Review: Arthur & George – Episode 3
The finale episode of Arthur & George brought the series to new heights in almost every area and left me wishing the entire series had been as well-written and tightly-plotted as Episode 3 was.
The story picked up at a perplexing moment, in which Sir Arthur had begun to have serious doubts about Edalji’s innocence and some of the seeming coincidences of the case. By doggedly following the clues, much like Holmes would have done, Doyle and his secretary finally uncovered the truth about a troubled young man and a grudge that had existed since childhood.
The series didn’t follow the narrative to the very end, but text-on-screen assured the viewer that Edalji was fully exonerated and resumed his work as a solicitor. From a character standpoint, Doyle’s forensic victory lightened his emotional load and gave him the impetus to declare his true feelings for Jean Leckie and become engaged to her.
The episode left a few perplexing questions, notably about oddities of Edalji’s life that were never explained. Most of these appear to be casualties of a total series runtime of only a little over two hours, and interested viewers can find answers is Arthur & George by Julian Barnes, on which the show is based.
Overall, Episode 3 dramatically increased my admiration for the series as a whole, and while I still believe the cast deserves the lion’s share of credit for making it all work, the subtlety and coherence of Ed Whitmore’s conclusion deserve a mention as well.
Arthur & George has been an enjoyable, if imperfect, look at a lesser-known event in an author’s life, one that had major historical implications in Britain (the creation of the criminal appeals court). A few more episodes would have fleshed out the details more, but as it stands, a stellar cast put heart and polish into a good script and created a series that will no doubt charm Holmesian audiences for some time to come.
The series is currently available for streaming at PBS.org
Amy Thomas is a book reviewer, freelance essayist, and author of The Detective and The Woman mystery novel series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, published by MX Publishing. She holds a degree in professional communication and is an avid knitter, geek, and grammar nerd. Amy blogs about Sherlock Holmes at Girlmeetssherlock.wordpress.