In Review: His Dark Materials (S2-E2) The Cave

Lyra crosses into Will's world and finds it to be very different from her own.
Dark Materials

Synopsis: Lyra crosses into Will’s world and finds it to be very different from her own. After encountering the enigmatic Charles Latrom (Ariyon Bakare), the pair seek out a scholar to help them get answers about Dust. Meanwhile, a calculating Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) pushes MacPhail (Will Keen) to act, after Graves’s (Sean Gilder) strong performance during the interrogation.

 

Story

Picking up the story from last week’s ‘His Dark Materials. Lyra and Will journey to Will’s world. There they split up with Lyra visiting a museum and Will attempting to track down his father. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter continues manipulating the Magisterium. This week’s episode did another stellar job of juggling numerous characters and viewpoints well. We see Serafina Pekkala and Ruta Skadi argue over what course of action to take, and the condemnation of the witches’ ambassador to the Magisterium. Additionally, Lyra meets a physicist named Mary Malone (Simone Kirby). A fascinating conversation unfolds between Mary and Lyra and we learn that Dust is what we know as dark matter. Furthermore, Will attempts to help his mother financially but ends up visiting his paternal grandparents, who nearly turn him over to the police. Will has an intense conversation with Lyra during which he lambasts her for her irresponsibility. This leads to Lyra revealing the aleitheometer to Will. Macphail is elected to the rank of Cardinal, and the Magisterium wages war on the witches. This episode ends with Mrs. Coulter declaring her intent to search for Lyra and leaving Cardinal MacPhail to his new position.

 

Acting 

The dynamic between Lyra and Will is really fun to watch. I’m really loving Dafne Keen’s hot blooded and immature Lyra contrasted with Amir Wilson’s cool headed and rational Will. Wilson shows Will’s anger really believably when Lyra asks about his father. Keen steps up her acting game this week in her scenes with Simone Kirby, showing us a hurting Lyra who misses her childhood friend. Kirby plays the role of everywoman well and sells Mary Malone’s shock at the aleithiometer brilliantly. Ruth Wilson continues to impress as Marisa Coulter, showing Coulter’s restraint and distress at Thorold’s news of Lyra masterfully. Ruta Gedmintas and Jade Anouka get a great tense scene in this episode which both actors impress in. Will Keen shows his ability to convey many emotions this week and Omid Djalili portrays Dr. Lanselius’s comportment in the face of the Magisterium’s hypocrisy to good effect.

 

CGI

The CGI was brilliant. The Magisterium bombs that destroyed the witches’ home were beautiful. They really sold the terror and power that that organisation wields. The daemons are still excellent. The CGI used is however ever so slightly noticeable. The Dust/dark matter communicating through Mary Malone’s computer was hypnotic. It really made the scene it was used in.

 

Incidental Music

There is so much to love about the incidental music in His Dark Materials. The theme used when Lyra crosses into Will’s world is so secretive and adventurous and really takes us on a journey. Likewise, the theme when Lyra is exploring the museum really captures the adventurousness of being young in a strange new world. The music used in the solicitor scene really brought home what Will was feeling. Also when Lyra was manipulating the computer the music let us feel how significant these events are shaping up to be. Interestingly I thought the use of no theme music during Cardinal MacPhail’s penultimate scene was equally effective and showed us the inhumanity and deadness of the Magisterium’s men. The mournful overture when the Magisterium’s soldiers were loading the bombs was brilliant, especially interspersed with the scenes of MacPhail being anointed Cardinal.

 

Overall

Another strong outing for what is shaping up to be a brilliant series.

8.9
  • Story
    8.5
  • Acting
    8.5
  • CGI
    8.5
  • Incidental Music
    10

I'm a writer on the autistic spectrum who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
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