Season Two, Episode Four: New Baby, Old Mines

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Related to: Poldark, Season 2

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The old Poldark mine, Wheal Grace, opens its doors yet again, and the Poldark family expands with the addition of wee baby Jeremy. Francis continues to reform, finally accepting Verity’s marriage to Captain Blamey. Can the reform streak continue? We’ll consider the options.

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Transcript

Barrett Brountas: Family reunions, all around, for the Poldark clan of Cornwall. Ross and cousin Francis enter in to a business partnership, and reopen the shuttered Wheal Grace mine.

CLIP

Demelza Wheal Grace. I never thought I’d see the day.

Verity Nor I.

Andrew: Nor any of us.

Ross To the Poldarks.

Francis And Wheal Grace.

All: The Poldarks. And Wheal Grace.

Barrett Verity Poldark finally obtains her brother’s blessing for her marriage to Captain Andrew Blamey.

CLIP

Francis My um…sister seems to find her new life agreeable.

Andrew And I will never give her cause to think otherwise.

Francis Not that she takes account of my approval!

Andrew She would dearly love it. That’s why I also desire it.

Barrett And we welcome baby Jeremy Poldark to Nampara.

CLIP

Dwight You have a son

Barrett I’m Barrett Brountas, and this is Mining Poldark, a podcast from MASTERPIECE.

I’m joined, as always, by my fearless co-host, Robin Ellis, who first played Ross Poldark in the 1970s adaptation of the Poldark series.  Hi, Robin!

Robin Ellis it’s very good to be with you, as usual.

Barrett Let’s jump in this iconic episode with our fast recap!

It’s a classic Poldark episode of smuggling, scurvy, and swashbuckling, where the men do men things while women actually take care of business. But first to Nampara Cove, where the episode’s highs and lows take place. Ross suffering from near capital punishment amnesia agrees to allow smugglers to use his beach to transport their goods. Demelza is livid and faced with an empty cupboard, proceeds to defy Ross and take the boat out fishing.

Robin Ross and Francis pool resources in a speculative venture to reopen Will Grace. At least for the moment, they’ll be out of out of George’s reach. He loses a bruising fight with Ross. All that boxing was of no avail, and is upended. This and this and Elizabeth declining his invitation to rekindle their friendship makes him feel increasingly isolated. He starts to makes threatening noises.

Barrett Ross and Francis’ friendship and partnership solidifies when the penitent Poldark following Ross’s cue, makes peace with Captain Blamey and brings the family back together.

Robin Verity finally meets Captain Blamey’s children.

Barrett In medical news Caroline’s fair and delicate throat has healed from its misadventure with a fishbone. Dwight has discovered a scourge of scurvy afflicting the community. Said scurvy is remedied by a windfall of oranges.

Robin Caroline reluctantly admits she is the source.

Barrett And Demelza going into labour in that boat. After all endures a whopper of an I told you so as well as labour and gives birth to a healthy baby boy — Jeremy Poldark.

Robin Brilliant summary, wonderful. Spot on.

Barrett So there is so much going on in this episode that begins about three months after we left off, I really had a hard time deciding which of my favorite moments to bring to our conversation. But I understand that we chose the same scene to kick off as our first favorite moment. Do you wanna make the big reveal?

Robin Is that Caroline and Dwight?

Barrett Yes it is.

Robin Yeah. This is quite a long sequence which I called oranges.

Barrett I like it.Here is a scene in which Caroline is basically Marie Antoinette, right? She finally manipulates Dwight into coming to follow up on his treatment of her throat injury from three months ago. She’s accustomed to people coming right away when she summons them. But he shows up. She has him look at her throat, by suggestively parting her lips which are slightly rogued, which means she’s not like the other women, right?

Robin Absolutely.

Barrett And it’s it’s and it’s it’s very it’s very charming. And then he checks her throat and it’s fine. But she wonders what had kept him from her.

CLIP

Dwight I’m sure you’ll appreciate I have very little time when I’m taken up with….

Caroline More serious complaints. So tell me, what are they?

Dwight Scrofula, phthisis, scurvy.

Caroline And what can be done for them?

Dwight Simple foods – green vegetables, fresh fruit – can effect an almost immediate cure. But… These are precisely what the poor cannot afford, so they bleed and die.

Caroline Why do they not spend less on gin and more on oranges?

Dwight Oranges? Oranges when they can be had, cost thruppence apiece. Gin costs less than sixpence a quart. Yet many are as sober as you or I.

Caroline But will you do any good by attempting to save these people? They will only multiply and then there’ll be more mouths to feed. Of course it’s sad to see them die, but at least it keeps the numbers in check.

