In the 4th episode of BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) begins settling back in, after returning from the war. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) worries for his shot friend Childermass (Enzo Cilenti), who makes it through the surgery and recovers. During this time, Sir Walter Pole (Samuel West) negotiates with Norrell to have Lady Pole (Alice Englert) moved to an asylum. In order to protect the reputation of magic, the shooting is blamed on a French spy.
After this, the pair are sent to the King George (Edward Petherbridge), in order to cure his madness. They try and fail, when Norrell refuses to use forbidden magic. Lascelles (John Heffernan) nearly finishes written his book on Norrell and Strange and their expeditions. Meanwhile Lady Pole is transported towards the asylum, while Strange returns to the king on his own.
When Strange runs out of ideas, he casts the Raven King’s magic on the King and gets him talking and moving. Much to his surprise, the King disappears into a mirror. While Strange works quickly to try and return the King, he is transported directly in front of the carriage carrying Stephen Black (Ariyon Bakare) and Lady Pole to the asylum. At The Gentleman’s (Marc Warren) command, Stephen attempts to kill The King. In the nick of time, Strange manages to return the King to his chambers and save him, which infuriates the Gentleman. He tells Stephen that they need to find a moss oak.
After this, Lady Pole makes it to the magic school or asylum ran by Segundus (Edward Hogg) and is given a room. Segundus notices that Stephen and Pole have a connection and mentions the rose, but they remain quiet. Norrell belittles Strange for his use of forbidden magic.
Jonathan Strange learns that someone has been impersonating him and promising to fulfill evil wishes with his magic. He is out with fellow soldiers, when challenged to prove his identify. He does and enter the mirror and is transported to a mystical land known as the King’s Road. During this time, Childermass attempts to visit Lady Pole at the asylum, but is turned away. Afterwards, Strange pops out of the mirror and confronts Drawlight about impersonating him for money. Of course, Drawlight runs away and escapes.
After this, Strange returns home and finds his drinking buddies and Arabella worried. He winds up fighting with Arabella. The next day, Lascelles meets with Drawlight and sets him up to be captured by the authorities. Strange returns to Norrell and speaks about the King’s Road and Drawlight. Norrell suggests hanging Drawlight and forbids Strange from venturing to the King’s Road again. Lascelles finishes his book.
Before Strange leaves, he takes a copy of the book and returns home. When he reads the book, he discovers that Arabella was correct and Lascelles lied throughout. He apologizes to his wife and agrees to give up magic, before writing a review of the book and telling the truth. After the review is released, he returns to Norrell and is greeted with an offer to work together as equals. Strange refuses.
As Arabella and Strange prepared to leave the city, they are confronted by the solider, who insists Strange must return to the army and help to stop the French, who has taken Paris. Meanwhile, Lascelles speaks to Norrell and questions about his conversation with Strange. The pair agree they need to destroy Strange, before he can destroy them! The Gentleman discovers moss oak with the help of Stephen and creates his own Arabella reptilian replica!
Overall, an excellent episode. Things finally seem to be unfolding for a show down between Strange and Norrell. Who knows, if it will ever get to that point? Either way, the episode continues on excellently for an 8.5 out of 10.