‘His Dark Materials’ 2×06 Recap: “Malice”

#TeamLyraandWill forever

His Dark Materials 2×06 “Malice”, aired December 21, 2020

A lot happened this week on His Dark Materials, and yet, nothing feels quite resolved as we head into the season finale next week. Basically every major player has found their way to Cittagazze but whatever showdowns will go down will wait until the season finale. 

The highlight, once more, was the trust and friendship between Will and Lyra…let’s break it down! 

Here come the witches

Lyra and Pan start the episode a bit overwhelmed. Will’s wound is making him sick and they don’t know how to help. Then there’s the matter of Angelica and Paola who show up to get their revenge accompanied by a child army of the lost children of Cittagazze. Lyra and Will only manage to make it out safely because Serafina shows up to save the day. 

Yes, the witches are here! 

Lyra is immediately onboard with joining up with the witches. This is the first time Lyra and Serafina have met, but Lyra knows to trust her. She’s clearly fascinated by Serafina and wants to know everything about the witches.  Will is way more reluctant to confide in Serafina. Lyra wants the witches to heal Will’s wound, but Will is reluctant to show them the Knife. It’s only his trust in Lyra that convinces him to do so. Turns out that a magical wound needs a spell to be healed, guess it really is lucky the witches decided to show up then. 


Serafina wants to take them back to their world, but Lyra balks at this. Serafina convinces her that it’s where she will be able to keep Lyra safe, and that the plants in their world are what she needs to truly heal Will. Lyra’s priority is making sure Will is safe, and so she sets out to convince Will that their best option is to go back to her world with the witches. Will is firmly #TeamLyraandWill, so he kind of defers to…let’s ask the alethiometer about my dad! 

The alethiometer has a surprising answer (for them) about Will’s dad, turns out he’s in this world and he’s close, they just need to travel up. So that’s what they do.  

Protect Lyra…and Will

Will’s wariness about Serafina goes both ways, as the witch has separate talks with  both Lyra and Will this episode. Serafina warns Lyra about Will and his Knife, but this is one time Lyra will not listen. Lyra’s trust in Will is complete, plus the alethiometer has made it clear she belongs by his side. Lyra’s best feature, her stubbornness, wins Serafina over. She’s willing to adjust her mission from protecting Lyra to protect Lyra and Will. 

When Serafina has her own talk with Will, he gets to join the club of people who know about Lyra and the prophecy…which feels like it includes everyone but Lyra at this point! She adds that the prophecy mentions a boy that must travel with Lyra (this you?).  She stresses that they protect each other. Looks like Serafina has joined #TeamLyraandWill. 

The complete trust between Lyra and Will continues to be a force to be reckoned with. This episode showcased how important they have become to each other and how they’ve really grown to understand how to communicate with each other. Will shares one more heartbreaking story from his childhood, this time about the boys who were mean to him because of his mother’s mental illness and confides that he “couldn’t trust anyone.” Until Lyra,  of course. The comfort they find in each other, notice how Pan basically cuddles with Will at night is both beautiful and heartbreaking. 

Here comes mom

The newly formed alliance of Boreal and Mrs Coulter travel back to Cittagazze in search of Lyra and Will. Boreal is nervous the entire time that the Spectres will get to them. Their differing attitudes towards the Spectres highlight how truly incompatible these two are. Mrs. Coulter, who does not believe in fear, faces the Spectres and learns how to control them. This new ability basically makes Boreal of no more use to her, so she kills him. The only person surprised by this turn of events is Boreal. 

Here comes the aeronaut and the shaman

Meanwhile Lee Scoresby and Jopari travel through the Anomaly in the balloon. Lee keeps trying to learn more about Jopari and his abilities, but Jopari proves to be a very frustrating travel companion. His only focus is to find the Bearer of the Knife and tell him what his task is. He does mention feeling closer to him son since they’ve entered this world (I wonder why!)

Oh wait…here comes the Magisterium 

The Magisterium shifts to a new direction and sends their ships through the Anomaly. This change of heart is due to Fra Pavel’s readings from the alethiometer. The Cardinal learns that Mrs. Coulter is after her daughter, but more importantly, he learns about the prophecy and Lyra’s role. He swiftly decides that Lyra has got to go. 

The Magisterium forces are after Lee and Jopari. Despite their best efforts to evade the Magisterium’s attacks, their balloon goes down into the mountains and that’s where we end the episode. 

Other musings: 

  • When the Witches enter the new world, they see Angels in the sky. This is a big deal because Angels haven’t been seen in a long time. It’s not super relevant to this episode but it’s important to note in the context of the show as we head into the end of the season.  The reappearance of the Angels  gives Asriel an edge in the eyes of the witches and Ruta Skadi decides to go in search of Asriel so they can destroy the Magisterium together.
  • Mary’s also in Cittagazze and while I was very worried for her, the Spectres don’t attack her. This puzzles Angelica and Paola who follow her around town and ask her for hugs and baths. Mary is more than willing to provide hugs and in the end can’t bear to leave them alone and asks them to come with her. 

Season finale next week! 

His Dark Materials airs on HBO Monday nights and is available to stream on HBO Max. 


Gabriela Acevedo

Gaby is a TV-obsessed fangirl and writer. Television is her true love, but movies and books aren't far behind. Currently living in Los Angeles, she's originally from Puerto Rico, which is still her favorite place in the world. Find her on twitter @gabsteramy.

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