This episode wasted no time in picking up on the cliffhanger that closed the previous instalment. The instant chaos was like being dunked in cold water. It was startling how much anarchy was going on immediately. At the end of last episode I actually didn’t process the fact that the woman that shot Childermass was Lady Pole. That makes the whole incident that bit more dramatic.
I was pleased to see that Childermass didn’t die as a result of being shot by Lady Pole, he is a very interesting character. Eddie Marsan does a fantastic job in the role of Mr Norrell, he is able to seem out of place in absolutely any situation. It was a clever little acting choice that in the scene where he and Strange visit the king, he pronounces his own name in the pretentious way Drawlight does to add some impression of grandeur.
The scene in which Mr Strange looks at the picture of The Raven King in the Windsor gallery was fascinating. It added another level of mystery to the already enigmatic unseen antagonist. The image of The Raven King on the throne makes the viewer excited for the first appearance of the dark magician.
I have said it many times before in these reviews but I will say it again, the world created in this series is one that is just very enjoyable to be in. You can just fall into the locations that become familiar to you, or be drawn into the ones that you are not. The magic in the show never becomes gimmicky, it is used as a thematic device to heighten the drama and tension. For example the moment the king is in danger as a result of an old spell performed by Mr Strange when Stephen almost kills him accidentally with a sword conjured out of thin air.
The story is unfolding in a very well crafted way, although the audience relates to Jonathan Strange and would like to see what he could do should he be able to use old magic, there is a sense of foreboding around it. The atmosphere that although Mr Norrell’s attitude is frustrating, he may be right. Jonathan Strange may live to regret messing with the magic of The Raven King.
The two men from Nottinghamshire believing they were writing to Mr Strange, when in fact they were talking to an imposter was a very funny turn of events. The irritating characters bragging to the real Strange and refusing to believe who he is was even better. Especially the look on their face when he proved them wrong. Strange entering the world beyond the mirrors in this scene was incredible. The music soaring up as the camer panned across an endless landscape of deteriorated and oddly shaped buildings. Just as it begins to feel like another historical drama, the viewer is plunged into a fantasy adventure.
The scene of dialogue after Jonathan Strange returns home was fantastic. Arabella is a brilliant character, she seems to often be the most intelligent person in the room, often providing the voice of reason when everyone is being a bit reckless and egotistical.
A particular scene in which Lady Pole is in the new mental health institute ran by Segundus and Honeyfoot was particularly well-written. She makes a strong case for being for being set free, a wonderful bit of dialogue. There are a number of well-written dialogue scenes that strike the viewer just as well as special effects heavy scenes of adventure.
Segundus and Honeyfoot standing up to Childermass was actually a cool moment for the characters. Honeyfoot pointing a gun at anyone was very unexpected. These characters really can surprise you. “I have this loaded with all sorts of unpleasant bits and pieces, and I do not expect that you would care to be shot twice within the space of two months.” That was quite a cool line, making the previously quite innocuous Honeyfoot a bit cooler.
The idea that there are different ideologies and schools of thought on the subject of magic is a concept that fascinates me. The showrunners succeed in making magic seem believable and not out of place in the world they are trying to establish. Mr Strange being called up to go back to the war is an interesting turn of events. The scene at the end with the Mossoak (I assume its all one word) was very creepy. Things are getting very interesting on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I look forward to seeing how those plotlines play out in the coming weeks.
What were your thoughts on this episode of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell? Are you enjoying the series so far? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.