Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Poldark Season 3 Episode 1.
By the end of the Poldark Season 3 premiere, one aching reality came into focus. Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza’s (Eleanor Tomlinson) romance is barely alive.
It sounds like a bold pronouncement, but the season premiere instantly picks up on the off-kilter momentum between Ross and Demelza following the events of Season 2. Throughout Episode 1, Ross makes a few proclamations here and there to comfort his wife and encourage her confidence in their relationship, even though his actions do hardly anything to back them up.
He rushes off to rescue Elizabeth (Heida Reed) in the first scene and is clearly consumed by thoughts of her in every scene afterwards. Given that he has to be wondering if they share a child together, his thoughts surrounding Elizabeth make sense, although there is more to it than that. Baby or no baby, Ross has never been able to get Elizabeth out of his mind.
As Poldark progresses, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Elizabeth is the woman he is in love with and will always treasure most, not his wife. When Ross has been with Elizabeth, he has never thought much of Demelza.
When he is with Demelza, he is always thinking about Elizabeth. The painful truth that appears to be emerging is that Ross loves Demelza. He is just not in love with her. Frankly, he has never acted as a man who is in love with her above all others.
The fact is that Ross cares about doing the right thing, and leaving his wife for another woman he loves more is not a move he can bring himself to make for the sake of honor and obligation. That truth is the splinter that is slowly driving Demelza and Ross apart emotionally. They can make their marriage work, it is just not the one Demelza, or this fan dreamed they shared.
The romantic chemistry between Ross and Demelza has dimmed from delight to duty. Demelza’s shattered image of her husband has left her single-handedly trying to keep the fractured pieces of their marriage together, while Ross seems bit and determined to ignore the damage he’s done to his reputation.
The spark between them is barely flickering. Can they ever recover? Ross seems to be oblivious to the pain he has caused Demelza. Perhaps, he is willing to ignore it because if he focused too much attention on his actions, he would never forgive himself.
Instead of proving to his wife that things are different, he continues behaving the same way that led him to take off and change their lives forever. With the exception, he has supposedly cut ties with his relatives at Trenwith and by extension, Elizabeth.
At the end of Season 3 Episode 1, he leaves his family to go on a mission that could leave his wife a widow and his children without a father. It is the same old Ross. He has clearly learned nothing. His actions have consequences, just ask Demelza, Elizabeth, and baby Valentine.
Having been besotted with Poldark for its surprising romance and seeming attempt to step outside of the star-crossed lover storyline that has dragged down so many stories, the developments of Season 2 were especially heartbreaking. Ross had seemed to move on from Elizabeth, genuinely growing to love Demelza as the love of his life in Season 1. They got married and had children.
In two beyond-memorable Christmas episodes, Ross made sweeping romantic gestures towards his wife. In Season 1, he told her he loved her for the first time, and in Season 2, he gifted her with a stocking and assured her of his love for her, when she expressed doubts about his feelings for her. It is difficult to reconcile that only a few episodes later, he would cheat on her with Elizabeth, and even more unconscionable to see his lack of remorse for it.
Ross cheating and everything he has done since has felt incredibly out of character. A chance to create a drama that if Ross had remained true to form would have never been possible to conjure. Yes, he had been shown fighting his feelings for Elizabeth. However, as earlier stated, he had seemed to move on.
When Demelza nearly died towards the end of Season 1, he had pointedly stated that Demelza was the love of his life and to no one less than Elizabeth. Where did that Ross go and why did he ever leave?
Most stories you read and watch, spotlight the hype of first love as a sacred emotion that is never changing. Ross and Demelza appeared to break that mold. As Poldark continues that is proving to be a hard mold to crack. Nothing has changed Ross’ heart or mind. Can anything?
Find out when Poldark Season 3 continues on PBS. Per PBS’ official press room, Episode 2 will premiere on October 8 at 9 p.m. EST. Stay tuned to the Inquisitr for an extensive preview of the episode.
[Featured Image by Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]