With the journey to Will’s world about to begin, episode 2 of His Dark Materials Season 2 begins with Lyra getting dressed in inconspicuous clothing and Pan hiding in a rucksack.
As she heads through the portal to Will’s world, she races into the road and is immediately hit by a car. It’s only a scratch thankfully but as she gets back up and walks with Will, tellingly Boreal happens to watching from a car nearby.
An enthusiastic Lyra races up to where she believes Jordan College is situated. Only, it’s not there given in our world it hasn’t been built yet. Trying to hide her disappointment, she eventually sits with Will and asks about his mobile phone.
As a number of notifications come through, he tells her to meet at the botanical gardens at 5pm as he needs to go and see his Mum.
Lyra isn’t deterred though, she heads off and visits a museum. Finding a secluded area, she brings the alethiomter out and asks about where to find the Scholar. As the hands whir round, it tells her to look for the door with the mountain on it and not lie when she finds them; she also needs to focus on the boy and find his Father.
As she puts it away, Boreal shows up and slithers next to her. Sensing something up, Lyra lies about her name and asks about artifacts. It’s just as well, especially given how dangerous this man is, but for now he doesn’t act and lets her walk away.
The death of the Cardinal last episode sees Father Macphail acting as the head of the magisterium at this time. He dedicates himself to the great task of making their institution great again, as Mrs. Coulter watches from afar with interest.
Ruta returns to Serafina and confirms that the head of the Magisterium has been killed at her hands. As they discuss the prophecy together, Ruta tells her they need to unite the 9 clans and destroy the magisterium before it’s too late.
With the light dulling and the skies darkening, Serafina is not so sure that’s the right play. “If we can’t reach the girl (Lyra), then all hope will be lost”
Lyra meanwhile, makes it to the college and finds a scholar inside the Dark Matter Research Unit called Mary. Remembering what the alethiometer told her, she immediately launches into a conversation about dust and her world. She’s convinced that this woman is the right person to talk to but her befuddled look may prove otherwise.
Eventually they sit down to talk with a hot drink and some (unfortunately stale) biscuits. The duo discuss dark matter and dust. Mary has been studying matter and she deduces that it seems to be conscious.
This sounds very similar to Dust in Lyra’s world and now it becomes clear that dust and dark matter are one and the same. Eventually Lyra shows her the alethiometer and presents to her how it works.
Boreal returns to the magisterium and discusses the current leadership debate between Father Graves and Macphail with Mrs Coulter. Tellingly, he mentions her charming daughter and asks whether Lyra’s daemon has settled yet.
The conversation is immediately interrupted though by Dr Martin who happens to be a consult to the witches. He’s brutally honest with the ministers, telling them he’s been sent to watch them and remains calm as he talks about the witches.
Graves screams blasphemy and this eventually ends with the Doctor taken away and forced into 8 years of hard labour.
Will heads up to see his grandparents, whom he realizes exist after checking on his will. Only, he immediately senses he can’t trust them and walks away, waiting for Lyra.
Lyra meanwhile asks Mary to to open up and asks to see her computer Cave. Eventually, she agrees and hooks Lyra up to the machine. Mary is astonished as the dust particles start creating numerous symbols from the alethiometer.
Apparently she (Mary) has something important to do but before she can find out, Lyra realizes she’s late and heads up to meet Will.
Will is no happy about her tardiness though but Lyra simply shrugs it off, telling Will she’s there to find his Father. Eventually Lyra admits the truth and shows the alethiometer. Using it, she confirms that his Mother is safe but Will feels despaired, lost and untrusting of all those around him. Lyra knows all about that and lends a sympathetic ear to him.
Mrs Coulter meanwhile, speaks to Macphail and discusses the current leadership dispute. She tells him he needs to show some assertion and if he does, then he could claim control. Macphail stews over her words and eventually signs the declaration to allow airships to fly over the witches and drop hellfire.
With the ships bound for the witches, Macphail silently signs and tells his daemon that it’s a necessary sin in private. He then punishes himself for it, placing his hand above the flame and letting it burn.
Down in the dungeons, Mrs Coulter arrives to find Thorold. He mentions Asriel’s plan and soon finds out that Lyra’s gone to another world – Will’s world in fact. Thanking him for his help, she leaves purposefully with a new mission in hand.
As a montage kicks in, we get a slick dual shot of the airships dropping bombs on the witches while in the magisterium, the various ministers decide to support Macphail, especially after a damning, xenophobic speech about might and destroying witches before they “take their seed”.
On the back of all this, Coulter tells “Hugh” she’s leaving, walking out with her head held high.
The Episode Review
His Dark Materials continues to build up intrigue with its second episode, this time with Lyra discovering our world and finally opening up and trusting those around her. Both Mary and Will clearly have a role to play in this upcoming conflict but quite what remains to be seen.
This is obviously not the last we’ll see of Mary while Boreal lurking in the shadows could spell big trouble going forward. That’s before even mentioning Mrs Coulter who now knows where Lyra is and will undoubtedly hunt her down mercilessly.
The issues between the witches and the magisterium nicely interweave around this too and it’s obvious that this conflict is far from over. How will the witches react to this?
The cinematography throughout this second season has been just as good as the first while the soundtrack is easily one of the best on TV at the moment. Lorne Balfe’s score perfectly complements the tone of the series and so far this is being pretty faithful to the books – and this looks to be pretty promising for what’s to come!