Dwight Would you excuse me, madam? My patients require me. I shall take the liberty of returning your fee.

Caroline You consider yourself tainted by it?

Dwight I bid you good day.

Robin Well this is where I’m slightly puzzled by. I mean she. Are we to take her absolutely. Or as she. Are we to take her on her own. I’m I’m floundering here. Wait a minute.

Barrett Are we to take her at face value…

Robin At face value.

Barrett That she’s horrible?

Robin That yes, that she’s doing this from a base where that she believes in thoroughly or is she really is the twinkle there all the time. And it’s. It’s slightly puzzling because at the end when she says things like I’m a Penvenan, so I’m rich and privileged and she sets out to shock him, but I couldn’t really make out at the end whether she herself thought she’d gone too far. What’s she doing?.

Barrett So the question we both had for each other, is, what is she doing in this scene?

Robin Yes, what is she doing?

Barrett There are people who believe this in the world. And, you know, I don’t I don’t think I’m out of line in saying that that’s a horrible point of view. And and yet like Dwight I’m infuriatingly bewitched by this awful, awful character. I it’s so vexing and so delightful at once he leaves and she’s just has this sort of like pleased tittering that she’s doing chuckling to herself. And that’s what makes me think in answer to your earlier question. She knows what she’s doing the whole time and that the two of them will have this little dance where that this is all from her point of view I think that she wants to have a little dance with him where she pushes in a certain way he moves back but then he she’ll have him she’ll be able to draw him forward. And in this way they’ll have a little dance. And you see when she’s talking with her wonderful Uncle Penvenan, he’s so loving and she’s has this same kind of flirtatious teasing. ‘Indulge me. I’m just a spoiled lovely girl,’ you know, with him, and it works.

Robin She’s coming from that kind of upbringing and teasing of that sort of  that that auteur just shoots, she rules the world her class rules the world and she doesn’t really have to think about the niceties of those kind of things in fact although you know although she I think she’s she’s fascinated by it. Dwight and his cleverness and his knowledge

Barrett I think there’s something else going on with with Caroline. I feel like we don’t really know. Her backstory but she’s clearly an orphan. She has this dog that you just have a feeling that maybe this dog was her only friend. You know? That she doesn’t know how to interact with people in an authentic way. And so the dog is sort of this conduit through which she communicates things that she might feel vulnerable about, and that she operates on this very superficial level and doesn’t know how to be authentic. And that’s part of what’s going on with Dwight because she’s intrigued by him and I think that she wants to take some risks with him but she doesn’t know how. So I don’t mean to be like, ‘Oh poor little rich girl,’ but there is something more to her.

Robin She uses the dog as a way of distancing distancing herself from him from you know from people from life.

Barrett Let’s take a quick break before our next scene to hear a word from our sponsors…

Barrett Onto our second scene. What did you choose for that?

Robin I chose the scene between George and Elizabeth, which is again an extended scene, it starts when when George spies Elizabeth strangely riding over George’s land I mean seems an odd place, but anyway.

Barrett I chose this same scene! Oh we did it again.

CLIP

George You pass my house without paying a call? How have I offended you?

Elizabeth As I think you know, George, since the trial…

George The trial? But is that not behind us now? Cannot we move forward? Rekindle our former connection?

Elizabeth I’m not sure how possible that…

George Please. At least return with me and take some refreshment?

George I’m sad, you’ve declined my invitations of late.

Elizabeth We decline all invitations. We simply cannot afford to return the hospitality.

George May I venture to suggest that I am a special case? And difficult as things are at Trenwith, they could – I’m sure you realize – be so much worse.

Elizabeth And if Francis cannot say so, allow me to convey the thanks of the entire family.

George Not the entire family, surely?

George Actually, I expect to be seeing a good deal of Ross in future. I’ve inc rreased my shareholding in his mine.

Elizabeth Oh…

George So I hope I won’t have cause to inflict ‘undue pressure’ on him.  Or on Francis for that matter.

Elizabeth What might cause you to?

George I wonder.

Elizabeth What is it you seek, George?

George Your friendship? A renewal of our former intimacy? A gradual increase in it? Is that too much too ask? Particularly if it safeguards those you love?

Elizabeth I do not believe Francis would be happy about my visiting here often. If at all.

George A pity. A very great pity.

