Screens: BBC

Here's To Verity And Demelza, Poldark's Unlikely Gal Pals

A lot of things on this show may feel unearned, but Verity and Demelza's friendship isn't one of them.

There are plenty of occurrences that feel unearned on Poldark. Every time you blink, you may open your eyes to find that several months have passed; as such, it can be difficult to keep up with who's running out of money and whose marriage is deteriorating and who's dead. (Well, okay, they did pause for that last one.) But one development in tonight's episode, the burgeoning friendship between Verity and Demelza, is given time to breathe -- and it's a good thing, because it's lovely.

At the start of the series, you'd expect the pair to have absolutely nothing in common, with Verity coming from a noble family, if one increasingly poorer as time goes by, and Demelza uttering the period equivalent of "the rayun in Spayun." It seemed like a safe bet that never the twayun two would meet, much less spend any meaningful time together. But with Verity, already a very decent sort and fiercely devoted to her cousin Ross, still pining for what as a family member insensitively termed the "unsuitable attachment" she had with Captain Blamey, she's even more disposed to view Ross's marriage to Demelza through a sympathetic eye. And Demelza needs such an ally! I mean, sure, now that she's married she's getting a lot more of this:

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But she's convinced that Ross doesn't love her -- and early on in the episode, he confirms that to someone else in so many words, not to mention that he makes utterances to Demelza's face like "You're not required to understand" and comments about her apparently prodigious appetite for food -- which only strengthens her fear that she's not good enough for polite society. Of course, antics such as this, even in the service of punishing pie-stealing, don't help her cause either:

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

So when Verity comes calling, Demelza barely summons the nerve to eat with her and Ross, and when the latter disappears to tend to the mine that only yields copper after the miners blow through a ton of drama ironstone, her apprehension around the gracious Verity increases to a point where it seems she might have a "heart stroke." But Verity, after telling her she thinks Demelza has given Ross hope, adds that she doesn't care a whit where Demelza comes from. Also, she goes Demelza's request to be instructed in the fine art of curtseying one better, and it is adorable:

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

All this -- other skills are included in the lesson too -- eventually gives Demelza the confidence (albeit barely) to accompany Ross to his family's estate for the Christmas holidays. And despite cattiness from the visiting Warleggans and condescension from some of the house's denizens (Elizabeth refers to Demelza as a "startled fawn," like, at least she shows a recognizable emotion, lady), the new Demelza decides to stand tall, first emerging from her chambers looking like this...

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

...and then regaling the group by beautifully singing a song about true love, during which you can practically see Ross's heart melting, and which prompts him later to declare his love to Demelza with this speech about why he married her: "To satisfy an appetite. To save myself from being alone. Because it was the right thing to do. I had few expectations. At best, you'd be a distraction. But I was mistaken; you've redeemed me. I am your humble servant, and I love you."

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Rough start, but I still just had to turn the air conditioning on. Anyway, this pronouncement gives Demelza the courage to tell Ross she's pregnant -- which overjoys him -- so rather suddenly, they seem as solid as can be. But I hope their newfound closeness only makes Demelza inclined to see more of Verity, not less. As her life continues to get more complicated, she's going to need a friend more than ever, and if Verity's own love life doesn't work out, who better to fill the role of cool aunt?

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