Warning: The following post contains mild spoilers for Poldark Season 3, Episode 3.
What is love? Is it the first glance between strangers? Can a deep and everlasting bond be built on the cut of a few flirtatious eyes, self-conscious giggles, and hardly any conversation?
If your answer to all of those symptoms is “yes” than Drake Carne and Morwenna Chynoweth’s love has already been manifested in Poldark‘s first three episodes. If your answer is “no” than the young star-crossed lovers have yet to convince you that their feelings for one another qualify as love. Infatuation? Absolutely. Lust? Quite certainly. But love? Most definitely not.
As of Poldark Season 3 Episode 3, Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) and Drake (Harry Richardson) barely know each other and what is love without knowledge? How has either of these characters demonstrated they have any knowledge of one another’s principals and the moral ground they stand on?
All they know is they appreciate each other physically. How can that be love? In Episode 2, Drake declares his heart belongs to Morwenna. A woman he barely knows and whose future he endangers by pursuing her. When Poldark Season 3 begins, it is clear that Morwenna’s family is in financial distress. Her job as Geoffrey Charles’ governess is meant to soothe that ache.
Then in comes Drake Carne, a starry-eyed guy, who has yet to establish his financial independence. Isn’t it a bit audacious for him to presume Morwenna would forsake all of her duties and her own future to be with a guy who has not proven he can provide for himself, let alone a wife?
Traditional romanticism dictates that Morwenna make that sacrificial decision, in the name of love. A calling so tremendous no amount of reason can triumph over its irrationality. The thing is, Morwenna would not be doing it for love. What she currently feels for Drake is clearly an infatuation, the rush of being appreciated as a woman for one of the first times in her rather sheltered existence. That is not love.
Poldark clearly wants us to root for this young couple, choosing “love” over common sense. The series has tackled star-crossed love in its previous pairings: Ross and Elizabeth, Demelza and Ross, Caroline and Dwight, and the list goes on.
So why is it that Drake and Morwenna are so much less likable as a couple than the ones listed above? Perhaps it is the outcome of those aforementioned couples’ love affairs.
Ross and Elizabeth
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) chose security over her heart and broke Ross’ in the process. Elizabeth wasn’t wrong to do so given the time she lives in, but she should have accepted her decision and released Ross from her gooey-eyed advances. No more flirtatious glances and prolonged pauses. Her words have said one thing and her actions quite another.
Ross and Demelza
Demelza and Ross are a couple worth rooting for. While Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) was smitten with him from the start, she never overtly pursued him. Her Cinderella romance with Ross (Aidan Turner) developed organically as he learned to love and appreciate Demelza.
There was no love at first sight enchantment between them. It was challenges and victories that brought them together. When Ross tells Demelza he loves her for the first time, it is a moment that is well-earned and totally believable. How could they not feel this way for each other?
From the outside Ross and Demelza’s relationship appears to mirror Drake and Morwenna’s, but if you look a little closer that resemblance shatters. Ross and Demelza didn’t sacrifice anything to be together. They didn’t hurt anyone to be together, and neither lost anything by forging their relationship.
Ross gained a loyal partner, who has steadfastly stood by him in the face of great adversity. While Demelza gained a courageous husband, who, for all his faults, has given her a better life than she was originally destined to have.
As for Caroline and Dwight, neither of them lost anything to be together. Caroline (Gabriella) still has her fortune to aid Dwight in his philanthropic efforts. While Dwight (Luke Norris) still has a career he makes enough money to support himself with. Unlike Drake, he had proven he could stand on his own as a financially independent man when he began seeing Caroline.
For Drake to pursue Morwenna without any of this is quite frankly, selfish, and if there is one quality love precludes, it is that. Drake has his head in the clouds.
He let his heavily pregnant sister tend to the needs of the property, he is living at free-of-charge, and he let his brother single-handedly push a carriage out of a muddied hole, it had become lodge in. Where has this young man proven himself as husband-material? While it seems harsh and controversial, it is a statement of fact.
Will Drake convince Morwenna to risk her future for “love?” Stay tuned. Per PBS’ press room, Episode 4 of Poldark Season 3 airs October 22 at 9 p.m. EST.
[Featured Image by Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]