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Deaths, Reunions and A Dark Ending: A Review of the ‘His Dark Materials’ Season Two Finale

Warning: This article contains spoilers of His Dark Materials season 2, episode 7

So we are finally at the end of season two of His Dark Materials! Last week’s episode left us with a whirlwind of emotions and questions including:

  • Will Lyra and Will succeed in finding Will’s father?
  • Are we going to see Lord Asriel in this season?
  • And finally, will John Parry and Scoresby escape the Magisterium’s attack?
Lin-Manuel Miranda in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

In the season two finale, we see all the characters uniting in the third world as they desperately aim to achieve their individual goals. As a whole, this episode was extremely frustrating. We watched two of our favourite characters die. The most heart-wrenching of the two was Lee Scoresby’s death. It was sad to see his death come about due to him being one of the show’s favourites. Nonetheless, the episode did well to mark his determination to protect Lyra at all costs, even if it meant his eventual death.

The frustrating elements continue as he could have been saved by Serafina if he had called out to her earlier. I thought these scenes were done beautifully, despite the negative tone. This was particularly true due to the score. Though the music in each episode has been good, I felt that in this episode the score had its own unique voice. The score told the story through its own voice, replicating the sad tones through gentle melodic instruments and the dangerous power-hungry nature of the Magisterium through a range of harsh bass notes. 

Andrew Scott in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

Speaking of frustrating moments, in one of the final scenes we see Will finally reunite with his father. This penultimate scene left us with a variation of feeling both happy that Will had finally found his father and sad for Will that John had left him and his mother alone all this time. As if that wasn’t enough, we then see John Parry being shot by a member of the magisterium as he aims to save Will. Personally, I would have loved to have learned more of John’s character. He had only just entered the show within this season and even them he wasn’t in it much! Nonetheless, this scene served well to mark the bittersweet reality of the lives that these characters live.

Moreover, there was a parallel between Lyra searching for Roger which followed with his death in season one and Will’s journey to find his father and his death in season two. As a result, it shows how much Lyra and Will have in common, but also how much their unfortunate lives will affect their determination to stop those who have done wrong to them, particularly the magisterium.

Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

Moving onto Mrs. Coulter’s character. I feel that, though this story is centered around Lyra and Will, one of the most interesting character arcs we see is Mrs. Coulter’s. In this episode and the previous, we see Mrs. Coulter’s power-thirsty nature reveal itself once more- like in season one. Arguably she is determined to get Lyra back, but in doing so, she is willing to destroy anyone in her path. In this episode particularly, Jack Thorne unravels Mrs. Coulter’s and Ozymandias’ relationship even further. Previously we have seen just how detached she really is from him. However, Thorne developed this further by showing us viewers how he is in fact scared of her. Previously, I feel there was a lack of connection between the viewers and Ozymandias due to him purely being displayed as Coulter’s puppet. However, in this episode, we see a terrified daemon that is afraid of his other half. It was definitely sad to see, especially when all the other characters are so emotionally connected and caring towards their daemons.

We further see a problematic side to Mrs. Coulter through Jamie Childs’ use of associating child-like imagery with Mrs. Coulter. This is apparent when Mrs. Coulter retrieves Lyra and in a way seems to treat her like a doll, again alluding to Mrs. Coulter’s corrupted past. I am hoping that in the following season the writers will expand more on Mrs. Coulter’s past so we can see what has made her so broken.

His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

Furthermore, I was expecting this season to have a more wholesome ending, like in season one. Unlike the first season, we did not see a big battle occur or much success. This season ended with a much darker tone than in the first season. Will was left fatherless, Lyra was captured by Mrs. Coulter, more witches were killed, Serafina was left alone dealing with the death of Lee Scoresby and Mary was left still eager to search for Lyra- though not yet successful. Despite these increasingly dark themes, we did finally see Lord Asriel! Turns out he is gathering members for what seems to be a big battle next season. The season has definitely left us with many questions for season three including:

  • Will Mary be the one to save Lyra from Mrs Coulter?
  • Will we see more of Iorek next season?
  • Will Azriel’s team succeed in defeating the corrupt Magisterium?

Featured Image via YouTube.

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