‘Poldark’ gallops back to Sunday nights this fall

Poldark returns for a third season on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m., continuing the thrilling eighteenth-century exploits of Ross Poldark and his fiery partner, Demelza. The first episode is an exciting two-hour premiere, while the following seven episodes are one hour.

It’s hard to believe this is only the third season of Poldark. So much has happened — smuggling and mining disasters, fancy parties and romances, the sneaky business deals and the waves crashing on that glorious Cornish coastline…

Critics have been enthralled with the new season, which recently aired in the UK. The Independent (London) lauded the “action-filled opener,” with its panoply of plot developments that “helped the atmospheric drama gallop out of the starting blocks.”

And gallop it does. The season premiere introduces fresh doubts about the paternity of Elizabeth’s impending baby, along with some consequential new characters, including Ellise Chappell as Elizabeth’s pretty cousin Morwenna. Hired as the governess for Elizabeth’s young son, Morwenna is soon a pawn in George’s grand game to win political influence.

Morwenna would prefer to share company with Demelza’s strapping brother Drake, a lay minister played by Harry Richardson, but George intends her to marry the recently widowed Reverend Whitworth, portrayed with unctuous piety by Christian Brassington. Whitworth gives every indication of being a rank libertine, to the horror of the upright and innocent Morwenna.

George Warleggan, meanwhile, manages to abuse every privilege he accrues in his ruthless climb to power. Does George finally have the upper hand against the Poldarks? Can George’s growing power in Cornwall cement his control over the fate of his populist foe?

Also enlivening the new season are a mysterious plague of frogs, a thwarted famine, and Aunt Agatha’s eagerly anticipated one-hundredth birthday party, which has a catastrophic catch. But the most stirring action involves the French Revolution, which manages to ensnare one of the program’s main characters in its Reign of Terror, prompting Poldark’s most dangerous mission yet.

Perhaps even more perilous – at least for his psyche – is Ross’s cooling attitude toward Demelza. Reckless to a fault, he appears to be throwing it all away – a magistracy, a seat in Parliament, his lands and even his red-haired beauty. What on earth could he be thinking?

Whew. We’re glad to tell you that the series is confirmed to return for a fourth season as well. Catch up on past seasons via Passport or learn more about how you can access Passport.

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