His Dark Materials – Season 3 Episode 6 “The Abyss” Recap & Review

The Abyss

Episode 6 of His Dark Materials Season 3 begins with Metatron deciding to make a big decision and take Dust away. He’s convinced that it’s corrupted everyone and as such, his retribution will be swift. This begins with Mrs Coulter, who awakens to find the spy dead and Macphail knocked out. She approaches another priest, forcing him to read the alethiometer to find out where Lyra is. “Darkness” is the reply.

Alarm bells wail as Asriel heads out of his camp and realizes that Dust signatures are fluctuating. All across the worlds, things are breaking down, with a huge chasm broken into the land. This extends out to Mary Malone, who notices the Dust being taken out of the trees and leaving this world at a more rapid pace. Of course, this has big ramifications for all species and creatures involved.

Mrs Coulter uses the Intention Craft to head over and see Asriel again. He’s completely nonchalant to her arrival, excited instead by the idea of facing Metatron. He’s also not bothered by Coulter revealing that Lyra is dead. He believes that the device he’s creating is way more important. The thing is, it’s Asriel’s meddling and taunting of Metatron that caused the bomb to go off in the first place, explaining that huge blast that struck the Land of the Dead last episode. Coulter coldly retorts that if Asriel hadn’t baited him, Coulter is convinced that Lyra would still be alive.

Asriel heads down the large chasm to find the root cause of the problem, but in doing so Queen Ruta ends up dying, her daemon pulled into the abyss. When Serafina finds out her sister is dead, she comes flying into camp and demands revenge. She still senses her near, with Asriel pointing out that this abyss is sucking in all the Dust and has spread across all worlds. Asriel convinces her to join them in getting her vengeance, pointing out that Metatron is the one that she should really be going after.

However, Lyra is miraculously still alive. Roger is the one who finds her first, shaking her awake and forcing her to move. Will is still alive too, as they try to comprehend what has just happened. With the place crumbling around them, Lee Scorseby leads them up through the dark tunnels, where Lyra takes over at the front of the pack. The Dust down in the abyss has an entrancing effect, but Lyra and the others continue on, with he Harpies flying and watching them all the while.

Lee Scorseby overhears Lyra and Will talking, having previously spoken to John Parry, and reveals that he knows where Will’s father is. He believes he has a way of summoning him and hurries off further back down the path.

Meanwhile, Asriel visits Iorek who’s angry and wants to kill him for destroying the worlds and starving the bears. Asriel learns where Lyra really is through him, as a wave of relief washes over him as he realizes that Lyra is in the Land of the Dead and the Everlasting Prison, meaning she’s still alive. He begins chuckling incredulously, realizing that she’s staging a prison break.

Lyra loses control and ends up tumbling off a steep cliff face toward the Abyss below. Thankfully, one of the Harpies jumps in and manages to save her at the last second. Lyra decides to give this Harpy a gift – a name. She calls it Gracious Wings and learns that the stories are what seem to be feeding the Harpies, more so than lies and deceit which was previously sustaining them. In exchange for all the prisoners telling stories, the Harpies – led by Gracious Wings – allow them to leave.

Asriel returns to a grief-stricken Coulter and reveals that Lyra is still alive and she’s in the Land of the Dead, enacting her prison escape. She chuckles incredulously when the truth is revealed, as Coulter realizes that the witches’ prophecy – the one about Lyra defeating death – rings true.

Down in the Land of the Dead, Will ends up reunited with his father once more, where he speaks to Jopari about his destiny and what he needs to do when all of this is done. He needs to go back to his own world and return to his mother. With Will’s focus now on the task at hand, he manages to use the knife and cut through to a beautiful world beyond. Paradise. Once the dead pass through, they’ll be reconnected with everything but they’ll be free too. “When you go back to Jordan, return to the roof for me.” Roger tells Lyra, before passing through to the other side.

After a beautiful moment with Coulter and her golden monkey, the former apologizing and pointing out that the monkey has always been the stronger one, Asriel and Mrs Coulter are taken aback when Xaphania’s voice booms through camp. The ethereal image of the Angel shows up and points out that Will and Lyra have been successful and Metatron’s purgatory has been destroyed. As such, he’s going to come at them with everything they have.

The Episode Review

An emotionally charged episode sees Lyra and Wil fulfil their side of the prophecy but also say goodbye to their friends along the way, as they’re finally freed from their purgatory. The reunion with Roger and Lee Scorseby is certainly one of the stand-out moments from this season, but so too has been Mrs Coulter’s journey.

From villain to hero(ish!), her character arc across the past 3 seasons has been really well handled and shows that some people can be redeemed for their actions. His Dark Materials has captured that really well, along with depicting that Asriel may have a hard shell but if the encounter with Iorek and Serafina are anything to go by, he does actually care for Lyra, even if he doesn’t show it.

The final fight is upon us now and if Xaphania’s warning is anything to go by, it should be quite the dramatic affair. Whilst it’s agony for those in the US, given HBO are releasing this one with two episodes at a time, for those reading this from the UK, head over to BBC iPlayer where all episodes are now available!

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


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1 thought on “His Dark Materials – Season 3 Episode 6 “The Abyss” Recap & Review”

  1. It’s funny to me how people are so quick to forgive TV/Movie characters, but not the people in their own lives.
    That said, I still view Lyra’s parents as evil, even if the “lesser of”. They are far from redemption in my eyes.
    I am hoping they sacrifice themselves at some point; they sure as hell don’t deserve to be parents!
    They’ll have to spend some centuries as harpies first, then maybe they can be saved after embracing enough positive stories from the guests of New Purgatory.

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