Some long anticipated characters make their appearance in the fourth installment of His Dark Materials. Titled ‘Armour’, fans of the series can finally witness the debut of the Iorek Byrnison, the armoured polar bear. In addition to armoured bears, Lin-Manuel Miranda also stars in this week’s episode as Lee Scoresby in a show stealing performance. After the last few weeks of information overload and pieces of the puzzle slowly coming together, ‘Armour’ brings in some action and some truly crowd-pleasing moments.
Written by Jack Thorne, this week’s episode revolves around Lyra and the Gyptians procuring more allies in the quest for the missing children. This week’s episode also feel like its finding its pace and lets characters be more than their mission. While the show is still doing some wheel spinning as plans come together, a fun script has emerged revealing more of Lyra’s mischievous and clever side. Lyra’s character is allowed to be cunning and crafty as she begins to assert herself and feel more confident about her alliances. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s character of Lee Scoresby and his daemon Hester, voiced by Cristela Alonzo are charming additions who add some light-heartedness to a show that has so far kept a somber tone since its focus has mainly centered around the grief over the lost children.
Special effects and direction work together to create some impressive shots of Iorek Byrnison. The massive polar bear looks imposing as well as impressive when he is introduced and later when he springs into action. Otto Bathurst’s direction in ‘Armour’ also features some interesting camera work during Lee Scoreby’s introduction in the sky and a full on bar fight in the town. Also, the visuals of the Northern Lights as a background create an alluring effect during night scenes.
This series has no shortage of amazing performances. While Ruth Wilson is not prominently featured in this episode, her character of Mrs. Coulter still menaces in what little screen time she has. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Cristela Alonzo are an entertaining addition to the series and this week’s standout performances. Lee Scoresby and his frustrated daemon Hester are introduced in their air balloon singing their way onto the screen and later fighting their way out of trouble. These characters add some comedy and action to the episode.
Harry Potter fans will recognize a cameo by Harry Melling who played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter series. Melling gives a great performance as unlikable man who stands as an obstacle to some of the characters. His no-nonsense smugness is wonderful and greatly contributes to the fun of the episode.
Overall, ‘Armour’ is the most entertaining episode of His Dark Materials so far. Fueled by action, great performances, and character development, ‘Armour’ is a refreshing episode. The story has been coming together for the past few weeks and it finally feels like it’s underway. This shift in tone and enrichment to the characters adds anticipation for what is to come.
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