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.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.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”