Warning: The following article contains a discussion of Poldark Season 1 and Season 2.
Can Ross Poldark earn redemption and Demelza’s trust in Poldark Season 3? If so, it could be his most hard-fought battle. When Poldark begins, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) pretty much embodies every ideal personality trait imaginable.
He is a generous, kind, and socially conscious gentleman. In Season 1, he rescues the fiery Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), hires her as his kitchen maid, and eventually falls in love with her, marrying her around the midway point of Season 1.
All the while, Ross is still harboring a thinly veiled infatuation with his former flame, Elizabeth (Heida Reed). Throughout Poldark Season 1 and Season 2, Ross dances around his feelings for Elizabeth. He continues flirting with her despite her marriage to his cousin Francis (Kyle Soller) and his own marriage to the devoted Demelza.
The Poldark Season 2 game changer
After Francis’ death in the latter half of Poldark Season 2, the widowed Elizabeth never shies away from Ross’ attention. She plunges full steam ahead, in what is evidently a calculated endeavor, to win Ross away from his wife. This despite Demelza being the reason she is alive to do so. But that is a subject for an entirely separate Poldark article.
Running short on funds, Elizabeth accepts the diabolical George Warleggan’s marriage proposal in Season 2 Episode 8. Upon hearing this, Ross is sent into a rage and his subsequent downward spiral results in a sexual encounter with Elizabeth.
The aftermath of Ross’ affair in Poldark Season 2
Instead of coming home guilty and ashamed, Ross maintains his composure and assumes his ground with a justifiably outraged Demelza. When Demelza smacks him down, he still refuses to be broken over how his betrayal has affected his wife.
In the Poldark Season 2 finale, Ross seems to finally get it when Demelza packs up hers and Ross’ son Jeremy, ready to leave her husband. Snapped to his senses, Ross expresses his feelings for her and claims Elizabeth will never come between them again. But is it enough?
Poldark Season 3 and Ross’ shot at redemption.
Ross has a lot of work to do in Season 3. While it is one thing to make a mistake, Ross never really humbles himself for Demelza’s forgiveness in Poldark Season 2. He admits his flaws, yet never explicitly says he is sorry, thus making the hole he is in at the start of Season 3 all the more problematic.
When Demelza verbally lays him out, after doing so physically, she sums up the feelings of many. She eloquently expresses her disappointment over Ross’ spectacular fall from grace, and even more so, his dismal recovery from it.
Before he even had a physical affair with Elizabeth, he made a monetary decision that jeopardized Demelza and his son’s financial welfare in Poldark Season 2. He did this for the benefit of Elizabeth and her son.
His reason is that Elizabeth could not handle financial distress the way Demelza could. According to Ross’ logic, since Demelza is a survivor, she needs to suffer for the weaker Elizabeth. Ross’ decision is, in many ways, his first betrayal of Demelza in Poldark Season 2.
Can Ross earn redemption in Poldark Season 3?
While it is a tall order, Ross has managed them before. Aside from his actions with Elizabeth, he has consistently been a gallant, noble, and humble hero. All attributes, which make him an exceedingly likable protagonist. As Poldark has consistently taught us, he also makes mistakes.
To rediscover his earlier self, it would be nice to see Ross offer Demelza a genuine apology. Not an “I have been a fool” confessional in Season 3. Demelza has offered many apologies to Ross throughout the course of Poldark, and he needs to reciprocate.
While Ross swore to Demelza in the Season 2 finale that Elizabeth would never come between them, he has never said that to Elizabeth, directly. Until he actually looks Elizabeth in the face in Season 3 and tells her he will never be with her because he loves Demelza, the matter will not be resolved. Demelza deserves at least that in Poldark Season 3.
Will Ross work hard to win Demelza over in Poldark Season 3?
Ross does not need to spend Poldark Season 3 on bended knee begging Demelza for forgiveness, although a newfound show of respect for her is in order. While Ross would not be Ross, if he was not defiant at times, a bit of private humility with his wife, would not be entirely out of character.
Poldark Season 3, the aftershocks.
No matter your take on what occurred between Ross and Elizabeth in her bedroom, one thing is less speculative. Ross could be the father of Elizabeth’s baby.
In an interview with Radio Times actor Aidan Turner, who portrays Captain Ross on the hit series, offered this insight into how that fact affects Ross and Demelza’s relationship in Poldark Season 3.
“When we start the third series we get a feeling that a lot has passed; months have passed and they’ve already discussed what has happened. And so they’re not at each other’s throats, but there’s definitely questions about who the father [of Elizabeth’s baby] may be and whether the relationship is going to last.”
As of Poldark Season 2, Ross has turned into the fictionalized version of himself from George’s books.
One of the bitterest aspects of Ross’ affair is that he has pretty much-fulfilled everything George (Jack Farthing) falsely wrote about him in his anti-Ross propaganda pamphlets, at the beginning of Poldark Season 2.
When Poldark Season 2 began, George’s rendering of Ross was so false, it was laughable. Then Poldark Season 2 wore on, and that began to change.
Ross had an affair and has potentially sired an illegitimate child outside of his marriage. He also did a financial favor for Elizabeth due to his relationship with her, and not for a purely altruistic reason. All claims George made in his pamphlet, with a different woman attached to the allegations.
Ross clearly loves Demelza, and if he wants to keep her, he will need to stop the back and forth between her and Elizabeth in Poldark Season 3. Remember, two episodes after Ross assured Demelza of his love for her with a powerfully romantic gesture in Poldark Season 2, Episode 6; he cheated on her with Elizabeth.
It is understandable if Demelza will still have her doubts about Ross’ fidelity in Poldark Season 3. Hopefully, fans are in for a romantic season of Ross working to restore his marriage.
Can Ross earn redemption in Poldark Season 3? Will Ross and Demelza be able to weather the storm? Find out when the new season premieres on BBC Two in June, and on PBS Masterpiece, October 1.
[Featured Image by Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for MASTERPIECE]