Poldark took period drama fans by storm when it was aired by the BBC, and the pilot episode in particular was pretty awesome.
BBC’s Poldark, based on the series by Winston Graham, took fans of period-dramas by storm back in March 2015. Since then, the show has accomplished 5 seasons in total and a fan base too vast to count. If you’re new to the show, you have much to look forward to.
If you consider yourself a veteran, chances are you’ve seen many of the episodes many times–but 2015 was 5 years ago now, and not everybody has such a keen memory. Here are ten facts from the pilot of Poldark to refresh your memory.
He Returns Entitled
Ross returns to Cornwall expecting everyone to be waiting to greet him–little does he realize just how wrong he is. It’s unfortunate that his expectations aren’t met, but on top of this, there is also a layer of pompous entitlement. He assumes everything will be in place for him, and if he were anyone but an upper-class white man (not exactly a rarity in BBC releases)he would be less likely to assume such a thing.
He’s Cruel To The Servants
Ross finds his deceased father’s house has gone to the dogs–or, to be more literal, the goats and chickens. When he first opens the door and calls for the servants, he finds nothing but cobwebs, hay, dirt and animals. Eventually, he comes upon two servants asleep and wakes them with cold water over their heads. He’s kind to most other people but treats them like slaves.
He’s Holding Onto Elizabeth’s Ring
The show begins with Ross sitting amongst other soldiers playing a card game. One of the soldiers suggests Ross bet the ring on his pinky finger–to which he shakes his head. The soldier greets this response with a knowing smile as if it was all a joke in the first place–it’s clear Ross has made his devotion to Elizabeth known.
Everyone Repeats The Same Thing
Every time Ross comes upon someone back home they say the same thing, often numerous times–that they didn’t expect him, or that they assumed he was dead.
It makes sense to be surprised at his arrival, but to repeatedly assert they they didn’t expect him becomes a sign of compensating for something–the fact that they didn’t want him back, and a lame excuse for not receiving him well.
His Uncle Isn’t Helpful
Ross’s uncle can’t do anything about the fact that Ross’s father is dead and that his house has gone to ruins. What he could’ve done on Ross’s first night, however, is at least offer him a place so stay and food to eat. Instead, he lets him leave and return to his father’s house, knowing well that he won’t find comfort there on his first night back, yet giving him no warning.
Ross Almost Lets Francis Drown
Francis and Ross venture down into the coal mine on Ross’s land to see what state it’s been left in. While down there, Francis makes the odd choice of bringing up his impending wedding to Elizabeth.
Ross, only recently made aware of their engagement and still trying to adjust, struggles to listen to Frances talk about it. He finally loses it, shocking Frances and causing him to fall into a deep pit of water. For a moment Ross watches him flail, nearly letting him drown.
His Uncle Tries To Get Rid Of Him
Not only is Ross’s uncle unwelcoming upon his return home, but he goes much further–he tries to persuade him to leave town. His uncle is only concerned with his own well-being, valuing the family name over Ross’s happiness, meaning that Elizabeth must not be tempted away from Francis. None of his schemings considers how this must hurt Ross to hear.
Elizabeth Expects Him To Come To Her
On her wedding day to Francis Elizabeth tells Ross that she doesn’t understand why he didn’t come and see her the night after he returned home. She assumes that if he wanted to be with her, he would have sought her out. Ross responds by asking her why he would come to see her since they had no official oath to one another when he left for the war. It’s clear he only says this to veil the pain he is in. After all, she is the one who left him, so should be the one to come to him.
He Takes In Demelza
The first episode marks Ross’s initial encounter with Demelza, and the beginning of their story together. We meet Demelza as a lanky, dirty peasant fighting with men who are trying to take her dog and put it in a dog fight. Ross steps in to defend Demelza, who doesn’t take kindly to him referring to her as a child–which he continues to do for the rest of the episode. Ross eventually ends up fighting off Demelza’s father who comes looking for her and taking home Demelza who has tried to leave his employ believing that he doesn’t want her.
He Stays For His Friends
It’s unclear through most of the episode exactly what makes Ross tick–is it his love for Elizabeth? His loyalty to his father? We can’t quite tell what Ross’s priorities are, and what is keeping him in Cornwall. Eventually, it seems as though he isn’t quite sure, either–until he comes upon a group of his father’s old tenants who have defended him in a fight against Demelza’s attempted captors. The tenants refer to Ross as their friend and say they always have his back. Ross decides to stay in Cornwall, having found what matters to him most–friendship.