Mrs. Coulter reaps what she sowed on her dark materials

Picture: Chris Baker/HBO

No offense to Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson or even James McAvoy, but Ruth Wilson has always been Its dark materials biggest star. Its icy, enigmatic villain Mrs. Coulter serves as the linchpin of tonight’s two episodes, as she’s forced to take stock of her past actions…and what they might cost her in the future.

Of ‘The Intention Craft’ and ‘Lyra and Her Death’, I think the first is the strongest episode on TV, but maybe that’s just because it featured the long-awaited reunion between the parents of Lyra; Lord Asriel has in fact captured his former lover and brought her back as a prisoner to his war camp. All of the scenes that Wilson and McAvoy have together are great. Their characters both have blood on their hands, they’ve both failed Lyra in multiple ways, and they’ll always do whatever it takes to achieve their goals, which for Coulter is Lyra’s protection. When Asriel reluctantly admits he has a spy watching the girl, Coulter genuinely sighs in relief, only to have Asriel taunt her about how her priorities have changed.

Their second encounter occurs when Coulter is dragged before Asriel’s Council of War, which consists of Asriel, General Ogunwe, Roke the Spy, and Witch Queen Ruta Skadi. Asriel doesn’t trust Coulter but thinks she might be useful to their cause. Coulter is perfectly at home in a room of people who (think they) have their lives in their hands, and Asriel looks genuinely amused watching her work with the crowd. But, as with Will last week, Coulter opts for honesty – she confesses to her many crimes and how disgusted she was with Lyra, an illegitimate child of the man who murdered her husband. But when Lyra came back into her life, she risked everything to save her from the Magisterium’s Oblation Board and the Demon Knife, the two things Coulter had helped create. Now that the Magisterium believes that Lyra is Eve, they will do everything in their power to kill her. Asriel and his forces are Lyra’s best chance of safety, so Coulter promises to do everything in his power to help them.

Photo: Simon Ridgway/HBO

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Only the last part is the lie. Protecting Lyra is her only goal and although she may need to be an ally now, there is always a chance for a mother to do better. So when Asriel asks him about Will, Lyra’s friend, and his knife, his answer is: what knife?

Meanwhile, in the barren world they escaped to last week, Lyra and Will finally have a chance to catch up. Will recounts his father’s death and instructions to join Asriel, then how the Subtle Knife broke; Lyra realizes that they can jump through the portal to return home to the edge of the cliff and let Iorek reforge it for them. Oh, and the ghost of his dead friend Roger has asked for help in his dreams, so instead of seeing his murderous father, they’ll first go to the land of the dead and see what happens first. A major disagreement ensues.

Eventually, Asriel’s spy realizes that the dagger is broken and he has been lied to, and Lyra realizes (although she certainly suspects it) that Asriel’s true interest is in the knife and its carrier. Lyra tells the spy to return to his camp; they will repair the knife and join Asriel when the time comes. The only other alternative is for Will to close the only known portal and they are all stuck forever, so the very bitter fairy leaves, and once the pair return to Lyra’s world, Iorek reluctantly fixes the knife.

Image: Courtesy of HBO

This is how Asriel learns that not only did Coulter know about the knife, but that she also broke it. Furious that he has already been lied to, he catches up with her at the hangar where he keeps the Intention Craft, the world shuttle seen last week. Mutual animosity spreads between them, but here Asriel has the upper hand – since the knife is broken, he tells Coulter he’s taken Lyra’s security detail. The scene is fascinating and a bit difficult to watch, because the hatred Asriel spews on Coulter is never for Lyra. He only mentions Lyra to tell his former lover how pathetic she is for caring about her. Coulter spits in his face and Asriel says a very disturbing line in a very disturbing way: “Why can’t you be who I want you to be?” »

As Asriel slowly backs away, he tells her that the Authority isn’t a creator and that he isn’t even technically in charge anymore – instead, his regent Metatron rules in his stead. “All the hideous things you did in his name, and it was a lie!” he told her, almost tenderly. When Mrs. Coulter refuses to believe it, Asriel drags her to the angel he captured last week so he can enthusiastically murder her, as if you need more reminders than the man leading. the fight to free all worlds from tyranny and slavery is by no means a hero. Admittedly, Mrs. Coulter has seen enough – she sneaks away while Asriel cackles, enters the Intention Craft and returns to her world and the Magisterium, just as Will uses the reforged knife to open a portal to the Land of the Dead. .

