Poldark Season 3

'Poldark': Season 3 Finale Recap

(Photo:  Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: Caroline and Dwight get married, because everything else on this show right now is pure misery, and we deserve at least some joy. George knows Valentine is probably not his son, Morwenna’s disgusting husband is forcing himself on her constantly, and Ross and Demelza’s marriage is in shambles again, thanks to Ross’s inability to communicate with his wife, and Demelza’s attraction to Hugh Armitage. Everything is garbage, basically.

Despite the fact that this is a season finale, this episode doesn’t exactly provide anyone with a particularly happy ending. The only folks who seem even remotely happy are the recently married Enyses, and that’s basically just because Dwight and Caroline receive approximately a combined minute of screentime. (That might actually make them lucky and better off, to be honest.)

On the upside, the Poldark finale does seem to finally realize one thing. It’s the women of Cornwell that make this story worth watching. Almost every single interesting thing about this episode is driven by the women in it, a refreshing twist which this show could stand to embrace more often. (And here’s hoping it does, when the series returns next year.)

'Poldark': Season 3, Episode 7 Recap

Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE

Previously on Poldark: Dwight and Caroline get married publically, but their “wedding” just serves as an excuse to talk politics. Sir Francis Bassett tries to convince Ross to throw his hat into the ring for the empty MP seat, but he declines, insisting that he can’t be beholden to anyone’s interests but his own. Elsewhere, Morwenna’s marriage to Whitworth is a study in misery. And sassy old Aunt Agatha sadly meets her maker, but not before she tips George off that little Valentine might not be his.

Everything basically feels as though it’s falling apart in this episode of Poldark. There’s no joy, for anyone, and the episode’s most uplifting storyline centers around the reaffirmation that two young people still love one another even when they’re separated and one of them is forced to endure horrific abuse on a daily basis. Yikes.

Will anyone ever be happy again? 

'Poldark: Season 3, Episode 6 Recap

Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE

Previously, on Poldark: Morwenna makes up her mind to refuse George’s marriage plans for her, deciding that a life – even if it’s a poor one that's below her station – with Drake is what she wants. But when George frames Drake for theft and, as magistrate, threatens to have him hanged, Morwenna must marry the equally vile Reverend Whitworth in order to save his life. Elsewhere, Dwight struggles with a bad case of PTSD, and does his best to push Caroline away, but a heartfelt conversation between the two goes a long way toward getting their marriage back on track. (If you need a full recap of last week's episode, we have you covered right here.) 

'Poldark': Season 3, Episode 5 Recap

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: Morwenna tries to break things off with Drake after Aunt Agatha reminds him that Vile George will destroy him in order to punish her, should he find out about their relationship. Ross leads a rescue mission to France to bring Dwight home, during which Drake gets shot, Henshawe dies, and the gang inadvertently saves the hot nephew of a powerful local aristocrat (who also happens to be Enys’ prison BFF). If you need last week's recap for more, it's right here.

Now, on one of the most dramatic episodes of Poldark to date, we’re faced with everything from blackmail to heartbreak to PTSD. And the most amazing part? So little of this episode has to do with Ross. That’s not a criticism, by the way. Poldark works best when it’s a show about more than just one man’s struggle to do and be better. The best thing about this season is that it has expanded its world to other characters and storylines – it’s more enjoyable than its ever been. 

'Poldark': Season 3, Episode 4 Recap

Aidan Turner, looking dreamy and rescuing folks. (Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Poldark: Vile George decides to offer Morwenna in marriage to a particularly awful and odious man named Reverend Whitworth, just because he has rich family connections. This plan runs into a small roadblock in the form of Morwenna who, possessing free will and insisting she doesn’t love this creep, runs into Drake’s arms the first chance she gets. Elsewhere, Ross saves the day by helping to bring grain to starving villagers and giving a bunch of former Wheal Leisure employees jobs after George fires them. And Warleggan wonders why people like Ross best.

You can read the rest of our recap from last week here, if you need more detail.

This week’s episode of Poldark is slightly less fun than last week’s, if only because the really long boring battle scenes where people fire guns at each other in poorly lit confined spaces are back, and they add less than nothing to the show. 

'Poldark': Season 3, Episode 3 Recap

Drake and Morwenna are my new favorite thing. (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: Ross stages an overly dramatic trip to France, where he gets kicked out of the country and fights a pack of dudes all so he can get a list confirming that Dwight’s being held prisoner there. Elsewhere, Drake and Morwenna flirt adorably some more, Demelza helps her brothers secure a meeting house for their church, and George becomes the worst magistrate in the world in record time.

It seems worth saying: This week’s episode of Poldark finally seems like a return to form. There are multiple interesting subplots, some swoony romance, and Ross manages to actually act like a hero again for the first time in what feels like a year. More of this, please, show, and thank you. 

'Poldark': Season 3, Episode 2 Recap

Ross, dramatically riding to save the day. Maybe. (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: Season 3 kicked off by introducing us to a bunch of new faces, including Demelza’s two eye-candy brothers, Sam and Drake, as well as Elizabeth’s sweet, but poverty-stricken cousin, Morwenna. In the way of star-crossed youths everywhere, Drake and Morwenna immediately hit it off, as tensions continue to rise between Trenwith and Nampara. Elsewhere, Elizabeth continues to hope that her vile husband won’t notice that her baby is due about a month earlier than she told him it would be, and throws herself down some stairs to provide an excuse for her son’s early birth. In happier news, Dwight and Caroline finally tie the knot, but he’s only gets 24 hours to spend in England before he’s back on a boat and getting taken prisoner by the French. Time for Ross the rescue, obviously! 

(Need more than just a paragraph? Check out last week’s full recap here.) 

So, it seems fair to say that Season 3 of Poldark really is going to be a whole new thing, this time around. Episodes seem deliberately less focused on Ross, at least at this point, and actively encourage us as viewers to invest ourselves in other characters. I think this idea is working, as I’m actually curious to see where the show goes this season, and I’m actively thinking about things other than the various ways that Ross Poldark has made me angry of late.

'Poldark: Season 3, Episode 1 Recap

Ross, looking dashing in Season 3 (Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Poldark: There’s way too much to fit here. We’ve got recaps if you need a refresher on anything that’s gone down so far on the beautiful Cornish coast. (And yours truly hasn’t recapped anything around here since Victoria, so bear with me while I get back in the swing of this, y’all.)

For a variety of reasons, Poldark Season 2 had some rough patches. The series’ main character didn’t always behave like a hero. Its central romance fell apart, and though the couple came back together by the end, we’re not quite sure if their relationship can possibly be the same afterward. (Or, at least, I’m not.)

Happily, though, something about this season feels as though its changed. Maybe it’s that the show finally seems to be opening up to a world beyond the drama of Ross and Demelza’s relationship. Maybe these new characters are the breath of fresh air the show needed. Whatever it is, it’s true that even though we’re only an episode into this season, the changes already seem to be for the better. Here’s hoping, at least.