His Dark Materials season 1, episode 5 sets us up for what actually lies in the North. But are we ready to see what lies ahead?
Watching horror movies, there is always that one scene where you yell at the protagonist for heading in the direction of something horrible. The title of His Dark Materials season 1, episode 5, “Lost Boy,” should be the clue book readers need to piece together what Lyra approaches in the trailer.
But luckily, there are more people and places in episode 5 to balance out this one moment, including the introduction of Serafina Pekkala and a better look into the unwritten passages of The Subtle Knife.
Suspenseful, a bit aggravating, and also immensely emotional, be prepared to be put through the ringer during “Lost Boy.”
Before you read on, check out our review of His Dark Materials season 1, episode 4!
‘His Dark Materials’ season 1, episode 5 screener secrets
The Gyptians prepare for war
An armored bear and an aeronaut are two key pieces to walking into battle. However, they are not enough to ensure a victory. They are not even close enough to get Lee to consider making any kind of bet in that direction. The witches are the key to having any sort of chance against waging war on the Magisterium.
Farder Coram is the key to communicating the needs of the Gyptians to one particularly powerful leader — his ex, Serafina. While Kaisa has been keeping tabs on the camp’s movement and chatting it up with Lyra, the daemon can only relay so much intel. The rest of the decisions rest with Serafina.
The two, however, have not been together since the death of their son drove a wedge between them. The Gyptian man wanted to grieve, the witch wanted to wage war. Now the disappearances of children are causing a change of heart in the man, he wants war, but will Serafina be able to come to terms with this and go into a fight that she has no stake in?
A haunted town
Lyra’s side adventure with Iorek and Pan to the mysterious shed is just as suspenseful as the best horror movie. It is still sitting with me. The cold arctic snow, the abandoned town, the resolve of a girl putting on a brave face to go after a whim is terrifying and well-played by those on screen.
However, the getting there gives us more of a look at Lyra’s character growth. She works her way through the various adults of the camp, like challenging bosses in a game to convince them to follow her gut. She is quick-witted, understands how to play each adult she comes into contact with, and willing to step down and hear others out when she needs to. She is very good at navigating this journey like a game and it will be interesting to see how she takes on the challenges that are ahead of her.
Pay close attention to her interactions with Ma Costa. What I once feared as the writers taking away a bit of the Lyra from the books — the girl who tried to blend into the groups she found herself among — is on full display in subtle ways in this episode.
Who is Grumman?
The question that Lord Boreal asks the alethiometer in His Dark Materials episode 4, is not any closer to being answered in episode 5. However, there is much more detail coming our way thanks to our two friends in 2019, including our conflicted buddy Thomas, who seems to find some new fun in the whole, hunting for a lost man game.
Still working from a partial sketch of a man who disappeared while on an expedition to Alaska over 13 years ago, the mystery of John Parry benefits from some more information that Thomas is able to provide to Boreal.
Although we are split between worlds in this episode, information from one story continues to build a bridge to the other. It may appear that these two stories are told in isolation with different objectives at hand. We don’t know what John Parry was looking for, we don’t quite know exactly what Asriel’s endgame is, and we definitely don’t know what Boreal wants with being in the middle of all of this.
Listening to the messages told among those speaking with Lyra will lend some useful insight into the answers that Boreal seeks and vice versa.
‘His Dark Materials’ season 1, episode 5 spoiler-free review
Whew, did this one hit a lot of emotional buttons! It’s like that scene in the Mandelorian episode 4 where Baby Yoda keeps pushing buttons. Just like the thin veil between worlds, there is a divide between the parallel stories being told in the episode as Lyra’s story unfolds on the path to Bolvanger and the other follows Boreal’s mission back in our world. Each of them is compelling in their own ways and the payoff in both is equally as rewarding.
When the series started we met Lyra, a seemingly orphaned young girl, who never had an adult that she could truly lean on for constant support. In episode 5, we get the sense that Lyra has three dads and a mom. John Faa, Fader Coram, and to my surprise, a very parental Lee Scoresby represent three sides of a fatherly triangle. On the maternal side there is Ma Costa, but also a softer Lee who picks up some of the nurturing when it comes time for Ma Costa’s attentions to be elsewhere.
There is a very funny “Go ask your other father” element of Lyra’s adventures in this episode and that takes us on a journey where Lyra and Iorek set out to find the fishing village to follow the alethiometer’s instructions. The episode muddies the series of events, but finds a way to pay homage to a few of the highlights from the book including the discussion between Iorek and Lyra about bears and what events drew Iorek away from the others.
As for Boreal’s story, let’s keep a lid on that for now, but know that in the first scene that we see him I yelled, “OF COURSE,” at a certain bit of inevitable casting that I either missed or we did not know about.
The meeting of Serafina Pekkala gives James Cosmo another avenue to elicit our affections. As shown in the trailer, the meeting between the two is solitary and allows them time to air some grievances, but also get down to the business at hand — the Gyptians are walking into a battle they know they cannot win but must try.
Through the events of this episode and undoubtably the final moments, the doubled-down resolve of this group cannot be discarded. It is time for battle and you will be ready to fight along with them.
His Dark Materials season 1, episode 5, “Lost Boy,” airs Monday, December 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.