‘His Dark Materials’ Season 2, Episode 6 Recap: “Malice”

14 Min Read
Courtesy of HBO.

There are spoilers about the episode in this article. 

This week’s episode of His Dark Materials begins by joining the witches after they have gone through the anomaly. They see shapes in the sky and realize that they are the angels. Ruta says that they may be going to Asriel, and he would be able to do anything with the angels on his side. She decides to follow them to seek out Asriel so that she can return with him so that they can destroy the Magisterium together. Serafina remains behind to begin the search for Lyra.

Courtesy of HBO.

Will is suffering with the wound on his hand and is having restless dreams. He hears his father telling him that the fate of many worlds rests on him and that he has a task ahead of him whilst seeing images of the knife and a ring. Meanwhile, Lyra ventures outside to get water. She hears her name being called, runs inside, and locks the door behind her when she sees Angelica and Paola. Looking through the crack in the door, she sees lots of children appear clearly with the intent of killing her and Will for what happened to Tullio. Lyra quickly wakes Will and they move to the roof to try to escape. Will tries to cut a window for them to escape but they are cornered by the children before he can. Luckily, Serafina appears before any confrontation occurs and scares the children off.

Serafina takes Will and Lyra away from the city and into the forest. Will and Serafina distrust one another, as Will does not want to tell her about the knife and Serafina distrusts how he received such a powerful weapon. Lyra ends up trying to play peacekeeper between the two. Serafina tells them that Will’s wound needs a spell for it to heal.

Courtesy of HBO.

Mary is in Cittàgazze and is using the I Ching to communicate with the angels to try to find out what she should do next. She receives a cryptic message and it suggests that something will happen soon to put her on the right path. Mary explores the city and is watched by Angelica and Paola, who realize that she is not from this world. Behind Mary we see a faint outline of wings, suggesting that the angels are watching over her and protecting her from the Spectres.

Lyra questions Serafina over whether Will is safe. Serafina says that they must go back to their world. The plants are more powerful over there to heal Will’s wound and she would feel better hiding and protecting Lyra in a world with which she is familiar. Will asks Lyra to ask the alethiometer where his father is. The alethiometer replies that his father is close; he is in this world.

Meanwhile, Lee and Grumman have ventured through Asriel’s anomaly in the balloon. Grumman tells Lee about Cittàgazze. Lee says that he finds Grumman odd because he had heard that shamans could fly and Grumman counters that he can fly because he summoned Lee. Grumman says that he needs to find the bearer so that he can tell him what his task is. Lee asks whether that task includes protecting Lyra and receives the response that the task will protect them all.

Courtesy of HBO.

Mary is still wandering the city when she is approached by Angelica and Paola. She offers them food and says she won’t tell their parents about it being full of sugar. They begin to trust her and tell her about their lack of parents and the Spectres. They know she is from a different world, like Lyra, but wonder why the Spectres haven’t got to her. When Mary asks about Lyra, Angelica admits that they tried to kill her but that she escaped with Serafina. We are reminded that Angelica and Paola are just children that have been left alone with no guidance when Angelica questions whether trying to kill Lyra was wrong and Paola asks for a hug from Mary. Angelica asks whether Mary can stay and look after the children. Mary says that she has something important to do but that they can come with her and she will take them to the adults in the mountains.

Serafina is still doubting Will’s trustworthiness but Lyra reassures her. She tells Serafina that the alethiometer has told her that she must help find Will’s father. Serafina reluctantly agrees that her task is to protect Lyra and so that may also mean protecting Will. However, to protect Will they must first help heal his wound. The witches perform a spell to help heal Will and leave him to rest. Serafina asks Lyra to check with the alethiometer where Will’s father is. The alethiometer responds simply to keep going up.

At the Magisterium, Fra Pavel visits MacPhail. He has consulted with the alethiometer and it tells him that Mrs. Coulter is looking for her child in another world. However, he admits that she came to see him before Asriel opened up the anomaly and asked him who Lyra Belacqua is. He reveals that Lyra goes by another name and is someone that the witches know about from prophecy. He says that it foretells that Lyra could bring about the downfall of everything and if she is tempted by the serpent, that she will fall and dust and sin will triumph. MacPhail presses him for a name but we cut away from the scene before it is revealed.

