Poldark Season 2 Ep. 8 the rape controversy and my thoughts
There has been a huge outcry by many in the press and several users on twitter about the “rape” story line that happened last night in season 2 episode 8 of Poldark. I have to say that it’s unbelievable to me that anyone could try to say that what was portrayed onscreen last night was rape. They must not have watched the same scene that I did if they can believe that Ross raped Elizabeth.
Now I can kind of understand the papers and rags that call themselves “news outlets” for trying to stir the pot with this so called “controversy” because they try to blow everything they possible can all out of proportion on an almost daily basis to grab a headline and lure more readers in. However for intelligent people to fall for such a thing as this is another matter entirely! Frankly I find it downright insane that anyone can try to call what they showed rape!
Now first off if you have read the books before then last night’s episode shouldn’t have been a big shock to you (or even if you watched the 1975-1977 series of Poldark either). However some are decrying the scene where Ross breaks into Trenwith and he and Elizabeth end up having sex as rape. In my opinion it was NOT rape in any way shape or form. I will admit Ross was a bit rough with her at the very first of the encounter when the grabbed her and kissed her. I also admit that Ross was clearly the aggressor in the situation but by the time he threw her onto the bed and then started kissing her everything about that encounter totally changed! Elizabeth could clearly be seen kissing Ross passionately back and also rising up to met him and even rubbing against him passionately. He also began kissing her neck and she was NOT protesting at all but clearly enjoying it. She was not struggling, she was not trying to get away, she was NOT protesting in anyway, she didn’t even try to push at his shoulders to get him to stop for even a second. It was not rape, assault or anything even remotely close as Elizabeth was a willing participant in what was going on.
Both Heida Reed (who plays Elizabeth) and Aidan Turner (who plays Ross) as well as the writer for the series and the scene Debbie Horsefield and the son of Winston Graham – Andrew Graham have all said that the encounter was consensual! And they said this in the press weeks ago back in late August and early Sept. in some of the exact same papers that are now trying to decry the scene as rape! Mind you a month ago they were reporting that the “controversial scene” had been changed so that it was consensual between the two characters. But now that it’s aired they are reporting it as rape! You can’t have it both ways Daily Mail, Telegraph, etc.
I would also like to point out that for so many to be crying that this was rape is frankly a slap in the face to true victims of rape. Let me explain a few things here for those who seem to not understand what rape is… rape is by it’s definition a sexual assault where the victim is completely unwilling to having any sexual relations with another person or persons. The victim not only protests to the sexual advances being made but they also attempt to get away as well and do everything they can to stop the attack. Now with those things in mind let’s just look at this a little more in depth…
(Also note that I re-watched the scene right before I started writing this – twice– so I would be sure to get it right and get what she said to him exactly as well.)
1 -Elizabeth not once in the episode told Ross no or to stop… (though many in the media and online said she repeated told him “No” or to stop) she did NOT not even once! I just watched it closely she never uttered the word stop or no to him the entire time. Nor did she attempt to scream for help. NOT ONCE! Don’t believe me watch the scene! Actually watch it! Now in the books she did tell him “no” several times and I could see what was written in the books as much more a call of rape than what was portrayed in the TV version last night. But again in the series last night not one time did Elizabeth tell him NO or to STOP or attempt to scream for help. She said and I quote “You are horrible, I detest you.” and then she said “you wouldn’t dare” but she NEVER said stop or no to him! So everyone who has been saying that all day you better check your facts because you are totally wrong!
2 – A rape victim is not passionately kissing their attacker back – and Elizabeth very clearly did once they got on the bed. Ross even starts kissing her neck…and far from trying to get away from him she’s arching into him in ecstasy…she is not struggling or trying to get away
3 – What rape victim do you know of that willingly spends the night in the bed with their attacker and then is casually talking to them and gazing at them adoringly and asking when they will come back on the morning after??? Does this really sound like rape to you? I think not!
Debbie Horsefield worked very closely with Winston Graham’s son – Andrew on this story line because she knew it could be and probably would be looked at controversial and she wanted to be sure to get the scene correct in the way that Winston Graham would have wanted it portrayed. Now I don’t know about you but I also believe that Andrew Graham would know much more what his father wrote for sure and why and how it all ended up much better than anyone else would! As he had discussed the scene with his father many times in the past (as he stated in several interviews). I’m sure Debbie would have spoken with Winston Graham himself had he not died in 2003. So she did the next best thing she spoke with his son at length about it and it was his views as well as hers and the two actors involved that the scene was not rape but consensual between Elizabeth and Ross.
I have read the books and it is my opinion also that if you take into consideration all the events and things that happen in the books both before and after the event, as well as the characters themselves into consideration (even without the input from Andrew) you would see that to be the case. Ross wouldn’t have raped anyone it’s just not in his nature to be a brute like that especially to someone he loved. He might have an extreme temper and yes he is a hot head but he also believes deeply in doing what is right and in justice! A person who believes in the things that Ross does as seen in the books would not rape a woman (again especially one he loved) even in an extreme fit of anger. He might have kissed her roughly and even tried to persuade her to have sex with him (he clearly did do these things in both the book and the tv series) but if she had started to fight him and tell him repeatedly no, to struggle and tell him to stop, he would have stopped. Ross has a very bad temper but he’s not a total brute or an evil person if he were I don’t believe that anyone would be so enamored with his character as they have been up to this point in the series!
You can tell from all the rest of the things he has done…helping countless miners and their families, going without himself and even putting his own family in extreme debt and poverty to help others to have a job and have food on the table, providing time and time again for those less fortunate to his own personal detriment that he is a good person at heart. Although Ross’s character is flaughed in many ways he is a good man at heart who just like everyone else makes mistakes and sometimes stupid mistakes like he did here with Elizabeth. What happened was a fit of anger that turned into passion because of a long held, denied, and wrongly idealized love that he had for Elizabeth since they were in their teens. They finally both gave in and let their passions reign and now they have caused a huge mess and a world of hurt for those all around them with repercussions that will echo many long years to come!
In closing… for all those who are trying to make what happened between Ross and Elizabeth into the mega monster rape scandal they have been trying to do in print and online since it aired I say WATCH THE SCENE and use your head for two seconds!!! Stop over reacting to some blown up PC ideas in your head and stop blindly believing every single thing you see or hear in the media and actually watch what took place! It was not rape in any way shape or form. Elizabeth was more than willing and she was goading Ross on the whole time. See the constant stepping closer to him and gazing into his eyes along with the blatant “Can you offer me anything else? Do you?” when asked if he would offer her more than George was offering.
I also want to make it completely and perfectly clear that I do NOT agree with what Ross did in any way shape or form! It was blatant and willful adultery! It was abominable to do such a thing to his wife who loves him with all her heart! He totally and utterly betrayed Demelza in doing what he did. Frankly I wish she had left him for it! That is more than what the jerk deserved for his actions, but I while being angry at his actions can and do call it what it was blatant adultery, and NOT rape. So please stop trying to stir up controversy and getting so worked up over a TV show! It is a great show with fabulous actors who have clearly done their jobs extremely well or everyone wouldn’t care so much as they do! I love Poldark it is hands down my favorite show on TV… but at the end of the day let’s face facts: it’s FICTION! No one was hurt in anyway! And for people to be loosing their minds over it today on twitter and unfollowing people (myself included by several because we didn’t agree with them) is just utterly insane. Please people can we all get a grip, actually look at the facts, and just get on with enjoying the wonderful TV series that is Poldark!