The sequence of His Dark Materials, production of HBO, continues Lyra's journey (Dafne Keen) looking for information about the Dust. However, this time the character is not alone and shares the screen with Will (Amir Wilson), seen earlier in the first season briefly. Here, a little bit of the action seen in the 2019 production is missing, however, the performances at no time leave anything to be desired, as well as other aspects such as photography and special effects that were maintained with quality.
One point that I “twisted” my nose a little bit was the decision to insert the character Will in a parallel and brief way. However, watching the second season, one realizes how positive the introduction of Will was already in the previous season, as we are already familiar with the character and the script doesn't spend time to introduce him. The plots of Lyra and Will come together at the beginning of the series that premiered at the end of 2020 and from there, the production walks once and for all in its universe.
Continuing from the events of the previous season, the series follows Lyra, who after passing through the portal created by her father, Lord Asriel, finds herself in an entirely different world. Along with that, we have Will, who has also found one of the windows between the worlds, and is on the run from the police and trying to find out more about his father.
in the continuation of His Dark Materials, we know a different world from Lyra. In fact, most of the story is set in a world hitherto unknown to both the girl and the viewer, which is where the Citadel of Cittàgazze is located. Lyra's and Will's worlds also appear, but the city is the stage for the most important events in this sequence. This is a point that makes all the difference in the relationship built between the protagonists, because in an environment that is unknown to them, both need to trust each other so that they can achieve their goals and we soon realize that this is the real purpose of the production: to establish the friendship between the girl and the boy.
The explanations about the parallel worlds and the Dust are made during the second season as Lyra and Will find important characters for this understanding. A positive point is that they are not didactic and boring explanations, it is so natural that even those who watch it quickly understand the message transmitted. However, some answers were pending and some doubts are still present to be explained in the third season that could arrive at the end of 2022.
Overall, the series has a golden cast. The production is very astute in building multilateral characters, as each character is developed so well that it is difficult to predict their actions and attitudes throughout the episodes. A character that is most visible in this detail is Marisa Coulter, being the most divided figure in His Dark Materials. And we can see his internal struggle through the troubled relationship he has with his daemon and also with his daughter, Lyra.
Something that the work does is not show everything, the viewer, like Lyra, doesn't know much about the plans of powerful characters, or even the truth behind Dust, or Dust and so, we follow this mystery, absorbing what was presented, but making us deduce about possible events. In fact, the series makes us very curious and, therefore, each episode gives a hint here, one there until the moment that putting the pieces together to conclude something, the plot rewards us, revealing and confirming, or not, our theories.
In terms of pacing, it left something to be desired, as the action scenes are few. Despite this, they are well crafted and choreographed. And when necessary, the use of CGI is smooth and precise, something that remains flawless at all times, just as it was in the first season.
Another aspect of His Dark Materials that makes us wonder is the balance between magic and science. The sequel, which debuted in late 2020, entered the concept once and for all, mainly due to the introduction of a new character: Doctor Mary Malone. Therefore, this relationship is the transition between parallel worlds and realities and it is from there that we see stronger social criticism. Throughout the first and second seasons we noticed some themes that are the focus of debate in the series and one in particular is the portrayal of women in the society in which they are inserted.
As an example of this, we have feminist issues, when we compare Lyra's backward world with our reality - which is no longer there -, and Marisa Coulter's shock when discovering that women can be academics in our world, is striking and terribly saddening, for she had to give up many things due to the treatment women receive in her world.
Another discussion that takes over the series is power and what people who hold power are able to do to remain in that condition. So, through the Magisterium, when using religion and faith to control and dominate people, we realize that the main point of the series is the war in favor of free will, freedom of choice and in this universe, religion prefers that its society is deprived of knowledge, for knowledge is power.
The second season also quickly brings in some beloved characters and gives more space for other secondary ones. Unfortunately, the goodbye is mandatory for some characters and here's another negative point, it was necessary to take better advantage of the actor James McAvoy (Lord Asriel) and we noticed that the witches did not have a very interesting and underused participation - they are all the time talking about the prophecy, that they need to protect the child and such, a lot of repetition -. The actor Lin-Manuel Miranda makes an excellent Lee Scoresby and will be missed with his splendid performance and Ariyon Bakare it looks like it was made for the role of Carlo Boreal – he is a villain with baggage, well-developed and his interpretation is enough to make anyone afraid -. Others that were not well used, but that put on a show on screen are Andrew Scott, Terence Stamp and Bella Ramsey.
In conclusion, His Dark Materials delivers a short season with seven episodes lasting between 45 min and 50 min. A cast that does not disappoint and the union of the subplots being stitched here serves as the point for the third season that is already confirmed for the end of 2022. We can only look forward to the next, and last, season, which is already in production.