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Dafne Keen in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via IMDb.

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Parallel Worlds, Ghosts and Witches: A Review of His Dark Materials Season One Episode Five

Warning: Spoilers are included in this review.

Lost Boy” begins with off-screen narration regarding the existence of witches, whilst the camera depicts a scenic mountainous view. This scene, in particular, reminds me of Lord of the Rings as they set off on their journey. Throughout the episode, the narrative continuously switches between narratives of each parallel universes. As mentioned in the opening off-screen narration, both Will and Lyra are linked, however, it is unclear how at this moment.

In this episode, we revisit contemporary London, which is most identifiable through the dull color scheme in comparison to Pullman’s Parallel London that is coated with bright color schemes. In this setting, we gain insight into Boreal’s plans and Will Parry’s life. Turns out the result of Will’s father’s disappearance, Elaine’s mum has built up a sense of over obsessive paranoia that someone is watching her. To everyone else, it is depicted that she has a mental illness. However, from the audiences’ eye, Elaine has every right to be paranoid, despite how she is depicted as being mentally ill. Boreal is watching her, and she has every right to be worried. Personally, I feel that Elaine’s character is slightly untrustworthy, due to her creepy nature. Perhaps meaning she will go to extreme lengths to protect her son, but in fact, do harm in doing so. This includes her hiding letters from his dad, and then eventually deciding that he is ready.

Moreover, in this episode,  we find yet another back story involving Corman and the witch, Serafina. It is revealed that they were past lovers, and split due to the death of their child. Corman is in need of the witches’ help, however, he is faced with little luck as she simply provides her daemon who will give them guidance, and not the full support of the witches in battle. Moreover, at this point in the plot, it is revealed that Lord Asriel intends to use the dust to build a bridge between two worlds, suggesting that perhaps both parallel narratives are soon to be joined together.

In the episode, the Alithiometer tells Lyra to go to a nearby town alone, resulting in Iorek accompanying her on the journey. The white landscape, as Iorek and Lyra journey to this town, suggests the brightness mirrors a sense of success that will be achieved. However, a drastic contrast occurs as they arrive in a town that has a lifeless atmosphere, this is emphasized with Pam whimpering that “something is wrong here”. Moreover, the eerie feeling in this ghost-town is emphasized through the use of fog, and dark, gloomy color scheme. In one of the buildings, Lyra finds a barely alive Billy without his daemon. It almost seems as though there is a success in this scene due to Lyra finding Billy. However, the fact that he is without his daemon, which is his soul, results in his death as his mother gives him permission to “go back to Ratta”. A key scene that gave me Game of Thrones vibes, involved when Billy’s body was burned and the gyptians began to sing as they mourned over the dead body. Furthermore, the episode ends with the Gobblers taking Lyra and suggesting that due to her age she would be classified as category A, meaning immediate treatment.

 

This episode reached an 8.5/10 on IMDb, as a result, not being as successful as the last episode, but still being successful to some extent. From the promo of episode 6, we can expect the episode to center around Lyra being captive at the place Billy was sent to. Moreover, it is hinted that Lyra will experience the treatment Billy received which resulted into his death. As a result, tension will be intensified in the following episode regarding how the episode will pan out- will Lyra receive the treatment, or will she manage to escape.

 

His Dark Materials will air next Sunday at 8 pm BBC One.

Featured Image via IMDb.

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