Monday, July 27, 2015

Poldark: Characters Without Character [Episode 6]

Remember James and Jinny on their wedding day?

Time is speeding along on Poldark. Maybe a little too fast. Demelza and Ross's baby is getting bigger and so is Jim and Jinny's. The 'previously on Poldark' clued us in that the storyline of the latter—Jim in prison for poaching while Jinny waits at home with their child—would figure in Episode 6. I wish we'd spent a bit more time building to the conclusion of Jim's story. The decision to show all the days of his imprisonment marked off in chalk on Jinny's wall seemed contrived; you could almost hear the director and writer conferring on how to shorthand what was happening with Jim so they could get on to Ross and his reaction. 


Don't just stand there! Say something!


Poldark, hearing the prisoners are dropping like flies rushes to the jail with his friend Dr. Enys (Luke Norris) and bluffs his way in to rescue Jim. It's too late of course. They can't save him. Next thing we see is Ross burning his shirt in a bonfire on the cliffs which looks great but is hardly practical as it's quite far from home. Is he going to burn his breeches too? Walk home in the buff? And Enys? Ugh. His geniality is getting to me. He needs to grow a pair and a conscience. He lets Ross take the lead, he lets Kerin (Sabrina Bartlett) take the lead. He knows what she's up to but never has the chutzpah to say, hold on here, you're married, let's stop this before we start. Just like the unbelievably humungous number of Ashley Madison clients, it's clear where these two are headed, with Keren and the doc in bed, and poor Mark probably angry enough to kill him.  

My stomach did a couple of flips last night to see both Verity and Demelza all giddy about the Warleggan's having a ball. Hearing Demelza echo the same refrain as she did over the Christmas Eve invite— what shall I do? how shall I act? — felt tiresome and old hat to me. Her excitement over the ball gown, delivered in a box to the farm, was disappointing, especially in light of Jim's death but also because I expect more of Demelza at this point, expect her to eschew the conventions of the higher classes she's come to mix with, expect her to value what is of real substance not to be distracted by shiny objects but I'm probably holding the poor servant girl to impossibly high standards.




Could this Demelza really have been able to read and write?

Speaking of high standards, at that Christmas Eve party Ruth Teague asks if she can play, and we know she can't because of her 'low birth' but she can sing. Suddenly in last night's episode she can play; when did she learn to play? where did the piano come from? we've never seen her practice. But then since she's an uneducated girl who can aparenty both read and write (would a young woman of her station be able to?) I guess there's nothing Demelza can't do? 



And speaking of shiny objects, why on earth would Ross have a necklace for Demelza delivered to the ball? That was an unaccountable absurdity; its only purpose to provide Demelza with a jewel he could then gamble away. But even so, why deliver it there? 

And oh, Mr. Poldark. You were really pissing me off, what with the drinking and the gambling and ignoring Demelza at the ball. But then you weren't so drunk not to realize you were playing with a cheat and you truly had the upper hand. All fine and dandy if I hadn't been so distracted by your hair. Not just its extra wildness—because of the drinking and the grief—but you and Francis and Doc Enys were the only men there not wearing wigs. I'm not up on all the social conventions but wigs do seem de rigeur. I wonder if like those restaurants that keep a few jackets on hand for patrons who wander in, in nothing but their shirtsleeves, it might have been a good idea for the Warleggan's to keep a few wigs, powdered or plain, in the cupboard!

Verity's behavior was disappointing too. Just like the mealy-mouthed go-along Dr. Enys, she needs to grow a pair and claim the captain as her love. Psssst. Note to Verity: If you're really trying to keep your love a secret, don't go walking out in town together. And especially don't even look at each other in spaces as crowded as the Warleggan's at the ball. Even if Francis hadn't seen you because he was so busy watching Ross almost lose the farm, the rest of the world would. Oh well, at least Verity had the good sense to realize how foolishly she behaved.

Nope. Not a satisfying Poldark at all. 

Episode One:  I'd Wait for Him
Episode Two: Poldark and his Women
Episode Three:  Say Yes to the Dress!
Episode Four: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

3 comments:

  1. I think you are being a little hard on them as this episode builds to some exciting and emotional drama to come.

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    Replies
    1. If I was hard on them, it's only because I love them so much. I'm excited to see tonight's season finale, while wishing it wasn't the season finale.

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    2. I'm really pleased you are enjoying the series so much. I will be trying to spot them filming the second series soon.

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