‘Poldark’ Season 5, Episode 8 Recap: That’s All Folks

The curtain has fallen on Poldark. The jam-packed final episode aired November 17 on PBS, neatly wrapping up the story of Ross and Demelza. The characters fans have come to love all got the happy endings viewers likely wanted, while the show’s villains got their comeuppance. 

Ross has a plan

Ross Poldark
Poldark | Courtesy of Mammoth Screen

Last week, Ross warned Dwight that his behavior in the future would appear strange. It’s now several months later, and Ross is indeed behaving very oddly. He’s in neck-deep with the French, who are planning to invade Britain. Among his conspirators is Tess, who’s fallen hard for Ross. Ross seems charmed by her as well, or at least he’s pretending to be for the sake of whatever scheme he’s cooked up.  

Demelza knows something is going on, but he insists everything is fine. Unsatisfied, she goes snooping in the old Warleggan mine, where she overhears Tess propositioning Ross. Ross demurs, telling her he wants to find a more appropriate location for their first assignation. Could Ross really be contemplating an affair with the woman who tried to burn down his house with his family inside? It seems unlikely, but Demelza is crushed to learn that Ross has strayed again. 

Merceron and Hanson plot revenge

Corrupt magistrate Merceron and his slave-trading half-brother Hanson apparently have nothing better to do than lurk about Cornish pubs and plot their revenge on Ross. When George and Cary spot Ross engaged in some illegal (and likely treasonous) smuggling activity, they get the ammunition they need to take him down. Sinister smirking ensues. 

Demelza and Ross have a tense conversation about the role of honesty in a marriage. When it’s clear that Ross isn’t going to tell her the truth about Tess, she takes the children, Prudie, and the family dog and decamps to Killewarren to stay with the Enyses. 

Dwight rides over to Nampara to ask Ross WTF is going on. He tells him to stop lying to Demelza and reminds him that his past actions have had serious consequences for those around him, a fact that Ross has failed to grasp over the past five seasons. Then Ross drops a bombshell, telling Dwight that he no longer loves Demelza. 

Ross meets with the French

Prudie, Demelza and Drake in Poldark
Poldark | Courtesy of Mammoth Screen

General Toussaint arrives at Nampara to plot the French invasion. Merceron learns of his arrival, and soon he, Hanson, and the Warleggans are gleefully anticipating Ross’s execution. But is that a trace of misgiving we see pass across George’s face? 

Toussaint give a very detailed explanation of his plan to Ross, not realizing that Dwight, once again roped into one of Ross’s dangerous schemes, is hiding under the floorboards and taking notes on their conversation. Later, he hands the incriminating evidence to a courier, who is supposed to take it to London. But one of Merceron’s men intercepts him. George is disappointed that Ross is not actually a traitor, but Merceron and Hanson aren’t worried. They’ll just show the letter to Toussaint, who will likely kill Ross himself. 

While all this is happening, Demelza sneaks out of the Enyses house in the dead of night. She’s planning on taking the kids and fleeing to Portugal or Jamaica. Caroline intervenes. Dwight has told her all about Ross’s plan, and she spills the beans. Demelza heads to Nampara to confront Ross. 

Demelza arrives and starts batting her eyelashes at Toussaint. Ross is confused. Things get even more awkward when Hanson shows up. Realizing he’s been betrayed, Toussaint prepares to shoot Ross. Demelza intervenes, telling Toussaint that she’s glad to be rid of her cruel husband, but that he deserves a slow, painful death. Ross and Toussaint agree to settle things the old-fashioned way — with swords. 

Dueling ensues, and things look pretty dicey for Ross. But then George shows up, a pistol in each hand. He shoots Toussaint and Hanson, killing the former but only wounding the latter. This is quite an about-face for George, whose essential character trait is his hatred of Ross, but he explains it by saying he was motivated by loyalty to his county. Or perhaps he just can’t imagine life without his long-time enemy? 

A baby arrives

Drake and Sam have headed into the mine to ferret out the other conspirators in the French plot. Drake leaves the very pregnant Morwenna at home with Rosina. Naturally, she goes into labor and with the help of Demelza delivers a baby girl. Drake returns and for some reason, the proud parents decide to give their baby the truly terrible name Love Day Carne.  

Demelza and Ross reconcile. Ross heads to London, where he presents the evidence of the French plot to Wickham. He asks Wickham to repay him by finally doing something about Merceron and Hanson. They’re arrested for possessing smuggled brandy. (There’s a nice cameo in this scene from original 1970s Ross Robin Ellis as the magistrate Reverend Halse.) 

A happy ending (for most)  

With the bad guys dispatched, there are just a few loose ends to tie up. Rozina proposes to Sam, even though he previously ditched her for Tess. He says yes. Dwight and Caroline have a heartfelt conversation and agree they’re ready to try for another baby. Geoffrey Charles is readmitted to military school. George leaves Trenwith for good, but before he goes, he asks Ross not to allow Valentine to visit Nampara. Ross agrees. 

Ross receives his first official spy assignment. He’s headed to Paris, but Demelza makes him promise he’ll be back in a few months, since she’s pregnant. They have a sweet conversation about the future, gratitude, and living in the present moment. “Two hearts. One beat. Can’t ask any more than that,” she says.

Ross departs for France, and the credits roll on the final episode of Poldark. While the last season was a bit of a wild ride, this last installment gave every character a fitting sendoff. You can’t ask for more than that.