Synopsis: When the alethiometer sends Lyra on a mysterious quest she is encouraged to trust in her own instincts.
This week’s episode sees Lyra and her friends journey through the frozen wastes of the north, as well as a more personal story between Will and his mother. The theme of naivete vs wisdom comes to the fore this week in Lyra’s interactions with Lee Scoresby, Iorek Byrnisson, Farder Corum and Ma Costa, as well as between Will and his mother when Will discovers the letters his father wrote to his mother. After reading the alethiometer, Lyra discovers she must journey to a fishing village where she finds Billy Costa, demonless and on the verge of death. When Lyra and Iorek return Billy to the Gyptians there is a heart wrenching scene where Ma Costa sings her dying son a lullaby. After the Gyptians as a whole sing a funeral dirge for Billy, Lyra is captured and taken to Bolvanger, which ends the episode. There is also a sweet reunion between Farder Corum and Serafina Pekkala, and Lord Boreal plans to break into Will and his mother’s home to find out more about Will’s father.
Amir Wilson plays Will with great intensity and guardedness that belies that character’s young age, as well as a surprising tenderness when Will’s mother visits his boxing club. Ariyon Bakare plays Lord Boreal with great inscrutable menace. The scene where he approaches Will’s mother hit the right jarring note given what we already know about the character. The standout performance of this episode has to be James Cosmo as Farder Corum. His line “There has never been a moment when I have not thought of you” to Serafina Pekkala was delivered with breath taking emotion. Lin-Manuel Miranda continues to be likable as Lee Scoresby, and gets some great scenes with Lyra in this outing. Dafne Keen portrays Lyra’s shock and disbelief at Billy Costa’s fate brilliantly as well as showing Lyra’s trepidation and courage just before she discovers Billy’s fate. Anne-Marie Duff’s touching rendition of a Gyptian lullaby to her dying son was absolutely beautiful. Ruta Gedmintas hits the right balance between gentleness and intensity for Serafina Pekkala and Nina Sosanya shows a person struggling with mental distress well, as Will’s mother.
There are some absolutely beautiful shots of the northern snowscapes and the forests here. I loved the scene where Lyra rode Iorek Byrnisson across the tundra and the atmosphere of the deserted fishing village hit the right note of creepiness and terror. The shots of the Gyptians travelling through the forests at the start of the episode put me in mind of Lord of the Rings.
The score that was used when Lyra visits the deserted fishing village built the atmosphere stupendously in my view. I liked the theme that was used when Lord Boreal plans to break into Will’s mother’s house and the music when Lyra is captured set the tone of menace and impending doom brilliantly.
A brilliant episode with some really strong performances all round. This episode moved the story along and was satisfying in its own right.
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- Incidental Music9.5