The Intention Craft
Episode 3 of His Dark Materials season 3 begins with Lyra awakening in the deserted world they traveled to last chapter. Will and Pan are there to of course, and together they try to make sense of Lyra’s visions, which include Roger calling for her. At the same time though, Father MacPhail makes plans to have Lyra killed by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, Asriel arrives to see Mrs Coulter and her monkey, who are both tied up. He takes them out of the shipping container they’re in and to his tent. Coulter immediately mentions how Lyra could well be the next Eve but he shrugs it off, refusing to believe this is true. The thing is, Asriel is the only one who can save her right now, but he’s confident that this will happen naturally without his intervention. Asriel promises that Lyra is safe and he has his best people on it to make it so. That being, of course, the tiny Angel from before. Will leaves the broken knife pieces with her while speaking to Lyra in confidence. He hands over the alethiometer, and apologizes for leaving her.
Lyra believes she needs to go the Land of the Dead, and to visit Roger and try to save him. She also believes they can fix the knife with Iorek’s help, which is their first port of call. Our tiny Angel friend, Salmakia, overhears and questions Will, but Lyra convinces her to lie, claiming that it was Mrs Coulter, not Will, that broke the knife.
The Angel reluctantly leaves, right as Mrs Coulter is put on trial for her actions as an agent of the Magisterium. She brings up her past, including experimenting on children and also killing witches. But even through all of that – along with self-proclaiming to being the worst mother possible – she justifies her actions by claiming she saved Lyra from the Board and kept her alive all this time. She has no question that the Magisterium are going to kill her. She pleads with Asriel and Ruta to keep Lyra alive, confessing that she truly does love the child. If he does this, then she’ll comply and work with them.
Coulter’s compassionate plea is enough for them to honour her word and work with the woman after all. Asriel warns though that if she tries to leave then she’ll be killed. Coulter brings up Will but covers for him, refusing to mention the knife he wields.
Salmakia plays along with Will’s idea and reveals to Asriel and the others that the knife has been broken. Believing Coulter has lied, Asriel immediately confronts her and she points out that she’s not honest, just like he’s not honest either. As a result of this, Asriel decides to throw her back in the cell she came from. When he brings up that he’s no longer protecting Lyra, Coulter is not happy. He eventually comes around and shows her his Angel prisoner.
Alarbos is tortured as Asriel demands he give his message to Metatron, which is simply: “I am here.” And with that, he turns the creature into Dust. Coulter has heard enough and after seeing how maniacal Asriel has become, steals his Intention Craft and decides to leave. “Goodbye, Asriel.” And with that, she disappears, heading off to help Lyra.
Will and Lyra head through the window and find themselves back at the secluded cabin Coulter brought her to. Iorek is still there and he warns of the dangers using this knife to cut through to the Land of the Dead. He brings up that the knife has been broken because Will was divided in what to do. Now that he’s more focused, Iorek guides Will to forge the blade anew. Lyra is told to stay back as Will attempts to look deep inside himself and find what really matters. And it works! The blade is re-forged as it was, just as Will passes out.
With Iorek’s deed done, he bids farewell to Lyra and Will, hoping to meet them again one day. When the great Bear leaves, Balthamos shows up again and greets them, claiming to have been watching over them all this time.
With the blade forged, Lyra helps Will with opening the portal and they arrive at their destination. Pan is worried, believing this strange world is not safe, but Lyra and Will decide to press on all the same.
The Episode Review
The final fight is approaching and when it arrives, it should be one heck of a showdown. Lyra and Will are right in the thick of this but there are still characters here that don’t really have much of a bearing on the story. What is Mary’s part to play in this I wonder? Of course, book readers will be able to answer that but in terms of the story, she gets about 2 minutes of run-time and it’s simply to leave and go walkabouts.
Meanwhile, Coulter decides to leave and protect Lyra, while Asriel continues his mission. but in doing so, he’s clearly lost sight of what really matters here and is consumed by power. This journey into the Land of the Dead could provide some crucial clues… or it could well be their downfall. We’ll have to wait and see!