Monday, 15 June 2015

Descent into Darkness - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell episode 5

Things take a sinister and tragic turn in this fifth instalment of the magical Show

Poor Poor Jonathan, after a battle of epic proportions in the opening minutes, whereby Jonathan's assertion that a gentleman would never kill by magic is tested and found to be wanting, he returns home to the comparative peace of Shropshire to become a theoretical Magician and complete his book.

The Moss version of the beautiful Arabella tricks a dark contract from Jonathan's lips that enables the real lady to be abducted by hapless Stephen  and whisked away to Lost Hope and she is quickly made to forget the real world by the magicks of The Gentleman.

Jonathan begins a very slow descent into madness and all the main players come back into play. 

Norrell when given a chance to aid Jonathan and strongly urged to do so by Childermass, refuses to lift a finger threatened by the awful Lascelles that his patronage would be lost, thereby pushing Jonathan into more and mores desperate attempts to resurrect the wife he believes to have died from a chill.  Loyal  friend Grant and his  brother in law attempt to pull him back from the brink but fail. As the friends who care about him watch on, he sets out on a ruinous path. 

Childermass shows his allegiance is not to Norrell but to the good of Magic and at least in part admits to the ability that was previously only alluded at, agreeing that whoever wins in this unlikely battle of the Magicians that there will always be two Magicians to help temper the power held by English Magic. My suspicion about Childermass is that he is not who he seems and has a totally different name, but again this is wild conjecture.

Meanwhile at "CrossStairs" Honeyfoot and Mr Segundus have finally hit upon the nature of Lady Pole's ramblings and Stephen is scrambling to contain the situation. Poor Emma had hoped that she might be able to communicate with Arabella whilst on her nightly sojourns to Lost Hope, but the Gentleman's a Thrall is too strong. Just as the well meaning Segundus and Honeyfoot have a breakthrough, the crazed arrival of Vinculus is a portent of further darkness. Paul Kaye's unique brand of insanity is perfect here. 

All the while the chilling machinations of the gossamer haired Fairyare played with such enthusiasm by the ever excellent Marc Warren, whose childish suggestions to pinch and poke poor Jonathan as he attempts to bring back his beloved spouse are infinitely more evil than the huge acts he has brought down on Jonathan's head thus far.

A superbly acted episode of a series which is now black as pitch and has drawn the viewer inexorably into dark places which might well cause nightmares.

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