‘War and Peace’ episode 3 review: Natasha, Andrei, and the Ball

War and Peace -

Sunday night brought us the third episode of “War and Peace” on the BBC, otherwise known as the episode that brought to us some of the most powerful moments from the classic adaptation. In the end, we feel like this is a series that brought quite a bit of fascinating stuff to the table here from start to finish … but also some visual beauty to make it rise above the standard book adaptation for TV.

We have to discuss the sequence at the Ball, which of course is significant because of Natasha, Andrei, and the fascinating dynamic between the two. This was just a fantastic scene to behold, and it showed why this was such an expensive product to make. When you are dealing with this many costumes and a venue meant to be iconic, no expense was spared, and it helps to bring us to some key points within this relationship.

Where this episode shined beyond these two was making almost every character feel interesting and important, even without an ample amount of screen time. Take, for example, our chance to see Dolokhov show at least some level of caring for other people, what happened between Helene and Boris, or the arrival of Ken Stott on the series. Everything felt fairly organic, and there was enough thematic tissue in the writing to keep this story from feeling disjointed. With such a large cast, this can happen easily.

In between the relationships and still the wartime conflicts, there is still no denying that “War and Peace” is a dense series constructed on fairly-dense material. Yet at the same time, there is so much that the series is doing right at the moment that it is easy to discuss it with adulation. Grade: B+.

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