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His Dark Materials season two episode one review: a pitch-perfect start to The Subtle Knife 

Lyra and Will meet in the second instalment of the popular show 

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Fans have been waiting a long time for an adaptation of The Subtle KnifePhilip Pullman's beloved second novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy was published in 1997, so just how does the first episode of the long-awaited BBC series compare to expectations? Take a look at our review of season two episode one here... 

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In case you need a reminder, season one of His Dark Materials concluded with Lord Asriel (James McAvoy being devilishly ruthless in some great knitwear) killing Lyra's best friend Roger in order to create enough energy to open a bridge to another world, which he then crosses with Lyra and Pan in close pursuit, determined to find out the truth about the all-important Dust. 

WATCH: Will and Lyra are in a strange new world in His Dark Materials trailer

While grieving for the loss of Roger - and the episode does a wonderful job of conveying a new sadness to the character - Lyra finally bumps into Will in the city of Cittàgazze, an incredibly realised set that is just different enough from both Will and Lyra's worlds for there to be a keen feeling of displacement, and a logic that the pair, despite being from different worlds, should stick together.

dark materials lyra© Photo: BBC

Will and Lyra finally meet in season two

Their instant friendship - portrayed perfectly by Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson - will put a guaranteed smile on any book fan's face. As will Will's first encounter with Pantalaimon. 

Meanwhile, in Lyra's world, Mrs Coulter is dealing with the aftermath of Lord Asriel's escape to a new world, as the Magisterium grows ever more furious to curb the ongoing threat to their authority. Needless to say, Ruth Wilson is as blazingly brilliant as ever. 

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hdm ruth wilson© Photo: BBC

Ruth Wilson returns as Mrs Coulter

While season one leapt straight into the action, you won't find the same here. The episode has to deal with the fall out of season one's explosive finale, which means plenty of time is spent establishing where each character is at, and setting future storylines in motion.

magisterium© Photo: BBC

The Magisterium is angrier than ever in season two

Thankfully, the sumptuous design of the worlds - from the terrifying inner walls of the Magisterium to the eerie, abandoned city of Cittàgazze - and the strength of the stellar cast, makes the show as compelling as its predecessor, and it is impossible to look away lest you miss any detail. 

To sum up, it was a promising start to the next step of Lyra and Will's journey - and we can't wait to see where it will go next.

His Dark Materials season two starts on BBC One on Sunday 8 November

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