TV Review: 'Poldark' Season 4

After a depressing third season, hopes of a rebound seemed entirely out of reach. So, imagine the surprise when “Poldark” comes roaring back with the vitality, romance, and enchantment that comprised its first season and Season 2's first half. In Season 4, the state of Demelza and Ross' marriage improves and with it -- the show's as well.

Similarly, the Ross from Season 1 makes a few appearances. His return to form is a bittersweet reminder of what he had been like before Season 2 changed that forever.

Throughout the stormy and frustrating stories, one thing has remained the same. “Poldark” has one of television's best ensembles. While the cast continually impresses overall, Gabriella Wilde gets a chance to prove her skills on a larger scale in Season 4.

In a crushing scene between Caroline and Ross, Wilde portrays Caroline's unspoken emotions with a wordless expression. When words do not need to be said, an actor has done their job, and Wilde knocks it out of the park.

So much of “Poldark” lives and breathes in these intimate, character-driven moments. The quiet ones where the characters open up and show the audience what is inside their complex hearts.

As the series has progressed, it has irreparably-altered who they once seemed to be, many times for the worse. Making that so hard to accept is that it goes against the grain of what “Poldark” once told us about them. There is no going back after the halfway point of Season 2, and the impact of that will never subside.

Bright spots do prevail though. Bring me your best rivalries because the argument that “Poldark” currently has one of TV's best, remains intact in Season 4. In the face of it all, Ross Poldark and George Warleggan’s battles have spared neither from standing in a bad or good light. Season 4 continues the trend.

Ross is not the knight in shining armor, he first appeared to be. His flaws are plentiful, apparent, and at times, hard to get past. Likewise, George’s humanity can be seen at times. Something that adds tremendous layers to what could be a one-dimensional villain.

In Season 3, viewers learned that Ross once bullied George, making the latter’s loathing of his swashbuckling foe, make all the more sense. Ross has not always been the shimmering hero viewers saw in Season 1, something that makes his subsequent trajectory more understandable. Albeit, hard to reconcile with the man Season 1 showcased.

As for the couples, Dwight and Caroline prove to be the standout of Season 4. Surprisingly, Elizabeth and George are not far behind, their relationship reaching a defining and sympathetic crescendo. Ross and Demelza continue to captivate with their portrayers' alluring screen chemistry helping restore some of the luminosity that once belonged to the beleaguered couple.

Demelza’s brother, Drake, continues to be the series’ largest obstacle. A 20-something guy, who acts like a boy, desperate not to grow up and who apparently, never will. It is frustrating to see that encouraged, albeit he does improve some from Season 3. Sadly, Demelza’s other brother, Sam, who is a mature man with plenty of great traits does not garner the same attention for some unknown reason.

As tends to be the case with “Poldark,” there is no shortage of good storytelling, replete with heartbreaking beats and joyful intervals in Season 4. The series remains a charming and worthy watch. While it can never be what it once was, Season 4 helped dull the pain caused by its previous installments.

Rating: 7.5/10

The first three seasons of “Poldark” are currently streaming on Amazon Prime. The fifth and final season is expected to bow at some point in 2019.

[Featured Image by Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE]