Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Episode 4 Recap
Saturday’s most recent episode of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was entitled “Chapter Four: All the Mirrors of the World.” Geez, spoilers much, title card?!
Let’s back up a bit.
So the last time we saw the gang, Childermass had just taken a bullet for Mr. Norrell. Literally. There is a bullet in his chest because Lady Pole had escaped from her confinement with the intent to assassinate the magician who destroyed her life. While Lady Pole is taken into a room to be chloroformed and secluded, Childermass is lain on a table and a doctor comes to extract the bullet from his chest. Norrell is not happy. He fears for his reputation and for Childermass’s life. Sir Walter, Lascelles, and Drawlight are there now and they suggest that Lady Pole be sent away to an asylum and that it was a “French spy” who shot at him. Whether it be from the pain of having a small metal ball being plucked out of his body or something else entirely, Childermass has a vision of a ravine and a ominous looking tree. Weird, right? (Not weird to me, I read the book.)
When he wakes up, Norrell tells him he shouldn’t have used that magic, but Childermass has seen magic in her, and not Norrell’s kind of magic. Norrell tells Childermass that no one is going to talk about what happened, Lady Pole is being sent away, and that Childermass has been “useless” and “asleep for days.” Not nice, Norrell. Which he kind of acknowledges when he mumbles “sorry.” Like that makes it any better. (My husband, who has been watching the series with me, has turned this into his catchphrase: “%*#$ Norrell!”)
In the scene after, Jonathan is getting ready to meet the king. Arabella asks him if he has to go back to Norrell. Jonathan assures her that he needs Norrell, but that he needs to be no closer to him than as a pupil. (Jonathan: “Besides, I was in the Peninsula. I think I can take care of myself.”) They then have some “alone time.” That’s not shown. But you adults know it happened.
Norrell and Jonathan go to see the King. King George III. Mad King George. And he’s in his nightie playing piano very, very poorly. The original intent of their visit was on behalf of the prince in hopes that they could cure George’s madness with magic. But as Norrell said before, “magic cannot cure madness.” Accept this time it actually applies. (I really wanted King George to play
some Ben Folds Five, for some reason. Preferably “Philosophy.”)
When they have finished their visit, Jonathan sees a painting of the Raven King. You can tell he’s a total fanboy. Norrell, however, is not a fan. Let it be noted that one of the figures in the painting, hidden behind the branches, is a gentleman with silver hair. That’s with a capital “G,” that Gentleman. Whaaaaat? (Also, can we talk about how metal the Raven King is in that portrait? He looks like a character from Metalocalypse.)
At La Casa de Strange, Arabella asks Jonathan about a woman named Miss Grey who claims that she’s paying him 400 guineas to tutor her in magic. He says he doesn’t know anything about it because he doesn’t take pupils. Arabella’s frustration over that is actually more related to the fact that she knows who tried to shoot Norrell–Drawlight, you blabbermouth. Jonathan attempts to comfort her by saying maybe he could visit the king again and find another path, but Arabella tells him to do so only if he wishes to rather than the sake of her friend. The next day, Arabella goes to see Lady Pole being escorted to the carriage from a distance, but her breath catches when she sees Childermass shaking hands with Sir Walter.
At Norrell’s, Lascelles is all a-flutter about his book of which the subject is Mr. Norrell. Jonathan stands on the side listening to Norrell and Lascelles talk about the outline and facts they are changing and people they have excluded. *coughLADYPOLEcough* (Is it sad that the first thing I thought of was Creativity, Inc, the book about Pixar’s work methods? Kind of glossed over the part about Brave’s behind the scenes issues… did I just compare Pixar to magicians? Yes, I did. Anyway, divergence.)
Jonathan is sitting about with King George again, who is still pitter-pattering on his piano. Out of curiosity (which usually stems from boredom, honestly), Strange tries again to conjure up a fairy. The walls creak per usual. But something is different this time. The main thing being that King George is suddenly talking to nobody. Or somebody? Namely the king of Lost Hope! The Gentleman is calling to the king who goes toward the mirror on the opposite end of the room and disappears through it. Jonathan’s inner thoughts scream the universal word for bad things happening: “Uh oh.”
Driving down a road in the country, the carriage carrying Lady Pole and Stephen Black stops in front of an old man in a nightgown. Stephen tries to approach him, but he finds a sword in his hand and is suddenly hurtling toward the king of England. Lucky for the Georgie, Jonathan is able to bring him back to the palace. And King George goes back to norm–er, “normal.” (Also, did Bertie Carvel unintentionally do the “Picard pull” during this sequence? I know that’s just a thing people do in general, but good ol’ Sir PatStew made it a thing. And he was pulling on that jacket like Picard! Sorry, again, divergence.)
The Gentleman appears to Stephen and complains about “the stupid magician.” He also informs Stephen that the old man on the road was the King of England and the strange occurrence from earlier was so that Stephen could kill him and become king. (Stephen: “The king has thirteen children, sir…” Gentleman: “The king’s children are fat and stupid.”) Of course, the Gentleman is back on taking (ie, kidnapping) Arabella and intends to find a moss oak.
Jonathan is uber excited as he returns to Norrell’s residence, and tells him he went to Windsor to see the king and asks him again about fairy magic. Again, Norrell is not happy. When Jonathan tries to explain to Norrell that he had performed black magic in the Peninsula, Norrell is firmly rooted in the land of denial. (Children, this is a good time to tell the truth. To do the exact opposite of what Norrell did in this scene. Mark that in your notes under “personal morals I learned from KC’s recaps.”)
Lady Pole arrives at the madhouse. Starcross… run by Segundus and Mr. Honeyfoot! (GUNDY! HONEY!…foot!) Turns out that she’s the first patient of Gundy and Honeyfoot, but Lady Pole’s no fool. She knows they’re magicians, and she takes an immediate distrust of them. (No, Gundy and Honey are nice! They so nice!)
Jonathan is staring at a mirror when Arabella comes into the room having just read a copy of Lascelles’s book. In modern terms, she thinks it’s bull–there’s no mention of Jonathan or Lady Pole and Norrell’s achievements have been exaggerated. Jonathan claims it doesn’t matter, but that doesn’t really seem to show in his face. Arabella brings up his first spell again, which had shown Norrell to be Jonathan’s “enemy.” He feels trapped. (Arabella: “It seems to me we’ve lost sight of why we started on this path in the first place.”)
Strange is playing billiards (pool? billiards? one of those games with balls and sticks?) with Major Grant and another war buddy, and a Mr. Tantany and companion come to interrupt the game. Tantany’s more vocal companion then gloats about how they came all the way from London to receive lessons from Mr. Strange. Whom they have paid and have not met. Jonathan has not heard of either of them. And he is pissed. He insists they are the victim of a hoax. They laugh in his face. To prove his magical ability, Jonathan passes through a mirror, and find himself on the King’s Roads.
Behold the King’s Roads!
Cut to: Drawlight talking to a Mrs. Bullworth about her commissions for Jonathan Strange! Turns out that Drawlight has been using Jonathan’s name to secure money from unwitting people who wish to learn magic or to commission spells. Jonathan Strange has Britsh Swear Words face on and ready to go! He tells Mrs. Bullworth the truth. Then Drawlight runs away. Because that’s just what Drawlight does.
Back at Le Maison du Strange, Arabella is now the pissed off one. Jonathan shows up as if nothing’s wrong and then goes on and on about the King’s Roads and how he wants to travel by them again, even though they are “not safe.” Arabella tells Strange to promise her that he will not to take the King’s Roads anymore. Jonathan acts like a butthole… there’s no other term for it. Oh, kind of forgot to mention that Major Grant and Peninsula Buddy were there and witnessed the whole argument. That wasn’t awkward, I’m sure. (What a wasted opportunity for someone to yell, “Mommy Strange, Daddy Strange, stop fighting!”)
