Dr. Mary Malone follows the Zalif (singular of Mulefa), called Atal, towards the rest of its herd. She is enraptured by the trees and the landscape. Dr. Malone goes over her notes, recounts what the Angels told her about her “role as the ‘serpent’,” and teaches herself the Mulefa’s language. However, Dr. Malone cannot grasp what “Sraf” is and why it’s so important to the Mulefa. Yet, the Mulefa believes she can help them with it, all she has to do is figure out how to “see it.”
As Dr. Malone continues with her research of the world she is in currently, she finds disks of “amber” in the water. The curiosity of her scientific mind leads Dr. Malone searching for a disk large enough to be used as a lens, and she rubs some of the seed oil onto it. Dr. Malone realizes what “Sraf” is and why the Mulefa need her help.
During this time, Lyra and Will continue their trek to the Land of the Dead with the Ferryman, who warns them “time does its own thing down here.” They talk about their daemons. That’s right, Will feels a pain similar to Lyra’s. Will wonders whether or not his daemon is with Pantaliamon back at the shore. The Ferryman drops Lyra and Will off at the shore of the Land of the Dead and he tells them that their daemons will NOT be where they left them.
The Dead comes to Will and Lyra. They realize they are still alive, and they tell them to leave, and warn them about the “creatures” who reside there. The Dead ask Will and Lyra, “which worlds they come from.” It turns out Lyra is speaking to some of the children from her world. They continue their search for Roger Parslow, and Lyra and Will learn more about the sort of place the Land of the Dead really is: Purgatory.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter, and her daemon, are imprisoned by Cardinal MacPhail and the Magisterium. Lord Roke, the Gallivespian spy, scouts the prison and the lab. They form a plan to save themselves, and Lyra. Mrs. Coulter’s intercission technology has been remade into a bomb, literally. Mrs. Coulter pleads with Dr. Cooper to reconsider her actions before it’s too late. The Cardinal believes the bomb will “eradicate sin.” Once again, Mrs. Coulter must fight her own technology/invention in order to save her daughter.
Cardinal MacPhail is starting to overreach his boundaries as the Head of the Magisterium to the point where he becomes delusional with power. When Father Gomez tries to remind him of their actual purpose and the Cardinal puts Father Gomez in his place. Father Gomez understands his “mistake” and he offers Cardinal MacPhail a way to atone for his “error.”
After searching for who knows how long, Lyra finds Roger. Lyra apologizes to Roger for what happened to him, but Roger reminds Lyra that he made his choices. Something Lyra hadn’t consider is that if the Dead were to leave this world, then no one knows what happens to them afterwards. Unfortunately, Will cannot cut a doorway out of the Land of the Dead. Lyra and Will suddenly understand the true pain the Dead are dealing with, and Lyra comforts Roger with stories of the fun they used to have as children in Jordan. The Dead are not the only ones who are listening to their stories.
Lyra and Will speak to the Dead that have gathered around them. They announce their intentions to free them. Some of them hesitate at the idea of leaving because they don’t know what will happen to them; at the same time, the Dead agree that this “Afterlife” is a prison camp.
There were a few “major” changes from the book that were made for this episode; yet, it works well within this episode in order to demonstrate the lengths ALL of the characters are willing to go in order to accomplish their goals: true, nefarious, and heroic. Overall, this was an amazing episode where we’re starting to reach the end of the storylines and the plots of the protagonists and the main characters. Not to mention, it seems the Final Battle will occur soon due to actions of “a powerful being.”
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10.