His Dark Materials: Season 2/ Episode 2 “The Cave” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As Lyra explores William’s Oxford, Mrs. Coulter reminds Father MacPhail that their alliance will always be in her favor.


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Lyra with a hat on

As Lyra explores William’s Oxford, Mrs. Coulter reminds Father MacPhail that their alliance will always be in her favor.


Director(s) Jamie Childs
Writer(s) Francesca Gardiner, Jack Thorne
Aired (BBC ONE) 11/15/2020
Introduced This Episode
Father Graves Sean Gilder
Mary Simone Kirby
Thorold Gary Lewis
Graham Brian Protheroe
Annabel Jane How

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.

Recap

The Spider(s) and the Fl(ies/y) – Ruta, Mrs. Coulter, Seraphina, Father MacPhail, Father Graves, Dr. Lanselius, Thorold

Mrs. Coulter knows, in order to get what she needs done, be it find Asriel or whatever, she both needs whoever is the Cardinal to support her, but there be enough on that person’s place to not focus on her. Hence why Ruta and Seraphina sending Dr. Lanselius is perfect. He is half-witch, stokes the flames of Father Graves, who is in competition with Father MacPhail for Cardinal, and it pushes the Magisterium towards war with the witches.

Add on pushing Father MacPhail to be a man of action, which leads to an assault on witches’ land, and thus he is unanimously made Cardinal, and you can tell who is the puppet master in all this. For with Mrs. Coulter able to blackmail the Cardinal, she has a certain level of freedom she’d never have if she campaigned for the position.

Also, in speaking to Thorold, Asriel’s aide, who is locked up, gives Mrs. Coulter her next task. Which is investigating further Asriel’s actions, which nearly killed their daughter, alongside following Lyra through the window made. Which, with the information she knows, she can do freely without any immediate fear of prosecution.

All The Things I Didn’t Know Before – Will, Lyra, Graham, Carlo, Annabel

Lyra and Will entering Will’s Oxford is an eye-opening experience for Lyra. The cars are faster, certain buildings she is familiar with aren’t there, even though so much looks similar. Yet, as Lyra wanders off, running into Carlo in the process, who takes note of her and her use of the Alethiometer, Will is on a mission.

During such, he learns not only is his mother okay, but he has grandparents on his father’s side—two people, Graham and Annabel, who seem nice. Well, Annabel, anyway. Graham is working with the cops and seems quite upset over Elaine getting money from a trust they manage. Why? Who knows. All that is clear is that Graham doesn’t trust them with knowing they are working with the police.

So Many People To Help, So Little Time – Will, Lyra, Mary

While Graham is catching up or learning about family, Lyra is tasked with finding a scholar. Said scholar, Mary Malone, studies dark matter which Lyra believes is another name for Dust. Now, Mary is skeptical of Lyra since she is young and seems like a lost child. However, as she reveals she knows Mary was a nun who lost faith and does a test where dark matter becomes symbols, Mary is convinced.

Mary (Simone Kirby) stunned by Lyra
Mary (Simone Kirby)

However, Lyra is torn between helping Mary, who is in deep need of grants or other financial support for her research, and Will. Someone whose task of finding his father isn’t a one-person mission. Yet, Lyra is but one girl, and while she can save the world, the question is, who and what gets priority?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Sometimes subtlety is overrated.
— Mrs. Coulter

Review


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Highlights

The Political Mastery of Mrs. Coulter [85]

It is truly a gift to watch a woman like Mrs. Coulter manipulate men without even having to remove a single item. She reminds you that femme fatales don’t need sensuality but simply know how to play off men’s insecurities and desires to get what they want. And while the result of the Magisterium effectively declaring war on witches may not have been an initially desired result, it could have been. After all, didn’t Asriel have a fling with a witch – as rumors go? Maybe Mrs. Coulter wants them to suffer because of it?

A War With Witches [84]

Though a war is what seems to be what Ruta wanted anyway, so she got her wish. Plus, with 9 clans, I doubt the Magisterium, which remains only as scary as Mrs. Coulter allows them to be, stands a chance. Yet, this could be a chance for them to prove themselves. Thus far, the Magisterium’s scariest thing has been that they are, predominately, old white men who fear losing power and influence. But with seeing them bomb an entire island and taking note they would sponsor capturing and experimenting on children, maybe they have been underestimated?

Keene Continues To Show She Can Play-Off Anyone, Do Anything, And Make It Interesting [88]

Most of the Dust and Dark Matter conversation went over our heads, but even with that said, Keene continues to prove why she was chosen as the lead. For as much as the back and forth, and Mary being confused by Lyra, seemed to go on forever, Keene made it so it was tolerable, even comical.

Which, I know, makes me sound like a stan, but considering this is a series, in its second season, with it not being clear if a third will be made, having someone like Keene at the helm pushes you to want a third. Not just to finish the story, but so she can be seen by more as if this show is an acting reel, and she can continue to gain work.

On The Fence

Will’s Family [75]

With that said, while Keene shines, the actor who plays Will, be it the characters he interacts with, his story, or the actor himself, doesn’t pop. Not to say any are bad, but they deliver what is expected and required. This makes for a bit of a jarring drop as we switch between charismatic Lyra to Will, who seems like one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys who came back home and is remembering why he left in the first place.

Graham (Brian Protheroe) and Annabel (Jane How) sitting in their home
Graham (Brian Protheroe) and Annabel (Jane How)

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Summary


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Will's Family - 75%
Keene Continues To Show She Can Play-Off Anyone, Do Anything, And Make It Interesting - 88%
A War With Witches - 84%
The Political Mastery of Mrs. Coulter - 85%

83%

Rather than wait till the mid-season, His Dark Materials makes it clear that time is of the essence as the Magisterium changes hands in leadership, Lyra is pulled in multiple directions, and war brews.


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