Poldark: A refresher before tonight’s season 4 premiere


Poldark is finally returning to the U.S. for season four. Ahead of tonight’s premiere, here’s a look back at what you may have forgotten from season three.

From not-so-secret trysts to political contests, a lot went down in season three of BBC’s Poldark, which airs on PBS in the U.S. As we count down the hours to tonight’s 9/8c season four premiere, here’s a quick refresher on major moments you’ll need to remember before you tune in. (CW: Sexual Assault)

Photo Credit: BBC/Masterpiece

Ross & Demelza & Elizabeth & George

In season two, this central love rectangle started to implode when Ross (Aidan Turner) and Elizabeth (Heida Reed) finally resolved the “will they or won’t they” question that had been hanging over the series since the pilot. But they’re passionate one-night stand had major consequences.

Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), of course, immediately realized what Ross had done. Ross didn’t try to deny it, though not out of guilt. (He’s always been mildly terrible, but this really made him straight-up canceled in my book.) Demelza rightfully punched him so hard he fell to the ground.

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Flash-forward to season three, Elizabeth is now married to George (Jack Farthing) and gives birth to a son, Valentine. Unbeknownst to George, Ross is the father. As George pursues political ambitions, he becomes increasingly controlling of a depressed Elizabeth and tries to drive a wedge between her and Geoffrey Charles (Harry Marcus), her son with her first husband, Francis (Kyle Soller).

By the end of the season, Elizabeth finally puts George in his place and fiercely insists that Valentine is George’s child. Honestly, since George continually fails to prove himself worthy of redemption, I don’t feel bad that he’s a cuckold.

Demelza and Ross, meanwhile, have reconciled and had another child, Clowance. However, their union becomes strained again when Demelza starts to question whether she deserves better. The answer is yes, and her new suitor Hugh (Josh Whitehouse) pays her far more attention than Ross has.

Demelza begins to give into temptation, meeting with Hugh in secret. Hugh eventually asks Demelza to consummate their relationship. However, the season ends with Demelza returning home to Ross, upset and with no desire to talk about what happened.

My guess is that her distress comes from realizing that spending time with Hugh to get back at Ross hasn’t given her the satisfaction she thought it would. I’m betting she didn’t sleep with Hugh, but even if she did, I’m still on her side. Ross has no right to judge anyone.

Morwenna & Drake

By far, my favorite Poldark couple is Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) and Drake (Harry Richardson). Unfortunately, they are also, by far, the most tragic ship. Morwenna, Elizabeth’s cousin, is hired by George as a governess for Geoffrey Charles. Drake, Demelza’s brother, become one of George’s tenants.

Though Morwenna looks down on Drake initially, Geoffrey Charles immediately strikes up a friendship with him. The trio starts spending all their time together, but Morwenna worries her difference in station from Drake will cause trouble and rejects his romantic advances. Soon enough, though, Morwenna realizes she is in love with Drake and doesn’t care about the risks.

Then, George ruins everything when he frames Drake for theft, knowing Morwenna will do anything to save him. In exchange for his release, Morwenna agrees to marry the seemingly mild-mannered, if dull, Reverend Whitworth (Christian Brassington). Drake is heartbroken and eventually severely beaten by George’s men, but Morwenna fairs far worse.

Whitworth is revealed to be a violent sociopath. He rapes Morwenna almost daily and her health rapidly deteriorates, especially after she becomes pregnant. It soon becomes clear to George, Elizabeth, Ross, and Demelza what is happening, but none of them come to her aid.

Morwenna’s sister Rowella (Esme Coy) comes to live with her and easily seduces Whitworth after Morwenna gives birth to a son. While it seems that Rowella may be trying to spare her sister from further abuse, she soon reveals her motives.

Rowella blackmails Whitworth when she claims to have become pregnant by him out of wedlock. As soon as she receives money for a shotgun wedding to Arthur Solway (Will Merrick), the local librarian, Rowella swiftly abandons her sister.

When Whitworth turns his attention back to Morwenna, she threatens to kill their infant son. Whitworth backs off, assuming Morwenna has lost her mind. Morwenna is, of course, quite aware of she is doing but is also devastated. As soon as they are alone, she tells her son she didn’t mean what she said as she rocks him back to sleep.

The season of Poldark ends with Drake leaving flowers outside Whitworth’s house, which lifts Morwenna’s spirits, though he is gone when she answers the door.

Photo Credit: BBC/Masterpiece

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George vs. Ross

George moves up in the world as he becomes a local magistrate and then a Member of Parliament, but his insecurities do not go away. Despite Ross’ well-known disinterest in becoming a politician, he is offered both positions first, making George as resentful as ever. Realizing that George is too dangerous to be left in power, Ross vows to run for Parliament at the end of the season.

Be sure to check back here for a recap of the season 4 premiere of Poldark!