His Dark Materials – Season 3 Episode 1 “The Enchanted Sleeper” Recap & Review

The Enchanted Sleeper

Episode 1 of His Dark Materials Season 3 starts with us being reminded that for many millennia, the Authority has ruled the Kingdom of Heaven. He named himself the Creator; the Almighty. However, this guy is a pretender, a ruler that operates with a dark angel by his side. Those who fought for truth were cast out the gate and since then, the angels have been living between worlds, watching and waiting for vengeance.

A bold leader rallying troops has now stepped forward though, and of course we know that this is Asriel. And what better time to launch a rebellion.

In the present, Will continues to try and find Lyra, who has obviously been taken by Mrs Coulter last episode. Using the Subtle Knife and the alethiometer, Will tirelessly looks for his companion but to no avail. As it turns out, Lyra has been taken to a stony refuge right by the coast, a hidden house.

Mrs Coulter encourages a deaf girl (whom we later learn is called Ama) to follow her in, where she sees Lyra asleep. Mrs Coulter reveals that she’s her daughter and tells Ama not to be afraid. She claims an enchanter has cast a spell on her and that’s why Lyra is asleep. Coulter claims Lyra needs time to wake up, and uses this girl to ward off anyone who comes near to their refuge.

Several angels show up to see Will, wanting to talk. He refuses, using the knife to cut through to another world. The angels are shocked as they watch him, realizing that he’s in possession of the knife. They follow, crossing over and pointing out he has the power to make a real difference. They want him to go and see Asriel.

Will already knows about the war but he’s too busy looking for Lyra and won’t give up the mission until that is done. Well, the angels eventually agree to help try and find her.

Asriel crash-lands and takes off to capture their man, storming a refuge with several winged creatures. His target is Commander Ogunwe, whom he wants to join his ranks. Given word has spread of Asriel’s growing rebellion and the fight he’s got with the temple, Ogunwe isn’t sure.

Asriel pleads with him to be part of this final victory, knowing the man commands a vast army. Eventually Ogunwe agrees, but of course Asriel is to follow him, not the other way round.

When Asriel arrives at the refuge, he finds a rabble of survivors, all dressed in strangely coloured camouflaged gear. Ogunwe greets his daughter warmly but is loathe to leave them to fight a bigger war, given the condition one of his girls is in. Asriel suggests he show Ogunwe the threat they pose by taking him to another world so he can see for himself how far this rabbit hole descends.

Meanwhile, Cardinal MacPhail arrives at Geneva off the back of Fra Pavel’s alethiometer, which has informed him of a prophecy. He’s worried it could plunge them into a darkness they haven’t seen. Within this, if the child is tempted by the serpent then she will likely fall. If she does, then sin and Dust will triumph. They believe Lyra is this child and will do whatever they can to take her down.

The Angels track down Lyra, pointing out she’s being held by a woman with a golden monkey. Will knows exactly who this is. The Angels claim that they need a boat to pass into the World of the Daemons.

Lyra eventually awakens to find Coulter’s golden monkey watching her suspiciously. Pan warns that Lyra won’t make it and he’s right. Coulter catches up effortlessly to a weakened Lyra, claiming that she’s protecting her from dangerous people. And with that, Lyra is drugged again and taken back to the house. However, Ama spies Coulter doing this.

Will arrives to find Iorek angry that one of his own has been imprisoned, demanding to know where she is. Will interjects and suggests fighting him in combat, showing off the might of the knife with one fell swoop. Given how impenetrable Iorek’s armour is, one quick swipe shows its deadly properties.

As a result, Iorek concedes and the townsfolk thankfully release the imprisoned bear too. As a result, Will’s force is strengthened on their quest to get Lyra back.

Meanwhile, Asriel shows Ogunwe his gateway to another world. “Welcome to the Republic of Heaven, Father.” Telling him the  real war is just beginning, as the camera pans over a vast army assembled on the cliff edge.

The Episode Review

How many establishing shots of that hidden house by the shore did we need? I think I counted about 4 or 5 across the 50 minutes there!

Beyond that little quip though, His Dark Materials returns with a solid chapter that promises plenty of action and thrills to come in the weeks ahead. Given this show has a strange release schedule, with the BBC dropping all episodes in one go next Sunday compared to the HBO releasing 2 episodes at once, the final season of this series feels a bit all over the place.

The production design is good overall here though, and it does look like the show is going to lean into a lot more of its coming war, promising lots of big, bombastic shots too. Hopefully the season can end the story on a high!

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You can read our full season review for His Dark Materials Season 3 here!


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3 thoughts on “His Dark Materials – Season 3 Episode 1 “The Enchanted Sleeper” Recap & Review”

  1. Didn’t the Season 3 started a bit…disjointed from previous seasons. Intention craft? “Fairy” soldiers? From where did all that came from?

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