In this week’s episode of His Dark Materials, we clearly see how Lyra is still very much a young girl as she makes a few major strategic errors. Dafne Keen plays up Lyra’s innocence, and the effect works to leave us with a more vulnerable impression of Lyra. Ruth Wilson also has a great episode as Mrs. Coulter’s dual motivations for finding Lyra come in direct conflict with each other. Read on to find out what happened in “Theft.”
Lyra begins the episode by traveling to Will’s world, leaving him a note as she leaves. Will wakes up from a dream about the Tower of Angels and wants to use the alethiometer to find his father, but is surprised to find Lyra gone. He misses the note she left him and instead goes outside to walk around the city.
Lyra goes back to Mary, who has been testing the I Ching with the Cave but hasn’t had success in communicating with it. DI Walters (the pale man who works with Boreal in disguise) arrives and questions her about Lyra, who Mary barely manages to herd into an elevator in an attempt to keep the policeman from finding her. But Walters spots Lyra and begins to ask her about why she’s visiting Mary — and about Will. Lyra accidentally tells Walters Will is with her, and Mary, recognizing the danger, tell Lyra to run while she keeps Walters occupied. Lyra runs outside and gets picked up by Boreal, who offers her a ride. It’s a trap, and Lyra doesn’t recognize Boreal from her world. But Lyra realizes that ride had a price as she gets out of the car to find the alethiometer gone.
Meanwhile, Lee Scoresby heads to the Samirsky Hotel looking for Grumman, lured by a mysterious figure with magic. He hears a lot of tall tales, but nothing concrete until Sam tells him there’s a rumor Grumman survived an attempted murder. IF he’s alive, Scoresby should try finding him in the Observatory where he worked. He goes to the Observatory to find Dr. Haley, who calls Grumman a “heretic” before Lee is ambushed by the Magisterium and captured. Mary keeps up her work on the Cave, trying to see if it will speak to her. She is informed that Lyra got away.
Will makes his way to the tower, where he sees a mysterious figure in the window of the tower, who Angelica is staring at. She refuses to tell him who it is, but explains that the tower itself used to be occupied by a group of philosophers called The Guild. They fled when the Specters arrived, and she tells Will he needs to have a plan as he’s close to adulthood. Will finds a distressed Lyra, who tells him she lost the alethiometer. She suddenly realizes that Boreal left her his address, and she and Will resolve to go there to get the device back. Kaisa finds Iorek, who is preoccupied with the disappearing food in the North for the bears. She tells him the Magisterium is going after the witches and that they need help finding Lyra. Iorek tells her Lyra followed Asriel through the portal to the other worlds.
Mrs. Coulter arrives to interrogate Lee, but he passionately tells her she will never break him. His love for Lyra is too strong to give up her location no matter what she does. He also shares he was abused as a child and suggests that perhaps she’s had her share of trauma as well. Mrs. Coulter lets her guard down at this, realizing that Lee will be able to protect Lyra. Boreal has been secretly communicating with Mrs. Coulter, and she lets Lee go when Boreal tells her he knows where Lyra is. She tells Lee that if he finds Lyra, he should keep her safe, a curious request. Ruth Wilson is excellent in this scene, showing the two conflicted sides of Coulter well. She knows she is a danger to Lyra, and her love (as twisted as it is) compels her to ask this of Lee. Lee says he will before leaving to find Grumman.
In Will’s world, Lyra and Will go to the movies together as a way to hide before going to Boreal’s house (a hilarious experience as Lyra discovers the delights of popcorn for the first time). She opens up to Will about Roger before the two go to Boreal. Boreal greets Lyra and Will, clearly expecting them. Boreal knows their names and seemingly everything about them, including Will’s desire to find his father. Lyra suddenly remembers that she has met him before at Mrs. Coulter’s party. He proves he has the alethiometer and proposes a trade: the knife in the Tower of Angels for the alethiometer. Lyra tells him they’ll give him the knife, but the anger on her face says she’s got something else in mind.
His Dark Materials airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.