‘Poldark’ Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: Ross And Demelza Weather A Dramatic Premiere

The first half of Poldark‘s Season 3 premiere was steeped in the high drama of several new arrivals, which will inevitably sow the seeds for an eventful third season. In the first few minutes of Season 3, viewers were given a glimpse at the familiar sites known to comprise the series — Ross, his horse, and a distressed Elizabeth. Here is the rundown on Episode 1.

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Poldark Season 3.


The season premiere revolves around the impending arrival of Elizabeth’s baby. At Nampara, Ross (Aidan Turner) is carrying on as if it’s business as usual. To the point, he almost seems to have amnesia regarding his night with Elizabeth.

The development is not quelling tensions in his marriage. Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) wants to talk about it, and Ross just wants to act as if the entire indiscretion never happened. He keeps himself busy planning the elopement of dear friends Dwight Enys (Luke Norris) and Caroline Penvenen (Gabriella Wilde).

Demelza not only has to deal with the emotional distance between she and Ross, but also the news that her abusive father is dying. Torn over what to do, she eventually reaches her father before he dies. Mr. Carne fails to make any deathbed apologies to his daughter or sons for the way he treated them.

Demelza leaves before he dies so she can attend Caroline and Dwight’s wedding. Ross succceeds in procuring the star-crossed lovers’ marriage, although fate, and Dwight’s duty as a doctor, eventually carries the latter newlywed away.

Caroline is also called away to be by her ailing uncle’s side. Uncle Ray (John Nettles) tells her that he regrets keeping her from “following her heart” to be with Dwight and asks her to forgive him. Caroline assures him there is nothing to forgive as she shows him the wedding ring on her hand. A joy-filled Uncle Ray then passes away.

Back At Trenwith

After trying to bring on a situation that would explain her baby’s early entrance into the world, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) decides on another course of action. Realizing she is going into labor, she seems to stage a fall down the steps to convince George (Jack Farthing) this is what brought on the “premature” birth of their baby.

The labor is difficult and Elizabeth is in dire need of medical assistance. Cue to Caroline and Dwight’s wedding night being interrupted as they receive word about Elizabeth, Dwight leaves to tend to her.

Elizabeth eventually gives birth to a son that George announces will be named Valentine. Aunt Agatha’s response riles Warleggan, who demands she be removed from the room, while still sitting in her chair. Before she is carried out, she curses the infant, who’s been born under a blood moon. A devastated Ross can hear all of this from outside of Trenwith, where he has been eagerly awaiting word on Elizabeth and the baby’s condition.

George holds baby Valentine in the Season 3 premiere of 'Poldark' on PBS Masterpiece
[Image by Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]

After running down the beach in the apparent wake of the epiphany that he is the biological father of Valentine, he makes a difficult decision. He visits George and agrees to cut all ties with his Trenwith relations. The news devastates an already shaken Elizabeth.

Toward the end of the episode’s first half, Ross shares his decision with Demelza. She seems relieved and asks Ross if he would be willing to take in her brothers. He agrees, and with tha,t she tentatively shares that she is pregnant. Ross’ reaction is not what she expects. He is elated and vows that they can face anything, as long as they have each other.

Part 2

In the second half, a depressed Elizabeth works through a multitude of secret feelings, though viewers probably have quite a few astute guesses as to why she is so stoicly distraught. She remains painfully ambivalent toward her new son, and the cause for that is not entirely clear.

All the while, a blissfully clueless George is basking in a series of victories. He has a wife he unrequitedly adores, a “biological heir” to his fortune, and a new career opportunity as a magistrate. George is floating and gloating.

Demelza’s Brother Starts Drama

Drake (Harry Richardson) and Sam make themselves at home in Cornwall. They minister to the folks working at Ross’ mine, and witness to Demelza. Drake, who had met with and instantly became enchanted with Elizabeth’s cousin, Morwenna Chynoweth (Ellise Chappell) in the earlier half of Episode 1, continues his pursuit of Geoffrey Charles’ new governess.

His and Demelza’s brother, Sam (Tom York), continue witnessing to the community. With so many new followers, they decide to attend church in the one newly renovated by George.

As they await a late George’s arrival, Sam leads the parishioners in song and the decision makes waves. A frustrated George makes it clear to the reverend that the Carne brothers’ activity in the church will have to stop.

Lost At Sea

The horrible news that Dwight and Verity’s husband, Captain Blimey’s, ships have gone missing causes great distress. Ross works to learn the latest news, while Demelza tries to comfort the bereft women.

Dwight rides his horse in Episode 1 of 'Poldark' Season 3
[Image by Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]

Learning that a party he has been invited to will be attended by those fleeing the French revolution, Ross decides they might have information about the missing ships and decides to make one of his rare public appearances, alongside Demelza and Caroline.

George is also in attendance, eagerly anticipating the official offer for a position as a magistrate. What he doesn’t realize is that Ross is their first pick. When a reluctant Ross inevitably turns down the position, the offer is made to an ecstatic George. Aunt Agatha is quick to point out that George was probably not their first choice, which puts a significant damper on his excitement.

Good News And Bad Decisions

Back at the party, good news arrives. Captain Blimey is alive and safe. A relieved Verity (Ruby Bentall) then makes plans to leave and visit her husband. She says her goodbyes to Trenwith and urges Demelza to make peace between her house and George’s, blissfully unaware of the reason they are in justifiable discord.

Toward the end of the finale, a montage flips between a saddened Caroline and an imprisoned Dwight. In France, Doctor Enys faces a firing squad and survives the initial hail of bullets. When a soldier realizes he is still alive, he closes in on Dwight, pointing his rifle right at Doctor Enys. A shot can then be heard ringing out. Did Dwight survive it?

Having received a tip on Dwight’s whereabouts from his father’s old contact and an active free trader, Ross decides to head off in search of Dwight, as a tearful Demelza looks out from a cliff top. Will Ross and Demelza ever agree on what is right for their family?

Find out when Poldark Season 3 continues. According to PBS’ official press site, Episode 2 premieres on PBS, Sunday, October 8, at 9 p.m. EST.

[Featured Image by Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]