His Dark Materials 2×07 “Æsahættr” aired December 28, 2020
His Dark Materials season two has come to an end. The finale felt big in a lot of ways as we got to witness some much anticipated reunions and lost some beloved characters. Yet it was also frustrating at times with some parts not quite coming together.
Overall this season was an improvement and I urge everyone to check it out! My favorite thing about this season as whole has been the relationship between Lyra and Will and I’m sad I won’t get to see them every week.
Let’s break down the finale!
A prophecy revealed
Mrs. Coulter has consistently been one of the best parts of His Dark Materials. This season in particular sought to flesh out her character, and even when it didn’t quite work, Ruth Wilson was amazing to watch.
Mrs. Coulter is the big winner of this season. While at Cittagazze Mrs. Coulter encounters one of the witches and tortures her for information about Lyra. It’s here when she gets her first big win as she finally gets the answers she’s been seeking about Lyra and the prophecy. The prophecy says that Lyra is Eve. Mrs. Coulter quickly accepts this as if it made perfect sense and slightly adjusts her goal, not only will she find and protect Lyra, now she must make sure this time Eve doesn’t fall.
Her single-minded goal about Lyra puts her at odds with her own daemon, who seems afraid of Mrs. Coulter herself. It’s fascinating to watch this tension between daemon and human, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t entirely clear what exactly was so troubling to the monkey. Armed with the ability to control the Spectres, Mrs Coulter is finally able to find Lyra, kidnaps her and puts her in a trunk (yes, really). I feel okay saying Mrs. Coulter continues to be the worst mother.
RIP Lee and Hester
John Parry, yeah I’m calling Jopari by his name from now on, and Lee Scoresby crash landed safely. Lee is very sad about the loss of his balloon. John isn’t very sympathetic, he still needs to find the Bearer of the Knife and the Magisterium is after them. They head into the forest but it isn’t long until the Magisterium finds them and a shootout ensues.
Lee and Hester take a last stand against the Magisterium, giving John a chance to get away and find Will. Knowing that theirs is a losing fight, Lee calls on Serafina for help but she’s too late. Lee Scoresby is gone, sacrificing himself to protect Lyra.
Best friends <3
John Parry keeps using his shaman powers to pop up in Will’s dreams. The first time we this in this episode we get a nice moment between Pan and Will. Pan’s always been able to get a better read on Will and his emotions than even Lyra at times. This time he can see Will’s fear, even as he acknowledges that Lyra can’t. She sees him as the bravest fighter, while he sees it the other way around. I’ve loved seeing Will and Pan build a relationship and I couldn’t stop smiling as Will called Lyra his best friend.
A frustrating part of this episode of how little Lyra actually gets to do. Character wise it works, she does have a conversation with Pan about how much she’s changed and the scary reality that Pan might settle soon. It’s interesting to see Lyra much more at ease with this than Pan.
Will is still very much #TeamLyraandWill and spends a lot of the episode urging Lyra to break away from the witches and continue on their mission with just the two of them. The newly minted best friends (their words) disagree on this. Lyra and Pan don’t want to leave the witches behind, Will doesn’t think they need them. It’s a shock then that when he does leave, he does it without Lyra, a decision that comes with a cost.
Will has another dream which leads him to his dad. John Parry and Will are finally reunited, it’s an emotional reunion that ends in tragedy. John is surprised to learn that the Bearer of the Knife is his son, but he doesn’t stray from his mission. It’s actually frustrating how little this revelation seems to affect John and his mission. He knows sending Will after Asriel is sending him into a war, but never hesitates.
John tells Will he needs to find Lord Asriel and tell him the Knife is the only weapon that can defeat the Authority. Will’s feelings about this reunion are way more complicated, simply put, wants answers from his dad. John isn’t really able to provide answers to Will’s satisfaction.
John says that he tried to get back and that once he couldn’t he found a new way of helping, but to WIll it will never change the fact that he left them. He left and now that he’s here, all he offers is more responsibility, telling Will the fate of the worlds depends on him. Will doesn’t want it, he just wants to go home. Will just wants his dad to acknowledge how his choices broke his family, but John can’t do it. John’s looking at the big picture, the fate of the worlds, and Will’s role in it. While Will is just a kid who want his dad.
The Magisterium catch up to them and John takes a bullet to save Will, dying moments later. Once more leaving Will and sending him off to a new risky mission. Amir Wilson has been amazing this season, he’s delivering on everything I wanted Will to be and kills it in this scene.
Hey, look it’s Asriel!
We get our only Asriel sighting of the season in the episode’s final moments. He’s found the Angels and is basically making his pitch to them. He’s going to fight for freedom and intends to take on the Authority, is that something they’re interested in? As luck would have it, yes, the Angels are all for it.
They’re not the only ones, Ruta Skadi has also joined Asriel’s side (his army?) and is in search of the Æsahættr that will help him secure a victory. For a thing that the episode is named after, the episode isn’t really clear on what it is…but we can assume that it’s Will’s Knife.
- We get some brief Mary moments as she delivers Paola and Angelica to the adults hiding out in the mountains. She then continues on her journey to find answers….it’s feels a bit lackluster but Mary will be back next season.
- I feel bad that the witches were kind of boring this whole season…
- I’ve certainly missed Asriel this season. It turns out than an Asriel-centric episode was planned, but was never filmed due to the pandemic. I do think the season would have benefited from this episode. Especially when it comes to setting up his mission against the Authority, our big bad as we enter season three.
That’s it for season two! HBO and BBC just confirmed the show has been renewed for a third and final season. See you then!
His Dark Materials is available to stream on HBO Max.