His Dark Materials Season 3 Episode 3 and 4 Recap and Ending, Explained

HBO’s fantasy drama series ‘His Dark Materials’ gets darker and more dangerous as it wraps up the first half of its final season. Lyra and Will go through a series of events that test their mettle in a way they had never witnessed before. Meanwhile, there are forces working in the background that are making things even more complicated as Lyra’s father wages a war on the Authority. The third and fourth episodes also give a fine contrast between Lyra’s parents, making us reconsider which one of them is the good guy. By the end of the fourth episode, we find the future of the characters all the more uncertain. Here’s what the ending means for them. SPOILERS AHEAD

His Dark Materials Season 3 Episode 3 and 4 Recap

Lyra and Will return to her world to get Iorek Byrnison’s help in mending Æsahættr. Once that happens, they have to decide where they want to go next. Lyra has made up her mind to go to the Land of the Dead to find and help Roger. Will wants to fulfill his father’s wish and take the knife to Asriel, to help him in his war against the Authority. In the end, he decides to accompany Lyra on her journey. However, once they find themselves in the strange new world, they are forced to make some very tough decisions.

In another world, Mrs. Coulter finds herself in Asriel’s captivity. Luckily for her, he finds her useful enough to keep alive. She tells him about Will but keeps the information about the Knife to herself. Asriel, on the other hand, tells her about the angel he has imprisoned. Mrs. Coulter finds the right opportunity and escapes with the Intention Craft. She goes back to the Magisterium where she discovers a weapon that they have created, specifically to kill Lyra. She tries to stop them but is held captive instead.

His Dark Materials Season 3 Episode 4 Ending: Do Lyra and Pan Die?

In the fourth episode, Lyra and Will reach a place that is not for the living. They soon figure out that people without their deaths are not allowed there. Still, Lyra is intent on finding Roger, because this is her only opportunity to help him and make up for the betrayal he had to suffer from her father the last time. With the help of her death, she and Will find themselves at the edge of the river that she had seen in her dreams. But crossing that river demands a hefty price.

Because the river leads to the Land of the Dead, the ferryman reveals that Pan cannot go with them. If Lyra wants to come with him, she will have to leave her daemon behind. It is an unimaginable thing for them because separation would mean death. A daemon is a person’s soul. Will, too, would be leaving behind a part of himself when he crosses the river, but unlike Lyra, he can’t see or speak to that part. Lyra, on the other hand, loves her daemon and would physically feel the pain of their separation.

Pan doesn’t want to separate, but Lyra has no choice but to go forward. She can’t go back without seeing Roger now. So, she makes the hard choice and gets on the boat, leaving behind Pan. As the distance between them increases and they pass the threshold, Lyra starts to feel the pain of separating from her daemon and starts to cry out. It is just as painful for the audience to watch, which also makes us wonder what it means for Lyra now. Does she die?

Venturing into the Land of the Dead is not for the living. There are rules that everyone must follow to go there. For the dead, their daemons are already gone so the journey isn’t so painful. However, Lyra and Will are still alive, which is why they have to face the repercussions of their actions. And this is also where things get a little tricky. Because they aren’t really dead, the application of the general rules for them has been skewed. In crossing the river, Lyra voluntarily parted with her daemon. They weren’t forcibly severed. She left him behind on purpose and has every intention to come back to him, which, in a weird way, counts for something.

The fact that both Lyra and Pan are alive is confirmed by the fact that we don’t see Pan dissipate like the daemons of the people who die. When Lee Scoresby and John Parry died, their daemons disintegrated as soon as they took their last breath. But, nothing of this sort happens with Lyra and Pan, which means that they are very much alive. However, one can’t deny that they have been separated. What does this mean for them?

To reiterate, Lyra and Pan separated willingly and on their own terms. Previously, whenever we saw someone being separated from their daemon, it was done forcefully. The whole process was made to be so traumatic for the person that they couldn’t survive the impact. In fact, in the previous cases, as depicted in the show in the first season, the severance of the daemon and the child was used for the energy that releases in the process. Nothing of that sort happens with Lyra and Pan. This makes their case more like that of the witches.

The witches are the only known beings in Lyra’s world whose daemons can travel long distances without ever feeling the pain of the separation. In some unexplainable way, Mrs. Coulter has that power too. Perhaps, what Lyra and Pan have been through has also resulted in something similar. Maybe, instead of breaking, their bond is only stretched to accommodate the greater distance between them. Intention plays a huge role in Lyra’s world. If Asriel’s intention can take him to different worlds, perhaps, Lyra’s intention has kept her daemon tethered to her even when they have miles between them. In any case, both she and Pan are still alive and should be reunited once Lyra and Will come back from the Land of the Dead.

What Happens to Mrs. Coulter?

Image Credits: Chris Baker / HBO

Mrs. Coulter returned to the Magisterium in the hopes of protecting Lyra from them. She found it best to keep the enemy closest and hoped that by being in their midst, she could not only foil their plans to kill Lyra but could redirect their forces entirely. She’d seen what Asriel was doing and the lengths he is ready to go to destroy the Authority. She hoped that once the Magisterium saw this, they would stop looking for Lyra and would focus on fighting Asriel instead. She turned out to be terribly wrong.

It turns out that Father MacPhail has dedicated himself to the cause of killing the new Eve and saving the world from sin. The new weapon helps him to do that and Mrs. Coulter, unintentionally, provides the last piece of that puzzle. The weapon needed something of Lyra to be directed at her, and they use Lyra’s lock of hair that Mrs. Coulter kept in her necklace at all times. She destroys part of that hair, but some of it is left behind.

With the weapon ready, only the fuel to fire it is needed. Turns out, the energy produced by the severance of a person and their daemon will fulfill that need. With Mrs. Coulter in their clutches, Father MacPhail decides to use the energy from her severance for the weapon. The last we see of Mrs. Coulter is in a jail cell, waiting for her punishment to come. It seems like there is no way out for her now, but this is Mrs. Coulter we are talking about. She is the one who controlled the Spectres and then used them to scare her own daemon. If anyone can get out of a near-death situation, it is her.

Things are somewhat in her favor, as Lord Roke is still at large. He’d conveniently disappeared as soon as the forces of the Magisterium arrived to arrest Mrs. Coulter. Considering how small and sneaky he is, he will find a way to help her. Once she is out of her chains, there is no predicting what she can do. She’d vowed destruction on her former employers, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her blowing up a building or two. No matter how things turn out, it is fair to say that Mrs. Coulter won’t be defeated just yet.

Read More: Is Serafina Pekkala Dead? Did Ruta Gedmintas Leave His Dark Materials?

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