In the final episode of HBO & the BBC’s first season of His Dark Materials, “Betrayal,” Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Pantalaimon (voice of Kit Connor) suffer a tremendous loss and begin a new adventure. 

RELATED: Missed last week’s episode? Catch our recap here! 

Lyra, uninvited guest in her reluctant father’s remote laboratory, is determined to have a bonding moment with the man. She has come all this way to free him and give him back his alethiometer, and he is being rude and weird. As Roger (Lewin Lloyd) observes, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) looked at Lyra with anger when they arrived… and at him with something more like hunger. 

The Magisterium knows that Iorek Byrnison (voice of Joe Tandberg) is now king of the Bears, and accordingly they are on their way to the now-free Asriel’s lab to kill him. Asriel is aware of their likely proximity, so he listens when his dæmon, Stelmaria (voice of Helen McCrory) points out that his research and the imminent threat posed by the Magisterium… as well as the presence of the child… mean that it’s time to act. 

Asriel spends enough time with Lyra to refuse the alethiometer and learn a smidge about how the Panserbjørne became her personal escorts. She tells him about the empty children her mother had separated from their dæmons and how her mother stopped the doctors from cutting her and Pan. 

Later, it’s Asriel’s intention to sneak away in the night, but Thorold (Gary Lewis) convinces him to say goodbye to his daughter first. He wakes her and has a conversation with her about Dust, revealing that the Magisterium believes it to be the material embodiment of original sin, but that he thinks it’s something else. He has a plan to visit the city in the sky and find out what Dust is. 

He leaves her, telling her that she isn’t nothing, that she was produced by something extraordinary, and she falls asleep. 

She wakes to Thorold telling her they need to leave immediately because the Magisterium is arriving, and she discovers that Roger is gone. It takes her mere moments to figure out that Asriel has taken him, and she calls Iorek to help her. The Bears come running, and they take her in the direction Asriel appears to have gone. 

Unfortunately, their party is delayed by the arrival of Magisterium airships, which begin shooting at them. Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) is with them, definitely unaware that her daughter is taking cover with the Bears in the snowy rocks below. Finally, Iorek and Lyra escape the battle and continue. 

They reach a narrow land bridge that Iorek is too heavy to cross and bid each other farewell. Then Lyra and Pan climb the rest of the mountain alone.

Near the peak, she is exhausted and has Pan transform into a bird and fly up to see how close they are to her father and Roger. This is when Lyra and Pan discover that Asriel has a cage like the ones in the Station and that Roger and his dæmon, Salcilia (voice of Eloise Little), are each locked in one. 

Lyra scrambles to the top as quickly as she can while Roger desperately calls for her. He’s been a total innocent the whole episode, despite his experiences at the station. He’s so grateful for Lyra’s friendship and influence on him, and he willingly follows Asriel up the mountain, believing that Lyra and Thorold will be catching up soon. When Asriel completes the connection on his severing machine, the blast of energy produced by cutting Roger from Salcilia is so intense that it throws Lyra and Pan away and knocks them unconscious… and it kills Roger. 

Asriel’s act has been in the name of science and war. Cutting Roger produces the energy necessary to open a gateway to the other worlds visible through the Northern Lights. 

After the skirmish with the Bears, Mrs. Coulter searches Asriel’s lab and understands what his research implies. She follows him up the mountain quickly enough to be there just after he opens the gateway. 

Asriel invites her to join him, kissing her with the passion of a man on a mission. It is here that he reveals that his war is with God, the “Authority,” and that he’s just killed the Magisterium by opening this gate and proving that Dust is not sin. Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel’s dæmons nuzzle as they talk and kiss.

Although she is tempted by his offer, and by him, Mrs. Coulter says that since their daughter is in this world, she must stay there also. They part in as friendly a manner as they’re capable, and Asriel walks into the light of the inter-dimensional gateway.

Lyra wakes up before Mrs. Coulter is gone and hides from her. When the coast is clear, she goes to Roger and finds him dead. She cradles him, feeling responsible for what has happened to him.

Pan convinces her that she needs to follow Asriel into the unknown and stop him from succeeding, giving value to Roger’s sacrifice. She hesitates, because if they leave their world they will be truly alone, but Pan points out that aside from Roger they always have been. She takes Pan in her arms and steps into the light. 

Meanwhile, on our world, Carlo Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) gives his disappointing henchman one last job: to find Will (Amir Wilson). Boreal has finally gotten an answer from the Magisterium’s alethiometer about what Will’s father found. It has told him cryptically that Will will lead him to it. It turns out that henchman “The Pale-Faced Man” (Jamie Wilkes) is a police detective, so he uses his resources to put out an APB on Will. 

Will, who still has his father’s letters and hasn’t returned to his mother, is wandering about Oxford when he notices police officers noticing him. He hides out in a particular gated garden, then impulsively follows a cat into a fenced-off area. Inside, he discovers the door between worlds that Boreal has been using, and, without much thinking, he steps through it.

RELATED: Catch all of our His Dark Materials Season 1 Recaps here!

Now that the season is over, what did you think? Was this a faithful enough adaptation? How do you feel about the cliffhanger ending?



Leona Laurie