Robin What does he mean by that? She sort gets more and more wide-eyed about all of this. What on earth? Where am I? What am I going to do? How am I going to react to this. And how is that too much to ask. And know it all I feel about George in this episode that he’s and there is there is shots of him on horseback alone and I feel he’s becoming more and more isolated or feels that he’s becoming. And we feel that he’s some somehow becoming more isolated his his Uncle Cary isn’t appearing he’s just got henchmen round him and he’s becoming a slightly sad figure and then of course he loses the fight to Ross. And although he’s got good control over Wheal Leisure, even that is slipping away from him. He comes over as a rather increasingly sad figure and dangerous, as such I think. What do you think?

Barrett I think that once you I think that once again you have managed to drum up some sympathy for this terrible person. Sometimes I will align with you and I will appreciate your empathy. But today, no. He’s so creepy and so ominous — what he’s suggesting in this renewal of the former intimacy and a gradual increase in it is appalling. It’s not OK. And then to threaten those she loves, you know, it’s emotional blackmail. It’s evil. And it reveals that everything is transactional for George. You know you called, you called our earlier choice oranges. And I have a title for this scene which I call, the dark art of the deal.

Robin Okay.

Barrett And poor Elizabeth I think that the actress Heida Reed does a great job here. I mean obviously Jack Farthing, the George Warleggan actor, is terrific but so Heida Reed. You know, she came at Aunt Agatha’s suggestion to George’s house and Agatha had had suggested you better sort of go and sweeten up George so that he doesn’t tighten the noose on Francis for the money that he owes. Right. And so she went she went and did this in order to try to position them better but she was way out of her depths here. And to see this like her understanding this gradually as the saying goes on where she realizes. Oh no. Now things are way worse.

Robin Excellent I agree. Because it’s a scene played by equals. I mean in terms of the acting on it it makes it very telling and wonderful. I think it’s a great scene. Reading the book, I just came across a line of Winston Graham on George. He says, ‘The sense of inferiority in the depths of George’s consciousness was one that Ross more than any other man could call up.’ But the thought of Ross that that really triggers this feeling of inferiority and in George. And it’s very dangerous of course and motivates him into into as you say evil acts. I would I’m not excusing George I mean he he is he’s appalling. But but I. Well yeah.

Barrett All right now what else did you choose?

Robin Okay another wonderful scene, much shorter, much shorter. Francis, Ross and Blamey on the key. It’s quite a clever scene where Ross has just fought George and come away with a few bruises as it were. And is sort of recovering on the key and Dwight comes in and starts mopping him up as it were and Blamey, who’s just about to, who’s rigging your ship spots Ross and comes over and says hello and they start a conversation and Dwight leaves and then Dwight points out to to Francis who is on his way to see Ross, that there he is over there and Francis joins and then the tension immediately hits the scene, it’s like there’s a sort of cold shower comes smashing into the scene all over them.

CLIP

Ross Is Verity well?

Andrew Exceedingly. Well that’s not entirely true. She tries to conceal it but I know she grieves the loss of her family. And I am the last person to intervene.

Ross You are.

Francis Enys told me to come and say hello, apparently you’re barred from the Red Lion!

Francis You…

Ross Walk with us, Francis. You look as if you need the air.

Francis Thank you, I’ll not trouble you in this company.

Ross Francis, this is the last moment to wipe out the past!

Francis My erm sister seems to find her new life agreeable.

Andrwe And I will never give her cause to think otherwise.

Francis Not that she takes account of my approval! 

Andrew She would dearly love it. That’s why I also desire it.

Francis Suppose you’ve heard, of my cousin’s encounter with George Warleggan? Threw him across the Red Lion and broke his nose!

Ross Not quite.

Francis I congratulate you. I’ve wished to do the same myself!

Andrew Verity told me about a developing feud. What was the cause of the quarrell today?

Ross I took a dislike to his neck-cloth.

Robin But the great thing about the scene is that Ross has just been informed by George, the cause of the fight, about Francis’s betrayal, and his revealing of all the shareholders of the copper company company and is is very angry about that, of course but he’s moved on. Ross has moved on and he chooses this moment given the fact that Ross and Francis have signed with Pascoe their agreement to to be the sort of Poldark brothers new mine enterprise. It’s a brilliant scene I think of of a short scene of much much import. I enjoyed it very much.

Barrett I enjoy it too. I loved all the things that were going on there that led up to this. You see Ross letting go. Right? Ross really makes a decision.

Robin He does.

Barrett To let go of the betrayal that Francis had enacted on him, and Francis letss go. And what. One of the things I love. About it is that Francis almost seems giddy with relief now that he’s let go of his bitterness about Blamey marrying Verity you know and and and that’s what enables things to move forward. I think it’s terrific. And his giddiness was definitely contagious for me as a viewer.

