Season Two of Poldark aired September 25 in a two-hour premiere on Masterpiece and viewers learned Ross’ fate as he went on trial.
The new version on Poldark re-introduced audiences to the swashbuckling romantic hero of author Winston Graham’s novels and from the 1970s television series of the same name. As a longtime fan of Poldark since the original aired on Masterpiece over thirty years ago, I was curious to watch the new version. The hardest thing was judging the new series on its own merits and avoid the comparisons. After all, actor Robin Ellis was Ross Poldark to me since I was 13. And the late Anghard Rees was Demelza. Nonetheless, the new version does an admirable job of capturing the flavor of the books (as well as the original) and the talented cast is excellent. Plus, Ellis has appeared as Reverend Halse so that’s a treat for us longtime fans.
In Season One, Ross (Aidan Turner) returned from fighting in the American War for Independence to find his home and family business in ruins and the love of his life, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) engaged to his cousin. What a way to welcome home a war hero! Ross works to put both his home and business back together while trying to accept Elizabeth’s marriage to Francis (Kyle Soller). Along the way, he meets Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) a woman of lower class who becomes Mrs. Ross Poldark after a night of indiscretion leaves her with child. And of course being the honorable gentleman he is (at least when it comes to family responsibilities), Ross marries Demelza.
In the meantime the Warleggans, a family born into the lower class but determined to take their place in the upper, begin eyeing the Poldarks’ wealth and position and make a bid to put the Poldark mine out of business. George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) becomes Ross’ nemesis. He puts the squeeze on Poldark’s wealthy investors which is easy to do when you own a bank like the Warleggans do. So, Wheal Grace (Ross’ mine) suffers financial loss. That’s not the only loss Ross suffers. Both Demelza and their infant daughter Julia contract putrid throat. Demelza recovers but Julia dies.
Ross is devasated. He gets involved when a Warleggan ship is wrecked and is accused of murder and plundering. Thus, that brings viewers to Season Two and Ross’ trial. George Warleggan uses every trick in the book to ensure Poldark’s conviction and certain execution. This is where longtime fans of Poldark have to watch the outcome as though they don’t know that Ross gets acquitted to see how the new version covers this material. Jud Paynter, Ross’ drunk of a servant, does the right thing and changes his original statement so it casts doubt on Ross’ guilt. But things still look grim for Poldark so Ross is advised to plead the court for clemency. Yeah right, obviously his counsel don’t know Captain Poldark! Aidan Turner gives a powerful speech as Ross where he basically not only denies any guilt but adds that if given the same choice, he’s do things the same.
He is acquitted to the relief of Demelza and his family but to the chagrin of George Warleggan. Also, Demelza is expecting their second child. So all will be happy for Ross and Demelza in future episodes? Ah, no. Keep watching to see.
I think the Season Two premiere did a great job with answering the lingering question of Ross’ fate and future while setting up the additional plots for the season. I look forward to seeing Season Two of Poldark unfold on Masterpiece.
Poldark airs Sundays at 9/8c on Masterpiece. Check your local listings for station in your area.
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