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The Fall of the Magisterium: A Review of ‘His Dark Materials’ Season Two Episode Six

Warning: This article contains spoilers of His Dark Materials season two, episode six.

Will Mary be safe in the third world, despite the soul-taking Spectres? Will Mrs. Coulter find Lyra? And Will Lyra and Will find Will’s father now they have the alithiometer back? Last week’s episode left us with numerous questions, but will they all be answered in this episode?

In this week’s episode, Lyra and Will are found by the witches who offer to help them find Will’s father. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter and Boreal venture into the third world in a quest to find Lyra. I must say this episode was one of my favourites due to the amount of action and psychological aspects of each character!

First and foremost, I quite liked how the episode began straight away with a tense and action-filled scene. Due to Paola and Angelica’s brother’s soul being taken by the Spectres, they are keen to get revenge on Will and Lyra. In doing so, they team up with the other children in a savage chase to kill Lyra and Will. This scene reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies, particularly due to there being an adult-free island where children savagely try to overpower each other. This tense moment was quickly put to ease as Serafina came to Lyra’s rescue. It is quite amusing to see how these two characters haven’t met until now, yet they know so much of each other.

Lin-Manuel Miranda in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

Moving on, this episode was definitely aesthetically pleasing to watch. Firstly, the episode was filled with a beautiful dark blue colour palette. The palette contrasted the usual bright colours that have been used to accompany the third world. This transition served well to mark the darker themes of isolation and loss within each character. Furthermore, I must say that this show does extremely well with it’s CGI. For example, in most episodes, the characters are accompanied by their Daemons and the show does well to make them look as realistic as possible. Specifically in this episode, we were given an even more detailed insight into what the Spectres look like.

Moreover, this episode’s close attention to the Spectres also allowed us to learn more about Mrs. Coulter’s character. Mary is strangely unable to see the Spectres and is unaffected by them. However, with Mrs. Coulter and Boreal, the Spectres are keen to target them. Nonetheless, Mrs. Coulter somehow manages to tame the Spectres and uses them to her power. The most shocking scene within this episode was where she uses the Spectres to ruthlessly kill Boreal, purely due to thinking he will be in her way. Again, this scene does well to highlight Mrs. Coulter’s disturbing manner that is clearly a result of her past traumas. Unfortunately, it shows how she isn’t becoming better as we may have hoped and that there is a lot more to be solved if she is ever to become a better character.

Will Keen in His Dark Materials (2019). Image via YouTube.

Onto music. I must say there was quite a contrast in the use of sound within this episode. Throughout the episode, there was mainly an absence of score which really worked in making the scenes uncomfortable, but also more realistic. However, within this episode, I found that the score really aided in adding to the dramatic and tense tones throughout the episode. For example, Steffen Thum used a lot of bass instruments in the scenes involving the Magisterium. Within this episode, we see the Magisterium learn that Lyra is a threat to their power, resulting in them wanting to rid of Lyra. Therefore, this use of bass within the score served well to echo the dark and threatening manner that the Magisterium imposes on Lyra and Will’s fate.

Overall, this episode was very enjoyable to watch, perhaps due to the increased use of action with scenes and between characters.  The episode ended with John Parry and Scoresby making it to the third world and running away from the Magisterium. I loved how there was a cyclical nature to this episode in which it started and ended on an intense scene. This episode left so many questions for the finale including:

  • Will John Parry and Scoresby escape the Magisterium?
  • Are Lyra, Will and the Witches going to find Will’s father?
  • Will we see Lord Asriel this season?

Featured Image via YouTube.

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