Lascelles finds Drawlight and it is revealed that Drawlight took on the hoax because his debts are really bad. Lascelles tells him to go to where he’s staying and tells him to wait, and then threatens his life if he ever tries to pull a stunt like this again. Drawlight goes, and Lascelles tells a servant to go fetch the bailiff and tell him where he can find Drawlight. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, these two are not nice, but one is kind of worse than the other.
Okay, one is most assuredly worse than the other.
Lascelles then returns to Norrell’s home as more of a background piece as Norrell insists on reinstating a magical court to deal with Drawlight’s crimes against magic. Norrell claims that this court would be the best chance of having him hanged. (Hold up, what? What happened to the dude who just wanted to read his books away from parties?) Jonathan stands up for himself and says that after having been at war, he doesn’t want to see anyone else die. Of course, that’s the moment Norrell chooses to chastise him about the King’s Roads. It probably doesn’t help that he compares Jonathan’s discovery of the King’s Roads to Drawlight’s shenanigans… and calling his discovery worse than Drawlight’s shenanigans. Jonathan Strange seems realize something and leaves.
Back at Das Haus von Strange, Jonathan apologizes to Arabella for his behavior. She forgives him, telling him that she had not considered when she asked him to search for an occupation that she didn’t consider he would become “one of the greatest men of the age.” Jonathan reveals to Arabella that he is writing a bad review of Lascelles book. She is concerned about the ties he is severing, especially with Norrell, but he insists that he must do this and then they can return home to Shropshire.
At Starcross, tensions are still a bit high between Lady Pole and her new caretakers. (Lady Pole: “I’m sick of men in coats deciding what is best for me. I may very well hurt myself, but I belong to no one but myself.”) Outside she sees Childermass, and Gundy and Honeyfoot are on it! Childermass is there to ask her questions, but Gundy and Honeyfoot are having none of it. Honeyfoot comes out with a shotgun, and Childermass tells them that he will leave them but that there’s more to Lady Pole than meets the eye. Lady Pole has witnessed all of this and appears to be in shock over these men coming to her defense. Also, let it be noted Honeyfoot could only find walnuts to put in the gun. Walnuts. I love these jerks.
Jonathan’s review has been published, and Norrell and Lascelles are aghast. Well, Lascelles is aghast. Norrell is more…numb. Strange calls on Norrell and says that he sees an end to his apprenticeship with Norrell. Norrell tries to negotiate with Strange, offering him the keys to his library and a partnership of equals, in hopes that he will be able to retain someone to talk to about magic. While honored, Jonathan refuses.
Lady Pole is no longer restrained and is given a sort of freedom she has been needing in this madhouse. That being said, Gundy sees “a rose at her mouth” just as he sees one on Stephen. He tells Stephen this, but he denies knowing what Gundy is talking about. (Not that he can say anything apart from weird stories.)
Strange returns home, where Bell is packing their belongings. He renounces practical magic, saying he will be a theoretical magician from now on and write his thoughts in a book. More importantly, he has had no time to be married and he wishes that time to start now. Of course, Major Grant has to come in and ruins the mood. Napoleon has escaped imprisonment and the British army needs its magician. Jonathan obviously does not want to head back into the battlefield, but he tells Arabella to continue with what they planned.
The Gentleman and Stephen find the moss oak mentioned from earlier. The Gentleman uses Arabella’s handkerchief he pinched from the last episode and squeezes the tears out onto the wood. Open up the wood, and there’s a very pale, very creepy replica of Arabella Strange.
But the last line of the episode belongs to Norrell to Lascelles: “We must destroy him before he destroys us.”
We’ll end this recap with a representation that accurately depicts my reaction to Moss Oak!Arabella.
KC’s Favorite Bits:
The fact that Jonathan even tried to lie about why he was late. We all know why, Jonathan! It’s just what married pretty people do!
Also, hats off Mrs. Bullworth, the woman that tried to have Jonathan kill her mother-in-law three different ways. Because apparently when someone is filled with that much rage, the first things to go from your common sense are logic and math skills.
Predictions? Favorite characters? Discussions? Comments? Compliments? Leave them in the comments below! And stay tuned for next Saturday’s episode on BBC America so that you can further enjoy the insanity that is these recaps.