In the third episode of BBC Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel, Babylon) goes to war, while Mr Norrell (Eddie Marsan) starts a war of his own. Jonathan hooks up with Jeremy Johns (Steve Jackson) and heads to the army camp, where he is ridiculed badly for being a magician.
Meanwhile, back at home, Lady Pole (Alice Englert) forms a relationship with Arabella (Charlotte Riley). Stephen Black (Ariyon Bakare) has a change of heart and no longer wants to be king. He attempts to persuade The Gentleman (Marc Warren) to free him of his burden to no avail. Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) begins stealing Strange’s letters, so he can he keep an eye on his exploits.
Jonathan Strange finally has a breakthrough on the battlefield, when he builds the soldiers a road. After this, he is ordered to move a forest, so the British can attack the French from behind. Of course, Strange is against the idea, since trees are living beings, but he attempts to do so anyway. During the attempt, his comrade Jeremy is killed, but Strange saves a large group of soldiers, with mist magic! Unfortunately 40 of Norrell’s books are destroyed in the process. Back at home, The Gentleman attempts to proposition Arabella to save Lady Pole, but Arabella refuses to bargain.
Thinks get worse for both of the pair, as Strange is forced to reanimate some dead French soldiers, in order to learn information about their cannons. Meanwhile, Mr. Norrell begins growing paranoid of Lady Pole’s knowledge. He sends Childermass (Enzo Cilenti) to spy on her and he discovers and destroys her sewing artwork, which shows The Gentleman. This results in a suicide attempt of Lady Pole.
After Strange reanimates the dead, he is unable to release them and give them peace. This causes great distress within himself and he seemingly returns home having gained the respect of the fellow soldiers. As soon as he returns home, he gets a visit from Norrell and they discuss his trip and his books. Of course, Strange seems rather strange. He doesn’t mean that they have been destroyed.
Stephen Black goes to The Gentleman and tries to get the bargain voided, but he fails. Instead, he is shown his own birth on a slave ship and his mother’s death right after. It seems the Gentleman is trying to persuade Black to commit an evil deed.
When Norrell makes his return home, Childermass discovers that someone is doing magic in the street. They all rush out into the square, as Norrell arrives in his carriage. A faithful encounter with Lady Pole, who is wearing all black, ensues and Childermass ultimately saves Norrell, but is shot in the stomach.
Overall, another excellent episode of BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. The acting is great, the costumes are fun, the magic is a hoot and the mood is cheery. Of course, this episode was a little more serious and bleak. Things are definitely coming together and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. This episode was probably the best thus far for a 9 out of 10.