“POLDARK: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON”
Blu-ray, DVD; 2018; Not Rated, contains violence; streaming via Amazon Video/Prime, PBS Direct, iTunes, YouTube
Best extra: “The Journey of Ross Poldark.”
ROSS AND DEMELZA Poldark are close to where we left them at the end of Season Three at the start of Season Four.
Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) wistfully recalls her one time afternoon fling with the dying poet, who continues to send loving messages. Ross (Aidan Turner) continues to brood, while arch enemy George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) continues to plot. We can all but hear him grind his teeth.
Powerfully rich and full of schemes, George has been thwarted left and right in his efforts to destroy Ross. His wife, Ross’ first love and former fiancé, Elizabeth (Heida Reed) alternately discourages and encourages him. No matter; George is full of dastardly plans in Season Four. Some will bear ugly fruit.
The grand development is that Ross is (A) finally able to tell Demelza that he’s taken her for granted and is sorry; and (B) he runs for Parliament representing his district, Truro, and wins. That’s a big kick in the teeth for George, who thought he had the election all sewn up. At last Ross has an outlet to voice his opinions over child labor, rights for the poor, and social injustice – and gains some support. Not to be outdone, George arranges a conflict with a cad of a gent, which leads to a duel, a no-win situation for Ross whether he wins or loses.
Meanwhile, Warleggan ward Morwenna (Ellise Chappell) continues to suffer at the hands of her swarmy husband, Vicar Ossie Whitworth (Christian Brassington). Like George, most of us can’t wait to see Whitworth meet the sharp end of a dagger … or club or musketball, anything to put him out of the poor girl’s misery. There are some highlights in Season Four, but mostly tragedy. Parents lose their children and must deal with the loss; in one case, a man gains a child, but loses his wife.
There are nine episodes and five short bonus features in the three disc set from PBS. “I’m not bored. I’m not finished playing him yet,” Turner says in “The Journey of Ross Poldark.” “As he grows, I feel like I’m growing up, too. It’s nice to see him build relationships and learn things every year and just change!”
Designer Howard Burden talks about changes in fashion in “Costume Design.” “We start off the series where we left off, 1796, where everyone’s in their old style of clothing – the women all in their tight corsets, men in their cutaway coats. But when we do the move to London, we get into a completely transitory period,” he says. We also deal with Delmelza’s worries about how she looks in the new styles. (That woman would look beautiful in a burlap sack.)
Writer and Executive Producer Debbie Horsfield takes us through the changes in settings in “Cornwall to London,” with cast comments. Production designer Jeff Tessler talks about the new London settings in “Production Design.” “It’s a much more sophisticated, bigger world,” he says. “London was a huge, thriving metropolis. It was actually much smaller, of course, than we think of it now, but there are bits of London that haven’t changed. Fortunately, there are heritage areas.” Designer Pippa Woods highlights “Make-up and Hair” addressing the changes from Georgian to Regency styles.
Once again, PBS provides a cinematic 1080p with well saturated color, fine detail, good contrast and a soft wash of film grain. Cornish seascapes and dwellings to London streets, homes and parties look beautiful. Audio is again presented in an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, with clear dialogue delivery and immersive effects.
It’s another excellent season for Ross, Demelza and their friends and enemies – livelier than Season Three, with great promise for Season Five.
“[Ross] realizes he has to step up and fight for the things he believes in. He becomes a reluctant leader, he inspires people,” Executive Producer Karen Thrussell says in “The Journey of Ross Poldark.”
Can’t wait to see what happens next!
— Kay Reynolds