Well, here we go again. After a rather crazy ride with new characters and toe sucking villains, it’s time again for the Poldark series finale. And things are rather bleak on the Cornish coast. Ross is convinced the French are going to attack, so he’s putting all his energy into a local militia, meaning he ignores Demelza’s growing connection to Hugh Armitage. George returns from Westminister, very cold to Elizabeth and instantly gets his henchmen to provoke the newest blacksmith in town (Drake). Meanwhile, Morwenna is desperately unhappy with Osborne, who himself is trying to avoid scandal by marrying off Morwenna’s sister turned his lover.
Jack Farthing managed to achieve something I never thought would happen: I felt a little sorry for George. Whilst he stills attacks Drake and believes that Ross is out to get him at every turn (it’s bordering on unhealthy now), Farthing brings some emotional depth when he discusses Valentine’s paternity. Despite being a despicable villain, you can’t help but feel sorry for him as he believes the women he loves has cheated on him and betrayed him in the worst way. Heida Reed as Elizabeth is a brilliant partner in this scene, and convinces George that Valentine is his child, using a clever selection of words to portray this. In the last scene at the beach between Farthing and Aidan Turner, it is the most emotional we’ve probably ever seen George. I even thought it looked like it might kill himself before Ross interrupts him, and manages to sneakily put more doubts in George’s mind, once again through clever words, telling George: “Belief is a beautiful thing.”
Aidan Turner as Ross and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza also shine in the final episode, with their marriage once again in turmoil. Ross is at the heart of it, although Demelza’s not entirely blameless, between lying about seeing Elizabeth and neglecting his wife “to defend the coast”. He is, once again, a hero figure of sorts to the peasants. They decide to take matters into their own hands again and attempt to storm George’s grain storage and end up being confronted by Ross’ militia. This time, though, things are different. This year Ross has had the opportunity to have power- as a magistrate and as an MP- and rejected it, and when he sees how angry the people are, he promises to stand for Parliament again if offered in the future. This is enough to talk down the protestors, for some reason. It does seem like a weak and flimsy promise, with Ross’ “deus ex machina” tendencies coming into play again. Because Ross is the hero, he will make everything better, even if it makes no sense.
What does make sense though, is Demelza’s anger, and she goes off running to Armitage. Josh Whitehouse does a good job of playing him as a lovesick teenager, being able to make him unlikable without doing anything really that bad. To Demelza’s credit, she does resist Armitage’s affections for as long as she can, before they eventually go for a frolic on the beach. The ending scene of the finale is quiet and understated, unlike the other series’ ending, and you can see parallels to Ross’ return after his night with Elizabeth, as Demelza returns from her dalliance with Armitage and lies with Ross on the bed, leaving the fate of their marriage undecided.
Christian Brassington as Osborne is the most despicable (toe sucking) human again, as Morwenna’s sister informs him she is pregnant and he attempts to marry her off, though he’s not willing to spend much, leading to some comic relief scenes as Rowella cleverly manipulates Osborne into allowing the marriage. This also leads to a brilliant moment for Ellise Chappell’s Morwenna, who stands up to her husband for the first time when Osborne once again tries to force himself on her. She finally finds some strength within and threatens to kill their son if he does not leave her alone. Whilst there’s no happy ending for the romance between her and Drake (Demelza’s brother and the only blacksmith in Cornwall, now), it is very much left open. Both of them are still in love with each other, and they both know it. It is a rather grim, realistic portrayal of the times. It isn’t all happy marriages and frolics on the beach.
Either way, this was a terrific, if rather bleak, finale to the third series and there’s no happy endings this season.