At the beginning of the second season, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) is arrested by the British guard. He is transported to the courthouse, where he attempts to defend his actions. He is accused of Matthew’s death, but remains adamant he is innocent of the crime. Ross smarts off and is eventually committed for trial at the Bodmin Assizes. His bond is set and he is quickly released. Meanwhile, a distressed Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) stares into the beautiful ocean. She is obviously worried about the future and the potential of continuing forward without Ross. After the intro scene, Demelza has returned home. There, she mourns Julia. Ross enters seconds later and breaks the news about his upcoming trial. Across town, Francis (Kyle Soller) and Elizabeth (Heida Reed) discuss Poldark’s predicament. Both agree something needs to be done to prevent Ross from being executed. Elizabeth contemplates seeking assistance from the Warleggans, but Francis quickly dismisses the idea.
Francis admits George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) is most likely responsible for the accusations. Despite Francis’ doubts, Elizabeth still seems convinced George might be willing to support Ross. Meanwhile, Ross and Demelza head for a walk. They stop and chat about the loss of Julia. Both admit they have a difficult time putting the experience behind them. Despite Demelza’s concerns, Ross insists they will not hang him. Ross ignores her concerns and heads to the mine to look for another lode. While Ross heads into the mine, Demelza speaks with Dwight (Luke Norris) on the surface. She expresses her concerns to Dwight, who agrees to be by Ross’ side during the trial. Meanwhile, George quickly goes to work stacking the cards against Poldark. He enlists the help of Tankard (Sebastian Armesto) to slander Ross’ good name. Once Tankard departs, George tells his father that their attorney will help strengthen the case against Ross. George’s father isn’t impressed and is convinced Matthew was dead before his body washed ashore.
Tankard quickly goes to work. He tracks down Prudie (Beatie Edney) and attempts to coax her into turning on Ross. Prudie remains loyal and denies knowing a Ross Poldark. Elizabeth heads into town and runs into George. She uses the opportunity to speak up for Ross. Elizabeth admits she will be indebted to George, if he is willing to help Ross escape prosecution. Ross meets with his account and learns about his terrible financial state. He quickly jots down his assets just in case he is executed. During this time, Elizabeth writes a letter to the Poldark couple and invites them to her palace. Before Ross can escape town, he encounters Mr. Trevaunance (Hugh Skinner) and his friend, Caroline Penvenen (Gabriella Wilde). They only speak for a moment, as Caroline learns Ross is nobody of interest. Next, Tankard turns his attention to Jud Paynter (Phil Davis). He nearly convinces the man to confess, but Prudie arrives just in time to shut him up.
Caroline and Unwin Trevaunance arrive at their destination. It is revealed that Unwin could soon become a member of parliament. Ray Penvenen chats with him about Caroline. Back at home, Ross tells Demelza about his encounter with Unwin and his lady friend. Ross reveals the pair is in town for the election, which is set to take place on the same day as his trial. Demelza tells Ross about Elizabeth’s note. Despite being reluctant, Ross agrees to visit his brother and former mistress. The pair head straight over the next day. Inside, they discover George, who offers Ross his assistance. Ross quickly becomes angered and insists he is too wise to fall prey to George and his nefarious schemes. Francis enters, as Ross makes a hasty escape. Ross complains all the way home and admits he would rather plead with Ray, who is actually acquainted with Judge Lister. Ross insists he will never have anything else to do with Francis. Meanwhile, George seeks revenge. He uses Tankard and the media to spread rumors to tarnish Ross’ character. Meanwhile, Demelza pays a visit to Ray Penvenen.
While Demelza mingles with Ray, Ross attempts to uncover another lode. He shows off his sweaty body for the ladies, while George watches the mine from afar. Francis and Elizabeth chat about Ross and discuss Francis’ past mistakes. Francis angrily admits Ross is simply too wise to gamble away his most precious asset. Ray asks Demelza about Ross’ upcoming trial, while also providing her information about Justice Wentworth Lister. Ray admits the Justice is helping Unwin in the upcoming election. Demelza ponders whether the judge ever asks for the truth before the trial. Ray chuckles and admits he should. Ray admits he will be in Bodmin for the trial. Demelza departs as Unwin and Caroline arrive. Unwin tells Ray that Demelza looks dangerous. Francis attempts to have a conversation with Ross, while offering to help Demelza should Ross get jail time or worse. Francis admits he and Elizabeth still owe Demelza. Ross rides off after saying very little. George visits Elizabeth and brings a gift to her child.
