Wednesday, December 25, 2019

What I’m Watching: His Dark Materials (Season Finale)

His Dark Materials: Season 1, Episode 8 “Betrayal” (B-)

This show opened so strong, and it’s really disappointing that it couldn’t keep up any of that energy or intrigue. I gradually lost interest in the story, and so little about this closing hour made me want to come to revisit it in season two, when the subtle knife becomes a big player and Will and Lyra realize that they can help each other. I was surprised by how much of a villain Lord Asriel was made out to be in this episode, refusing to discuss the fact that he lied to Lyra about being her father because he thought her to be too sentimental and then trapping Roger in a cage because he believed him to be a casualty of war. Kissing Mrs. Coulter when she came up to confront him and asking her to come with him showed just how addicted he’s become to the exploration, not realizing what he’s left behind in the process. Citing Lyra as her reason for staying was puzzling because of how much she manipulated her daughter, but obviously it’s done out of love even if it never really comes off that way. The discussion of Adam and Eve having daemons was interesting, and I wish that all that theology might have been more prominently featured and explored. The sight of the Northern Lights was definitely visually appealing, and the effects here were perfectly good. I was excited by this show as soon as I saw the trailer before the “Game of Thrones” series finale and, though it wasn’t nearly as much of a letdown as the 2007 film version of “The Golden Compass” was, it didn’t live up to my expectations. We’ll see how much else is on when season two premieres – something tells me I’ll still tune in.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter

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