Mrs. Coulter and Boreal pass back through the window into Cittàgazze. They are looking for Lyra although Boreal is very nervous that the Spectres will be after them. They come across a man who has been attacked by the Spectres and whilst Boreal remains cautious, Mrs. Coulter is intrigued. Boreal says that it is like the victims have been severed but she thinks that the Spectres are stronger than that and that they could learn from them.

MacPhail addresses the Magisterium and says that the Authority has spoken to him and given them a new direction. Fra Pavel has directed him to a new threat that the world has only seen once before. Their new purpose is to kill Lyra and he has sent troops through the anomaly to do so.

Serafina is checking on Will’s wound again and says that their spellwork is holding up. Her daemon urges her to tell Will something and the daemon reveals that in the prophecy about Lyra, it includes a boy that must travel with her. Serafina is unsure whether Will is that boy, but she says that Lyra thinks he is her responsibility and Lyra must also be his responsibility, as she must be protected.

Mrs. Coulter is examining some vials that she has found when her daemon begins to make anxious noises and leaves the building. She follows it to find Spectres appearing down the street. Boreal is of no use at all and retreats into the building, locking the door behind him. Mrs. Coulter’s daemon begins to screech, however she breathes and focuses and her daemon quiets and seems to go into a trance. Mrs. Coulter approaches the Spectres and they begin to surround her. She reaches out her hand but the Spectre retreats before she touches it. She waves her hand and the Spectre in front of her divides into two.

Courtesy of HBO.

Above the city, Lee can see the swarm of Spectres below. Grumman says that if they are that close to the tower, then the knife has moved. Lee wants to land, as he believes Lyra may be in trouble down there, but Grumman argues that the Spectres would kill them and then they would be of no use to anyone. They decide to go further over the forest as he believes the knife bearer is no longer in the city. Lee notices that Magisterium airships have come through the anomaly and are approaching them.

Boreal comes out of the building and Mrs. Coulter waves for the Spectres to leave and they obey her. Boreal is shocked that she can control them and she says that they should go celebrate. The two celebrate with some wine as Mrs. Coulter pours him a glass. Boreal questions how she controls them and she responds that they consume what makes them human and so she just suppressed herself and hid that from them. Boreal says that with this ability they should be able to easily find Lyra and the knife. He wants them to share everything, as he sees her as an equal. She kisses him and says that they should drink to that. Boreal begins talking about the knife again but begins to trail off, struggling to speak. She taunts him by telling him to continue. She then tells him that he has small ideas and would only have held her back; he has never been her equal. Her daemon also watches as his snake daemon writhes in pain. He eventually collapses back in his chair, a tear rolls down his cheek and he draws his last breath as his daemon evaporates.

Courtesy of HBO.

The airships are gaining on the balloon. Lee becomes frustrated that Grumman only seems to be able to control the weather when they could do with some guns or defenses. Grumman summons a storm, which Lee becomes frustrated with as he can’t pilot well in a storm. He admits to his daemon, Hester, that they will have to trust him for Lyra’s sake.

Lyra, Will and the witches are still journeying up the mountain. They hear noises in the passage ahead of them and then Spectres attack one of the witches. Will manages to save her by brandishing the knife and scaring them away.

Back on the balloon, Lee is thrilled to see one of the airships explode as it is struck by lightning from Grumman’s storm. However, there are still another two airships that are firing at them. We then get to see more of Grumman’s powers as he controls birds to attack one of the airships, causing it to crash. The remaining airship appears to turn to retreat but still fires at them. The gunfire hits their gas canister, causing the balloon to crash into the forest below.

The episode was action-filled and has brought all of the characters together in the same world, heading for the same mountain as we head into the finale. Catch the finale when His Dark Materials airs Monday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.

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By Lynette
Lynette has been a lifelong nerd and over the last few years finally learned to let her freak flag fly. She likes to dip her toe into almost every fandom but is particularly passionate about Supernatural, Stranger Things, Marvel and Disney. When she isn’t binge watching programs, she loves to swim, sing and (true to her Ravenclaw nature) read. Lynette joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2019 and loves sharing her nerdy knowledge with the world.
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