The fourth episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, entitled “All the Mirrors of the World,” is the break-up episode. Mr. Norrell’s stubbornness and unwillingness to share and/or try new things has cost him the companionship of young Jonathan Strange. It was inevitable to everyone except perhaps Mr. Norrell himself. Now the once anti-social magician is left feeling a little sad and a lot lonely. For Jonathan Strange though, it was a necessity in order for him to venture on his own and do the kind of magic that he wants.
Mr. Norrell has continued with his dictation of how magic should be preserved in England. He wants to control what others think and even how crimes of magic are dealt with by the government. Mr. Norrell is not a bad man, just one who is blinded by his own arrogance and ignorance of others. His unsympathetic nature towards the situation with Lady Poole is a great example. He clearly prefers an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to situations of conflict.
In the last episode, Lady Poole attempted to take matters into her own hands by assassinating Mr. Norrell. She shot his manservant Childermass instead. This crime has been conveniently swept under the rug (when in doubt blame a French assassin) and Lady Poole has been shipped off to the countryside. Stephen has put her in the care of Segundus and Honeyfoot at what was to be the location of their magic school.
At first Lady Poole is wild from the idea of being stuck with two magicians as caretakers. Later she realizes that they mean to do well by her when Segundus refuses to let Childermass have contact and throws him off the property. Childermass leaves but not without hinting that something is amiss with the true nature of Lady Poole’s predicament. But Segundus already knows that…Before Stephen leaves for his return to England, Segundus questions him about the magical aura that he can see around him and Lady Poole.
The series began with Segundus preforming a magical spell and failing to produce any magic. He was a magician who couldn’t perform any magic but had made magic his lives work none the less. He’d optimistically ask “why not” when his views were casted aside as naive. Yet we’ve been shown signs that he does in fact have magical ability just lacks the education. When he first meant Jonathan Strange, he was able to enter the dream that the magician had conjured up. Now we know, just as Childermass was able to do last week, that Segundus is able to sense magic.
Segundus is not alone. Childermass is able to read the tarot cards which he himself made and he’s able to perform spells. And now he is also able to enter the fairy word. As he was having his bullet removed, he slipped into the world of the Raven King and a raven flew from his shoulder as the doctor pulled the bullet out. Childermass has been a faithful and loyal servant to Mr. Norrell, but now he is starting to question things.
The fairy world and England are beginning to connect again as Jonathan Strange discovers the world behind the mirrors. In a really badass move, when Jonathan Strange discovers that his name and reputation are being used to scam others out of their money, he enters a mirror, travels through the fairy kingdom and climbs out another mirror belonging to one of the scammed parties.
Drawlight had manufactured false exchanges between individuals who wish to learn magic and Jonathan Strange, claiming that the magician would teach them magic. Drawlight has been one of Mr. Norrell’s biggest and loudest champions and perhaps this in the last straw for the magicians relationship. When Mr. Norrell refuses to discuss the ancient magic of the fairies, preferring to focus instead on how Drawlight’s crime should be punished, Jonathan Strange publicly attacks Mr. Norrell’s ideals in the papers.
Magic has indeed returned to England. But not in the controlled, “respectable” manner in which Mr. Norrell had hoped.
Other notable moments:
- Drawlight reaches out to Lascelles for help after he is discovered by Jonathan Strange, but Lascelles turns him in instead.
- Segundus is now donning all white apparel.
- The Gentleman continues to move forward with his plans to make Stephen a king and steal Arabella away from Jonathan Strange.
- The Gentleman uses Arabella’s tears to turn a wet log into her duplicate.
- The Stranges’ marriage is becoming strained because of his occupation.
Photos and video courtesy of BBC America and BBC One.
Scene from this episode: Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange disagree about Drawlight’s punishment
Scene from this episode: Jonathan Strange looks through the mirror
Preview of next week’s episode