Francis arrives moments later and is still stewing over his conversation with Ross. George admits Ross doesn’t have much of a chance to escape punishment, due to his previous encounters with the law. Elizabeth is shown the paper, which slanders Poldark and classifies him as a suspected murderer. Next, Tankard gets in touch with Jud again. He convinces him to turn Crown’s witness very easily. The night, Ross speaks with Dwight, who admits he is capable of the crime. Dwight expresses the seriousness of the situation and admits saving Ross might not be so easy. Poldark announces his intention to keep Demelza away from Bodmin. After that, he returns home and makes love to his wife one last time. Francis isn’t so lucky with Elizabeth. She sends him away. Demelza is awoken in the morning by Ross chopping wood. She heads outside and they embrace. Ross promises to return, before he begins his journey to Bodmin. Meanwhile, Francis stares at a portrait of his father. He speaks with Elizabeth and ponders what life might’ve been like had Ross not have returned form the war. Then, he also heads to Bodmin. Caroline and her doggy Horace also head towards the city.
Ross arrives in Bodmin and meets with his attorney. He also learns about the paper, which has framed him as dangerous. Meanwhile, Demelza packs her items and hitches a ride with Verity (Ruby Bentall). Ross consults with his lawyer, while Dwight unwittingly agrees to help Caroline’s doggy. Verity and Demelza arrive in town. Demelza admits she needs to run an errand in town later. Verity seems concerned, since the streets are overflowing with drunkards. Nonetheless, Demelza insists she must for Ross’ sake. The voting begins, as Unwin asks George about the paper slandering Ross. Dwight runs into Francis in the inn and offers him a place to stay. Francis insists he may have to take him up on that offer, if Verity won’t provide him with a bed. Francis sees the paper and approaches George. Francis lashes out at George. He admits he might be owned, but is adamant he is free to speak his mind.
Back at home, Elizabeth plays with her son. Ross’ lawyer agrees to provide him with a list of the witnesses soon. The lawyer remains pessimistic about his chances. Unwin and Caroline speaks with George, who admits he is supporting Unwin’s campaign. Caroline seems suspicious of George. Ross walks the streets and sees George and Unwin. Ross does his best to ignore George, before he heads to the jail to be locked away. Demelza gets dressed up and leaves the motel. She runs into her father on the street. The man preaches to the crowd and tries to convince Demelza to return home. She refuses and heads on her way. Francis speaks with Verity and decides to stay with her. Francis quickly insults Verity’s husband, but she admits they’re happy together. Francis tells Verity about the pamphlets defaming Ross, as well as his visit to Francis. Elizabeth contemplates whether or not she should head to Bidmon. She is told not to. George sees Demelza approaching and tells the guard not to permit her entry, since she is a harlot.
The guard obeys his orders and sends Demelza away. George pays a visit to Ross and offers him a deal. Demelza returns to Verity and contemplates her next move. George extends his arm for a handshake, but Ross refuses. He tells George he will never shake his hand. George admits he is glad Ross made this decision, since he will be able to tell Elizabeth he offered him a way out, but was refused. Demelza flees the motel, after telling Verity there is one more thing she must try. Francis puts a firearm to his head and pulls the trigger, as the death card is revealed.
The first episode of Poldark’s second season was a little slow, but very dramatic. Demelza and Ross have been forced to speed up their mourning for Julia. Demelza refuses to lose another loved one and decides to take matters into her own hands. Will she be able to speak with the Justice and save her husband’s life? The cards are certainly stacked against Ross, but our dashing hero and his cunning wife will most likely find a way to escape the noose.
How will Francis fare? Has he committed suicide as the show wants us to believe? If so, will that open up a relationship between Elizabeth and George? The season is just getting underway, so the possibilities are endless. A good opener. An 8 out of 10 is deserved. Catch up with previous Poldark recaps now!