His Dark Materials: The Scholar   Books Included 
December 15, 2020 5:10 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Really loved the daemon fight between Lyra & Mrs. Coulter - impressively creepy/disturbing for what was basically two people glaring at each other intensely while their some CGI creatures grappled.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:23 PM on December 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

So this is the episode where I really understand Mary - when told to go on a quest, she packs a bag before rushing off into the unknown. Here's a sleeping bag! Here's a thermos!

I can identify with that.
posted by Kyol at 6:34 PM on December 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

The best episode of the season and perhaps the entire show for me. Such a delight to watch Ruth Wilson and Ariyon Bakare together. Mrs Coulter's fury at realising how far she'd been held back after meeting Mary was chilling to behold. And I chuckled at Boreal's fondness for high tech gadgets – of course he'd be into streaming speaker setups and Teslas!
posted by adrianhon at 4:29 AM on December 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

I enjoyed this episode more than any other this season. I thought the Mrs.Coulter-Mary Malone scenese, and Mrs. C's processing of it afterwards, were gripping. It's easy to look at Mary and see the scientist but these scenes and Mrs. C's resentment of her treatment as a woman-scholar in her world are even more meaningful when you remember that Mary Malone was a nun. So you have this interplay of two women of faith and intellect, questioning their faith, exploring how it informs and restricts their work...

Cannot remember if it was this episode or the previous but I'm not sure I ever wanted to punch a fictional character as badly as I did when Boreal/Latrom made the comment about a WOMAN with a work ethic. It made me think how few women we see as individuals in Lyra's world. Lyra of course, Mrs. Coulter, Ma Costa and the witches are the only ones that come to mind (though it's been maybe a decade since I read the books), and each seems relentless in working toward their goals/journeys/crafts/aspirations etc.
posted by MustangMamaVE at 9:45 AM on December 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

One thing I notice is really how they set up later things in the series, often in better ways than they did in the books. So in the books Mrs. Coulter is kind of inscrutable and difficult to understand in many ways, because she's doing such terribleness. But the angle they're giving her now is really compelling - that she has made the best with the life she has been given, that she is a woman who has been greatly punished every time she's stepped outside the lines and so she wants to make herself as powerful as she can so it will never happen again.

And they're setting up the romantic encounters with Boreal better, in a way that really kind of came out of nowhere in the books, so it's not so weird - while also setting up exactly how she feels, behind the eyes, about it, and how oblivious he is.
posted by corb at 3:45 PM on December 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

This show has gotten so good! I don't watch a ton of TV, but of the three current series I am actively watching (this, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Mandalorian), this is my clear favorite—the one I can look forward to without fearing it will disappoint me.
> So this is the episode where I really understand Mary - when told to go on a quest, she packs a bag before rushing off into the unknown. Here's a sleeping bag! Here's a thermos!
Yeah, I was getting a strong Bilbo Baggins "I'm going on an adventure!" vibe there.
posted by Syllepsis at 8:55 PM on December 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

The deviations from the book in this season are all almost unequivocally for the better, and I’m not going to fault the writers for finding excuses to make more screen-time for Ruth Wilson and Ariyon Bakare.

The dæmon fight felt a bit unnecessary, but the scenes with Mrs. Coulter becoming furious about the gender gap in her world were an absolutely incredible addition.

Mary Malone is one of my favorite characters in the books, and I am so, so, so happy that the show is giving her part of the plot lots of room to breathe. (Also, kudos to the show for a writing surprisingly accurate portrayal of how scientists actually work – she’s not sleeping enough, occasionally messes around with Python, is concerned about finding funding, for her project, and her family finds her to be somewhat aloof).

I completely missed the premiere of this season, because the first one left me feeling a bit cold by the end. So far, I’ve binged the whole thing in just a few days, and am liking it far, far better than the last one.
posted by schmod at 4:36 PM on January 1, 2021

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