Miss Scarlet and The Duke 3×03 “Hotel St Marc” Spoilers Ahead
Miss Scarlet and The Duke Season 3, Episode 3, “Hotel St Marc,” isn’t merely every romance enthusiast’s nightmare, but unfortunately, it’s an episode where the end is welcomed with open arms. It’s dreadfully slow, but not in a good way that caters to quiet character development or builds upon a plot point that matters significantly. And the pieces of expansion that we do get aren’t believable either.
If anything, the episode is concrete proof that Nash isn’t a threat to the dynamic between William and Eliza because there’s no amount of chemistry stirring between them, even when they’re far from Scotland Yard. It’s proof that Nash’s inquiries about Eliza working with him will only ever showcase that the two might not even be able to work well together professionally because the progress she and William make is so different in comparison. And sure, we don’t even have to compare, but it’s almost impossible not to know when William’s absence is so sorely felt, and Nash’s wouldn’t be if the roles were reversed.
Additionally, the case also fails to hold attention in a way that the show usually excels at, making it a large part of its appeal. The problem with Miss Scarlet and The Duke 3×03 “Hotel St Marc” is that it fails to accomplish vulnerability because it pushes too hard. It’s relying on us to harness sympathy for Nash and what drives him when the purpose of that feels unnecessary. Is he going to stick around? Will he be a friend of Eliza’s worthy for us to care about, or will he walk away soon? I can see why I should care about him as a human being, but his character’s position in the narrative merely feels like he’s a plot device to elongate William and Eliza’s slow burn.
Thus far, their dynamic as partners is significantly dull and feels forced upon them more than anything else. This isn’t like what we get with Eliza and Moses, where their friendship is a driving force in the narrative. And it’s not even the romantic detail, but it’s the absence of a spark that merits a standalone episode like this to be memorable. ‘
How we get from the beginning to end fumbles with a middle that requires a bit too much work to pay attention to, and it’s mainly because it’s doing this with characters we need to be more familiar with. If the show expects to take us out of the overarching story and the setting we care for, three seasons in with established characters that we adore and one we’re indifferent towards, it misses the mark. It’s just far more challenging to care by the time we reach the end. Perhaps, if we had a few more episodes with Nash and this came at a later time, then it wouldn’t have felt so disjointed from the entire season. A season, which already feels like an alternate version of Season 2 rather than a continuation.
Overall, halfway into the season, the episode poses more questions than answers, making a confounding statement about where it’s trying to lead us. Why do we still not know what Eliza was going to say to William during “The Proposal,” and why are we still pushing that she potentially sacrifice her independence to work for someone like Nash? Why is the narrative still asking questions instead of giving us more answers? And after last week’s episode, “Arabella’s,” will we follow up with breaking down Eliza’s walls with more glimpses into her past?
Now streaming on PBS: What are your thoughts on Miss Scarlet and The Duke 3×03 “Hotel St Marc?” Let us know in the comments below.