Battles Seen and Unseen in Episode Three of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Share

Jonathan Strange learns what it means to be a magician on the battlefield

Jonathan Strange learns what it means to be a magician on the battlefield
Programme Name: Strange & Norrell – TX: n/a – Episode: Ep3 (No. 3) – Picture Shows: Jonathan Strange (BERTIE CARVEL) – (C) JSMN Ltd – Photographer: Bertrand Calmeau

Jonathan Strange finds out what it means to be a magician in Wellington’s army in “The Education of a Magician.” Meanwhile, Lady Pole is struggling to communicate her predicament but succeeding only in sounding mad, while the Gentleman pays increasingly creepy attention to Arabella. Stephen is left trying his best to convince the Gentleman to leave everyone alone, and Mr. Norrell does his best to ensure that no one finds out just how he brought lady Pole back.

Wow but they rushed through Strange’s war experience! With only seven episodes to put everything in, and with a lot of ground left to cover, I can understand. I think everything important was highlighted here. Wellington’s move from resistance to casual acceptance of the utilitarian value of a magician was handled with aplomb by Ronan Vibert who manages to make the character shine despite a relatively brief screen time.

Stephen Black and Lady Pole

Programme Name: Strange & Norrell – TX: n/a – Episode: Ep3 (No. 3) – Picture Shows: (L-R) Lady Pole (ALICE ENGLERT), Stephen Black (ARIYON BAKARE) – (C) JSMN Ltd – Photographer: Matt Squire

The biggest concern I have is about Stephen. He should have a significant and impressive presence—there is a reason the Gentleman initially mistakes him for a king—and right now, he mostly just looks worried. His main story is only just starting in episode three, though, so perhaps he’ll start showing more power as things progress.

Also, from this point on it is going to matter that there is a Drawlight (the plump man hanging around Norrell, his “John the Baptist”) and a Lacelles (the tall, thin man who has only been addressed rapidly and as an aside. So, if you have not yet paid attention to those two, it is time to look more closely at them.

Peter Harness has done an excellent job of condensing things, packing in detail to make up for not being able to show as many separate instances of any one point. Showing Lady Pole’s apparent madness and her attempts to communicate was especially well done here; one conversation with Arabella covers a significant amount of territory.

Arabella

Programme Name: Strange & Norrell – TX: n/a – Episode: Ep3 (No. 3) – Picture Shows: Arabella (CHARLOTTE RILEY) – (C) JSMN Ltd – Photographer: Matt Squire

Speaking of detail, the set and costume designers are continuing to make Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell a visual delight. The houses look lived in, and the streets outdoors look like people are really using them rather than like sets.

Episode Three of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell keeps up to the high standards set by the first two episodes. Now it is a matter of waiting another week for episode four!

The trailer for next week’s episode, “All the Mirrors of the World”

Share

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: