Synopsis: Lyra receives help from an unlikely source, which enables her to understand more about her personal history and keep her safe from the Magisterium.
Jack Thorne has written a delightfully twisting episode that kept up the tension throughout. I particularly liked the scene between Father Corum and Lord Faa towards the end where Father Corum talked about using Lyra for her aleithometer reading abilities, which subverted the kindly father figure he seemed to be up to that point. There were some interesting conversations between characters over the course of the episode which broaden our knowledge of this world if only a little. I liked the reference to Iorek Byrnisson’s words to Lyra in the 2007 film when Lord Boreal mentioned mastering his fear in crossing between the worlds. The writing does a brilliant job of showing us this reality through Lyra’s eyes, where adults are untrustworthy and deal in half-truths and lies. I enjoyed how the mood could suddenly change at times such as when Father Corum ended his friendly chat with Lyra by taking her to see the captured Gobbler and when the spy fly returns to Mrs. Coulter, which rebuilt the tension and made me excited for next week’s episode.
There are some truly brilliant performances here. The standout scene of the episode is the confrontation between Lyra and Ma Costa when Lyra finds out that Mrs Coulter is her mother. Dafne Keen conveys Lyra’s raw child like anger and frustration at not being told the truth brilliantly. Anne-Marie Duff shows Ma Costa’s weary care and concern for Lyra excellently, and I loved when she told Lyra that she could be whatever she wanted to be which was a nice contrast from Mrs. Coulter’s interaction with Lyra the previous week. Ruth Wilson absolutely steals the show, giving us a Mrs Coulter dancing on the edge of villainy when she visits the Master and then succumbing completely to the darkness inside later in the episode. Her fight scene with Benjamin was well done by both Ruth Wilson and Simon Manyonda and showed us the danger in Mrs. Coulter’s character, not least her scream of rage as Benjamin kills himself rather than betray his family. James Cosmo presents Father Corum’s strength and gentleness well and does a good job subverting this at the end of the episode when he tells Lord Faa that the Gyptians can use Lyra.
The score throughout this outing was brilliant and really implied the danger and magic and the mystery of the setting. I really loved the music when Benjamin and Tony Costa went through Mrs. Coulter’s home. The grandeur and majesty of Lyra’s world are greatly enhanced by the music which continues to impress.
The CGI of the portal Lord Boreal uses to cross into “our” world is interesting as was the effect of Benjamin’s daemon crumbling into Dust which nicely foreshadows coming events. The daemons are consistently brilliant. Kit Connor does a great job of portraying Pantalaimon’s voice, so much so that I believed that he really was Lyra’s inner voice.
A brilliant continuation of this excellent story. I’m excited about Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson next week.
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- Incidental Music9.5