Robin It’s certainly was. It certainly was. It is sort of the last thing to go in a sense isn’t it? You know, he’s a new man after the attempted suicide. I don’t know how or why but he’s a changed man. But there is this one thing that is still sticking. He’s still stuck on this and this is the final release in a sense from that terrible terrible sentence of resentment and hate and all those things and you feel it kind of the bubble just bursting in front of you. It’s a terrific scene. Very energized and powerful.

Barrett Yeah so you’re right. What about this episode is so good.

Robin It is good. Yes it’s really enjoyable. What’s your last scene?

Barrett Well my last scene I chose a scene that there’s not even again it’s one of those basic scenes. It’s not there’s not a lot there to chew on, really. But it was so wonderful. And it’s one of those scenes that we’ll always remember from Poldark. It is Demelza’s labor in the boat and Ross’s rescue of her. I think it’s it’s it’s just vintage Poldark. For all the reasons it’s romantic it’s funny it’s over the top. It’s tempestuous and tumultuous like their relationship. Both of them are so stubborn. Now I don’t like it when society treats a pregnant woman like a Ming vase, you know? But you know, even so not even Demelza could deliver a baby while line fishing and rowing a boat in rough surf. And she can do a lot of things. So it was ill advised, and even Garrick was barking on the shore like, ‘Don’t go out there fishing Demelza!’ But she did. And then Ross came down and they were both so you know mad at each other. But as he rescued her and and carried her to shore it was. It’s like an epic romantic scene, but also very funny.

CLIP

Ross Give me the oars – Demelza!

Demelza I can manage.

Ross Give me the oars! You are the most stubborn, pigheaded…

Demelza Oh, I am?!

Ross Where would you be if I hadn’t come along?

Demelza Where would you be if I hadn’t come along?! Drinkin’ an brawlin’ an’ dodgin’ the noose…

Ross Let’s examine my failings at a more convenient time, shall we? Come on!

Demelza Ah Judas…

Ross Stop wriggling.

Demelza You’re hateful.

Ross You’re infuriating.

Demelza I could crown you!

Ross By all means! Once you’ve delivered our child!

Robin It’s a big film ending isn’t it it really is, it’s a wrap up scene at the end of episode it’s absolutely terrific. It’s a feel good thing. It all ends well, but it’s hugely well done and still you know dramatic but terrific, I agree it was a wonderful ending to the episode.

Barrett It’s so good it’s so good. Now at the very end of the episode we have them toasting the future right to the Poldarks and to Wheal Grace. So with such a positive ending, I think things can only go wrong from here right.

Barrett That’s sort of the…

Robin Yes.

Barrett That’s the pattern.

Robin Well I think one has to feel that really because it’s it’s so almost….Well it’s complacent in a way you, after all that’s happened and all that you know how vulnerable they are. Two things happening to them. It’s a bit of a risk.

Barrett What do you think of our hero?

Robin Well gosh. What do you think of him?

Barrett I think Ross is back up to, I think he’s up to a seven. I’m not going to I’m not going to punish him for the fight with George. I think a person can only take so much. I think that he was very angry for a lot of this episode but you can’t blame him. And also I think that it was vexing that he made the deal with the smugglers.

Robin You know, life is a risk, and they live in risky times Never forget this is the end of the 18th century, this is a different time and a risky time. So yeah I agree. I’d go seven and a half actually, because I think he did well. I loved it when he left and rode back huge speed and took a decision to say right.

Barrett I always love that.

Robin And he made this this this decision to so half this half the shares in Wheal Leisure and use them in a speculative way which is always tricky and dangerous and you know a risk. But nevertheless he did a positive thing and I did. I can’t remember what happens and I just hope it turns out well for him.

Barrett But again copper. Right? Let’s hope there’s some copper.

Robin Yeah. Yeah let’s hope there’s copper under all that water. Let’s hope there’s this copper. Yes.

Barrett Well I will raise my mug or my glass I guess to the Poldark’s Wheal Grace as well then.

Robin Good gesture. I am doing the same as well various to the Poldark brothers and their new venture Wheal Grace. And chin chin.

Barrett Well thank you so much Robin as always. It was a complete delight

Robin Thanks very much, Barrett. Bye for now!

Barrett Coming up next time, romance, debts and death.

CLIP

Francis HELP ME! IS THERE ANYBODY THERE! HELP ME! HELP!

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 PoldarkDownton 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 the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel, available as an add-on service to 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. Meredith Wheeler is our field producer. 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, Raymond James and The MASTERPIECE Trust. Poldark is a Mammoth Screen production for BBC, co-produced with MASTERPIECE.

 

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