Because I have no social life Because I want to keep you ladies on the up-and-up, I’ll be bringing you weekly Poldark recaps, heavy on the objectification. Let’s begin, shall we? Episode 1 We open with our hero, Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner. Anyone else remember him as Mitchell, the moody and broody vampire from the ‘better than it should have been, but still falling short of its potential’ series ‘Being Human’? If not, season 1 and 2 are worth a binge the next time the flu strikes you down. So we open with our hero, Ross Poldark. A tall drink of water in a red coat. He’s an English gentleman fighting for George III and his madness in the New World. We immediately learn he’s a brawler and a gambler, and questions the cause he’s fighting for! A hero Yanks can root for! His company is attacked! He’s wounded on the battlefield! He daydreams of a beautiful brunette! And then the theme music kicks in. Oh the theme music…. And we’re back! Ross Poldark is alive, and back in England in a carriage that resembles the lunch table in ‘Mean Girls’, having to overhear that his father is dead from the great-great-grandmother of Regina George. He handles is…a bit to calmly? The English gentry, an emotionless lot I suppose… Probably easy to move past mourning when you have this coastline to gaze upon… Suddenly we’re at a dinner party, and the beautiful brunette from Ross’ ‘I’m dying’ vision is surrounded by company telling her she’s too skinny, except for her awkward paramour(?) who tells her he likes her just as she is. If you listen closely, you can hear the faintest cry of, “Molly, you in danger girl” Suddenly a knock at the door, as heralded by a girl we’re awkwardly told is a spinster, by her dad, aka crotchpants. Through the power of more awkward exposition, we learn that beautiful brunette is aka Elizabeth, her mom is a bitch, Old Nan lives on, the awkward paramour she should be wary of is Ross’ cousin, and Ross was presumed dead, but dum da dah dum, is alive! But even greater of a surprise, Elizabeth and awkward cousin are engaged! Ross is told that things in Cornwall are bad, bad, bad. Mine closures, worker strikes, dead dads, more awkward exposition–the whole thing is just the pits. Ross has to offer a toast to Elizabeth and awkward cousin Francis–damn those English conventions! And suddenly he’s off! So much staring at the Cornwall coastline to do! Ross returns home to Casa Downer, to find his no-good servants, Prudy and Rudy (or whatever their names are). They’re apparently bad servants–because it’s the middle of the night and they’re asleep! Ugh, poor people! Ross hints that he’ll beat them! Just like the poor deserve (wait…). And we’re off for more brooding on horseback in Cornwall. Fathers’ graves–so sad! Grey skies–so sad! Out of work miners–so sad! We learn that if they’re not the poors he’s threatening to beat, Ross is loved by the poor. Maybe they’re as taken by his cheekbones as I am? They even offer to work for him for free, but he wont take it–oh those nobel landowners! Oh those nobel workers, wanting to work for free, just like the good slaves on the Tara plantation (wait….)* And suddenly we’re in evil Downton Abbey! Actually we don’t know it’s evil at this point, except two men are speaking ill of Cheekbones! One is younger with a posh accent (like Tywin Lannister or almost anyone else on Game of Thrones) The older one with a working class accent (like Davos and Gendry and no one else on Game of Thrones) , Cut to Elizabeth with her momma laying down some retrograde ‘The Rules’ in the garden. Actually I want to hate on Elizabeth’s mom, but she has a good point–it’s been 24 hrs, if Ross’ cheekbones love you so much, why hasn’t he turned up? Too true momma hateraid, too true… So where are Ross’ cheekbones? Yelling at Rudy and Prudy, and running into awkward cousin, aka ‘Verity’ (I see you show). Verity and Ross’ cheekbones chat about awkward Francis and beautiful Elizabeth, with Ross’ cheekbones reaching to his Ipod to play ‘Golddigger’ but realizing its too cold a move. Instead it’s off to party with the poors over his lost love. Like seriously, it’s like he’s never seen ‘Pearl Harbor’. Your cheekbones were presumed dead! Free pass! Meanwhile, we find out that Elizabeth has a ‘show up in 48 hrs or loose me forever rule’ and doubles down with Francis. I don’t know, he’s awkward and English, she’s beautiful and English, it might work. Awkward and Cheekbones go and inspect dead Papa Cheekbones’ mine, and they discuss the mine in the language of an overtly sexual metaphor better belonging over the table of Exposition Abbey: “she’s proved a poor legacy” “certainly a fickle one” “her time may come again” “perhaps I should examine her” “is that wise? How deep did they drive her?” “at least 30 feet”. Yeah boy. Deep inside Elizabeth’s metaphorical vagina, the boys get in a fight and Awkward falls into a deep pool of water (I see you show) before Cheekbones rescue him, and asks him why he hasn’t learned to swim (the metaphor has gone too far…) Next day, Awkward and Elizabeth marry, Cheekbones and Verity seem despondent, young Tywin and mean Davos arrive–and thanks to exposition machine Verity, we find out they’re a family on the rise! Ohh, class politics. Give me more of that shifting social strata (no, seriously). Young Tywin and Cheekbones chat, Young Tywin is all like, ‘we’re not basic, right?’ Cheekbones confirms that he’s basic. Cheekbones then gabs with Elizabeth, who calls him out on his salty shit. Cheekbones, you were presumed dead! Back at Exposition Abbey, old Nan tells the family that she’s sniffed out some bad juju. But just in the form of Cheekbones, not Whitewalkers. Crotchpants hears Old Nan’s premonition and tries to buy Cheekbones off, but he won’t be bought! So instead he’s off to sell dead Poppa Cheekbones’ shit (yea!?). While at the market he saves a skinny shit riddled with head lice from a brawl. Head lice actually has a name, it’s Demelza, and her family is shit, thank you very much. So Cheekbones takes her to Casa Downer to labor for him! Tywin and Davos think this is totes bougie of him, but what do they know? Prudy and Rudy also aren’t having it, but after a good headwashing, we find out that head lice is actually a super pretty ginger, and therefor worthy of our time. And we’re back to Exposition Abbey! Cheekbones and Elizabeth have a sexually charged debate about their respective fates, so sexually charged that Cheekbones vows to leave Cornwall, after one last brood at its coastline. He heads home to his Casa Downer, were Pretty Ginge’s dad turned up, ready to fight over women as if they’re objects and the patriarchy is alive and well. Cheekbones, Rudy, and the poor of town fight over their property (a human being!) and what should be something to root for leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But luckily, Cheekbones’ version of the patriarchy wins out, and Pretty Ginge gets to stay with him! (yea!?) And that’s it, see you the next time I get tipsy on Two-Buck-Chuck for a recap of episode two, which will hopefully be much better paced–the overuse of ‘and suddenly’ short scene changes and awkward forced exposition is hopefully a symptom of pilot episodeitis.
*Oh and if you want to see an interesting take on race and Gone With the Wind, TCM did an interesting series on the subject.