The second episode was superb, the performances from Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens have been allowed to deepen and facets of their character hitherto unknown have come to the surface. Jane has shown herself to be loyal and steady, but witness her uncharacteristic girlish delight at Rochester's hand shake and we see the first signs of love.
Rochester, previously brusque and abrupt, begins to evince weariness at some unknown hard ship; his manipulative and callous nature is displayed by his treatment of Blanche Ingram; whose perfect blonde ringlets and supercilious air portray her shallowness and perhaps mercenary intentions.
Francesca Annis, imbued Lady Ingram with the correct tone of haughty imperiousness and in her gorgeous frock contrasted with Jane in her austere grey dress, which underlined the class difference between them, as well as between Jane and Rochester.
The bed on fire scene which fairly crackled with unspoken desire, began poorly as it was sorely lacking in Rochester "fulminating strange anathemas", he just hopped out of bed with a "oh no, not again" kind of air. The loss of some of Rochester's snarky dialogue ("Is there a flood?") is sorely missed.
The sight of Jane and Adele peeking through cracks in the door andbanistersisters at the decadent house party was well done, highlighting Jane's isolation and fact that she is very different from these exotic, richly attired Ladies and Gentlemen, though when she is ordered by Rochester to attend, she does so stoically and discreetly.
Her gradual emergence from behind the curtains and out of the shadows shows her growing confidence and mirrors her growing affection for Rochester.
The direction in this episode was great, from the tracking shot of the hustle and bustle of the house preparing for the guests to the magnificent framing of Blanche in the window of Adele's puppet theatre. This portrays Rochester's manipulative character, at present he is the puppet master, making Jane and Blanche move to his will, needless to say this is not one of Rochester's attractive traits.
The trick with the gypsy telling false fortunes was changed so that Rochester listened to the conversations behind a curtain, I was slightly disappointed that Rochester didn't drag up, but the scene actually felt more in keeping with the tone of the series, it would probably have been too camp if Toby Stephens had dressed up! Though, I would have loved to have seen that!
Instead of charades, a game I've never liked, a ouija board was constructed and again the object of Rochester's game was Blanche, who he called "heartless", the scene amply served to demonstrate his callous streak and somewhat heartless behaviour.
The best scenes are nearly always those between Jane and Rochester, the actors are so skilful at creating chemistry that whether, the scene is one of urgency; Rochester leading Jane up the North Tower or the flirty, bantering discussion of Jane's wages; they command the screen and make you feel empathy for the protagonists.
The distressing sight of Rochester as Rupert the Bear evinced much laughter from this viewer, please don't do it again, I missed a fair portion of the following ten minutes as I held my poor, aching sides!
The episode ends with Jane leaving Thornfield to return to see her dying Aunt Reed, and as framed by the window in the North Tower, by an unseen presence, we see their Jane and Rochester's paths diverging, and we sincerely hope that Rochester does not regret giving Jane ten whole pounds and that she returns quickly to Thornfield.