Review: Poldark (Series 2, Episode 10)

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Spectacular

The final episode of Poldark is dramatic, tense and emotive.

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Spoilers Ahead…

The second series of Poldark has consisted of nine tension and angst filled episodes, and the tenth and final episode of the series does not diverge from this pattern. The final instalment of the series opens with the future of all of the main characters in doubt; Ross and Demelza’s marriage is in crisis, Elizabeth is stuck in a loveless marriage with contemptible George Warleggan, and a heartbroken Dwight Enys plans to join the navy after being abandoned by the love of his life Caroline Penvenen. Whilst also dealing with major social issues of the time, this makes for a thrilling finale.

The whole series has undoubtedly been building up to the final episode, and the sky high expectations meant high risk that the episode would flop. However, the BBC have again justified their reputation for outstanding drama. Poldark’s tenth episode is both emotional and moving, tying up all of the plot lines from the current series, as well as establishing cliffhangers for the already commissioned third series.

Though the entire cast shone in the episode, Eleanor Tomlinson in her role as Demelza is particularly superb. Tomlinson faultlessly portrays the scorned wife, struggling to forgive her husband’s infidelity, and until the last five minutes of the episode you sincerely doubt that Demelza and Ross’ relationship has any future. Tomlinson displays both sensitivity and strength in the role, and both her confrontations with Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and cheating husband Ross (Aidan Turner) are standout moments in the episode.

Aidan Turner’s portrayal of brooding protagonist Ross Poldark also cannot be ignored. Turner evokes frustration in the audience, with Ross’ hypocritical inability to see the fault in his adulterous evening spent with Elizabeth, as well as sympathy, when he finally realises the devastating consequences of his actions. Turner’s on-screen relationship with Eleanor Tomlinson is a delight to watch, and the acting ability of both leave the audience truly invested in their relationship. The final scene between the pair is stirring and evocative, as Ross finally realises his love for Demelza – a true Sunday evening heartwarmer. The relationship between Turner’s Ross and nemesis George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) is also a highlight of the episode, particularly in the scene where the pair exchange passive aggressive letters, effectively building atmosphere for their dramatic showdown at the end of the episode.

Another surprise delight is the romance between handsome doctor Dwight Enys (Luke Norris), who seems to be the only decent man in seventeenth century Cornwall, and charming, if slightly precocious, aristocrat Lady Caroline Penvenen (Gabriella Wilde). Though they’ve been a slow-burner, the audience is left feeling warmed as the pair are reunited, putting an end to the heartbreak that the show creators left Dwight with in a previous episode of the series. The only disappointment is the absence of Horace, Caroline’s pug!

Caroline Blakiston as the sardonic matriarch Aunt Agatha provides much needed light relief in such a dramatic episode, in her hatred of the grasping George Warleggan. In addition, she establishes what is bound to be a pivotal plot line in the next series – with the realisation that George may not be the father to Elizabeth’s unborn child, but rather Ross…

The episode, as is the case with the entire series, is a visual delight. The cinematography and costume are on point. There are cliff and sea scenes galore, depicting the wild and rugged terrain of Cornwall perfectly, and no doubt the county’s tourist board will thank the show creators.

The final episode of Poldark is a delight to watch; dramatic, tense, and emotional, the audience is left fully invested in the fate of the characters. The climactic episode of the second season is exquisite, the plot is elegant, and the cast first rate. The episode promised much, but delivered more – the third series cannot arrive soon enough.

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