The Trouble with Morwenna

Odessa Denby
4 min readOct 28, 2019

And how the final season of Poldark let her down. Beware of spoilers for episodes 5 and bit of episode 8 of Poldark season 5.

Promotional photo via

Based on the novels by Winston Graham, Poldark has been capturing audiences since 2015. It has it all, stunning shots of the Cornish countryside, a simmering love triangle (or 3), Aiden Turner shirtless; an all-around crowd-pleaser for period drama lovers.

Perhaps most surprisingly, among all the daring rescues and romantic drama, the show made some room for moral complexity. Ross is not always a great guy. Not every couple has an easy path to love. Perhaps the best example of this is Drake and Morwenna. Instead of love conquering all back in season 3, Morwenna married the abusive Osborne Whitworth much to the horror of viewers.

She is subjected to horrific treatment by him and is forced to bear his child. When he finally dies in season 4, most viewers sighed with relief. However, it was made clear that Morwenna’s ordeal was far from over. She was pregnant again as a result of marital rape and being held prisoner by her overbearing mother-in-law who clearly only valued her for the contents of her uterus. Having a miscarriage is a tragedy many women suffer even today, but for Morwenna, she feels set free by this. Understandably so.

Even still, she experiences PTSD symptoms when trying to pursue a relationship with her first love, Drake. She experiences textbook symptoms of anxiety, mistrust, and hypervigilance. It’s understandable that allowing herself to be vulnerable with him after enduring continuous abuse would be difficult and the series didn’t shy away from that. They didn’t expect us to believe that everything would be fine simply because it’s true love.

When season 5 begins, Morwenna and Drake have been married for a year and they still have not consummated their marriage. Drake is the perfect example of what an actual nice guy is like: patient, kind, gentle. He doesn’t pressure Morwenna, but supports her even though at times he expresses the desire to start a family of his own and ends up acting a bit rashly. Kidnapping is generally not something I connect to being a good guy, but I get where he’s coming from.

Up until episode 5, the series handles Morwenna’s trauma with surprising delicacy and realism. As with most of…

Odessa Denby

Professional writer and editor, former expat. Conscientious lifestyle and relationships, mental health, and the arts.