Synopsis: His Dark Materials continues as Lyra and Will find allies who can help them in their search for Will’s dad in Malice, this episode. Also, the Magisterium learns something shocking and Mrs Coulter meets a formidable foe.
This week’s episode of His Dark Materials, Malice, begins with Will in the grip of a fever caused by his injured hand. Things go from bad to worse when Paola, Angelica and other children attempt to murder Will and Lyra to avenge Tullio. Just as all appears to be lost, Serafina Pekkala saves our young heroes from certain doom. The pair then travel with the witches. Meanwhile, Mary Malone explores Cittagazze and meets up with Angelica and Paola. Our favourite physicist brings out the human side of the young antagonists, and Malone and Paola hug. As this is taking place, there is some tension between Will and Lyra. The witches then heal Will’s hand in a very Lord of the Rings style montage. Across the dimensions, Cardinal MacPhail and Fra Pavel discuss Lyra’s role in a prophecy that will spell the Magisterium’s doom. In the world of Cittagazze, Mrs. Coulter displays the ability to control the spectres and prevent them from harming her. Above Cittagazze Lee Scoresby notices the spectres and wants to help, but is talked out of this by Jopari. Will and Lyra have a heartfelt conversation in the mountains about Will’s experience of bullying in the meantime. Of contrast is Marisa Coulter’s heartless manipulation. seduction and murder of Boreal. Finally, the Magisterium’s airships catch up with Lee Scoresby’s balloon. Jopari summons a storm and a mass of birds to take down one airship, but the balloon goes down as well.
Ruta Gedmintas and Jade Anouka are competent in their initial scene, with Gedmintas showing some good intensity throughout this episode. Equally, Amir Wilson shows Will’s sickness and response to his injury very well. Some of the best acting in Malice comes from Andrew Scott and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who play their respective roles of mystic and straight man excellently. Of note too is Miranda’s everyman heroism when he notices the spectres and wishes to help Lyra. Of contrast, Dafne Keen portrays Lyra’s developing manipulative streak well. Additionally, I adored Ella Schrey-Yeats‘s sullen anger when she said she hated Lyra, and there was a lovely moment when Paola asked Mary Malone (Simone Kirby) for a hug. Kirby played a great everywoman/carer role in this short segment. Not to be outdone, Bella Ramsey was sublimely creepy as the murderous Angelica. As always, the standout performance came from Ruth Wilson. Her charisma and intensity when Mrs. Coulter manipulated the spectres as well as Lord Boreal was off the charts. In the same way, Andrew Scott is very good at walking the line between good and evil in the final scene. Will Keen and Frank Bourke put across the ascetic, restrained villainy of the Magisterium well in their scene.
Malice’s incidental music is excellent. I loved the jittery skittering theme that played when Will was sick. As well as this, the theme when Angelica and the other children attempt to kill our heroes sold the chaos of that moment perfectly. Additionally, the score when Mary Malone was exploring Cittagazze was beautiful. The standout theme of the episode was the grand LOTR-esque track that accompanied Will’s healing by the witches. Similarly, the theme that played when Marisa Coulter bent the spectres to her will was very Rings-like. Of note too was the ominous choral theme that played when Cardinal MacPhail addressed the Magisterium officials. There was also a lovely hopeful score when Will talked about his childhood dream of seeing his father again. Moreover, there was a great heroic theme when Jopari summoned the birds at the episode’s end.
The CGI in Malice was good enough. The effect of the angel wings above Mary Malone was great. As with the CGI of the angels, it was passable. Despite this, the realisation of the spectres was the best it has been this week. Further, the death of Boreal’s daemon was well done.
A strong episode. Great interactions between the characters. Looking forward to next week’s finale.
- Incidental Music10