His Dark Materials season 2, episode 7 recap – the ending explained challenging authority

December 21, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Ending Explained, HBO, TV Recaps
4

Summary

Major character deaths, a religious war, and finally James McAvoy — “Æsahættr” left us with plenty to unpack as an up-and-down season closed out satisfyingly enough.

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4

Summary

Major character deaths, a religious war, and finally James McAvoy — “Æsahættr” left us with plenty to unpack as an up-and-down season closed out satisfyingly enough.

This recap of His Dark Materials season 2, episode 7, “Æsahættr“, contains spoilersYou can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


All things considered, given various production woes and the general up-and-down quality of the season, “Æsahættr” made for a pretty suitably epic conclusion. There were major character deaths – two of them, in fact. There was a lot of really quite impressive CGI. There was action, emotion, drama, and mystery, including the kind of mystery that neatly tees up a third, already underway final season that’ll hopefully be unmolested by the on-going pandemic.

But a lot also happened, some of it difficult to explain, with everyone finally meeting up in Cittàgazze as promised for a not particularly straightforward climactic showdown. There’s a lot of metaphorical religious context – the enigmatic Authority is the in-universe “God”, and James McAvoy wants to kill him and free the world from his tyrannical yoke, which will require an angelic regiment, the prophesized deliverance of Lyra of a kind of neo-Eve, mother of all things, and the enthusiastic use of Will’s subtle knife, which everyone makes a point of being rather petrified of. Various factions are pretty blithely on-board with the idea of destiny, for various reasons, but some are adamantly against it, so it’s a big multidimensional cosmic conflict and it requires some unpacking.

In all this, easily the most fun character has been Lin-Manuel Miranda’s aeronaut Lee Scoresby, but don’t get used to that since he’s dead now, having sacrificed himself in a noble last stand to hold back the Magisterium’s forces so that Jopari could continue on. This was the big tearjerker of “Æsahættr” and they did a tremendous job translating it from the book. It also facilitates Jopari finally tracking down Will, his son, and informing him of his importance in Lord Asriel’s quest against the Authority, but then he dies too, leaving Will quite literally in the care of the angels.

This, in a way, is better than leaving him in the care of the witches, since internal division is an issue for them, as is staying in one place. As such, during his final standoff, Lee summons Serafina, who leaves Lyra behind. This is a disaster on two levels since Lee ends up dying anyway and Lyra ends up being captured by Mrs. Coulter – the final scene of “Æsahættr” is her being locked in a trunk and taken who-knows-where. But it seems that still-mysterious place contains Lyra’s old pal Roger, at the very least.

And then there’s Lord Asriel himself, who is finally glimpsed towards the end of the finale having had his role reduced somewhat by pandemic-related production woes. He gives an impassioned speech among some rubble, getting the angels on-side for the forthcoming war with the authority. It’s a suitably momentous idea to end on and promises a great deal of fascinating though presumably no less complicated business in the next and final season. Something to look forward to, I suppose, especially as we prepare to wave goodbye to this cursed year.


Thanks for reading our recap of His Dark Materials season 2, episode 7, “Æsahættr”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

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