His Dark Materials: Betrayal   Books Included 
December 27, 2019 11:35 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

As the Magisterium closes in, Lyra assists Asriel's efforts, but at great personal cost. (Season finale)
posted by oh yeah! (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I did think this was the episode where it all came together. No weird pacing and gaps, and everything set up for series 2. The actors have absolutely proved themselves and the look of the thing has always been impressive with beautiful lighting effects. So I think it's been worth some of the longueurs/ scene setting/ world establishing in previous episodes to get to this point. Hopefully from now on it'll be consistently rollicking.

I love Amir Wilson as an actor, I think he's extraordinarily gifted. He's played a terrified guilty-feeling teen here with so much subtlety and understatement and at the same time wordlessly conveyed his readiness to keep fighting. It will be interesting to see how he and Daphne Keen work together in S2 as their acting styles are somewhat opposed; Wilson very much more with the body language and Keen, so far, having to handle great big swathes of dialogue.
posted by glasseyes at 1:40 PM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the post oh yeah!, I've been looking out for it.
posted by glasseyes at 1:52 PM on December 27, 2019

Oh man this episode. I am starting to want to write a feminist recapping that mostly focuses on how they alter the female characters to make them perform femininity more. The turning of Mrs Coulters reasons for not going into “think of our child” is just hot garbage, as is Lyra weeping prettily for three minutes on screen. These ladies are meant to rage.
posted by corb at 12:52 AM on December 29, 2019 [12 favorites]

You would think that the mere existence of Ruth Wilson would be enough to revive the film noir genre. How can screenwriters see her and not start furiously typing femme fatale roles for her?
posted by Comrade Doll at 5:35 PM on December 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Eh, it was fine, but it's clear this adaptation of HDM leaves a lot of room for the next one in 2031 to really do it properly.

Things I liked:

- Roger backing into the bathroom was just adorable and perhaps the first time he didn't seem like a miniature 40 year old. Ditto with the tent fort.

- Generally decent battle SFX.

- Really beautiful bridge between the worlds. Reminded me of Thor and Westworld. They loved it so much they lingered on it a little too long though.

- Good chats between Lyra and Lord Asriel.

Things I didn't like:

- Every scene set "outside" in the snow looked like a soundstage with fake white stuff. I get it's expensive to do this but I never really felt we were on top of a mountain or on a perilously thin arch. Very distracting.

- As corb says, they changed Mrs. Coulter's motivation massively from the books, and for the worse. Here are the lines from the books:
“You? Dare not? Your child would come. Your child would dare anything, and shame her mother.”
“Then take her and welcome. She’s more yours than mine, Asriel.”
I am not at all happy with how Jack Thorne's adapted this script. Perhaps this is more the fault of the BBC wanting things to be "family friendly" but either way, it's bad.
posted by adrianhon at 3:42 AM on January 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, one other thing I liked is the soundtrack! A proper epic banger that doesn't simply ape LOTR and GOT. I can heartily recommend The Life of Roger Parslow, Mrs. M.Coulter, The Compass Points North, and Bridge to the Stars.
posted by adrianhon at 7:01 AM on January 3, 2020

What the fuck was that?

I mean I assume the whole existence of the bridges being an actual thing was a much bigger reveal in the books, while the adaptation has Boreal scooting back and forth every episode, so Asriel's reveal has about as much impact as a thing that doesn't have a lot of impact at all.

And while I know at some level that there really was a lot more that happened in this season (the Gyptian story (sort of), Iorek reclaiming the crown, Mrs Coulter and Asriel both attempting to sever demons, but for different purposes) at the end of 8 episodes it sort of feels like it was all just sort of prelude to the actual story. "Here's a little orphan girl on a journey discovering her parents are both alive and total pro and anti-religious creeps" about sums it up?
posted by Kyol at 7:46 AM on January 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

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