Oooh this weeks episode was an interesting one, the main focus was on the idea of bringing the dead back to life. People in the village having been talking about Nathan and his pursuits into the exploration of the deceased, he was discovered with a Ouija Board by his local priest and his encounters with the disturbed characters from previous episodes have clearly captured the attention of his neighbours.
“You are transgressing against god and nature” is a bold statement for Appleby’s priest to make but it was true that in this time anyone with an interest in the supernatural was seen as a despicable meddlesome person, a sinner. Transgression is a major theme in the gothic genre and perhaps the novel that explored that theme the most was Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frankenstein like Appleby defied social laws and expectations and explored transgressive ideas for Frankenstein it was creating life from death to become a godlike man and whereas for Appleby (his transgression is rather pale in comparison to Shelly’s protagonist) his dabbling in the supernatural is for the acquisition of knowledge and a desperate search for answers about his deceased son not to “raise the dead” like Frankenstein as some of his fellow villagers fear. Nethertheless in the eyes of the very medieval villagers Appleby’s curiosity is most unholy and wrong which is rather intriguing as this does’t seem to concern him in anyway if anything it spurs him on.
This episodes mystery takes us to a beautiful autumnal damp forrest which makes for a really great spooky setting where a beautiful young woman Alice is found dead after it is uncovered out that she ran away to elope with Jack (the man Appleby banished in last weeks episode for trying to drown another worker). Interestingly Appleby and school teacher Martha see Alice running through the woods, Appleby chases after her where he then finds her dead body, in that moment it is the made clear that what they saw must have been her ghost. When Appleby explodes at Martha for lying about not seeing Alice’s ghost his wife Charlotte (who is growing more and more concerned about her husbands growing fixation) pulls him out of the room and scolds him for lingering in his research “Doing what, Nathan? Trying to raise the dead? What about the living?”. Here the whole raising the dead accusation is thrown at Appleby again which goes to show just how paranoid people were at this time and how much Charlotte is hurting at the fact that her husband is gradually neglecting her for his obsession with the dead.
With only two more episodes left the tension in episode four was extremely palatable especially the strain between Charlotte and Nathan which was played brilliantly by Charlotte Spencer and Colin Morgan, it was such an intense scene and it signifies that there will only be more challenges for the couple to come in the next episodes. Another highlight of this episode was the scenery with the sublime shots of Martha and her red dress running through the forrest, Alice’s (looking very Alice in wonderland in a blue and white dress) corpse being carried over Appleby’s shoulder and decaying food (there clearly is something rotten in the village of Shepzoy) were all particularly striking moments for me. Also that book of light (iPad for us modern day folk) made a return…very strange. Can’t wait for next weeks instalment!
Own The Living and The Dead: