The second episode of Poldark begins with Ross (Aidan Turner) reminiscing in his jail cell. He struggles to write Demelza a letter, but is abruptly interrupted by the return of his lawyer. The lawyer provides him with a list of witnesses, who will be testifying against him. Ross is stunned to discover Jud Paynter’s (Phil Davis) name on the Crown’s witness list. During this time, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) takes matters into her own hands. She seeks out Ray Penvenen (John Nettles) and chats with him briefly. During their conversation, Demelza coaxes a description of the judge from Ray. This leads her directly to Judge Wentworth Lister (Stephen Boxer), whom she attempts to swing into Ross’ favor. Back at home, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) finally makes the decision to travel to Bodmin. At the local tavern, Dwight Enys (Luke Norris) overhears the others discussing the trial. He chats with one and both admit they’re there to testify on Ross’ behalf.
Dwight tries to strike up a conversation with Jud, but is ignored. Ross is given a written statement from his lawyer. He also signs a will, while painfully admitting he has left Demelza very little. Dwight encounters Caroline (Gabriella Wilde) once again. They have a flirty conversation, while Caroline complains that the election is a bore. She has hopes Poldark’s trial will be far more entertaining. Outside, the votes are tallied. Unwin (Hugh Skinner) is tied for second. He is urged by George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) to jump in the chair and claim his place. He tries to do so, but the locals revolt and pelt him with rocks. One of the men is led down to the dungeon, where he is introduced to Ross. Back inside, Ray complains to George about the lawlessness of the locals. They observe Demelza having a conversation with the judge. Ray becomes concerned that her actions could further damage Ross. George quickly steps in and prevents Demelza from swaying the man’s opinion.
Dwight returns to his hotel room only to find the door locked. He becomes concerned about Francis (Kyle Soller), who has locked himself inside. The innkeeper prepares to open the door, as it comes swinging open. Francis is perfectly fine and hasn’t shot himself as previously expected. He tells Dwight about his situation and admits he tried to shoot himself, but the gun misfired. Dwight seems worried about Francis, as he admits he will need more gunpowder to try again in the future. Ross overlooks the written statement and quickly learns his lawyer wishes for him to grovel to the court. Ross is told it is his life and he should do what he will with it. Meanwhile, Demelza has a heated conversation with George. George tells her she will soon be a gentleman’s widow, before making a hasty exit. Ross thanks his lawyer, but admits he cannot bring himself to beg. Demelza returns to Verity (Ruby Bentall), who asks if she had better luck. A tearful Demelza admits she did not and likely made the situation even worse.
In the morning, everyone begins preparing for the trial. Tankard (Sebastian Armesto) gives Jud a nod. George and Tankard travel to the courtroom together, while George insists he has changed the course of the trial without spending any money whatsoever. Ross watches as Jack Tripp (Samuel Valentine) is led out of his cell and towards the courtroom. Ross wishes him justice, but Tripp admits there is no justice. Finally, Ross is escorted towards the courtroom, while Tripp is apparently moved to the gallows. Ross is surprised to see Demelza in the courtroom. Ross pleads no guilty, before Demelza’s father bursts in and causes a scene. Things quickly get worse as the Crown’s witnesses take the stand and evidence against Ross is presented. Demelza cannot take anymore and rushes outside. Elizabeth follows and attempts to comfort her. During their conversation, Demelza reveals she is with child once more.
They head back into the courtroom just in time to see Jud take the stand. Jud angers the prosecution by changing his testimony in Ross’ favor. Then, Captain Bray (Derek Frood) is questioned. He admits Ross offered the soldiers a place to stay. However, he also confirms Ross left after five minutes and remained gone for several hours before returning. The Crown rests their cases and Dwight takes the stand for Ross. He tells the court about Ross and Demelza losing their child shortly before the incident. He explains the situation took a toll on Ross’ mind and prevented him from thinking clearly. The prosecutor insists Dwight has no expertise in mental health and ponders whether or not Ross was drunk. Dwight maintains his composure and continues to take up for his friend. Nonetheless, the audience erupts and many have to be escorted out of the room. Tankard speaks with George outside and is excited that their plan seems to be working out so well.
George admits things aren’t actually going their way. He confirms Demelza won’t hand over the rights to the mind so easily. Meanwhile, Francis speaks with Elizabeth. He makes an accusation that his wife only came for Ross. Back in the courtroom, Ross prepares to beg for mercy. He takes the stand and begins reading the written statement. However, he quickly strays from the path and refuses to apologize for his actions. After a fiery speech, Ross sits back down and apologizes to his lawyer. The jury is given their instructions, before retiring to debate the verdict. While they’re away, Ross asks his lawyer whether or not he’ll have the opportunity to say goodbye to his wife. He is told he will be escorted out immediately after the guilty verdict. Moments later, the jury returns and passes down a not guilty verdict for all charges. Ross and his comrades celebrate, while George leaves angrily. Francis and Verity celebrate, but Francis quickly ruins the mood, by admitting he will never be able to accept Verity’s husband.
After Verity departs, Elizabeth exits with a tear in her eye. Francis ponders whether she would shed a tear him had he not returned home. Elizabeth seems startled by the statement and asks Francis what is wrong. He admits they shouldn’t ponder on it, before they depart together. Ross and Demelza return home. They stop near the beach and celebrate their victory. George complains to Tankard and insists Jud will need to pay for his betrayal. He quickly concocts a plan to buy shares of Wheal Leisure, in order to steal it from Ross. Francis and Elizabeth return home and celebrate the good news. Demelza and Ross are greeted by Prudie (Beatie Edney) and Jud at home. The pair are ignored, but most likely obtain their old jobs. Tankard speaks with George and asks whether or not they’ve shown their hand. He is worried about Ross’ demeanor and admits he isn’t the type to take George’s actions lying down.
Nonetheless, George doesn’t seem worried in the least. Back at home, Demelza asks Ross his feelings about having another child. Ross doesn’t seem interested and admits they cannot replace Julia.
The second episode of Poldark’s second season was vastly improved over the previous. Despite being a little predictable, Ross and Demelza’s struggle felt real and dramatic. The episode did an excellent job of bringing everyone back together, while also reigniting previous conflicts. Francis will likely become a pivotal figure during this season. His anger and depression could very well lead him to do the unthinkable.
I wasn’t overly thrilled with Demelza’s pregnancy and felt it was a little too soon. Nonetheless, she will need to find a way to force Ross to come to terms with the situation. All in all, a great episode. An 8.5 out of 10 is deserved. Catch up with previous recaps of Poldark right now!