The third series of Poldark dealt with some pretty meaty subjects: The French Revolution, PTSD, marital infidelity and a foot fetish to name just a few. It also saw the introduction of some new characters and the exit of a few old favourites. In spite of having so much to fit in, I felt that the pace and narrative only really started to get going during the latter half of the series. This is when the episodes finally assumed their usual gripping quality.
As usual, the marriage between Ross and Demelza was rocky to begin with and remained so throughout the series, getting worse with the introduction of a new love interest for Demelza – Hugh Armitage. As Ross returned to form and got up to his old tricks with Elizabeth later on in the series, I found myself slightly rooting for Armitage, even if I did also feel a little disappointed when Demelza finally yielded to his advances.
The ending of this series for Ross and Demelza was interesting, with Ross accepting his wife, who has probably been unfaithful, into his arms without a word and without a smile. Unfamiliar as I am with both the books and the original TV series, I wonder if Demelza and Ross will stay together into the fourth series, or if she will disappear into the sunset with Armitage. Something tells me she will put being a mother before any desires of her own.
So that was all very exciting. Rather less thrilling was the love-at-first-sight romance between Drake and Morwenna. It was a lovely idea but I would have liked to get to know these characters more before their meeting. I would have liked to see their romance develop and to understand why they were attracted to one another aside from just their physical attributes. Nevertheless, this also got more interesting with the introduction of the ridiculous Osborne Whitworth and his unhappy marriage to Morwenna. After this, I finally found myself starting to buy into the love between her and Drake and I hope it works out for them.
I thought it was refreshing and unusual to see Dr Ennis returning from his imprisonment in France with PTSD. We hear a lot about this now and it is sometimes portrayed on screen but rarely in connection with conflicts that go as far back as the Napoleonic wars. Of course, there must have been people who suffered with it and it was interesting of the writers to bring this to our attention. Ennis seems to have made a speedy recovery, however, and is now openly celebrating his marriage to Caroline.
Finally, the marriage between Elizabeth and George has been about as tumultuous as that between Ross and Demelza, with George at last beginning to suspect that Valentine may not be his son. I find Elizabeth a perplexing character and cannot all together dislike her as other people I have spoken to do. That she is a snob, and values the finer things in life cannot be denied. Also, that she is weak willed and easily led by those with a lower sense of morality than herself is also obvious, and it is a shame. Sometimes, it is not too difficult to see the girl whom Ross remembers he was once head over heels in love with. George was, as usual, smarmy, self-interested, and seemed more ruthless than usual in this series. A character I really enjoyed watching was Geoffrey Charles, who, after the departure of Aunt Agatha, keeps the Poldark candle burning at Trenwith. But mostly, I like him because he reminds me of Francis. Things were better when he was around…
Overall, despite its slow start, I enjoyed this third series of Poldark and there are plenty of loose ends to be either tied up or taken in an intriguing direction in series 4.