‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ Review ‘The Black Tower’


“Englishman and their books.”

After this week’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I will never look at a crazy cat lady the same way again. Last week Jonathan Strange escaped from jail and this week it was revealed that he was in Venice looking to tap some crazy. There he meets Flora an artistic physician’s daughter who is instantly intrigued by the wild magician.

It’s one of Flora’s father’s patients, a crazy cat lady, who Jonathan Strange gets his crazy from in the form a a regurgitated mouse. In exchange for the cat lady’s madness, Jonathan jsmn-106-8Strange turns her into a cat. He puts the mouse into a jar filled with liquid and takes a drink of the liquid anytime he wants to summon a fairy. And he does manage to actually see the fairy when he summons him this time. Unfortunately, the meetings with The Gentleman don’t go as planned.

Jonathan Strange is unaware that The Gentleman has been watching with detest and that he is the one responsible for Arabella being taken from him. When Jonathan Strange asked the fairy to bring Arabella back from the dead, The Gentleman responds that due to the circumstances that is impossible. Jonathan Strange begins to realize that this is the fairy that was summoned by Mr. Norrell to bring Lady Pole back to life.

The Gentleman leaves behind the box containing Lady Pole’s finger and Jonathan Strange is able to use it to transport to the dance where Stephen, Lady Pole and Arabella have been trapped. Angered by this, The Gentleman curses Jonathan Strange with eternal darkness. The dark tornado-like cloud follows Jonathan Strange now wherever he goes.

Jonathan Strange gives Drawlight, whom Mr. Norrell has sent to spy on him, three messages to deliver. One is a letter to Lady Pole and the second is Lady Pole’s finger with a message for Childermass. The third is to tell Mr. Norrell he is coming for him.

jsmn-106-6Meanwhile, Stephen has helped Vinculus escape Segundus and Honeyfoot’s madhouse. It is on their journey that Vinculus reveals that he is in fact a book. He has The Book of The Raven King tattooed on his body. This is where he has been getting his prophesies from. He tells Stephen that the two magicians will fail and that Stephen will defeat his enemy and become king.

Vinculus is looking for a tree and when they find the tree it is the same one from Childermass’ vision (the one he had when he was having his bullet removed). The Gentleman appears and is repulse that someone as ugly and lower class as Vinculus can see him. The Gentleman ends up hanging Vinculus from the tree. A horrible act that clearly disturbs Stephen. I suspect the series may have a slightly different ending than the novel for which it is based.

Other notable moments:

  • Jonathan Strange’s dark cloud has ravens flying about it.
  • All the mirrors in Mr. Norrell home begin making creaking noises and at the end of the episode ravens smash through one of the mirrors and fly through the house.
  • Jonathan Strange tells Drawlight that there is more than one magician in England but Mr. Norrell has stifled them.
  • Lascelles laughs when Mr. Norrell mentions fairies giving the appearance that he never really believed in magic but like the social standing that Mr. Norrell provided.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Jonathan Strange’s book has been published and Mr. Norrell casts a spell to make all the copies disappear.

Jonathan Strange meets Flora

The Black Tower

Preview of the next episode

Photos and video courtesy of BBC America and BBC One.

Jenn Bishop
Jenn Bishop was TVSource Magazine's Soap Editor. She's a thirty-something fan girl of soapy television and anything involving Joss Whedon. She began sharing her views on daytime soaps in 2012 with her blog Save Our Suds. A former philosophy major, she loves discussing different view points with fellow TV addicts and aficionados. When not watching television, she enjoys art, live music, exploring the Midwest food scene, and drinking too many lattes. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceJenn.

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  1. That was so cool! I love all the creepy magic in this show.

  2. You have my fave moment on here!! The raven pecking thru the mirror!

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