“Lyra and Her Death” begins with Lyra, Will, and an increasingly worried Pan wandering through a dark semi-industrial wasteland, which leads to a dark semi-industrial warehouse filled with dark waiting rooms. They eventually learn that they have to cross a body of water, but to reach the boatman, they will have to find their death (another invisible person who hangs around them all the time), and also, Pan, as a soul of Lyra, won. not be able to cross with her. It’s all very mythical and lyrical, and the scene where Lyra abandons Pan is kind of heartbreaking, but in the end it feels like what it’s most about: a bunch of people waiting in a waiting room.

Image: Courtesy of HBO

Also, I have the same issue with Lyra’s trip to the Land of the Dead in the show that I had with her in the books, and that’s that I don’t understand how it fits into the overall conflict against the Magisterium and Authority. With Lyra’s concern for her friend Roger, a character who had virtually no screen time before his death, it feels like the story is giving Lyra work instead of fitting her into the overall story. Maybe next week’s batch of episodes will contain some answers.

Coulter’s return to the church is far more interesting as it is led by the increasingly erratic father-president MacPhail, who you may recall rose to the post after working with Coulter to assassinate the last. Coulter knows she’s on tougher ground with the church given her recent actions, but it’s still fun to watch her walk around the magisterium like she owns the place. Rest assured, Mrs. Coulter has no desire to help people determined to kill her daughter; she just knows she’ll hinder them more effectively while pretending to be one of them, especially once she finds out that Asriel’s spy, Roke, has come with her. They team up to figure out what the Magisterium does, and they find that MacPhail has hired a scientist from season one to make a soul-tracking directional bomb that can traverse worlds.

Coulter also discovers that the bomb is actually more of a homing missile, guided magically by Lyra’s locks of hair that she had kept in her locket. Coulter’s attempt to destroy the hair fails and she is taken to death, so she decides to go to the scorched earth. In front of Father-President MacPhail, Father Gomez and various other priests and soldiers, Mrs. Coulter made a confession: “I wish to stand trial for the murder of Cardinal Sturrock, a murder on which I conspired with your father-president, a man who sins with every fiber of his being. The so-called Supreme Head of the Magisterium can barely look her in the eye until her guards cover her mouth and force her to kneel. Then he rejects her like weak men always reject strong women, calling her an “incoherent and emotional woman”.

Image: Courtesy of HBO

In total, the second quarter of Its dark materials‘ The final season is improved from its premiere. While I still don’t see the point of the Land of the Dead story, I have to assume I will soon, as there are only four episodes left. There is a war to fight, a bomb to evade, a god to kill and a tyranny to overthrow. I’m with Will – if Lyra insists on checking to see if a school friend is dead first, hopefully she can hurry.

Assorted Daydreams:

  • I was looking forward to seeing how the show would portray the giant Iorek forging the small knife. Then he skipped all the CG intensive parts where a bear would need to hold a hammer.
  • Will Keen does a great job as MacPhail. No notes.
  • Ruta and Ogunwe worry about what the other resistance angels would do if they knew Asriel had a captive angel. Now I wonder what they’ll do if they find out Asriel had an angel killed.
  • Mary is still walking. Met a creature, he brought him berries. It looks good. No idea what any of this has to do with anything.
  • “I will look for support! ” ” Good. We all need support.

New episodes of Its dark materials airs Mondays on HBO.

Want more io9 news? Find out when to wait for the last wonder, Star Wars and Star Trek versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about James Cameron Avatar: The Way of the Water.

Source: gizmodo.com


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