Monday, January 2, 2023

What I’m Watching: His Dark Materials (Series Finale)

His Dark Materials: Season 3, Episode 8 “The Botanic Garden”

I took a little time between the final two episodes of this show even though they aired back-to-back, and they’re definitely very different tonally. Episode seven was all about action and featured a very dramatic death from Lyra’s parents as they acted together and sacrificed themselves to defeat Metatron, while episode eight was much quieter, even though it also had to do with sacrifice. Lyra kissing Will was sweet since their relationship has never really been about romance but has apparently led there anyway, and it seems that young love was enough to reset the universe on the right path. Knowing that they would never again get to be together but that they could both come to the same place in their different worlds on the same day each year so that they could be together was a nice idea, and a great note on which to end this show. Father Gomez’s death at the hands of an angel because his murderous quest was not actually holy is, like so much of this show, a resounding condemnation of aggression in the name of religion, and that dimension of this series and its source material is particularly fascinating, giving angels certain powers but also certain limitations. This show has been worthwhile and engaging, and its visual components have also been quite strong. I think its themes will stick with me most. I look forward to seeing what Dafne Keen does next and will appreciate most the rich, unforgettable performance by Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: B+
Season MVP: Ruth Wilson
Season grade: B+
Series MVP: Ruth Wilson
Best Season: Season 2 
Best Episode: “Æsahættr

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