taking the blame for everything that happened. I mean you know there were a lot of players that contributed to this very sad disaster of Carnmore going down and these stakeholders now going bankrupt. George is to blame obviously for being greedy and horrible and Francis is to blame for vindictively giving up the names of the stakeholders and those people are to blame because they took out loans that were obviously too risky. Right. And Ross is to blame because he keeps unfurling that document with the the names of the stakeholders on it. The one that needs to be secret right. So yeah.
Robin Yes. Yes. Nobody’s really taking enough care and. Well it’s a tricky time as they’re very keen for this new venture to work and the only other person who knows about it is Francis and they Ross says well you know he’s my cousin he’s not gonna spill the beans. Unfortunately he’s wrong about that. The ending of the two of them and oh can you forgive me. I will try. I’m afraid you will be unhappy for a very long time. It seems to me pretty horrid actually. And she she does take it, I mean she doesn’t walk out in anger
Ross: You’ve married into a peculiar family, Demelza. We Poldarks are hasty – sharp-tempered – strong in our likes and dislikes. Perhaps yours was the more reasonable view. If two people love each other, why shouldn’t they marry, and be damned to the consequences?
Demelza: I only meant to help!
Ross: I know that. I know you could not have foreseen.
Demelza: Can you forgive me?
Ross: I will try.
Demelza: But Francis will not.
Demelza: And you will not forgive him. And I’ve caused a rift between the two sides of our family.
Demelza: I will never be happy until it is healed.
Ross: Then I’m afraid you’ll be unhappy for a very long time.
Robin: Of course, in the next episode something happens and in a way this is forgotten for something even worse. But that’s how it’s resolved but I don’t know I felt rather depressed about that because I thought it’s so unjust. She was doing absolutely what she should be doing. But are we forgetting that we’re in the 21st century and they’re in the 18th century? Is that a factor do you think?
Barrett: Yeah I think that Demelza leads with her heart. And that’s what we love about her and when you see the smile on Verity’s face –
Robin: Oh, sensational!
Barrett: Yeah it really is but because Demelza’s heart is so exposed and she takes on the blame, like she soaks it in there’s nothing in her that resists it at all. She just soaks it all in and she says that she’s going to do everything she can to make it right. And I think that will I think that in the season finale we’re going to see what that leads to. And so we got to buckle up.
Robin Quite quite. Absolutely.
Barrett Now before we go we have to make sure that we reveal our feelings about our hero. Hero or hater?
Robin In terms of how he behaved at the end I would not call him a hero in this episode. What do you think?
Barrett I think that you know he did try at the end to sort of temper it a little bit. You’ve married into a peculiar family. And he’s he’s going to try. But it’s still just it’s still too hard. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know I can’t even I’m just I can’t even say I don’t know. I’ve got to watch the finale. Yeah he’s neither one or the other. He’s not very heroic.
Robin No. He’s certainly not a hero at this point. I mean he’s feeling very depressed poor chap. His whole new business venture has gone up up the spout quite quite disappointingly for him.
Barrett He’s down a member of his bro squad, too.
Robin Yes. The Band of Brothers is reduced. He’s lost a cousin. Oh my God. Things aren’t in a good state now. So he’s allowed he’s allowed.
Barrett We’ll give him this. We’re not monsters Robin.
Robin We’ve negotiated for him.
Barrett Thank you so much. It was terrific to talk with you about this and I can’t wait to talk with you about the season finale.
Robin Thank you. Lovely to talk to you Barrett.
Barrett As terrible as cousin Francis may have been in this episode, it’s merely his emotion nadir on the series. In an interview with my colleague Jace Lacob, on our MASTERPIECE Studio companion podcast, actor Kyle Soller provides some much needed context for his character’s simply awful behavior.
Barrett: We’re on the edge of the edge of the end of the first season of Poldark, and in the upcoming final episode, diphtheria, aka Putrid Throat, comes to Cornwall.
Francis: My throat’s afire. Get Mrs. Tabb to fetch me a posset.
Elizabeth She’s unwell. All the servants are unwell
Barrett That’s next time on Mining Poldark.
And you can join us in our rewatching adventure here on Mining Poldark by watching the entire series on PBS Passport — a new member benefit from your local PBS station. You can watch select MASTERPIECE titles like Poldark, Downton Abbey or Victoria as a part of the Passport experience. To learn more, visit pbs.org/getpassport.
You can also follow along with us on the MASTERPIECE Amazon Prime Channel, available as a part of your Amazon Prime membership.
Mining Poldark is hosted by me, Barrett Brountas, with co-host Robin Ellis. We’re produced by Nick Andersen, with help from Robyn Bissette. Thanks to Meredith Wheeler for off-site recording. Tina Tobey-Mack is our sound designer. Susanne Simpson is our executive producer. The executive producer of MASTERPIECE is Rebecca Eaton.
Sponsors for MASTERPIECE on PBS are Viking Cruises and The MASTERPIECE Trust.
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