I am fascinated by mirror shots in tv and film. Sometimes they’re done just because they’re visually interesting but sometimes they serve as a sort of cinematic shorthand to ‘reflect’ on a character’s state of mind.
These mirror shots tell us a lot about how far Richard has come since the start of the show. In S2x05, “Gimcrack & Bunkum,” Richard prepares himself to go off into the woods to commit suicide. Just moments before this shot he’d been looking at his scrapebook, in particular at the drawing that Angela had made of his ruined face opposite a photo of what he’d looked like before the war. The mirror he looks into here is so murky and distorted that he can’t even really see himself.
In 3x09, “The Milkmaid’s Lot,” the mirror is clear and Richard is smiling to see the lipstick that Julia’s kisses have left on his mask. He can see tangible proof that someone loves him and isn’t afraid to accept him just as he is.
He has come so far. I swear, if this character doesn’t get a happy ending I will flip.