His Dark Materials 2×03 “Theft” serves to cement the new dynamic of the show, that of two people who haven’t really had time to like each other, much less love each other in any meaningful way, but that are now partners in a journey that promises to take them from childhood to adulthood.
Lyra had a friend before, and that’s all she had. She had Roger, and she loved him like you love family, because she couldn’t really love an absent Asriel, or the mother she never knew.
Will had a mother before, and that’s all he had. He had a mother, and he loved her and protected her, because that’s who Will is, but also, because he had to. That’s what you do with the people you love.
Neither of them has ever had anything else, anyone else …until now. And they’ve build a tentative friendship, but they don’t know each other yet, they’re just …two people on the same journey. But they need to be much more than that if they’re ever going to get anywhere, if they’re ever going to find Will’s dad, or Asriel, or …figure out what in the world Lyra is supposed to do, or Will, for that matter.
That will come, though. Friendship will come. Caring will come. Love – whatever kind of love that is, will come. That’s the journey. That’s the dynamic. That is now our story. If you didn’t know before (and you really should have), “Theft” makes it absolutely clear. This is the journey we’re on. And it’s going to be a pretty fun one, if I do say so myself.
So let us talk about His Dark Materials 2×03 “Theft”:
WHY LYRA, WHY?
That’s the question of the season, isn’t it? Why are you always acting without thinking, Lyra? Why are you always going off and getting yourself in trouble? Why can’t you stop and think? Why can’t you ask the magic object you possess what to do? Why can’t you trust someone else to have your back?
And yet, the answer is simple: because she’s never had someone. She cannot be expected to react as someone who understands what having a partner means. Lyra’s life has been about doing whatever she wanted, and facing no consequences, at least until she lost Roger.
But even that – other than in the guilt she felt – wasn’t really her consequence, it was his. Roger died because Lyra was Lyra, and yes, because her parents suck in the extreme. And there’s a part of her that doesn’t really know Will, but can’t get herself to risk him like that.
Except, she’s going to have to let Will make his own decisions, just like Roger made his before, because that’s just the way of life, and that’s just the way of friendship. And yes, if she does that and loses Will, that might just break her, but what’s the alternative? Never care for anyone ever again?
WHY WILL, WHY?
This leads us to Will, and the way he is just too pure for whatever world he happens to be on. He could have literally stayed safe in Cittagazze, but no, he had to follow Lyra, because he cares about Lyra, a given, because I’m pretty sure Will would care about a rock if you gave it to him to hold for a couple of minutes.
But okay, he cares about his friend, that’s still within the realm of normal. Agreeing to get the knife, though? That’s going above and beyond, even if the alethiometer might help you find your father.
Sometimes Will does things that, sadly, remind me of Roger. And I only say sadly because we know how well following Lyra around and caring for Lyra ended for Roger. Except, we’ve known Will for longer than we knew Roger at this point, and we also realize this is just who Will is, a precious cinnamon roll who must be protected at all costs.
Which is why we offer this compromise: Why don’t you two take care of each other, Will and Lyra? That way we can all breathe easier.
WHY MRS. COULTER, WHY?
I know I’ve posed the question before, but it remains valid, especially considering Mrs. Coulter’s actions in His Dark Materials 2×03 “Theft”: Does she really love her daughter or is there another game afoot here? Is she trying to protect Lyra or is she trying to have her under her control? Can she really feel or is it all a game, and if so …what’s the endgame?
Of course, the answer doesn’t have to be simple. Maybe she doesn’t even fully know her answer. Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe it’s about one-upping Asriel, instead of actually loving Lyra. But the truth is, the more we see of Mrs. Coulter, the less clear the answer is, which means the more we want to see of Mrs. Coulter.
And I don’t know about you, but that feels like a brilliant move.
WHY LEE, WHY?*
*We know why, I just wanted to keep the format.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has gotten some fun moments as Lee Scoresby, but he hasn’t gotten a gut punch moment till “Theft,” and boy, does he get one this episode.
Miranda isn’t really known for his acting, so it can be easy at times to forget that he isn’t only an accomplished writer and composer, he’s also a really good actor, one that can make you feel every ounce of the love and respect and devotion Lee feels for Lyra. He’s not going to betray her, you know instinctively, and that makes every second that he’s in there much more effective torture than anything they could have shown us.
Anticipation is a killer.
But it’s also really, really great to see Lyra, the same heroine we started following in this journey, the one who had Roger and lost him, the one who had no one else but Roger, and Pan, now have so many people around her who really and truly care, people who would give their lives for her. We don’t have to know what Lyra is supposed to do to understand that …in whatever journey, having the right people on your side can sometimes be the difference between winning or losing.
It feels much easier to bet on Lyra these days, doesn’t it?
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about His Dark Materials 2×03 “Theft”? Share with us in the comments below!
His Dark Materials airs Mondays at 9/8c on HBO.