Monday, December 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'His Dark Materials' - Lyra Chases After a Ghost With Horrifying Repercussions for the Gyptians in 'The Lost Boy'

HBO's His Dark Materials - Episode 1.05 "The Lost Boy"

The alethiometer sends Lyra and Iorek on a new path, leading to a shocking but vital clue.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's His Dark Materials.

"The Lost Boy" was written by Jack Thorne and directed by Otto Bathurst

Everyone has quickly come to trust Lyra's ability to read the alethiometer. It's a skill she has proven skilled at. For a time, she didn't know how to read the truth as it was told to her. But now, she knows exactly how to do that. She may not always understand the journey she needs to take but she will embark on it nevertheless. She is brave in that way. Of course, it's also frustrating how the show continues to articulate that she is a crucial figure in a prophecy that probably won't come true if she knows about her significance in it. That is lame and presents as this abstract concept that defines so much of life in this specific world. The show also draws a clear line between her and newcomer Will Parry. He lives in a completely separate reality. It's one that closely mirrors our own. He happens to be the son of the man Carlo Boreal is trying to hunt down. That's his purpose this season. He already operates with the understanding that it's possible to travel to other worlds. Serafina also articulates that it's possible. There is worthy reason to finance Asriel's research and allow him to continue working out the science of it all. That too remains a vague concept. It's just important to note that he remains imprisoned by the armored bears. Iorek is skeptical about him ever escaping from that prison. However, he also proves his loyalty to Lyra. In fact, it's a little startling to see how strong the bonds now are between Lyra and this community of travelers. They have all gone on this mission together. It may end in a war with the Magisterium. That seems likely because of the lengths they are willing to go to continue wielding control over this world. Here, they present as a monstrous organization that is willing to conduct experiments on children just to see if it's possible to sever a human from their daemon. Those creatures have been seen as the physical embodiment of one's soul. Pan shows fear even when Lyra is trying to put on a brave face. She wants to present as being brave when on this mission. However, she doesn't know what she's going to find. Daemons can't travel far from their humans either. Witches have broken that barrier somehow. And yet, they are continually propped up on another level of reality. Farder Coram once had a close and intimate relationship with Serafina. Now, he needs her help once more. And yet, that may only serve as a reminder of what was lost a long time ago. That may forever be the consequence of life. The people who are left behind to survive do so bearing the weight and the guilt of past tragedies. Lyra understands that she must travel to this mysterious town in search of a ghost. She doesn't know what any of that means. Iorek is willing to take her though. Once there, the show leans heavily into the horror influences to great effect. It truly is unclear what she will find. It's traumatizing when she comes across Billy's body. He is no longer connected to his daemon. He dies shortly after reuniting with his family. That is the true devastation awaiting the Gyptians if they do nothing. They have to stand united in order to fight back against these horrors being done to them. And yet, Lyra is taken with the same procedure about to be done to her. Again, that may just be an empty cliffhanger to prop up a sense of tension moving forward. She is too important for anything too traumatizing to happen to her now. But she is continually forced into being an independent spirit in this world. She has such great importance throughout this world that she doesn't always understand. Will does as well even though he is more concerned about taking care of his unwell mother at the moment. That's his sole mission. She is all that he cares about. Lyra is worried about Roger as well. She doesn't know what has happened to him. He may endure the same fate as Billy. There are still far too many missing children for anyone to stop the hunt now. But everyone may have to have complete trust in Lyra in order to be effective at anything they aspire to do. That may be difficult because they would be buying into a narrative that she herself doesn't comprehend. That's an unnecessary narrative hassle when it's much more enjoyable to see these characters interact and talk about the grand importance of their lives and individual missions.