TV Review: Poldark (Series 3)
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Another series of the scythe-wielding adventures of Ross Poldark has ended and already, we can’t wait to return to Cornwall again.
Though the new series started on a fairly mystical and disappointing tone, moving scenes and real, substantial character development could be found across all nine episodes.
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The storyline was quite simple during the first few episodes of the series, only spiced up by the French Revolution and Dr. Enys (Luke Norris) becoming a war prisoner. While it introduced the young Lt. Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse) and displayed the horrors of war, the rescue was not credible and the fast recovery of Dwight - though a blessing for Caroline (Gabriella Wilde) - was medically doubtful, just as Hermitage was given six months before diving into blindness.
However, the second half of the series took a more intriguing direction, focusing on the tensions between commoners and the establishment. The growing discontent reaches up to a point when change is inevitable and Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) is forced to figure out where he stands, as he is not truly one of either class. The culminating scene, where Poldark nearly fired on his friends - thirsty for revenge after the untouchable George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) - was wonderfully dramatic.
This series, we have also had the chance to welcome new characters to the fold - even if some showed their usefulness (and personalities) towards the end of the show. It was a pity that Jud (Phil Davis) was somewhat replace by Tholly (Sean Gilder) - a character who is a parrot short from the perfect cliché of a pirate. Similarly, it was a shame to see Prudie (Beatie Paynter) given a less important role this series. It was also difficult to think that Jeffrey Charles, who once seemed fond of his uncle George, could end up disliking him so strongly.
Yet, even if all added something to the storyline, Aunt Agatha (Caroline Blakiston) remains simply perfect, with a wit that reminded us of another strong lady from Downton Abbey, until she sadly passed away. Her death was as heart-breaking a scene as it was accomplished.
Meanwhile, the passion between Drake (Harry Richardson) and Morwenna (Elise Chappell) seemed like a copy and paste version of the typical forbidden love story - until last Sunday when Morwenna finally stood up for herself. The relationships between the couples Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Ross, and Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and George have actually had some real and complex evolution throughout this series.
Series Three progressed more in the exploration of those four characters than the previous one - even if the addition of new faces gave them less time onscreen. Whereas Ross and Demelza are in a completely new dynamic, the sad death of Agatha was necessary to shove the Warleggans into contronting their shallow marriage.
Indeed, the scenes between George and Elizabeth in the finale were very intense, complex and magnificently performed. It was surprising that a crying George could made our hearts squeeze with sympathy so much. The beach scene at the series' end was full of emotion when we understood that George's redemption leaves him with everything that Ross doesn’t have anymore.
Meanwhile, Ross appeared in a new light - less of a man with heroic actions than a strong-headed wiseman who has learnt to fear the consequences of his actions - even if that ending hinted that he would not pass on an opportunity again. We may well see Ross Poldark as an MP in the next series. While Demelza has evolved in the trajectory since the last part of Series Two, we couldn’t blame her for crushing on Lt Hermitage. But did she really cheat on Ross? I guess we’ll be sure of that next summer.
The fierce ending of Series Three leaves us wanting more as it leaves the Poldarks more miserable than ever before and the Warleggans in the enlightening position that they have everything they wanted in the first place.
As politics comes into Poldark, there may be more serious matters than toads and love affairs on Ross’ mind next summer.
Poldark: Series 3 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on 14th August. Series 4 will return to BBC One in 2018.