Yesterday saw the premiere of His Dark Materials season 2 on the BBC. With a renewed lock-down due to Covid-19 it is good to see a favorite show return. Last year BBC One and HBO wowed with the adaptation of Philip Pullman‘s novel series, published in the 90s. I have not read any of his material and I must admit that much of what happened in the first season was forgotten. Yet, I thoroughly this episode – entitled The City of Magpies. The show has cast an ensemble of actors such as James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, James Cosmo and Lin-Manuel Miranda. However the most important characters are Lyra (played by Dafne Keen) and Will (Amir Wilson). Lyra and Will come from alternate worlds. Will’s is much like our own while in Lyra’s people are connected with daemons. Daemons are an extension of the soul and can talk).
In season 1 Lyra sets off on a quest to find her father, Lord Asriel, whose research near the North Pole into magic and the multiverse is forbidden by the Magisterium. She is pursued by Marisa Coulter in an effort to stop Lord Asriel. She also pursue her own interests in the origin of sin. The nature of sin, magic and adulthood are considered connected in this world. By the end of the season Lyra discovers her father’s obsession has come at the cost of her friend Roger. Asriel has managed to open a portal into the multiverse and sets off to explore. Lyra and her Daemon Pan pursue him. Will, in his world, flees through the portal. And so, ends season 1. In this episode Lyra explores the mysterious world she finds. Quickly she stumbles upon the mysterious Cittàgazze, also known as the City of Magpies.
New worlds of His Dark Materials
As I mentioned with all of the twists and turns of the first season one can easily be forgiven for forgetting some of the details. Cittàgazze embodies that. Neither Lyra and Will understand much about this city, but set off to explore it together. For the viewer this is the first time the story of Will starts to pay off as he connects with Lyra. Their banter and bonding makes this episode work for me. The city did give me flashbacks to Lost, with psycho children and some of sort of spectral monster. Its nature is not illuminated by the end of the episode, but that is fine. Meanwhile in Lyra’s world people are busy trying to find her and uncover what Lord Asriel has done. Marisa has to contend with the Magisterium, but manages to placate its officials. Though Father MacPhail (Will Keen, Dafne’s father) is less easily placated.
After some arduous torturing of a witch Marisa uncovers more of what Asriel uncovered about magic and what they call dust. What she intends to with this knowledge is uncertain, but she quickly forms and alliance with Father MacPhail to affect his rise in the Magisterium. The witch she tortured is rescued by her fellow witches signaling the start of a war between these factions. Aeronaut Lee Scoresby has his own plans to help Lyra, but for now forms a friendship with the witches to affect that goal. And so, the second season is set in motion. Lord Asriel (played by James McAvoy) played no role in episode but I think before long Lyra and Will will be capable of confronting him. No doubt at roughly the same time that Lyra’s mother Marisa also will.
A good intro to the story
With the numerous plot threats His Dark Materials can become frustrating to watch if something is not clear. That reveals the show’s literary origin. With Lyra and Will exploring the mysteriously abandoned City of Magpies there is time to catch up with the story. The two quickly exchange banter on the various differences between their worlds. This allows new viewers to understand more of the background of Lyra’s world. Overall, His Dark Materials remains hard-hitting while the drama is not overdone such as with Star Trek Discovery. For those keen on seeing something new now that the days are getting noticeably shorter I will recommend His Dark Materials. The depth of the story and the wonderful cast and special effects makes this a delight to view. Top Entertainment!