Even though it has been years since I have seen The Golden Compass, I still remember some things about it.
One of those was Billy Costa being separated from his Daemon but surviving.
So, imagine my surprise when this episode of His Dark Materials, “The Lost Boy” adapted this scene, only to kill Billy off because of him being separated from Ratter.
Apparently, this is also different from the books, where it is not Billy but another character who dies.
Such a change makes the show way darker than the film by a wide margin.
Directed again by Otto Bathurst, “The Lost Boy” had many surprises in store for me like the introduction of the young Will Parry (Amir Wilson).
He comes from our world but it is stated in narration that his fate is intertwined with Lyra’s.
But, given that his father John Parry has been to the Daemon world and Boreal is watching Will and his mother, it is clear how Will will be brought into the world of Daemons.
On top of this, Will is a sympathetic character, with him having to deal with his mother Elaine’s (Nina Sosanya) mental illness on a regular basis.
However, she is clearly not as mentally ill as he thinks she is, because she does seem to know quite a bit about her husband’s life, although she hides this.
Boreal is on her and Will’s trail, though, and he has already inserted himself into their situation so I suspect this will not end well for Elaine.
As for the events in the Daemon world, the buildup to Billy’s discovery is done well, with plenty of character payoff.
I especially liked the character growth of John Faa (Lucian Msmati) who has learned to trust Lyra and her alethiometer since the events of “Armour.”
We also get another emotional scene with Farder Coram as he reunites with his old lover, the witch Serafina Pekkala (Ruta Gedmintas).
Then there is Lyra’s growing bonds with Iorek and Lee who are just as great as they were in the previous episode.
The discovery and death of Billy Costa is sad and well executed, even if it is a deviation from the original novel.
The episode ends on a great cliffhanger, with Lyra being kidnapped by the Gobblers and taken to Bolvanger, where they plan to separate her from Pan permanently.
And it is because of Billy’s death that this cliffhanger works so well because his demise sets up a significant threat level for Lyra, causing many viewers, who do not know how things will turn out, to fear for her safety.
Overall, “The Lost Boy” is a solid episode of His Dark Materials.
While not as good as the previous episode “Armour” it sets up a number of plot points that should led to some great scenes in the future.