And so, with one final nail-biting adventure, Poldark came to an end last Sunday night. The show has been a favorite among my family since it first started airing on PBS in 2015, and the finale did not disappoint. Actually, my one complaint regarding the finale is that it was not properly set up by the rest of the season, and therefore the story it told didn’t get the time it deserved.
*Beware of spoilers from this point on*
The finale held the type of storylines I’ve been waiting all season for; more personal than political, and focused on the happenings in the characters’ native Cornwall rather than their visits to London. Morwenna & Drake’s baby was born, Sam & Rosina worked out their relationship, Dwight & Caroline addressed some lingering issues between them, and Demelza once again saved Ross from one of his own well-meaning but poorly thought-out schemes even as it put her through the wringer. Unfortunately, those stories had to be covered at a very quick pace in order to wrap them all up before the final credits rolled.
This final season had a total of eight episodes, which is average for a Poldark season (the longest, season three, contained ten), so I know things weren’t rushed because their time was cut short. This leaves me to wonder why the writers chose to pace the season arc the way that they did. We spent 6 of the final 8 episodes watching Ross try to help Ned & Kitty Despard (two brand new characters) while the stories of the characters we’ve spent five seasons caring about were given a backseat.
While Ned and Kitty Despard are historical figures certainly worth exploring, they aren’t connected enough to the Poldark story to have taken up so much of the limited time left. I’d have much rather seen their story covered in 3 or 4 episodes—basically, enough to set up Ross’s decision to play spy against the French, and also let Geoffrey Charles & Cecily’s romance and George’s lunacy storylines play out—and the remaining half of the season on the material covered in the finale & the material that had to be skimmed over earlier in the season. I’d have liked to have spent more time watching Morwenna work through the trauma of her previous marriage, had more hints toward Caroline’s fears of becoming pregnant again & acting out because of it rather than her abrupt jealous attitude toward Kitty, and I’d definitely have liked at least two episodes dealing with Ross’s attempt to play double-agent against the French and the reactions of his friends, families, and neighbors to his odd behavior.
But, in the end, I did get the excitement, character moments both dramatic and sweet, and satisfactory resolutions I wanted from the final season of Poldark, I just had to wait until the very end to get them!