‘His Dark Materials’ Ep 06: “The Daemon Cages”

A fantastic episode that starts out creepy and escalates to a showdown.

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Lyra/Lizzie. Image: Simon Ridgway

*Might contain minor spoilers, enter at your own risk*

This is the first time I’m writing about His Dark Materials. At first, based on trailers, I didn’t know what to think about it because I really thought it will be an HBO attempt at a Game of Thrones 2. Of course, on some level I knew it won’t be the case, and when I watched the first episode, I was drawn in instantly. It was really good.

Fast forward, episode 6. We pick up where episode 5 left us, Lyra has been taken by the so-called Gobblers, with them not knowing who she is because she lied about her name. She quickly realizes where she is, sees the other kids (including Roger) and is determined to finally figure out what’s happening there and, of course, try to free the children.

This episode really starts out in a creepy way. The whole ambiance is creepy, guided by Lorne Balfe’s fantastic music. The first scene really sets the tone and gets us into the mindset of this weird place we’re now in. As Lyra finds out more, we find out more. It really takes a turn when Mrs. Coulter arrives there. As you can instantly understand, it’s a complicated situation for Lyra, who is actually known as Lizzie Brooks for the people who run the place. If Mrs. Coulter sees her, her cover is blown, and who knows what else. I’ll stop here because I don’t want to give too much away here, but let’s just say the episode takes several turns and escalates to a certain nice showdown.

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Creepy AF. The opening scene of Episode 6.

The thing about His Dark Materials is that you really never know where the story goes next. I couldn’t predict any of that, and I’m not talking about twists or anything, I’m talking bout a story that always goes to unexpected places. At first, I thought it’s gonna be Lyra and Coulter on some kind of journey, then she escapes. Then she ends up with the Gyptians and they go on their journey. Then Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison join them, and Iorek is a talking big white bear – so I think: “OK, it’s their journey now”, but then Lyra gets kidnapped. It’s evolving, it’s changing, it’s a moving story. I love that, I really don’t have an idea where the next 2 episodes are going to go.

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Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter

Acting-wise, everyone is really good. I really like Lin-Manuel Miranda on this, and Dafne Keen is just a spectacular actor in my opinion. And of course, Ruth Wilson, who was incredible on The Affair, is also incredible here and displays a very different and sinister side. It’s creepy because she’s always nice and smiling, even when she’s clearly not nice, like these bosses who never get angry at you and just tell you that you suck very calmly and with a smile on their face, see what I mean? We also get to see a glimpse of the new character, Will Parry’s dad, Col. John Parry, on the video he’s watching. If you haven’t recognized: it’s Andrew Scott, the fantastic Irish actor whom I really like (Black Mirror: Smithereens, Sherlock). According to Deadline, he’s joining the show for the next season! I wonder if we’ll see him again this season too!

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See? It’s Andrew Scott!!

Also, Visual effects-wise, this show is spectacular. Everything looks good, from the things that are less outright VFX like landscape to the animation of the daemons and especially Iorek the bear, the bear is beautiful. I do feel like somehow the monkey looks a bit more animated than the other Daemons though.

Overall the episode was really great. It was well directed by Euros Lyn (Sherlock, Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits) who took the plot far to a new chapter. It also ends with a nice cliffhanger (umm… pun kind of intended), which is always great. I’m waiting to see where else the plot can go that I couldn’t anticipate.

Here is what the next preview reveals –

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