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Cloaked in mystery

Characters face unanswered questions in TV drama, writes Sarah Olowofoyeku

They feel the frustrations of not being able to answer the questions that plague them

AN unexpected turn of events continues to throw young artist Walter Hartright’s life into disarray tomorrow (Sunday 29 April) in BBC One’s adaptation of Wilkie Collins’s novel The Woman in White.

In last weekend’s opening episode, Londoner Walter (Ben Hardy) received a life-changing invitation. A Mr Fairlie (Charles Dance) requested that the painter travel to his provincial home in Limmeridge to restore some old paintings and to instruct his two nieces. Though reluctant to leave the city for a small town, where he suspected ‘the only danger is boredom’, Walter eventually agreed.

But the night before he left, he was rattled by an unusual encounter when walking through the woods. A woman dressed in white asked him for help but was scared off before he could discover who she was. Later he overheard that a police constable was looking for a woman in white who had escaped from a mental asylum.

When a troubled Walter arrived at Limmeridge the next morning, he met his new students, the hardy Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley) and her half-sister Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall). Walter told Marian about his encounter, including the fact that the ghostly character had mentioned once living in Limmeridge, and the pair tried to figure out who the mysterious woman was.

However, as he worked with Marian on the mystery, Walter found himself developing feelings for Laura, and romance blossomed between them. But it was nipped in the bud by Marian, who revealed that Laura was engaged to Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott). Will Laura tell her fiancé about her feelings for Walter, and is there hope for the forbidden love?

Questions also remain for Marian and Walter as they try to discover more about the mysterious woman in white. But it seems as if they will never solve the mystery. They feel the frustrations of not being able to answer the questions that plague them.

Similar frustrations will be familiar to many of the show’s viewers who have questions within their own lives. Those questions don’t normally involve mysterious strangers but important issues, such as where their priorities should lie and what direction their lives should take.

People have been concerned with such questions through the centuries, and many have found an answer to them by following Jesus, who said: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6 New International Version).

We may always encounter questions, fears and doubts, but if we choose to believe Jesus’ words, they can provide us with a secure foundation. We can explore further questions about life and discover more of our purpose, knowing that he will always show us the right way to live.

The question is: will we follow him?

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